Synopses & Reviews
The book will cover the following writings that have become famous on Bricklin's blog:
Most Talked About…such as…
- Using the original Napster as an example of a manually-filled database that has found a way to use volunteer labor such that normal use increases its value. Industry guru Tim O'Reilly has written that this essay includes some of the seminal insights that shaped his thinking. Included are some of Mr. Bricklin's related later observations of how instead of making you feel bad for "only" doing a job 99% of the time, a well designed system makes you feel good for doing it just 1% of the time.
- Why Johnny can't program: An exploration of different ways to interact with a computer program and how that can affect acceptance of a system.
New Perspectives…such as…
- Interview with Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki. Excerpts from an interview Mr. Bricklin did with Mr. Cunningham exploring the invention of the wiki.
- More on a controversial piece in the fall of 2007 entitled: Gestures, the iPhone, and Standards: A Developer's Questions
- Digital photography, pluses, perils and pitfalls
- Microsoft’s vanishing market-VISTA overboard, etc.
The Classics…such as…
- History of VisiCalc (which Bricklin co-invented) How VisiCalc came about and why it was special. Includes photos.
- Software That Lasts 200 Years: A discussion of an ecosystem for software development that better meets the needs of the long-term needs of society than a typical prepackaged software company.
The famous father of VisiCalc has a lot to say about technology
- Legendary software developer and technology guru Dan Bricklin gathers the best of his blogs (such as "Why Johnny Can't Program"), adds scintillating new content on today's technology scene, and includes several of his now-classic pieces in this engaging, can't-put-it-down book that will appeal to anyone with an interest in technology
- Known as the father of the spreadsheet for VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet that he developed as a student at Harvard, and then for WikiCalc, the first social spreadsheet, Dan Bricklin has a unique ability to reach audiences with his superb narratives on software development
- Includes an interview with Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki; a commentary on the plusses, perils, and pitfalls of digital photography; a controversial piece on iPhones and standards; musings on Microsoft's vanishing market with respect to Vista; and more
Dan Bricklin (Newton, MA) is principal of Software Garden and known as the father of VisiCalc and WikiCalc. He delivers commentary and technical guidance on open source, social software, and technology via his highly regarded personal Web site and blog. He is regularly featured in PC Magazine, Wired, the New York Times, and elsewhere.
In a world that divides us, technology creates connection. Cell phones, e-mail, digital cameras, personal Web sites—they all join us, however tenuously, to what we value. Is connectivity what we’re willing to pay for? Should technology be our servant or a tool that helps us do other things? What can we really learn from Napster? What would intelligent standards for touch-screen user interface look like? How does technology evolve, and what drives that evolution?
For Dan Bricklin, technology cannot exist independently of the lives and needs of those who use it. For more than a decade he has shared his thoughts on this essential interdependence in blogs, podcasts, and essays. This volume compiles those observations, putting together case histories and new reflections for a fascinating study of how people and technology affect one another. Whether you’re a software developer or a student of human nature, you’ll find yourself drawn into this most intriguing discourse—because you are its subject.
"As co-creator of VisiCalc, the first computerized spreadsheet, Dan Bricklin literally created the PC industry. To a student of software, VisiCalc is the embodiment of so many novel and important ideas in software, lessons which are still relevant today."
Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software
"Nobody knows more than Dan about what technology is, where it's been and where it's going. If I only had one book of technology in my library, this would be it."
Doc Searls, coauthor, The Cluetrain Manifesto
"Dan Bricklin was one of the first programmers to focus more on what's in the user's head than on what's in the programmer's head. VisiCalc foreshadowed the single most important idea: Don't 'tell' the computer what you want; show it! Dan Bricklin . . . is still showing rather than telling, and in this anecdotal yet insightful book, he does another excellent job of it. . . ."
Esther Dyson, EDventure Holdings
"Fascinating history, fascinating insights, fascinating perspective all solidly grounded in what makes technology work for normal human beings. Bricklin gives you a good foundation for thinking about your own tech."
Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group Author, Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
"Dan Bricklin was at the heart of the personal computer revolution, and he kept learning and participating in technology's ongoing evolution. Now, with his new book, he helps us understand the most important part of this change: Humanity is creating a collaborative sphere of vast power and scale."
Dan Gillmor, Director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
About the Author
Inventor, entrepreneur, and longtime blogger Dan Bricklin explores a diverse collection of subjects in this book. From the personal conversations of commuters heading home to those of warriors guiding missiles . . . from music to gesture recognition on the Apple iPhone . . . from the American Revolution to today's political conventions . . . from nuclear power plants to simple tools used by millions . . . this is technology at the human level.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Case Studies and Details.
2. What Will People Pay For?
3. The Recording Industry and Copying.
4. Leveraging the Crowd.
6. Blogging and Podcasting: Observations through Their Development.
7. Tools: My Philosophy about What We Should Be Developing.
8. Hands On: Tablet and Gestural Computing.
9. The Long Term.
10. The PC: Historical Information about an Important Tool.
11. The Wiki: An Interview with Its Inventor.