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Steven Levy, Hackers (1984). The first computer programmers, who worked in the 1940s and the early 1950s, used computers for things like calculating the hydrodynamics of thermonuclear explosions and artillery firing tables. By the 1960s, a new generation of nerds realized that computers could actually be fun. They included model railroaders from MIT who liked to build not so much the miniature landscapes their little trains would run through as the electric circuits that controlled, how the trains would turn and go. They moved on to the bigger circuits that made up the university's minicomputers, and to the programs they executed, turning the computers they did not own into their personal playthings, much to the consternation of regular users. One nerd soldered a few diodes inside a minicomputer's CPU, giving it a new instruction; this broke somebody's program. Others went crazy about Life, misspelled "LIFE" in this book, a cellular automaton invented by John Horton Conway and popularized by Martin Gardner in a Scientific American column; John von Neumann, who among his other great accomplishments invented cellular automata, does not appear in the book's index. Some nerds spent an inordinate amount of computer time searching for special Life patterns, and discovered something called the glider gun, a pattern that grows arbitrarily large; for this, they collected a $50 check from Conway. Others wrote one of the world's first video games called "Spacewar!"; it was used by DEC technicians as a smoke test of the PDP-1 minicomputer. In the 1970s, microcomputers arrived, and attracted their own tinkerers, discussed in the second part of the book; one discovered that writing certain bit patterns into particular memory cells creates specific radio interference noises, so by manipulating this effect, it is possible to make a radio receiver standing near a microcomputer to play a melody. The third part of the book is about developers of early video games.
Levy ascribes a quasi-monastic-autistic ethic to the programmers: they loved programming above all else, disregarding the larger social context of their work, wanted to open all information to the world, and demanded unlimited control over their computers. Some of the book's characters, such as Richard Stallman the creator of GNU or Bill Gosper the self-taught mathematician who invented the greatest algorithm ever for evolving cellular automata, seem to have lived it. However, what is Steve Wozniak, a hectomillionaire now and probably not a poor man in 1984, doing in this book, not to mention Bill Gates and Paul Allen? Since electronic digital computers were invented, they were used for making money and for making better weapons of mass destruction. One can admire Seymour Cray's skills as a computer designer, and at the same time realize that Lawrence Livermore Lab was one of the most eager purchasers of his supercomputers. Microcomputers are not as well suited for the latter task as supercomputers, but they are well suited for the former. A lot of people made money from them, Gates, Allen and Wozniak being just some of the most famous ones; good for them, but what does their success have to do with the special hacker ethic?
> what does their success have to do with the special hacker ethic?
What ethic? There seems to be two different meanings for hack/hacker/hacking with different connotations.
Gosper has also proposed an algorithm
for indefinite summation of hypergeometric sequences, which is well-known and widely used in computer algebra.Edited at 2013-01-18 11:56 pm (UTC)
Очень правильно, что ни программист, то аутист. Полный спектр от Asperger's до High Functioning Autism
|Date:||January 19th, 2013 05:25 am (UTC)|| |
Леви забавен тем, что тусовка в принципе узнаваема и книжка весьма информативна - но очень много журналистских соплей и слюней