Sally Kang

why join the navy.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson review - Why 1984 won't be like 1984

04 May 2019

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This is an epic with lucid, thrilling and amusing history of the digital age, from Walter Isaacson , a writer who only writes for innovative genius. This is a story that how computers developed from the defense government, university institutions, elites, and finally get used by everyone.

Thanks to Babbage, the difference engine may become a masterpiece of the era in another parallel time and space, just like the novel The Difference Engine, thanks to Countess Edalovles, her insight into programming and the future era, her self-salvation, and all her romance and indulgence, her passion inherited from Byron which like a lifetime illness that can never be cured.

Thanks to those who are driven by curiosity, who kept inventing things down their basements day and night. They are all alone, but finally they just stopped with one step away to create the history. Walter really likes to write these persons because they are goddamn close. However, the last successful innovators were the wandering thieves, the exciting speakers, the practical men with firm belief, to make use of all the resources to accomplish one goal until they die.

Thanks to Von Neumann and Turing, and for the latter, I think the world will always owe him a complete, fresh apple.

Thanks to the hardware hackers and hippies, they are the best rebels, there will be no universal digital age without them. The world needs Wozniak and Jobs. The world needs the nerds from Homebrew Computer Club, who are happy to share all the time. Of course, the world needs Bill Gates for being born in the upper class with the blood of businessmen, the world needs Richard Stallman for being such an opinion leader and born philosopher, the world also needs Linus Towaz from the Finnish communist family.

A completely monopolistic world is way too boring, so there is nothing more interesting than seeing three kind of people with different personalities to follow the self-belief and change the world in their own different ways. Of course, the final world will not be what they want exactly, don’t forget the universe is full of dissent. And consumers have the best chance to see such an exciting history, a world in which the three major operating systems stand.

After so many years, Microsoft still has this low-grade geek in their products. This is destined when Bill is writing the first commercial software that can make money without sleeping while Jobs is listening to the Beatles and Bob Dylan and traveling to India for mind meditation. If Steve Jobs survives from the coffin, he will still ridicule Microsoft just like he did for the first generation of MS-DOS systems, and they will still quarrel over who steals Xerox ideas. There is no end to it.

And Jobs will still be followed and criticized for the controllism and perfectionism, he wants to let consumers live in his aseptically perfect world, use his realistic distortion field to tell you why Macintosh and its system is the best. The hacker hated Apple’s closure, and even Wozniak, who is also the founder of Apple (because he is also a super hacker), couldn’t stand it. When designing the Apple 2, he and Jobs argued about the number of usb sockets. In the end, he won hard, but that was his only and last win.

For Richard Stallman, Bill Gates and Jobs are both enemies. Most of the world’s software companies are enemies. They make the world awful and closed. He is a lonely and amazingly stubborn fighter. The thing that trigerred the anger was a printer that could not modify the source code. God is always God, so next the world has Free Software Movement, we have GNU IS NOT UNIX, emacs. gcc and bunch of amazing stuff. From the moral point of view of free software, I think that if Aaron Swartz is alive, he will definitely join. Next, the Linux kernel from Linus Towaz fulfilled the mission of the GNU project, and the free software movement moved toward bifurcation, open source software and free software, Linus’s pragmatism and Richard Uncompromising idealism, of course, knowing this, you have to started calling GNU/Linux system instead of Linux system, or Richard will scream at you. Nowadays, the vitality of the open source movement is enough to make everyone bloody exciting. Think about a operating system that is developed by tens of thousands of people around the world and can run stably on countless devices, and this has come true (but the word stability depends lol).

I must admit that I am indeed more interested in the software part of the book. A rich second generation programmer, a hippie product manager, a hacker philosopher. Wonderful and extraordinary. Anyway, thanks to those who think different

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. — Steve Jobs, 1997

Back in Apple’s advertisement in 1984, Jobs also said,

you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984

And I think that would be the best explaination for it. Because people think different, always.

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