コンピュータ帝国の興亡―覇者たちの神話と内幕〈上〉 (Ascii books) 単行本 – 1993/3
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The book begins by claiming that personal computers and spreadsheets made leveraged buy-outs, and looting company pension plans, possible (p.4). But the PC was only a means to an end, not the end in itself. Look up Credit Mobiliere, and the many scams in late 19th century railroads (the high-tech dot-coms of that day). Look up the changed laws, and accounting methods, from the late 1970s for fixing these deals. RXC claims it "happened more or less by accident" - not true; they met a need. The personal computer is to mainframe computers like the personal automobile is to railroad trains.
Page 9 notes that Wozniak, Jobs, and Gates were college dropouts who disdained academia. Didn't Edward Land also do this? Page 40 says Noyce expanded production and not prices to grow volume and profits; ever hear of the Ford Model T? Page 43 tells a story about teleprocessing, but RXC doesn't understand the AT&T monopoly and 1200 baud modems of 40 years ago. Page 58 explains the invention of the BIOS. Pages 77-80 explains the difference between basic research and research and development, and what it means.
The concept of "metaprogrammer" (nee Chief Programmer in 1966 Poughkeepsie) is discussed on pages 108-110. It gets the job done, but has a great political problem. If control is localized, so is blame. Most projects are decreed by upper management, but blame descends on the lower orders. Need I say more? Page 110 says this is like "collective farming" which didn't work well. Doesn't it work when it is voluntary, but not when imposed from above? Collective farming does away with owner operated units and turns them into wage earners; this is how our agribusiness works today. Did RXC ever personally investigate this? Page 113 tells of the problem in making all decisions at the top. First, it restricts parallel operations by creating a bottleneck. Then it prevents making decisions at the appropriate level. It doesn't distinguish between technical and political or design problems (which must be solved at a higher level). But if only inexperienced programmers are wanted, that creates a self-limiting environment as well. Page 124 says Ross Perot left IBM because he filled his sales quote in January; wasn't there some conflict of interest caused by his second job? Page 128 tells a story about Digital Research in July 1980 that may be incomplete. Page 166 explains the reason for PC-compatible, and why other computer manufacturers foundered. Page 261 tells how Aldus was suckered into not producing a word processor for Windows in 1989. Page 268 tells how Apple's money paid for Microsoft's international expansion. Page 281 explains how Microsoft takes a stab at new technology. Page 303 says Sun "practically gives away system software". Since 1961 the Federal Govt. paid for Multics (and its clones), and ordered this for computer science's on-line needs. What would Sun charge if it had to build it all itself? RXC predicted the death of mainframes on 12/31/99, but I missed reading the obituary notices. There have been great changes since 1999, but not as predicted in this book. Page 307 has other predictions! Page 315 mentions the "software studio" model, but doesn't ask who on Wall Street will put up the venture capital to make "Rocky 1010"? RXC did NOT predict the INTERNET, a kinder, gentler version of Orwell's "1984" that allows Big Brother to spy on activity in your home (p.350)! Page 322 describes the value of being late and over budget. Chapter 17 makes predictions again.