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Hackers: heroes of the computer revolution
by Steven Levy
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Steven Levy's classic book explains why the misuse of the word "hackers" to describe computer criminals does a terrible disservice to many important shapers of the digital revolution. Levy follows members of an MIT model railroad club--a group of brilliant budding electrical engineers and computer innovators--from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s. These eccentric characters used the term "hack" to describe a clever way of improving the electronic system that ran their massive railroad. And as they started designing clever ways to improve computer systems, "hack" moved over with them. These maverick characters were often fanatics who did not always restrict themselves to the letter of the law and who devoted themselves to what became known as "The Hacker Ethic." The book traces the history of hackers, from finagling access to clunky computer-card-punching machines to uncovering the inner secrets of what would become the Internet. This story of brilliant, eccentric, flawed, and often funny people devoted to their dream of a better world will appeal to a wide audience.
The New York Times
"A remarkable collection of characters . . . courageously exploring mindspace, an inner world where nobody had ever been before."
The Washington Post
"Fascinating . . . A huge job hugely well done."
Today, technology is cool. Owning the most powerful computer, the latest high-tech gadget, and the whizziest web site is a status symbol on a par with having a flashy car or a designer suit. And a media obsessed with the digital explosion has reappropriated the term "computer nerd" so that it's practically synonymous with "entrepreneur." Yet, a mere fifteen years ago, wireheads hooked on tweaking endless lines of code were seen as marginal weirdos, outsiders whose world would never resonate with the mainstream. That was before one pioneering work documented the underground computer revolution that was about to change our world forever. With groundbreaking profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, MIT's tech Model Railroad Club, and more, Steven Levy's Hackers brilliantly captures a seminal moment when the risk takers and explorers were poised to conquer twentieth-century America's last great frontier. And in the Internet age, "the hacker ethic"--first espoused here--is alive an well.
A text documenting the beginning of the explosion of computer use in mainstream society. Includes profiles of Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, and other computer industry giants, capturing the moment when hackers were poised to take computing to a whole new level. Softcover.
About the Author
Steven Levy is also the author of Crypto: When the Code Rebels Beat the Government-Saving Privacy in the Digital Age and the chief technology writer for Newsweek. He is a regular contributor to numerous publications including Macworld and Wired.
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