Thirty years and 50 pounds of blubber ago, between various teaching jobs and being fired from computer companies, I wrote for a New York-based magazine called The Runner, which was long ago absorbed by Runners World. I took the gig to force myself to get in shape and it worked, which is why one year I ran the Boston Marathon. Understand that my editor at the time, a guy named Amby Burfoot, had won the Boston Marathon, so my finish well back in the pack was professionally meaningless, but that memory gives me some sense of the scene yesterday in Boston when those bombs went off. I know what the air was like, what the […]
Five years after Accidental Empires was published in hardcover and four years after the paperback, we got a chance to do a somewhat revised paperback edition to go with Triumph of the Nerds, my Channel 4/PBS miniseries based on the book. Revision may be too strong a word, because all I was allowed to do was add two extra chapters at the end. This gave me a chance to catch up with some of the major characters, correct a few mistakes, explain what had happened in the intervening half-decade and — oh by the way — finally say something about the Internet.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
There is so much wrong and yet a lot that’s right in this chapter, which was the last one in the original hardcover edition. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed by it or proud. How does computing today compare with my predictions from 1992?
Remember Pogo? Pogo was Doonesbury in a swamp, the first political cartoon good enough to make it off the editorial page and into the high-rent district next to the horoscope. Pogo was a ‘possum who looked as if he was dressed for a Harvard class reunion and who acted as the moral conscience for the first […]
The most dangerous man in Silicon Valley sits alone on many weekday mornings, drinking coffee at II Fornaio, an Italian restaurant on Cowper Street in Palo Alto. He’s not the richest guy around or the smartest, but under a haircut that looks as if someone put a bowl on his head and trimmed around the edges, Steve Jobs holds an idea that keeps some grown men and women of the Valley awake at night. Unlike these insomniacs, Jobs isn’t in this business for the money, and that’s what makes him dangerous.
I wish, sometimes, that I could say this personal computer stuff is just […]
You have to wonder what it was we were doing before we had all these computers in our lives. Same stuff, pretty much. Down at the auto parts store, the counterman had to get a ladder and climb way the heck up to reach some top shelf, where he’d feel around in a little box and find out that the muffler clamps were all gone. Today he uses a computer, which tells him that there are three muffler clamps sitting in that same little box on the top shelf. But he still has to get the ladder and climb up to get them, and, worse still, sometimes the computer lies, and there […]