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Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges is a great biography. Don't let the fact that this was the inspiration for "The Imitation Game" be of concern. In typical Hollywood style, the movie takes many liberties with the facts.
If you're interested in computer history, then perhaps The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder might be of interest. This details the design and construction of the Data General Eclipse MV/8000/8000. It was published in 1981, and won the 1982 Pulitzer prize for non fiction.
It's a series of Q&A style interviews of a pretty diverse set of well known programmers:
- Frances Allen: \Pioneer in optimizing compilers, first woman to win the Turing Award (2006) and first female IBM fellow
- Joe Armstrong: Inventor of Erlang
- Joshua Bloch: Author of the Java collections framework, now at Google
- Bernie Cosell: One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMPs and a master debugger
- L. Peter Deutsch: Author of Ghostscript, implementer of Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1
- Brad Fitzpatrick: Writer of LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, and Perlbal
- Dan Ingalls: Smalltalk implementor and designer
- Simon Peyton Jones: Coinventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler
- Donald Knuth: Author of The Art of Computer Programming and creator of TeX
- Peter Norvig: Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI
- Guy Steele: Coinventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five, currently working on Fortress
- Ken Thompson: Inventor of UNIX
- Jamie Zawinski: Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker
Umm, not sure what Bill Gates has personally programmed by himself except maybe QBasic and Steve Jobs didn't do programming at all. They were business people and entrepreneurs. They used to hire programmers.
it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.
■ "Noobies, each and every one of you. I built a NAND gate in 1924 using twigs and moss. For delay lines I used a box canyon, and moved about until the acoustic echo distribution in the time domain performed the required function. By May 1925 I had calculated Pi to almost one digit accuracy: 4."
■ "This has to be a myth. FAT predates laptops or any other computer that would reasonably be usable on an airplane.
[You kids say the cutest things. -Raymond]"
■ "(I can’t believe I had to write this: This is a dramatization, not a courtroom transcript.)
This “I wrote FAT on an airplane” line was apparently one Bill used when he wanted to complain that what other people was doing wasn’t Real Programming. But this time, the development manager decided she’d had enough.
“Fine, Bill. We’ll set you up with a machine fully enlisted in the Windows source code, and you can help us out with some of your programming magic, why don’t you.”
Um, he and his mates were the ones that made "writing code in your Mother's garage, while blasting out hard rock" famous, when they wrote MSDOS*
* You can skip googling the MSDOS/QDOS-86 thing. I know. And everyone here should be aware that upgrading something like QDOS-86 to become MSDOS (and to be used on different hardware, which was much more of a minefield, back then) was no small thing.
I wanna be a eunuchs developer! Pass me a bread knife!
I saw the following two headlines next to each other in the CP "Daily News" yesterday:
Tech coalitions pen open letter to Burr and Feinstein over bill banning encryption
Microsoft rolls out new programs to incent IT pros to go cloud
OK, we know that Feinstein and Co. have produced something that is DOA all the way around, but still, the juxtaposition of these two headlines made me ask the question: Would any company or any responsible IT pro put their stuff out on the web without some decent encryption to protect it?
It seems to me that the current concept of "cloud" that Microsoft is betting so heavily on would become instantly dead in the US if anything like the Feinstein/whoever bill came into effect. I know that (as written) "Feinstein" contains "Einstein", but it sure seems like the spelling is all they share...
I think removing encryption in the US would be an excellent idea. I'm pretty sure Senators in the US have a lot more money than most people do, and they would soon find out how important encryption is when the situation was reversed within hours of the banks complying...
Bad command or file name. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaaay...