Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age by Michael A. Hiltzik Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age

The Barnes & Noble Review
March 1999

While Gates, Jobs, and the other big boys of Silicon Valley are basking in the glory of the information age, renowned Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hiltzik reveals how, back in the early ’70s, a group of inventors at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) blazed the trail for all of today’s indispensable technology from the P

While Gates, Jobs, and the other big boys of Silicon Valley are basking in the glory of the information age, renowned Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Hiltzik reveals how, back in the early ’70s, a group of inventors at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) blazed the trail for all of today’s indispensable technology — from the PC to email to ATMs to meteorologists’ weather maps. And they did it without fanfare or recognition from their employer. Hiltzik’s Dealers of Lightning provides a fascinating look at technohistory that sets the record straight.

In Dealers of Lightning, Hiltzik describes the forces and faces behind the revolution that the Xerox PARC team single-handedly spawned. The Xerox PARC group was composed solely of top technical minds. The decision was made at Xerox headquarters to give the team complete freedom from deadlines and directives, in hopes of fostering a true creative environment. It worked — perhaps too well. The team responded with a steady output of amazing technology, including the first version of the Internet, the first personal computer, user-friendly word-processing programs, and pop-up menus. Xerox, far from ready for the explosion of innovation, failed to utilize the technology dreamed up by the group. Out of all the dazzling inventions born at Xerox PARC, only a handful were developed and marketed by Xerox. However, one of these inventions, the laser printer, proved successful enough to earn billions for the company, therefore justifying its investment in the research center. Most oftheteam’s creations would go on to be developed and perfected by other companies, such as IBM, Apple, and Microsoft.

Drawing from interviews with the engineers, executives, and scientists involved in the Xerox PARC, Dealers of Lightning chronicles an amazing era of egos, ideas, and inventions at the dawn of the computer age.


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    Goku

    Sep 04, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Xerox PARC is legendary as the home of some of the most brilliant minds in the history of computing. It played a pivotal role in the creation of (among other things) personal computers, GUIs, and the internet. It’s also emblematic of the inability of large corporations to recognise and foster innovation. This book brilliantly captures the personalities of PARC, their triumphs, frustrations and clashes, with each other and with the Xerox suits. There’s a good balance here in terms of attention to

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    Nate

    Jun 24, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Riveting read. Not as technical as I’d like – though I have yet to read any computer book that is. Mostly it’s straight up porn for anyone who loves working with computers. PARC was one hell of a lab back in the day.
    The most interesting part about this is seeing what really happened with Xerox and the first GUI PCs. It’s not that they let the opportunity slip through their fingers, they were never the right company to produce an OS in the first place.
    Still, it worked out well for virtually all


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    Elen

    Jul 17, 2015

    rated it
    really liked it

    rating for entertainment alone — i don’t rly agree with a lot of the overarching points made here but god i love reading about old computers.