[Chicago] Good readings on the history of computing

Yarko Tymciurak yarkot1 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 25 17:31:26 CEST 2013

Randy - to follow up on that note,   I wonder if anyone would want to try
out   "remote pair programming"  as a method for doing project nights for
Chipy (or in general).   Besides some of the "stuff" for that being written
in python, it could be an interesting way to invite and connect with people
we might otherwise have trouble getting together (or getting here).

Interestingly,  the remote-pair-programming "craze" (?)  grew out of a
group who took a MOOC which Armondo Fox started  (Software as a Service) -
which taught rapid concepts by teaching ruby and ruby tools, so this group
is mostly people looking for ruby-pairs, but if anyone wants to try out
some of these,  I'd be pleased -- we could certainly do something like this
around python (or golang, or javascript, or dart, or erlang, or ruby, or
all of the above - [captical-C]-Community! ;-)).

If anyone is interested in flushing out some of these tools interactively
w/ me, I'm game:

I'm particularly interested in flushing out madeye and floobits (being a vi
guy, going into sublime w/ all it's context sensitive plugins, which are


- Yarko

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM, Randy Baxley <randy7771026 at gmail.com>wrote:

> @Daniel - extremely engaging.  Also met him and his son in the Starbucks
> at the Palmer House.  As this was immediately after taking my first MOOC
> which was this class then sitting and having coffee with the prof, who
> shares a lot of the same history I have lived but with different geography,
> his son(band video on YouTube), and other students was an interesting
> juxtaposition of VW vs RW.
> Head in the clouds here but If we could get him on board for a project
> that would take folks from zero to dev or designer I think it would be
> great.
> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM, Daniel Fehrenbach <dnfehrenbach at gmail.com
> > wrote:
>> @Randy - I had Dr. Chuck as a professor at Michigan, hope that his
>> Coursera stuff was as engaging as he is in person
>> A lot softer than a lot of things mentioned previously but Neal
>> Stephenson has a, really outdated but readable essay on operating system
>> history as seen through his experience
>> http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html.
>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:39 AM, Randy Baxley <randy7771026 at gmail.com>wrote:
>>> This makes me wish I had unlimited time and also had my young eyes back.
>>> I lived some very good pieces of all of this.
>>> I hate to keep recommending Dr-Chuck but his course on Coursera in
>>> Internet History, Technology and Security is an enjoyable romp.
>>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:21 AM, Jordan Bettis <jordanb at hafd.org> wrote:
>>>> On 09/24/2013 02:40 PM, Jason Wirth wrote:
>>>> >
>>>> > Does anyone have suggestion for articles on the history of computing?
>>>> >
>>>> > Note, Python specific stuff would be great but it doesn't have to be
>>>> > python specific, and almost by definition probably won't be.
>>>> >
>>>> I can recommend a few books that I've read:
>>>> *Computing in the Middle Ages* by Servero M Ornstein
>>>> This guy became a programmer on a drum memory machine, went to Lincoln
>>>> Labs at MIT when they were building SAGE. He was part of the transition
>>>> from Lincoln Labs to MITRE and worked on the TX-1. He then worked on
>>>> LINC (Which became the PDP-8), went to BBN and worked on ArpaNet, then
>>>> to Xerox PARC and worked on Alto.
>>>> The book is a memorial of his career and what it was like working on the
>>>> above projects.
>>>> *Before the Computer* by James W Cortada
>>>> *A History of Modern Computing* by Paul E Ceruzzi
>>>> These are two academic treatments of the subject by academic historians.
>>>> The first covers mechanical and electro-mechanical information
>>>> processing from the invention of the cash register and type writer,
>>>> through adding machines and ends with the creation of vacuum tube
>>>> computers.
>>>> The second begins with UNIVAC and ends with the invention of the Web.
>>>> Like I said, they're academic treatments of the subject so fairly
>>>> rigorously written.
>>>> A final one I might hesitatingly recommend is:
>>>> *The Universal History of Computing* by Georges Ifrah
>>>> This was written in French and translated into English. The writing is
>>>> quite dense and it goes off into the weeds at the end, which is why I
>>>> hesitate to recommend it.
>>>> But it begins with a discussion of numbering systems, and demonstrates
>>>> how the positional numbering system was a precondition for even thinking
>>>> about mathematics as something that could be done mechanically.
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