[Chicago] Good readings on the history of computing

Yarko Tymciurak yarkot1 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 26 06:13:09 CEST 2013

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:51 PM, Yarko Tymciurak <yarkot1 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM, Martin Maney <maney at two14.net> wrote:
>> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 08:00:01AM -0700, kirby urner wrote:
>> > Good computer history and a classic worth collecting (I don't have it):
>> >
>> > 'Computer Lib / Dream Machines' by Ted Nelson.
>> I hope I still have the copy I got back in the seventies - amazingly
>> weird, fun book.
>> Three titles I've learned from and enjoyed over the decades:
>> Yourdon's _Classics in Software Engineering_ (which has been passing
>> in and out of print at odd intervals) is an amazing collection of true
>> foundational works, from "Gotos Considered Harmful" to the classic
>> paper that presents the case for using only a few flow control
>> structures (Bohm & Jacopini, I think; the title escapes me).  And
>> Knuth's joyfully contrary "Structured Programming with Goto
>> Statements"  And much more.
>> Bentley's _Programming Pearls_ is a slim volume (and "More ..." is even
>> thinner) and filled with gems from the famous ACM column.  As long as
>> I've already crammed two titles under this heading, I shall complete
>> the trifecta by mentioning "Writing Efficient Programs" by the same
>> author.
> Yeah - Jon was great, as were his articles (insight); I'll second that!

... and gee, Jon is my age too...

Ok fans, here ya go:   http://netlib.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/pearls/

And the kind of overflow bug described here:

was the same sort of thing which sourced back to Berkeley code for the C
profiler, which
also overflowed and caused profiler timing errors in both the SunOS and
SYSV  source trees
(I know - I fixed it;  somewhere I still have my paper from unisys on it;
 ah, those were the
 days - on the POSIX committees, rubbing elbows w/ ... but I digress...)

Here's where he's at now (I had to update this wiki with his current page):

>> Okay, that triple crown has thrown me off... which did I have in mind
>> for number three?  Kernighan & Plauger's _Software Tools_ was a huge
>> influence, but does anyone actually still use FORTRAN?  I can't be as
>> enthused about the Pascal rewrite, it seemed to spend so much more of
>> its effort fighting the severe limitations of standard/portable Pascal,
> ...
> I never had trouble w/ that Software Tools (think I still have mine) - it
> was
> for when no one had C yet, so it was RATFOR, which looks enough like C,
> that is - is Algol-ish enough that it doesn't matter (to me, much)...
> so...  good enough!
>> a language I've never cared for much.  Or Plauger's _Programming on
>> Purpose_, another book that collects the best of a series of columns.
> Yep... remember that too...
> But nothing beat just running a unix 6 source distribution, and digging
> into it, and the compiler code...
> (Miss you,  Dennis...)
> But - wait!  The other half of that fantastic duo is at it w/ golang.
> Anyone want to rewrite CPython in go?  (just half-kidding!)
>> At least I think that was the title, I can't seem to find it now... Or
>> maybe I meant to have a token Object Oriented title, which would be
>> _Smalltalk-80: The Language and its Implementation_, without which I
>> would have been confused for years by C++'s weirdly warped notion of
>> what OOP was all about.
>> So many books, so little time!  Hey, Guido, is that time machine busy
>> this weekend?
>> --
>> Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity
>> of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity
>> of the loser is perfectly clear.  It is the nation's confidence
>> in the judge as an impartial guardian of the law.
>>  - Justice John Paul Stevens, from his dissenting opinion Dec 12, 2000
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