Category Archives: Retro Technology

Books – My Reading List (1996-2011)

This week I am opening a section for books and film. This first post is a “reading list” for thos interested in Computer Science as well as some good self help reference material. Of course this entry is a work in progress and once I get moved this list will expand to over 2,000 books as I am able to unpack and catalog my collection.

All my life I’ve operated as a “lending library” with a full card file (now fully digital). I abandoned the Dewey Decimal System in favor of the Open Shelves Classification (OSC), a free open source alternative to the badly outdated Dewey system. If you live in the Houston area and wish to borrow any of these books drop me a line or give me a call!

A starter list appears below (no particular order):


Cyberpunk (Pocket Essential series) Andrew M. Butler
The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal Julia Cameron
Supercomputing Review Vol I Norris Parker Smith
Busting Loose From the Business Game: Mind-Blowing Strategies for Recreating Yourself, Your Team, Your Business, and Everything in Between Robert Scheinfeld
The Marching Morons C.M. Kornbluth
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed By Social Technologies Charlene Li
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly David Meerman Scott
Personality Not Included: Why Companies Lose Their Authenticity And How Great Brands Get it Back, Foreword Guy Kawasaki, Rohit Bhargava
For Young Men Only: A Guy’s Guide to the Alien Gender Jeff Feldhahn
Codebreakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park Sir F. H. Hinsley, Alan Stripp
The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource, New Edition Jeffrey H. Gitomer
The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (Big) to Take Typical Sales Advice and Do the Opposite Michael Port
A History of the Personal Computer: The People and the Technology Roy A. Allan
IT Doesn’t Matter-Business Processes Do: A Critical Analysis of Nicholas Carr’s IT Article in the Harvard Business Review Howard Smith, Peter Fingar
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Steven Levy
Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made Andy Hertzfeld
The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal M. Mitchell Waldrop
The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon–The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World Steven L. Kent
The Ultimate Consultant: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner (Ultimate Consultant Series) Alan Weiss
Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage Nicholas Carr
The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google Nicholas Carr
Process Consulting: How to Launch, Implement, and Conclude Successful Consulting Projects (The Ultimate Consultant Series) Alan Weiss
Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 Van Burnham
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days Chris Baty
How To Write A Proposal That’s Accepted Every Time Alan Weiss
Collecting Classic Video Games (Schiffer Book for Collectors) Billy Galaxy
Digital Equipment Corporation (MA) (Images of America) Alan R. Earls
Million Dollar Consulting (TM) Toolkit: Step–Step Guidance, Checklists, Templates and Samples from “The Million Dollar Consultant” Alan Weiss
The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything Guy Kawasaki
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days Jessica Livingston
How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner Alan Weiss
How to Acquire Clients: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner Alan Weiss
Value-Based Fees: How to Chargeand GetWhat You’re Worth (The Ultimate Consultant Series) Alan Weiss
Inside the Technical Consulting Business: Launching and Building Your Independent Practice Harvey Kaye
Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully Gerald M. Weinberg
A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life – The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 3: 1952-1960 (Merton, Thomas//Journal of Thomas Merton) Thomas Merton
In Search of Stupidity: Over Twenty Years of High Tech Marketing Disasters, Second Edition Merrill R. (Rick) Chapman (Author)
A Bibliographic Guide to the History of Computing, Computers, and the Information Processing Industry (Bibliographies and Indexes in Science and Technology) James W. Corada
Second Bibliographic Guide to the History of Computing, Computers, and the Information Processing Industry (Bibliographies and Indexes in Science and Technology) James W. Corada
The First Computers–History and Architectures (History of Computing) Raúl Rojas (Editor), et al
Ieee Annals of the History of Computing IEE Press
A History of Computing Technology, 2nd Edition M. R. Williams, Michael R. Williams
Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age Michael A. Hiltzik
Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date Robert X. Cringely
Steam Punk: Drama Obscura Joe Kelly, Chris Bachalo
Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet Katie Hafner
The Hacker Ethic Manuel Castells, et al
A Hacker Manifesto McKenzie Wark
Certified Ethical Hacker Exam Prep Michael Gregg
Gray Hat Hacking : The Ethical Hacker’s Handbook Shon Harris (Author), et al
Cyber Adversary Characterization: Auditing the Hacker Mind Tom Parker (Author), et al
Steal This Computer Book 2 : What They Won’t Tell You About 22the Internet Wallace Wang
The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source: an Accidental Revolutionary Eric S. Raymond
The Sciences of the Artificial – 3rd Edition Herbert A. Simon
Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
Cryptonomicon Neal Stephenson
In the Beginning… was the Command Line Neal Stephenson
Exploring Research (6th Edition) Neil J. Salkind
Research Methods: Learning to Become a Critical Research Consumer Ronald C. Martella
Art of the Long View, The Peter Schwartz
Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto Simon Young
Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future James Hughes
Behind the Silicon Curtain: The Seductions of Work in A Lonely Era Dennis Hayes
Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire James Wallace
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (PS) Francine Prose
How Do We Know When It’s God?: A Spiritual Memoir Dan Wakefield
Are We Spiritual Machines?: Ray Kurzweil vs the Critics of Strong A.I. George F. Gilder, Ray Kurzweil
Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software Scott Rosenberg
Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager Michael Lopp
Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent Joel Spolsky
Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think (Theory in Practice (O’Reilly)) Greg Wilson, Andrew Oram
The Art of Mathematics: Coffee Time in Memphis Béla Bollobás
Nonplussed!: Mathematical Proof of Implausible Ideas Julian Havil
Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra John Der
Yearning for the Impossible: The Surprising Truths of Mathematics John Stillwell
Enigma: The Battle for the Code Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
The Essential Turing: Seminal Writings in Computing, Logic, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Artificial Life plus The Secrets of Enigma Alan Mathison Turing
A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines Janna Levin
Alan Turing: The Enigma Andrew Hodges
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology Ray Kurzweil
Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies — and What It Means to Be Human Joel Garreau
More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement Ramez Naam
When Computers Were Human David Alan Grier
Before the Computer James W. Corada
Hijacking Enigma: The Insider’s Tale Christine Large
Colossus: The First Electronic Computer (Popular Science) Jack Copeland (Editor)
Who Invented the Computer? The Legal Battle That Changed Computing History Alice R. Burks
Computers and Commerce: A Study of Technology and Management at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company, Engineering Research Associates, and Remington Rand, 1946-1957 (History of Computing) Arthur L. Norberg
Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970 (Inside Technology) Christophe Lécuyer
The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries James W. Corada
To the Digital Age: Research Labs, Start-up Companies, and the Rise of MOS Technology (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) Ross Knox Bassett
DEC Is Dead, Long Live DEC: The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation Edgar H. Schein
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Naomi Klein
Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) David Johnston
The Binary Revolution: The History and Development of The Computer Neil Barrett
Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age Mike Hally
iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It Gina Smith, Steve Wozniak
Apple I Replica Creation: Back to the Garage Tom Owad (Author)
The Encyclopedia of Arcade Video Games (Schiffer Book for Collectors) Bill Kurtz
ARCADE FEVER The Fan’s Guide to The Golden Age of Video Games John Sellers
The Encyclopedia of Game Machines Winnie Forster
Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Book for Collectors) Michael Nadeau
On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore Brian Bagnall
Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers Mark Richards
The Computer: An Illustrated History Mark Frauenfelder
Prefiguring Cyberculture: An Intellectual History Darren Tofts
Memory Trade: A Prehistory of Cyberculture Darren Tofts (Author), Murray McKeich (Author)
From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry (History of Computing) Martin Campbell-Kelly
The Cybercultures Reader Barbara M. Kennedy,David Bell
Critical Cyberculture Studies Adrienne Massanari
The Universal History of Computing: From the Abacus to the Quantum Computer Georges Ifrah
The Doomsday Scenario: How America Ends L. Douglas Keeney
Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America Tom Vanderbilt
Prefiguring Cyberculture: An Intellectual History Darren Tofts (Editor), et al
Spook Country William Gibson
The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer Charles J. Murray
The Maverick and His Machine: Thomas Watson, Sr and the making of IBM Kevin Maney
Building IBM: Shaping an Industry and Its Technology Emerson W. Pugh
IBM’s 360 and Early 370 Systems (History of Computing) Emerson W. Pugh
Computing in the Middle Ages: A View From the Trenches 1955-1983 Severo Ornstein (Author)
Digital Retro: The Evolution and Design of the Personal Computer Gordon Laing

I was out this evening at a Hippie hangout near where I live. During a conversation about psychedelic music of the era I was asked what I liked most, both is musical style and instrument. My mention of the “Mellotron” was met with a blank stare. The “Mellotron” was the first ‘sampling playback’ organ. No computing was used; under each of the keys was a tape head that came down on an 8 second piece of tape. You could not hold a note for more than 8 seconds which was a big reason for the “wierd-ness factor” in the psychedelic music that used the instrument. I actually saw one of these when I was in Junior High in 1981 or so ….I should add that the “Art of Noise” in the 1980′s had heavy use of this instrument. (at that time I was making the crossing from Prog music over to Techno/Rave in 1982-84).

Wikipedia has this entry on it’s operation: “The unique sound of the Mellotron is produced by a combination of characteristics: Among these are tape replay artifacts such as wow and flutter, the result being that each time a note is played, it is slightly different from the previous time it was played, somewhat like a conventional instrument. The notes also interact with each other so that chords or even just pairs of notes have an extremely powerful sound. The attack of the tape head engaging is often considered a characteristic part of the Mellotron sound.”

So far so good, but what does it sound like? I want to hear it!

Not bad, eh? I hope you enjoyed this entry!