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Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its…
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Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents (utgåvan 2012)

av Ellen Ullman (Författare), Jaron Lanier (Inledning)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
457754,219 (4.04)2
Here is a candid account of the life of a software engineer who runs her own computer consulting business out of a live-work loft in San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch. Immersed in the abstract world of information, algorithms, and networks, she would like to give in to the seductions of the programmer's world, where "weird logic dreamers" like herself live "close to the machine." Still, she is keenly aware that body and soul are not mechanical: desire, love, and the need to communicate face to face don't easily fit into lines of codes or clicks in a Web browser. At every turn, she finds she cannot ignore the social and philosophical repercussions of her work. As Ullman sees it, the cool world of cyber culture is neither the death of civilization nor its salvation--it is the vulnerable creation of people who are not so sure of just where they're taking us all. Ellen Ullman has worked as a software engineer and consultant since 1978. She is the author of The Bug and her writing has been published in Resisting the Virtual Life, Wired Woman, and in Harper's Magazine. She is a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered.""… (mer)
Medlem:thisisstephenbetts
Titel:Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents
Författare:Ellen Ullman (Författare)
Andra författare:Jaron Lanier (Inledning)
Info:Picador (2012), Edition: Reprint, 208 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents av Ellen Ullman

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Interesting snapshot of software engineering 20 years ago, just before the internet became big. Plus ça change and all that — libertarian devs into crypto currencies have been a thing for a while, apparently.
  thisisstephenbetts | Nov 25, 2023 |
Just excellent. ( )
  Isabella_Massardo | Mar 30, 2020 |
A friend of mine linked me to Robin Sloan's fantastic interactive review of Close to the Machine and after reading it, I immediately placed a request for the book through the library where I work. And once it came, I couldn't wait to start reading it. And, well, it was fantastic, in every way.

I am not, nor will I ever be, any sort of computer programmer/engineer/etc. And you don't need to be in order to enjoy Close to the Machine. Ullman's writing is, among many wonderful things, completely accessible. If there's something that you don't understand, she usually explains it. And everything else is pretty easy to infer from the context. Ullman's book is both her biography as well as the story of what it was like to be a woman in the male-dominated computer programming/engineering world. Ullman's story is fascinating, from her relationship with lovers to that of her late father to those with her coworkers.

The world she describes, in many ways, seems unchanged today, which is why the book, written in 1997, is still completely relevant today. We get a rare glimpse (as someone said, perhaps in the intro to the book) into the closed off world of programming and a perspective of someone who is both deep inside that world (she's a programmer) and outside it (she's a woman) at the same time.

I love this book and I highly, highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of your interest in computers and/or computer programming. ( )
1 rösta callmecayce | Sep 7, 2012 |
This is not a book about software or engineering or the economics of highly-portable information and fluid capital. This is a good storyteller telling stories which have to do with those things and some other stuff. Ullman doesn't have a case to make or a point to prove, but she does give you a lot to think about. She's also a pretty keen observer, both of people and technology. Her description of the amorous attentions of a cipherpunk is oddly affecting: "His lovemaking was tantric, algorithmic... This sex was formulaic, had steps and positions and durations, all tried and perfected, like a martial arts kata or a well-debugged program...I felt as if I'd come in on a private process, something that he had worked out all on his own and which, in some weird expression of trust, he had decided to show me. I should have felt dissatisfied. I should have called it off. But again, I betrayed myself: I gave in to curiosity and tenderness. He has been with himself too long, I thought."

This is not everyday good writing, it's a little better than that. But there is also plenty of stuff on computers, both low- and high-level. This is the woman who observed in 1997 that "the Net represents the ultimate dumbing-down of the computer". A decade and a half have given her plenty of confirmation of that claim. ( )
1 rösta kiparsky | Apr 3, 2011 |
Memoir by SW engineer, written at the height of the dotcom madness.
  mulliner | Oct 17, 2009 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (1 möjlig)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Ellen Ullmanprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Peters, Nancy J.Formgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Ray, RexOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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Here is a candid account of the life of a software engineer who runs her own computer consulting business out of a live-work loft in San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch. Immersed in the abstract world of information, algorithms, and networks, she would like to give in to the seductions of the programmer's world, where "weird logic dreamers" like herself live "close to the machine." Still, she is keenly aware that body and soul are not mechanical: desire, love, and the need to communicate face to face don't easily fit into lines of codes or clicks in a Web browser. At every turn, she finds she cannot ignore the social and philosophical repercussions of her work. As Ullman sees it, the cool world of cyber culture is neither the death of civilization nor its salvation--it is the vulnerable creation of people who are not so sure of just where they're taking us all. Ellen Ullman has worked as a software engineer and consultant since 1978. She is the author of The Bug and her writing has been published in Resisting the Virtual Life, Wired Woman, and in Harper's Magazine. She is a commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered.""

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