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Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age

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We've come so far, so fast. Within a relatively short period of time, we've managed to put enormous computing power in offices and homes around the globe. But before there was an IBM computer, before there were laptops and personal PCs, there were small independent teams of pioneers working on the development of the very first computer. Scattered around the globe and rangi We've come so far, so fast. Within a relatively short period of time, we've managed to put enormous computing power in offices and homes around the globe. But before there was an IBM computer, before there were laptops and personal PCs, there were small independent teams of pioneers working on the development of the very first computer. Scattered around the globe and ranging in temperament and talent, they forged the future in basement labs, backyard, workshops, and old horse barns. Tracing the period just after World War II when the first truly modern computers were developed, Electronic Brains chronicles the escapades of the world's first techies. Some of the initial projects are quite famous and well known, such as LEO, the Lyons Electronic Office, which was developed by the catering company J. Lyons & Co. in London in the 1940s. Others are a bit more arcane, such as the ABC, which was built in a basement at Iowa State College and was abandoned to obscurity at the beginning of WWII. And then - like the tale of the Rand 409 which wss constructed in a barn in Connecticut under the watchful eye of a stuffed moose - there are the stories that are virtually unknown. All combine to create a fascinating history of a now-ubiquitous technology. Relying on extensive interviews from surviving members of the original teams of hardware jockeys, author Mike Hally recreates the atmosphere of the early days of computing. Rich with provocative and entertaining descriptions, we are introduced go the many eccentric, obsessive, and fiercely loyal men and women who laid the foundations for the computerized world in which we now live. As the acronyms fly fast and furious - UNIVAC, CSIRAC, and MESM, to name just a few - Electronic Brains provides a vivid sense of time, place, and science.


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We've come so far, so fast. Within a relatively short period of time, we've managed to put enormous computing power in offices and homes around the globe. But before there was an IBM computer, before there were laptops and personal PCs, there were small independent teams of pioneers working on the development of the very first computer. Scattered around the globe and rangi We've come so far, so fast. Within a relatively short period of time, we've managed to put enormous computing power in offices and homes around the globe. But before there was an IBM computer, before there were laptops and personal PCs, there were small independent teams of pioneers working on the development of the very first computer. Scattered around the globe and ranging in temperament and talent, they forged the future in basement labs, backyard, workshops, and old horse barns. Tracing the period just after World War II when the first truly modern computers were developed, Electronic Brains chronicles the escapades of the world's first techies. Some of the initial projects are quite famous and well known, such as LEO, the Lyons Electronic Office, which was developed by the catering company J. Lyons & Co. in London in the 1940s. Others are a bit more arcane, such as the ABC, which was built in a basement at Iowa State College and was abandoned to obscurity at the beginning of WWII. And then - like the tale of the Rand 409 which wss constructed in a barn in Connecticut under the watchful eye of a stuffed moose - there are the stories that are virtually unknown. All combine to create a fascinating history of a now-ubiquitous technology. Relying on extensive interviews from surviving members of the original teams of hardware jockeys, author Mike Hally recreates the atmosphere of the early days of computing. Rich with provocative and entertaining descriptions, we are introduced go the many eccentric, obsessive, and fiercely loyal men and women who laid the foundations for the computerized world in which we now live. As the acronyms fly fast and furious - UNIVAC, CSIRAC, and MESM, to name just a few - Electronic Brains provides a vivid sense of time, place, and science.

30 review for Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alain van Hoof

    A very nice overview of the first computers. What I liked: it also addresses countries other than the US and UK.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julian Bennett

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable book covering the early years of computing roughly up to the mid 60s but focusing on the pioneering computers and teams around the world after the Second World War. I was fascinated to learn more about the Australian and Russian developments as they seem to be forgotten in most other histories. The story is much more about the people than the technology so it would be totally comprehensible to a lay reader.

  3. 5 out of 5

    James

    Exciting and accessible account of the early days of computing. I found this book to be relatively light on technical detail, but with plenty of interesting stories about the scientists and engineers involved in the building of these early computers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Randy Treit

  5. 4 out of 5

    Don Stevenson

  6. 5 out of 5

    Otto Benz

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  9. 5 out of 5

    Irma Vermaat

  10. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Dewey

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Writher

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alexandre Kovalenko

  13. 4 out of 5

    Len

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stefano Paganini

  15. 5 out of 5

    R

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill Bryson

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Peat

  18. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  20. 4 out of 5

    Javier

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt Grounds

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jon Veal

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Easom

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Burkowski

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joe Smith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carla Cornelius

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

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