[Chicago] Good readings on the history of computing

Matt Foster matt.foster.c at gmail.com
Wed Sep 25 23:31:54 CEST 2013


Another cultural reference, The Cathedral and The
Bazar<http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/>by Eric Raymond
is a good essay about open source development / project
management.


On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM, Lance Hassan <lance at roytalman.com> wrote:

> Well…re: Neal Stephenson…dated and relevant in light of some current and
> some ongoing events. Also not a bad primer in cryptography with both
> technical and more illustrative perspectives (walking through London,
> stepping off curbs and crossing streets as a basis for a coding system).
>  It was a white hat hacker who turned me onto this one originally. ****
>
> ** **
>
> Thank You,****
>
> Lance Hassan****
>
> Roy Talman and Associates****
>
> ** **
>
> *From:* Chicago [mailto:chicago-bounces+lance=roytalman.com at python.org] *On
> Behalf Of *Daniel Fehrenbach
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 25, 2013 9:51 AM
> *To:* The Chicago Python Users Group
> *Subject:* Re: [Chicago] Good readings on the history of computing****
>
> ** **
>
> @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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