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Old 20 December 2008, 18:07   #1
Paul_s
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Happy Digital retro evolution book

This looks like a cool book, you can browse which platforms (Amiga too!) the book covers if you click on the cover

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Retr...91/ref=ed_oe_p
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Old 20 December 2008, 18:28   #2
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Looks like an interesting book, Paul, but with only 4 pages or so dedicated to each machine, there's only going to be a brief look at each so not much detail, unfortunately.

Good for a quick nostalgia trip, but not much of a reference book I would imagine.

[Edit] You can't browse enough of the book online to come to a definite conclusion. I think I'll ask my local library to get hold of a copy for me.

[Another Edit] I'll post back here with a "Review through the eyes of an Amigan" when I have my hands on it.

Last edited by prowler; 20 December 2008 at 22:19.
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Old 22 December 2008, 23:53   #3
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Well, I put in a request at the local library to get hold of this book for me. It's not in their stock catalogue, so let's see how long it takes them to get it... (I'm not holding my breath!)
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Old 23 December 2008, 14:30   #4
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It's a nice book, got it last year. Not very in depth, but well presented and covers a lot of computers.
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Old 30 January 2009, 00:02   #5
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Today I received notification from my local library that they are holding the book for me. So it took them only about a month!

I'll pick it up from the mobile library on Monday.
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Old 30 January 2009, 00:27   #6
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Iv'e got this - it is quiet good - great for reference but your right, no real in depth reviews... bit of fun though.

For a bit more of an in depth look at Commodore, pick up a copy of this http://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-Commod...3267977&sr=8-1

Although it looks to be getting quite a rare book these days...
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Old 03 February 2009, 02:06   #7
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Due to the particularly heavy snowfall here today, the Mobile Library van didn't turn up, so I'll now have to wait until next Monday to get my hands on this book.
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Old 03 February 2009, 20:43   #8
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Glad we got our "On The Edge", it is getting to be rare now but the book is not that old. Have to buy Digital Retro, sounds cool.
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Old 09 February 2009, 23:58   #9
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I've got hold of this book at last!

It's larger than I expected (oversize paperback, 237mm wide x 255mm high, 192 pages) and the photographs are excellent; they evoke a sensation almost like seeing each machine again for real - and that's really cool because the pictures are the big feature of this book.

There is not a great deal to read here, but what there is looks well-written, interesting and very much to the point.

I'll be keeping this book on loan for the next four weeks. I've a feeling I might just decide to buy a copy of my own when it's time to take it back. It looks that good.

I'll post a full report here when I've read it.

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Old 11 February 2009, 11:20   #10
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I got this a few weeks ago and the pics are great. Nicely put together and the quality of the actual book is one of the best I've seen for a long time. Not the greatest detail of each system but then again this is more of an 'art' book than an encyclopedia.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Core-Memory-...861229-1166730

that looks like an interesting one too...
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Old 11 February 2009, 13:09   #11
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Hi guys,
I would like to find a less photographic book and more of a history (historiographical) work. Can anybody suggest any?
cheers
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Old 11 February 2009, 13:27   #12
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http://www.gameplan-books.com/gamepl...5_NA/index.php

Or there's 'On the Edge' if you want the full malarky on the Commodore story
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Old 17 February 2009, 23:43   #13
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'On the Edge' is a superb read!
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Old 18 February 2009, 01:59   #14
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ok will order this thanx guys
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Old 20 February 2009, 18:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_s View Post
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Core-Memory-...861229-1166730

that looks like an interesting one too...
and it is

Got this today... nicley put together and the pictures are as good as the one's in the Digital Retro book.

However, this one in particular discusses earlier and much more industrialised computers from way back to the start of the 1940's working it's way upto 1996 with Google's First Production Server.

Some really gorgeous work of hardware 'art' in this and can't stop gazing at some of them... beautiful close up shots too. Again, like the Digital Retro book there is an introduction on each piece, how much it cost to implement etc etc...

No Amiga's sadly but the C64 makes an appearance.

We have computer wise from start to finish..

Z3 adder
Eniac
Univac II
WISC
JOHNNIAC
Core Memory
SAGE
NEAC2203
Minuteman I Guidance Computer
Philco 212
IBM System/360 & IBM 7030 "Stretch"
Apollo guideance computer
DEC PDP-B
DDP-116
CDC 6600
IMP
Kitchen computer (Honeywell H316 Minicomputer)
Kenbak-1
HP-35
Superpaint
Altair 8800
Illiac IV
Cray 1, 2 & 3
Apple I/II
TRS-80 Model 1 / 100
Minitel
Osborne 1
C64
Compaq Portable
Macintosh
Google Computer

So, some pretty iconic pieces, apart from the C64 I wonder if I could pick up any of those others on fleabag?

The Cray's are gorgeous

If you love old industry type computers with the odd few consumer products then I heartily recommend...
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Old 21 February 2009, 19:42   #16
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yay this looks good. I will get this. As an historian who is trying to push my research into games and games machine history it would be real cool to have a book thread. Currently all my games research is self funded but maybe one day somebody will be wise enough to pay me to stay at home playing retro games for a couple of years.

If I start an Amiga/games/machine/retro books thread could we merge this one with it? dont want to start one to just cover same ground,. I will gladly use this one though if folks dont want to change it
Cheers
Pz
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Old 21 February 2009, 20:18   #17
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Or there's 'On the Edge' if you want the full malarky on the Commodore story
Just checked and the release date has been postponed for 2nd edition. Now it says October 1, 2009; until recently it said 1 February, 2009 - link.
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Old 07 March 2009, 07:30   #18
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I read the first edition of On The Edge when it first came out and enjoyed it although it really could have stood a good spell checking. What I'm curious about is why the second edition warrants a new name. From what I gather, it's the same book with some added information rather than a new book.

On, and here's an interesting thing about the North American version of Digital Retro. The cover is different. I'd have to pull my copy out to tell you what is on the cover but a 64 it ain't.
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Old 22 March 2009, 13:59   #19
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It's taking me rather longer than I had thought to read this book, so I've renewed the loan for another month. It's all very interesting so far, and I've been taking my time with it so as not to miss anything.

I'm working on my review as I progress, so once I have read the book, it'll be ready to post here.

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Old 01 April 2009, 23:43   #20
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Hi All,

Here at last is my review.

Digital Retro: The Evolution and Design of the Personal Computer
(Paperback)
by Gordon Laing (Author)
ILEX (Publisher) 4 Oct 2004
RRP: 19.95
Source: Amazon

The book takes a detailed look at every important computer from the start of the home computer revolution with the MITS Altair, to the NeXT cube which marked the end of serious competition in the computer marketplace.

In all, 44 machines are covered. Before I read this book, I was familiar with just over half, either through using or emulating them, but only seven could I claim to have had much knowledge of or experience with.

The quality of the photography is excellent. You would need to have the machines lined up on the table in front of you to get a more vivid portrayal. This, coupled with a lively narrative which doesn't get bogged down in the technical details, captures their individual character and charm in a most compelling way.

The evolution of personal computing is described as the machines are presented in chronological order. The story is told, not only of the computers that battled for supremacy during this unique period, but also of the individuals and companies that designed and built them. It was fascinating to learn, for example, of what had happened to the chain of Tandy's UK outlets, or of the circumstances necessary for reverse engineering to be both successful and legitimate.

It is really no wonder that such revolutionary progress was made during the fifteen or so years covered by this book. This was a more innocent time when success could only be achieved, albeit with an element of risk, through innovation, investment and hard graft. It is interesting to note that the first companies to fall by the wayside were those who had made the decision to streamline their operations in response to financial difficulties, rather than borrowing to make up the shortfall. This invariably led to delays which meant that announcements of new models or peripherals would often be made long before actual products were available leaving customers feeling betrayed. Of course, once the industry had whittled down to a small number of players for whom success was assured, corporate greed and exploitation took over and progress has now slowed to the point where products are seldom ready before being released.

What I found most worthwhile about reading this book is learning a good deal more about machines I have neither owned nor used, but which I have nevertheless emulated, or can do so, on my PCs. For example, the 3-inch floppy drive used by Amstrad is IBM compatible, and can easily be driven by a standard PC floppy controller...
Now that's given me an idea.

prowler

PS. I had thought I might buy this book once I had read it and returned it to the library, but, because I had promised to post a review here, I probably studied it more thoroughly than I would have done otherwise, and it's all so clear in my mind that I don't think I'll need to buy it now.
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