And that's the important thing - love your 6502, you won't get another.
(http://www.metafilter.com/130871/Simulating-a-TI-calculator-with-crazy-11-bit-opcodes#5136021 - a discussion well worth reading)
While I wouldn't consider this a computer history book per se, this history of the "digital revolution" naturally involves the development of computers (in particular, personal computers) and the Internet, so it covers quite a few topics that folks here would find interesting. Aimed at a general audience (particularly business people), I found it well-written, with technical concepts explained reasonably well even for the layperson.
The book begins with a chapter on Ada Lovelace, and her work with Babbage, then moves quickly on to the development of the first electronic computers, early developments in computer programming, transistors and ICs, video games, ARPANET, PCs, the shift from hardware to software as a dominant market force, and the shift from standalone computing to going "on-line" and the rise of the modern-day Internet. The final chapter summarizes the main themes of the book:
- computers augment human intelligence, rather than replacing it
- creativity and innovation are collaborative, rather than inventions of lone genius
- successful innovation requires a mix of people with vision with people who can execute on visionaries' ideas
- success also requires a mix of analytical thinking with creativity - Ada's "poetical science"
I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the latter chapters; Isaacson used up-to-date histories for sources, and includes information on developments outside the U.S. Later chapters are very U.S.-centric (indeed, very Silicon Valley-centric), and perhaps it's just my bias against hero-worship, but I found the coverage of the more recent industry luminaries (Gates/Allen, Page/Brin, etc.) a bit too gushing.
Computer historians might balk at Isaacson's conclusions on "who invented the computer" at the end of chapter 2, but I thought he treated the question fairly and provided reasonable arguments.
I liked the logical progression of the chapters, which are generally chronological but cover different aspects of the industry. It's perhaps a bit too neat for total accuracy, but it flowed well.
So overall, a mixed bag, but worth checking out.
Also available in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/codes-that-changed-the-world/id984502014?mt=2
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