Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents : a Memoir

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City Lights Books, 1997 - Computers - 189 pages
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 code 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 cyberculture 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.

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User Review  - kiparsky - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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User Review  - jmiedema - LibraryThing

Computers offer a cool alternate reality. Programming takes one into a transcendental zone like mathematics, where reality is symbolic and gritty human particulars don't matter. Programmers are ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Ellen Ullman has worked as a software engineer and consultant for 16 years.

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