Monthly Archives: July 2010

Competitive Struggle by R.G. Robertson: a review

An extremely well-researched and well-written book about the fur trading posts in the continental United States west of the Mississippi River. More or less incidental to that accomplishment, Robertson gives us a fine history of the firms headed by John Jacob Astor and generations of the Chouteau family, and of the folks who attempted to compete with them in the beaver and buffalo hide trades.

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Hackers by Steven Levy: a review

Steven Levy pretty much framed the way we remember the early personal computing days with this book. This is a collection of stories–three main ones, and a host of smaller tales within the large ones. The main stories cover the MIT hackers of the 60s and 70s, the Bay Area folks revolving around the Homebrew club who perfected the modern personal computer, and Sierra Online’s birth as an important gaming company. The smaller stories are mainly about individuals and events. Over the course of the book the emphasis changes from truly personal hacking to the ways hackers interacted with the development of their obsession into an important industry. This journey into business defines the book.

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