Thursday, March 01, 2007

On The Edge

The very first computer that I owned was a C64, and probably like many others, I've been puzzled by the historical revisionism of most coverage of the beginnings of the PC (in the generic sense) - it's all about Apple, IBM and Microsoft, and that's not historically accurate for anyone who has any sort of memory at all.

I was very young at the start of it all, and so don't remember the PET or the VIC-20 (except for some older kids that had one and mentioned it), but I do remember the C-64 - quite vividly. In fact, I kept mine until about 2000 and sold it on Ebay. I'm a software developer today, and I'd have to say that the C-64 played a large role in my early interest in computers, even if it was mostly for gaming.

Though much talk about early PC days centers on Apple and IBM, but the sheer numbers of computers that Commodore sold (C64 is the single best selling computer of all time) and their big lead on technology (see: the Amiga) shows that coverage is severely lacking and flawed if not outright biased. In fact, as this book shows, if Commodore had not been so internally dysfunctional, things today might be quite different. This book obviously aims to correct sloppy coverage of early PC days, as well as to document just what caused Commodore to fall from such heights.

There is enough geekiness in there to please the nerds like me, but not so much as to be alienating - it's mostly about the politics of business and the clashes of egos. This tale really deserves it's own movie, similar to the Pirates of Silicon Valley.

And with that, I'm off to install the Commodore emulator VICE again - I need to find a decent controller for my laptop. :)

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