By the 1960s, IBM had beaten all rivals and dominated the world computer market. But IBM came late to the race. From the 1930s to the 1960s, small, independent teams on four continents worked on the development of the first modern computers- practical, electronic, multi-purpose, digital machines with memory for data and programs. From interviews with surviving members of those original teams, the author builds up a picture of the eccentric men and women who laid the foundations for the computerised world we now live in, recreating the atmosphere of those early days. Some of the early projects, such as "LEO", the Lyons Electronic Office, developed by the catering company J Lyons and Co in London in the 1940s, are now famous, others, such as the ABC, built in the basement of Iowa State College and abandoned when war broke out, and the RAND 409, constructed in a barn in Connecticut under the watchful eye of a stuffed moose, almost unknown. This fascinating and engaging book describes these and other projects that came and went in the years before IBM ruled the world, including the Phillips Hydraulic Economics Computer, or MONIAC, which perfectly demonstrated the workings of the economy by way of coloured water flowing through plastic tubes and the UNIVAC, which became a household name when, live on television, it correctly predicted the results of the 1952 US presidential election.
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Mike Hally trained as an electronics engineer and worked at British Aerospace for seventeen years. He started working for Radio 4 in 1989 as a freelance, where he still works today. He later formed Pennine Productions, producing programmes for Radio 4.From Publishers Weekly:
Inspired by a popular BBC radio series of the same name, this book details the post-war computer development boom, concentrating on the personalities instead of the technology, and blending human interest with history in a lighthearted way that will appeal to technophiles and Luddites alike. With its global emphasis, the book chronicles Australian, UK, American and Soviet computer pioneers, and touches on social issues like the Cold War and IBM's business relationship with Nazi Germany. In the book's best (and final) essay, "It's Not About Being First: The Rise and Rise of IBM," Hally deftly handles decades of Big Blue's complex engineering, political and business history, revealing how the computing giant's business practices changed with the technology it created. Major historical events serve as the backdrop to Hally's history; The Manhattan Project's atomic researches, presidential elections, wars and revolutions all figure into the computer's development. The book has its techie moments, but this is an informative and entertaining read for anyone who's ever wondered about the evolution of computers from vacuum-tube-filled, moth-cooking, multi-ton calculators to iPods and wafer thin laptops.
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Buchbeschreibung Granta, London, 2005. Hardcover. Buchzustand: Very Good. Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Very Good. Hardcover. A few minor scores on dust jacket. Jacket spine head is very slightly creased. Hardcover spine ends are a little bumped. A few light marks on page block. Binding is intact, contents are clean and clear. AM. Used. Artikel-Nr. 409405