Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Revolution in the Valley, by Andy Hertzfeld

Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How The Mac Was Made, by Andy Hertzfeld

Andy Hertzfeld was one of the early Apple employees, and part of the team that gave birth to the Macintosh. Here Hertzfeld recounts the story of how that computer was developed in a series of vignettes. Interspersed with the stories are many, many pictures of both the development team (not the most attractive bunch you’ve ever seen) and Macintosh internals. The anecdotes run the gamut from deeply personal to highly technical, but all are fairly interesting.

Like Just a Geek, this is a reworking of text first found online. Unlike Just a Geek, the vignettes here weren’t reworked into a normal narrative but remain pretty much in their original form. This leads to a fair amount of redundancy, with bits of the same story told multiple times in different anecdotes. There are also a lot of see also links that refer to other stories—I found it disconcerting to find what screams for a hyperlink in a normal book. A bit odd, but overall it worked.

First Sentence:
Toward the end of my first week as an Apple employee in August 1979, I noticed that someone had left a black binder on my desk, with a handwritten title that read, Apple II: Principles of Operation.

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