Digital Retro: The Evolution and Design of the Personal Computer

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Wiley, Sep 21, 2004 - Computers - 192 pages
The late Seventies to the early Nineties was a completely unique period in the history of computing. Long before Microsoft and Intel ruled the PC world, a disparate variety of home computers, from an unlikely array of suppliers, were engaging in a battle that would shape the industry for years to come.

Products from established electronics giants clashed with machines which often appeared to have been (or actually were) assembled in a backyard shed by an eccentric inventor. University professors were competing head to head with students in their parents' garages.

Compatibility? Forget it! Each of these computers was its own machine and had no intention of talking to anything else. The same could be said of their owners, in fact, who passionately defended their machines with a belief that verged on the religious.

This book tells the story behind 40 classic home computers of an infamous decade, from the dreams and inspiration, through passionate inventors and corporate power struggles, to their final inevitable demise. It takes a detailed look at every important computer from the start of the home computer revolution with the MITS Altair, to the NeXT cube, pehaps the last serious challenger in the personal computer marketplace. In the thirteen years between the launch of those systems, there has never been a more frenetic period of technical advance, refinement, and marketing, and this book covers all the important steps made on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether it's the miniaturization of the Sinclair machines, the gaming prowess of the Amiga, or the fermenting war between Apple Computer, "Big Blue," and "the cloners," we've got it covered. Digital Retro is an essential read for anyone who owned a home computer in the Eighties.

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User Review  - adulau - LibraryThing

If you are a little bit nostalgic from the eighties and early nineties personal computer history, this book is for you. An nice overview (visually rich) of the home computing history from 1975 until ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - NeitherSparky - LibraryThing

I don't know if this book technically qualifies as a "coffee table book" but its certainly the coolest coffee table book I've ever picked up. Who can resist thumbing through pages of retro computers ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Gordon Laing is a technology writer and former Editor of Personal Computer World magazine. He writes regularly for leading European technology magazines including PC Advisor, Computeractive, and MacUser. He is also an established broadcaster, having presented Buyer's Guide on Sky's TV and The Lab every week on LBC and local radio.

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