Day2: Reading Snowball – THE SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE by Tracy Kidder

When I posted this book on Day 2 of my Snowball challenge, someone congratulated me for commemorating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the  internet.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t know that.  My involvement with the internet space came later than this book.  First there were the mini-computers.

When I graduated from university, the hot technology area was mini-computers. These were business ready machines, smaller than a building, that didn’t require millions to own and legions to operate.

It was the early ’80s and Comp Sci graduates were swamped with job offers from tech hungry companies.  Savvy graduates with an eye to job security took roles in CICS and IMS DB/DC programming.

Don’t know what that means?  It doesn’t matter, they don’t exist anymore.

Not so savvy kids (look at me) went for jobs that had cool new stuff. That’s how I came to work with one of the early installations of Data General’s Eclipse mini-computer.

The Soul of a New Machine tells the story of the computer engineering team that created the Eclipse MV8000. I remember reading about the skunkwork projects that hatched the idea and the engineers who were powered by the thrill of technology and challenge of invention.

That’s cool, I thought. I want to do that some day.

My first job didn’t turn out to be the one but shortly after, I joined an international company which allowed me to do just that. I worked on a competitor product which eventually did eclipse the Eclipse.

Subsequently, I even worked on a platform that commercialized the internet.

So maybe, by naming this book, indirectly and unconsciously, I did commemorate the birth of the internet.

Toronto, Canada.  2019

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