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Posted July 2, 2011
A coffee-table book for nerds
Macintosh computer is the most iconic computer of all time, and probably one of the most significant consumer electronics products ever. The successors of the original Macintosh have remained aspirational products ever since, and Mac fans are oftentimes known for their cult-like admiration for their computers. One name that immediately comes to mind when Mac is mentioned is that of Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and a mercurial and controversial visionary that has shaped Apple products for the most of company's history. However, Jobs is a strange bird - a head of a technology company without any concrete technological skills. The bulk of the work on the original Apple computer was done by the other company cofounder (Steve Wozniak) and the team that actually built Mac was composed of largely unknown engineers and technicians who worked on the computer over many years with the utmost passion and dedication. This book is a tribute to that creative and dedicated team. It is written in a form of many anecdotes of crucial events and developments in the process of creating the first Mac. Most of the stories are told from the point of view of Andy Hertzfeld, but there are numerous contributions by other team members as well. The book is filled with images of old hand-written designing notes, pictures of the team members, various Polaroid screen-shots of the development of Mac's GUI, and many, many more moments that elicit a form of nostalgia for those early days of the computer industry. The whole book is in fact a tribute to those more innocent days when idealism was a much more potent motivator than money and stock options. It also paints a picture of Silicon Valley when it was possible for young fresh-out-of-college engineers to find meaningful work and live in places like Palo Alto. Whether you are a Mac fan or someone with a curiosity about the first-hand accounts of the early personal computer industry, you will find a lot in this book to keep you interested. It's a homage to the real nerd inside of all of us.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2005
Fascinating 1st hand account of Mac history
This is THE book for every Mac aficionado! Walk with those who were there through the birth of a truly historical product. This is a nicely designed hardback that fits well in the hand, is filled with wonderful photos and anecdotes from those most involved from the earliest days of the Macintosh. I have found most fascinating the copies of actual hand-written notes from the earliest brainstorming meetings, complete with corrections and revealing marginal comments. I will definitely keep this where I can thumb through it while on hold or wanting some entertaining distraction ¿ and where it will be seen by my PeeCee buddies!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 4, 2005
Hertzfeld gives us a set of vignettes into the people who made the Mac. From 1979 to 1985, we get anecdotes of the development process and the personalities [especially Steve Jobs], from several of the core Mac team. Being very episodic, the book suffers from an overall drift. As a standalone book, with little other information on the Mac, the disjointedness of the narrative leaves little context. The book is best read if you are already have some knowledge of the history of Apple. Enhanced perhaps by having used the Apple 2 or the Mac itself, and even to have seen the 1984 commercial. Some portions of the text are best appreciated only by programmers, who can get some sense of the ingenuity of the team. For other readers, you should not worry about the obscurity of those sections. [You'll certainly know which they are, when you meet them.] Try reading the book after going through other books on Apple that give a better and larger picture of the company.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2005
Interesting Look Back
This book, written by one of the members of the team that created the first Macintosh is at times a tale of intrigue, passion, hard work, long hours, junk food, and lots of creativity. It also shows how this group put together a computer that changed the history of the high tech field and how even now some 20 years later, the effects of this change can still be felt. Not only is the story told by the author, but numerous sidebars illustrate anecdotes about the 'movers and shakers' of the Macintosh's creation..from the engineers and designers to upper management, as well as the inevitable clashes between all of them. One thing that comes through at all times is how committed everyone was to seeing the Mac through to creation. The famous '1984' commercial is also discussed at some length and how it almost never was shown during the Super Bowl broadcast, due to some Apple execs expressing their disapproval of it at a preview showing. The commercial was also shown late one night on a TV station in Idaho so it would be eligible to receive an award as best commercial of the year. And speaking of passion, Steve Jobs is shown at times in this book to be a visionary, a hard worker, a clod, and most of all a man driven to put the best computer of its time on the market. Clearly he and the Macintosh design team succeeded in doing so. For any Macintosh or computer history buffs, this is a book well worth having.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 21, 2004