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Computer History from Giants Themselves


I was an idol driven kid and I’ve always had somebody I admired when growing up. From the earliest recollections I could trace back in my memory the very first person was probably my grandfather, the master tailor. And through him I got to know MacGyver. I was allowed to watch MacGyver, since my grandfather believed it would teach me creativity and also because I loved pocket knifes. Till this day each time you say something bad about MacGyver, you’ll have an enemy in me, since it was such an integral part of my growing up and becoming creative. Same applies to John Hannibal Smith and probably Dr Emmet Brown. The older I got, the more my idols shifted from the fictional characters to real-world people, and this stayed with me till my adult life.

Nowadays most of my idols are coming from the computer circles. I admire the most people who built computer systems in the very early days. One of the privileges of living in Silicon Valley is meeting people who got to create “Silicon” part of it and who to later shifted to just “Valley” part, with the growing emergence of software.

W. Richard Stevens was probably one of my earliest UNIX master craftsman. Fairly secretive author, whom I didn’t know much about. Only recently have I learned how he looked like. His “UNIX Networking Programming, Volume 1” was a hard nut to crack, and I remembered doing all exercises with great joy and excitement.

Several months ago after reading quite a bit about the history of computers, I discovered something that is probably the best historical resource for people like me: Computer History Museum and its YouTube Channel. Within it, the Oral History series simply rocks. Here’s one of my favorite picks: Arthur Rock (whom we could call the very first VC) and Gordon Moore, creator of Intel explain how Intel came to be:

Other than Computer History Museum, YouTube is full of other resources on the history of computers. Here’s what I’ve found when I searched for supercomputer history:

I highly recommend these videos to computer history enthusiasts.

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it."

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)