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There was a time, not too long ago, when the typewriter and notebook ruled, and the computer as an everyday tool was simply a vision. Revolution in the Valley traces this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and beyond. The stories in Revolution in the Valley come on extremely good authority. That's because author Andy Hertzfeld was a core member of the team that built the Macintosh system software, and a key creator of the Mac's radically new user interface software. One of the chosen few who worked with the mercurial Steve Jobs, you might call him the ultimate insider. When Revolution in the Valley begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple's first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II. He sees that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company's most brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort the Macintosh. Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team, and the rest is history. Through lavish illustrations, period photos (many never before published), and Hertzfeld's vivid first-hand accounts, Revolution in the Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book's portrait of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the Macintosh team. Now, over 20 years later, millions of people are benefiting from the technical achievements of this determined and brilliant group of people.

Subscriber Reviews

Average Rating: 4 out of 5 rating Based on 3 Ratings

"A vision of what it was like to be at street level on an important engineering feat." - by dasmb on 28-APR-2013
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
Okay, the problem with this books is its title. There isn't much talk of revolution, and it really isn't a story of anything. A far better title is attached to the accompanying website:

If you think of this as folklore about an organization, loosely coupled anecdotes about the computing world's most important skunkworks project as told by the people who lived them, it will be very enjoyable. It's almost like an oral history of the thing in its highly digestible style.

Honestly, if you work in engineering, this book will remind you why you do so. Not for the money, but for the exciting problems, the insane deadlines and the quirky people who somehow make it work.

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"Very esoteric one" - by mko on 25-OCT-2011
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
This book is not for everyone. Definitely. Why? Because it is very esoteric. Andy and his colleagues describe what was happening behind the scene when Macintosh has been built. It is really deductive to read this kind of stories, however, sometimes you might end up with the feeling that you weren’t taught much. This is the case here. I admit, some stories are really interesting, but they are simply the memories. Some of them are so esoteric and focus on matters so much context dependent that you won’t be able to feel exactly the same way authors did.

However, there is one, very important point worth mentioning here. Every idea, everything that is innovative has an army of people behind it. It is not as simple as saying “I made it.”. There are always people who are left behind by the management, who are sitting in the second row while in fact they are real creators of the “thing”.

I must admit that some chapters really caught me – especially one, titled “Too Big for My Britches”. At some point, it shows the role of the tension between managers and developers within the team. You will find it everywhere, in every company. When managers starts to take over, regular developers are left behind, they start to disappear in a cog machine.

In my opinion, this book is only for Mac lovers who would like to take a look at the backstage of Macintosh development.

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"Good story, plenty of lessons for developers" - by Richard Altman on 13-APR-2011
Reviewer Rating: 1 star rating2 star rating3 star rating4 star rating5 star rating
The technology of early Apple computers may be hopelessly obsolete, but Andy offers plentiful examples of the creative choices made by a truly legendary software and hardware design team.  Likewise the insights on personalities like Steve Jobs and Woz are entertaining.  Overall this is a good quick read, with some useful lessons applicable even today.
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