Based on original interviews with surviving participants and the first study of Mauchly and Eckert's personal papers, ENIAC is a dramatic human story and a vital contribution to the history of technology, and it restores to the two inventors the legacy they deserve.
©1999 by Scott McCartney; (P)1999 by Blackstone Audiobooks
As an It executive I was ashamed to realize that I did not now the names of the inventors of the first electronic computer. Nor did I know that they actuall held the patent to the computer. I loved every minute of this salute to these pioneers.
The chapters on the actual conception of, and building of Eniac, were excellent, and well worth the time reading.
The long sections on the legal fights, and especially the arguments about who gets credit for inventing computers, was much less worthwhile.
The most interesting part of this book was the history of the creation of Eniac, and the associated early history of computing.
The least interesting part, especially true in the 2nd half of the book, was all the personal drama of the legal battles, and battles over who should be credited as the inventor of computers.
Rather than the later I would have preferred much more information about Univac, and more of the early history of mainframe computers.
Great book! I especially liked "The Ancestors", a chapter presented early in the book which gave a brief, concise history of technological development. It has always fascinated me and the book and narration did a tremendous job in communicating what happened. The last third of the book tends to drag on a bit but I really think it is more what actually happened and thus the author just captured that in this book. Easy to understand, easy to follow along, great for anyone who has an interesting in the development of technology in general and computers specifically.
The chapter on the origins of computers.
I have not.
"The Ancestors" chapter.
This was an excellent audiobook. As other reviewers have stated, it starts off slow, but really picks up after an hour or two. It gets so interesting once you get past the beginning that it's hard to stop listening. I really enjoyed learning about others opinions of John Von Neumann, I had no idea he was suck a controversial figure among the early computer scientists.
This story is about the men who made what we know about the modern computer a reality and the story is worth knowing. It also explains to some extent the technical specs of their creation. Plus the narrator is quite good. I recommend it for history buffs, nerds, or anyone who enjoys a little nostalgia.
I was deeply disappointed. I expected to know about the ups and downs of the technological experience of building this landmark machine. Instead, I mostly heard of lawsuits, greed, libel and vexation. I should have known better.
The combination of the reader's limited expressive range and the focus of the book on personalities instead of technologies, plus the glaring technical errors of the author made this a bore. My favorite: right after a section where the author goes on at length about Eniac being the first programmable computer, he then notes how remarkable it was that the team didn't hire any experienced programmers to work on the project but trained people from scratch. Where, exactly, did the author think the builders of the FIRST programmable computer would find experienced programmers? The Future? Sheesh...
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