web site hit counter Computer Lib/Dream Machines - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Computer Lib/Dream Machines

Availability: Ready to download

Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry "Down with Cybercrud" is against the centralization of computers such as that performed by IBM at the time, as well as Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry "Down with Cybercrud" is against the centralization of computers such as that performed by IBM at the time, as well as against what he sees as the intentional untruths that "computer people" tell to non-computer people to keep them from understanding computers. In Dream Machines, Nelson covers the flexible media potential of the computer, which was shockingly new at the time.


Compare

Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry "Down with Cybercrud" is against the centralization of computers such as that performed by IBM at the time, as well as Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry "Down with Cybercrud" is against the centralization of computers such as that performed by IBM at the time, as well as against what he sees as the intentional untruths that "computer people" tell to non-computer people to keep them from understanding computers. In Dream Machines, Nelson covers the flexible media potential of the computer, which was shockingly new at the time.

30 review for Computer Lib/Dream Machines

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Morville

    After borrowing the title of my latest book, Intertwingled, from one of the many neologisms in this brilliant manifesto by Ted Nelson, I knew I had to own a copy. So I bought a used First Edition. It wasn't cheap. But it's filled with all sorts of fascinating ideas and inspirations. And I love the sprawling magazine layout and two-books-in-one design. Computer Lib/Dream Machines is/are a wonderful, refreshing book/s that could never be contained in a Kindle.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William

    °͜° There are two books here, very dated but fascinating nonetheless. The first book, Computer Lib, is about computers in general, as they were in 1972-74 or so. Computers were becoming generally known to the public, and more and more widely used in all kinds of business and academia. Flip the book upside down to the back, and you get Dream Machines - a look at the most clever computer-based and computer-related technologies of the day. This book was the first "popular book" for the general public °͜° There are two books here, very dated but fascinating nonetheless. The first book, Computer Lib, is about computers in general, as they were in 1972-74 or so. Computers were becoming generally known to the public, and more and more widely used in all kinds of business and academia. Flip the book upside down to the back, and you get Dream Machines - a look at the most clever computer-based and computer-related technologies of the day. This book was the first "popular book" for the general public about computers and interactive systems. Wonderful for those who want to understand the early days of computers and the coming of "personal computers"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joe Raimondo

    Ted Nelson is, in my opinion, the most influential systems thinker of the past 60 years.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael Scott

    About: Ted Nelson's dual-book Computer Lib/Dream Machines is a 1974 overview of the field of computing, both as practice (at the time) and as vision (much remains a dream). The book is largely forgotten now, but for decades - and surely before the resurgence of 'the cloud' in the mid-2000s - it was hailed as a masterpiece and must-read of the field. I'm glad I did, even belatedly. You should, too. I won't spoil the fun by saying this is a book started from a genuine desire to tell everyone about About: Ted Nelson's dual-book Computer Lib/Dream Machines is a 1974 overview of the field of computing, both as practice (at the time) and as vision (much remains a dream). The book is largely forgotten now, but for decades - and surely before the resurgence of 'the cloud' in the mid-2000s - it was hailed as a masterpiece and must-read of the field. I'm glad I did, even belatedly. You should, too. I won't spoil the fun by saying this is a book started from a genuine desire to tell everyone about the (then) mysterious emerging artifact called 'the (digital) computer'. Sure, digital computers have been around for a few decades already, but they were accessible to rhe select few and often for classified projects. But, in the early 1970s, PLATO and various Dartmouth/Minnesota projects and the Altair 8800 personal computer were around the corner or making inroads with the general public. Ted Nelson took the risk of postulating 'You can and must understand computers now!' and this book is now (good) history. The format is difficult for the starting reader, especially for readers used to the secure, uniform, standard formats of rhe 2010s bookselling industry. It's two books, where the pages of one are displayed on the back of the other's, and sometimes made to match. It's magazine-like formatting, but a creative magazine at that, with diverse column-breaking layouts, zany hand-drawn graphics (and cartoons, and comics), and font sometimes digital and sometimes hand-drawn as well. Ironically and unfortunately, the format cannot be reproduced in modern digital readers - turns out the dream of Ted Nelson of making a good display of complex information (see among others the pages on Xanadu, DM56-7) available and affordable for the general public is still open. (So are Vannevar Bush's Memex, and Doug Engelbart's System for the Augmentation of Intellect.) The Computer Lib side explains, humorously and with many side-notes, but with a clear direction and excellent presentation, the technology and business of computing. It's: + the basics (bits, bytes, electronics as much as a computer scientist needs, the full computer, running a program); + the software / early languages (BASIC, TRAC, APL, FORTRAN including Pi - "not quite 3, not quite 4", ALGOL, PL/I, COBOL, LISP, JCL); + the hardware / early systems details (IBM, DEC and its PDP and LINC lines, CDC and its 6600, Univac and its 1106/08s, Burroughs 5500 and later); + the mainframe, minicomputer, microprocessor (and the sales pitfall related to the microcomputer); + the advanced programs, operating systems, batch processing, multi-programming, and time-sharing (from McCarthy and Licklider's early success to TENEX, MULTICS, and IBM's promises on OS/VS2-2); + advanced software for a variety of domains. + there's so much more! The jokes, the insider info, the credited rumor (Datamation articles, often), the constant IBM bashing, etc. + there's even an auto-biography! (p. 70) On the opposite page, in Dream Machines, there's even an explanation about the path taken by the book itself!! (p. 126 in the 1975 edition) Plus, lots of exclamation underlines and weird page layouts!!! (makes for fantastic reading, try it out, then check out what Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog was). + the end: "By Computer Lib I mean simply: making people freer through computers." (p. 70) The Dream Machines part is too big to summarize here. You will find: + the early networks and distributed computing projects (PLATO, Dartmouth, ARPA and military projects); + hypermedia and hypertext (before the World Wide Web, there was this notion of hypertext invented by a young academic called... Ted Nelson), + AI: + IR; + computer-assisted instruction (CAI in the book, but one of the few terms where the acronym did not gain ubiquitous acceptance); + some weird concepts and ideas that are still not possible today in computing (including the seemingly easy to achive idea of a document reader that would allow opening the document at different points, with different views and annotations for each - can you Acrobat Reader or PDF viewer do this? Mine can't!) + There's Xanadu and Thinkertoy, both nice ideas that were not ultimately successful. I found it fascinating how many things he gets right, but also how many sound by now obsolete, quaint, of slideware (promises made on PowerPoint slides; of course, PowerPoint always computes.) I won't spoil the fun, because reading this is rewarding also for the comedic effect. Also, you may want to know you'll find here new cyberspace terms, worthy of a Vernor Vinge, William Gibson, or any other excellent cyberpunk writer, among which intertwingling and intertwingled to express the making and existence of interdependencies between hypertextual objects.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    Until we overthrow the myth that people always have to adapt to computers, rather than the other way around, things will never go right. Nelson coins a lot of terms in this book, most of which never went anywhere. One that sounds useful is “cybercrud”, or “putting things over on people using computers”. No man has a right to be proud that he is preserving and manipulating the ignorance of others. Sadly, he’s a little prone to it himself. He devotes a couple of pages (and they’re big pages with ti Until we overthrow the myth that people always have to adapt to computers, rather than the other way around, things will never go right. Nelson coins a lot of terms in this book, most of which never went anywhere. One that sounds useful is “cybercrud”, or “putting things over on people using computers”. No man has a right to be proud that he is preserving and manipulating the ignorance of others. Sadly, he’s a little prone to it himself. He devotes a couple of pages (and they’re big pages with tiny text) to cybercrud from the Club of Rome, something I’ve seen recently while rereading old OMNI magazines from 1979. Civilization, and the bulk of mankind, have about forty years to live… This was 1974 or earlier—the book was published in 1974, but appears to have been written in spurts starting well before that—putting the end of the world in about 2014. Like most religions, the end of the world has a fallback position of 2100, far enough into the future that it can’t be used to test the hypothesis. He describes those who disbelieved the Club predictions as taking the “ostrich position” that “science will save us”. And yet that’s exactly what happened. Food production and distribution soared faster than population growth. Energy extraction soared faster than energy use. Which makes it, reading the book almost half-a-century later, an interesting confirmation of his main point, which is to avoid cybercrud. The book is rambling and incoherent, by design (he designed it deliberately after the Whole Earth Catalog, among other publications), but if there is another main point, it is that computers should not be the domain of a technological elite. “Rigid and inhuman” computer systems are the creation of rigid and inhuman people. He takes direct aim at the excuses, still used today, that “computers can’t do that” and “the computer won’t let me do that”, euphemisms for “I don’t want to program that” and “the software was programmed without regard for who was going to use it”. Using a computer should always be easier than not using a computer. Another thread running through the book is what was apparently a cultural identification war between fans of IBM and fans of DEC. Most techies, and many non-techies, are familiar with this today as “format wars”, because it usually manifests itself in identifying too strongly with a particular format, such as Betamax over VHS, or 8-track over cassette, or even, oddly, Laserdisc over DVD. A more on-target comparison might be Mac vs. Windows, except that from what I see of his descriptions in Computer Lib there is far more of a difference between Macintosh and Windows than there ever was between DEC and IBM. Nelson was a DEC man. I hope that this book will help people who are inconvenienced by computer systems to understand and pinpoint what they think is wrong with the systems—in their data structure, interactive properties, or other design features—and that they will try to express their discontents intelligently and constructively to those responsible. Including, where appropriate, International Business Machines Corporation, Armonk, NY. He was a big fan of the PDP series, and it led to an interesting, in retrospect, aspect of some format wars: dismissing anything outside of the dichotomy. Nelson dismissed microprocessors as only really for toasters and cars and other dedicated purposes. Minicomputers were the way to go, and you really needed to get together with some friends and neighbors to pool together and buy one. The book is interesting both for its generally good advice about what to put up with and what not to put up with from computer experts and software writers, and the glimpse it provides of a computer subculture dedicated to everyone understanding computers—and being comfortable working with them—before it was at all feasible for most people to own or for the most part even access one for general use. It is only by clarifying distinctions that people are ever going to get anything straight. This is a flip-book; the front is “Computer Lib” with a stereotypical sixties/seventies clenched fist on the cover. The back is “Dream Machines”, with a superman in torn jeans pressing a glowing screen. It is, in fact, very much about computer screens, or, only slightly more generally, computer displays. They were the next big thing, because they could change—the teletype, once it printed a response, could not change that response. The computer display screen is the new frontier of our lives. A timely criticism of computer display is that it needs electricity. But it saves paper, and, importantly, it bodes to save energy as well. IF WE SWITCH TO COMPUTER SCREENS FROM PAPER, PEOPLE WON’T HAVE TO TRAVEL AS MUCH. Instead of commuting to offices in the center of town, people can set up their offices in the suburbs, and share the documentary structure of the work situation through the screen. His screens are also responsive. Responsive computer display systems can, should and will restructure and light up the mental life of mankind… The computer’s capability for branching among events, controlling exterior devices, controlling outside events, and mediating in all other events, makes possible a new era of media. Until now, the mechanical properties of external objects determined what they were to us and how we used them. But henceforth this is arbitrary. Despite the person on the cover touching the screen, he expects, and appears to prefer, light pens for handling this branching. His description of how his hypertext works makes me glad for the computer mouse. And he did know about the mouse—he also has a page on Doug Engelbart and The Mouse. Dream Machines also mentions briefly one of the then-modern microcomputers, the Altair, in a supplement to the 1975 edition. His big push on both sides is that computers ought to be easy to use. And by easy to use he specifically does not mean, more human. If like the author you are bemused by the great difficulty of getting along with human beings, then the creation of extraneous beings of impenetrable character with vaguely human qualities can only alarm you, and the prospect of these additional crypto-entities which must be fended and placated, clawing at us from their niches at every turn, is both distasteful and alarming. The pages in this book are usually self-contained articles, and the text made small enough to fit on the page, rather than large enough to read. He apologizes in the intro for not fixing this; ironically, the smallest text and the hardest to read is his description of his proposed Xanadu system for hypertext. There’s a neat reference to David Gerrold’s The Man Who Folded Himself, as the closest analog to Nelson’s vision for editing documents. It is a great book, but I suspect any document editor that used it as a model would end up in as sad a position as Gerrold’s protagonist. In the movies and photographs sections, he talks a lot about a form of “halftone image synthesis”; his preferred method appears to be the precursor to modern ray-tracing, tracing light rays from their destination back to their source. Nelson is an odd figure; he criticizes others for keeping their systems closed, but kept Xanadu completely under wraps even though it would have been more likely to succeed had there been content for it from third-party sources. He champions computers for all, but mostly ignores the microprocessor revolution that would bring computers into the home. As an overview of what people thought the future was going to be, however, this is a great read. I’d really have hated to miss being in this field, just for the thrilling madness of it all.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    Fascinating glimpse to the future in a highly readable and thoroughly entertaining book. As well as original text from 1974 there's extra text written for the 1987 version, updating on what has changed since 1974. Wish I'd read this years ago. I can easily see why it became a cult classic among the hackers (programmers) when first published.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chip

    Computer Lib/Dream Machines contains a treasure trove of information about the pre-PC world of computing which is both fascinatingly alien and eerily familiar. Nelson exclaims "You can and must understand computers NOW!", warning its readers that computers are a tool that can work for you if you understand them, and against you if you don't. It's a must read for any computer nerd.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Batsh*t insane. But in a good way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ed Selkow

    I stumbled across Computer Lib when I would hunt for alternative zines. I must have read it 5 times because I immediately realized what a treasure this book is. This is one of my treasures.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dhiren

    Presages the advent of the World Wide Web.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Seth Wagoner

    For it's time, this was absolutely incredible. I imagine the first edition is now worth a tidy some of cash if you're lucky enough to have one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chip

    Started me on the path. Humanist vision of computers and their potential. Bridged the gap from Vannevar Bush to modern computing. Taught me to love things I hadn't met yet.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Morgane

    A delightful, manic piece of computer history, and still relevant today.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gary Bennett

    This is the book that really started the microcomputer revolution; the ideas Ted Nelson presents can be considered as precursors of the internet as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Enrico

    Ted Nelson invented the term 'hypertext', and we still do not have a system as good as Xanadu. Probably we never will.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leonardo

    Citado en Hiperculturalidad. Nelson propone una interpretación de la sociedad basada en el hipertexto. En ese sentido la hiperculturalidad sería la interrelación entre distintas culturas contrario al enfrentamiento entre dos culturas opuestas. Citado en Hiperculturalidad. Nelson propone una interpretación de la sociedad basada en el hipertexto. En ese sentido la hiperculturalidad sería la interrelación entre distintas culturas contrario al enfrentamiento entre dos culturas opuestas.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is not a book, it is an experience. This book and its author were and still are visionary. I thoroughly enjoyed the format of pictures, notes, and text in a dual book front and back. Reading the original format of the book(s) is to step into a time machine that simultaneously goes backward and forward whirling through a rush of sometimes crazy, often times brilliant enormous thoughts siphoned straight from the mind of Nelson. The ideas and concepts in this pre-PC book influenced and shaped This is not a book, it is an experience. This book and its author were and still are visionary. I thoroughly enjoyed the format of pictures, notes, and text in a dual book front and back. Reading the original format of the book(s) is to step into a time machine that simultaneously goes backward and forward whirling through a rush of sometimes crazy, often times brilliant enormous thoughts siphoned straight from the mind of Nelson. The ideas and concepts in this pre-PC book influenced and shaped computing forever. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Tough to rate these days. Only my second read-through since I grabbed the '87 revision when it was new on the shelf. Mostly of historical interest, but still some really cool stuff to think about. There's a PDF scan of the original 1974 edition out there, but I haven't found the later one and the cheapest copy is $80 on Amazon!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kartik Singhal

    Mostly skimmed, quite dated. Must have been an interesting read in the decade it was published.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sandeep

    hey book

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jack Zhao

    Don't feel it's relevant.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dev

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nima

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Дејан Доновски Шпанац

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andreas Harth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Trinidad

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aj

  29. 4 out of 5

    Akst

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jay

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.