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Accidental Empires To See Reboot In Blog Format 24

New submitter shuttah writes "Robert X. Cringely, author of the 1992 influential book Accidental Empires , will be republishing and updating (including pictures and new chapters) the now twenty year-old book via the launch of a new blog also by the author. Cringeley tells us, 'So next month I'll be starting a second blog with its own URL just for Accidental Empires. I, Cringely will continue right here as ever (no changes at all), but on the book blog I will over several months publish — a chapter or so at a time — the entire 100,000-word book for the world to read, free of charge.' The book was also the basis for Cringley's 1996 TV miniseries Triumph of the Nerds released by PBS."
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Accidental Empires To See Reboot In Blog Format

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  • Accidental Empire: An Autobiography
  • by macwhizkid ( 864124 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:32PM (#38970807)

    It's been probably 15 years since I read Accidental Empires, but I remember there being some passage in the book where he talked about how somebody (Stewart Brand, maybe?) was trying to persuade him to publish the book as hypertext, with internal references and links. The idea was the book was not so much a linear story as it was a documentary of a lot of moving parts in an industry that's been moving incredibly fast for 30 years, and hypertext would be the ideal way to present that. Of course, now, this just means another Wiki site, but at the time it seemed like a pretty radical idea.

    I know Cringely catches a lot of flack here and elsewhere for being a bit too hyperbolic, but I've always respected him for being one of the few high-profile tech writers who will genuinely go out on a limb (often correctly) to call the shots of where he thinks a particular tech or company is going. You won't catch Pogue or Mossberg doing that, and most other tech writers just parrot from PR statements. IIRC, he just wrote a blog post recently that he plans to retire later this year, but I hope he keeps writing one way or another.

    • by ph1ll ( 587130 )

      Cringely couldn't predict a fart in a bathtub but boy! he wrote an entertaining book.

  • The chip guys in the 1960s.
    The PC guys in the 1970s.
    The web guys in the 1990s.
    The social computing guys in the 2010s.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      You forgot the hair metal guys in the 80's.

      • by peter303 ( 12292 )
        1980s was a condrunum to me. MSFT came of age then, but they originated in the 1970s PC boom. PC clones, workstations, supercomputers, A.I. computing, pen computing were 80s stuff, but not mega-hits like these others. You could argue Dell started in dorm room and became a billionaire, but his stuff more of a new business model than a revolutionary technology.

        Then too I place Google with the 1990s web guys even though they had their huge IPO in the mid-2000s.
        Social computing originated in the 2000s (
        • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

          Might call the 80's the era of the first affordable home computers. Commodore, Texas Instruments, Atari, etc. were the first companies to actually make affordable priced home computers for the consumer (costing hundreds of $ vs. thousands).

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:44PM (#38970983) Homepage Journal

    The most dangerous man in Silicon Valley sits alone at a cafe...

    Or something like that is how the chapter about Steve Jobs started. At the time the book was written, Steve was still running NeXT and was bitter about being kicked out of Apple.

    I have to wonder how that chapter is going to be updated, now that Steve is universally hailed as a genius. A lot has happened since the book was written. Pixar, iMac, iPhone yadda yadda.

    And with Steve's biography on the shelves and Accidental Empires... well, not, I also have to wonder if this is the author's way of staying relevant, considering that when the book was written the entire concept of mobile computing had yet to be realized.

    • I like the "Triumph of the Nerds" version better:

      "The most dangerous man in Silicon Valley sits in an office in this building. People love him and hate him. Often at the same time. For ten years by sheer force of will he made the personal computer industry follow his direction. With this guy we're not talking about someone driven by the profit motive in a desire for an opulent retirement at the age of forty, no we're talking holy war we're talking rivers of blood and fields of dead martyrs to the cause of g

    • I have to wonder how that chapter is going to be updated, now that Steve is universally hailed as a genius.

      He was a genius in the same way that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are - he was good at making enormous amounts of money. But unlike them he had no interest in doing anything useful with the money he had made.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:57PM (#38971157)

    Cringely was and still is an insider. One of the few people that Jobs, Gates, Grove, etc granted requests for an interview. Fascinating read and one of my favorites.

  • I'm interested to read this, but does it talk about the unsung greats?

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky