Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture

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NYU Press, 2005 - Computers - 275 pages
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Electric Dreams turns to the past to trace the cultural history of computers. Ted Friedman charts the struggles to define the meanings of these powerful machines over more than a century, from the failure of Charles Babbage’s “difference engine” in the nineteenth century to contemporary struggles over file swapping, open source software, and the future of online journalism. To reveal the hopes and fears inspired by computers, Electric Dreams examines a wide range of texts, including films, advertisements, novels, magazines, computer games, blogs, and even operating systems.

Electric Dreams argues that the debates over computers are critically important because they are how Americans talk about the future. In a society that in so many ways has given up on imagining anything better than multinational capitalism, cyberculture offers room to dream of different kinds of tomorrow.


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PART IMainframe Culture
1Charles Babbage and the Politics of Computer Memory
2Ideologies of Information Processing
3Filming the Electronic Brain
PART IIThe Personal Computer
4The Many Creators of the Personal Computer
7Imagining Cyberspace
8Dotcom Politics
9Beyond Napster
10Linux and Utopia

5Apples 1984
6The Rise of the Simulation Game
PART IIIThe Interpersonal Computer
About the Author

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About the author (2005)

Ted Friedman is associate professor of communications at Georgia State University. He has contributed to "Spin," "Vibe," "Details," "and other magazines and journals. His blog can be found at http: //www.tedfriedman.com.

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