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Dealers of lightning: Xerox PARC and the dawn of the computer age

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Dealers of Lightning is the riveting story of the legendary Xerox PARC--a collection of eccentric young inventors brought together by Xerox Corporation at a facility in Palo Alto, California, during the mind-blowing intellectual ferment of the seventies and eighties. Here for the first time Michael Hiltzik, a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, reveals in piercing detail the true story of the extraordinary group that aimed to bring about a technological dawn that would change the world--and succeeded.

Based on extensive interviews with the scientists, engineers, administrators, and corporate executives who lived the story, Dealers of Lightning takes the read on a journey from PARC's beginnings in a dusty, abandoned building at the edge of the Stanford University campus to its triumph as a hothouse of ideas that spawned not only the first personal computer, but the windows-style graphical user interface, the laser printer, much of the indispensable technology of the Internet, and a great deal more. It shows how and why Xerox, despite its willingness to grant PARC unlimited funding and the responsibility for developing breakthroughs to keep the corporation on the cutting edge of office technology, remained forever unable to grasp (and, consequently, exploit) the innovations that PARC delivered--and it details the increasing frustration of the original PARC scientists, many of whom would go on to build their fortunes upon the very ideas Xerox so rashly discarded.

More than just a riveting historical narrative, Dealers of Lightning brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters. Among them:

Bob Taylor--the preacher's son from rural Texas who would be considered a prophet by some and a cantankerous egomaniac by others, whose fearless (and feared) leadership of a team of computer renegades made them the heroes of the embryonic Silicon Valley; Jack Goldman--the Xerox chief scientist who convinced the stolid corporation to stake tens of millions of dollars on PARC while warning that the investment might not pay off for years--if it paid off at all; Alan Kay--PARC's creative and philosophical soul, who suffered years of ridicule for envisioning a computer that could be tucked under the arm yet would contain the power to store books, symphonies, letters, poems, and drawings--until he arrived at Palo Alto and met the people who would build it; and Steve Jobs--who, aided by Xerox's indifference to PARC's most momentous inventions, staged a daring raid to obtain the technology that would end up at the heart of the Macintosh: the machine that for a time helped Apple dominate an explosive new market.

Dealers of Lightning is an unprecedented look at the ideas, the inventions, and the individuals that propelled Xerox PARC to the frontier of technohistory--and the corporate machinations that almost prevented it from achieving greatness.

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ISBN:
9780887308918
9780061913501
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 092238ee-bb59-6ed8-c863-8d6f879cf600
Full title dealers of lightning xerox parc and the dawn of the computer age
Author hiltzik michael a
Grouping Category book
Last Update 2018-05-24 23:05:25PM
Last Indexed 2018-05-25 00:03:18AM

Solr Details

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author Michael A. Hiltzik
author_display Hiltzik, Michael A
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Non-Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Non-Fiction
display_description

In the bestselling tradition of The Soul of a New Machine, Dealers of Lightning is a fascinating journey of intellectual creation. In the 1970s and '80s, Xerox Corporation brought together a brain-trust of engineering geniuses, a group of computer eccentrics dubbed PARC. This brilliant group created several monumental innovations that triggered a technological revolution, including the first personal computer, the laser printer, and the graphical interface (one of the main precursors of the Internet), only to see these breakthroughs rejected by the corporation. Yet, instead of giving up, these determined inventors turned their ideas into empires that radically altered contemporary life and changed the world.

Based on extensive interviews with the scientists, engineers, administrators, and executives who lived the story, this riveting chronicle details PARC's humble beginnings through its triumph as a hothouse for ideas, and shows why Xerox was never able to grasp, and ultimately exploit, the cutting-edge innovations PARC delivered. Dealers of Lightning offers an unprecedented look at the ideas, the inventions, and the individuals that propelled Xerox PARC to the frontier of technohistoiy--and the corporate machinations that almost prevented it from achieving greatness.

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literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog 004.0720794 H656d
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780887308918
publishDate 1999, 2009
record_details ils:CARL0000112160|Book|Books|1st ed.|English|HarperBusiness,|c1999.|xxviii, 448 p. ; 25 cm., overdrive:cc59a8fe-9303-4c61-a860-c7a0f4a7388e|eBook|eBook||English|HarperCollins|2009|
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subject_facet Computer science -- Research -- California -- Palo Alto -- History, Xerox Corporation. -- Palo Alto Research Center -- History
title_display Dealers of lightning : Xerox PARC and the dawn of the computer age
title_full Dealers of Lightning Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, Dealers of lightning : Xerox PARC and the dawn of the computer age / Michael Hiltzik
title_short Dealers of lightning :
title_sub Xerox PARC and the dawn of the computer age
topic_facet Business, Computer science, History, Nonfiction, Research