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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.
Posted November 13, 2005
Mike Hally has written the story of the early computers as the story of the people who made them - not just the well known story of the British and American pioneers but the many others around the world, in Germany, Russia, and Australia. An important feature of the book is that its author combnes the ability to tell a story so that the reader is fascinated, with real scholarship which makes it one of the most wide ranging and best histories of the evolution of the technology from Babbage to the pioneers of the modern computer. The book is a must for all students of computer historyWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.