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With 21 years in the PC industry, I've worked through distribution, retailing, and (for the last 14 years) journalism at outlets such as CPU, Tom's Hardware, LAPTOP, and PC Magazine. Today, I still write for several of these publications as well as freelance and consult. Please feel free to contact me at williamvw *at* gmail.com.
on Oct. 22, 2011 :
Back when my family first encountered the excitement of dial-up internet, I took up knitting. This was back when loading a single website could take five full minutes or more. Starting at the little eggtimer was just as frustrating then as it is now, so knitting at least kept me busy in those interminable pauses.
I was thinking those early days as I read Architects of Tomorrow by William Van Winkle. Some of the interviews collected in the book date back to that period, while others are more recent. The thing that they have in common is that all of the interviewees are in one way or another, pioneers in the technology field. From gaming to processors to personal computers to services such as Smashwords, these were people with a vision of where technology would take us. One thing I particularly like in the book is that Van Winkle has gone back to the interviewees in the past year, asking them which of their predictions have come true and what their new vision for the future is, given the exponential speed at which technology is now developing. While it’s a form of guessing game, it is made up of educated guesses by some of the smartest minds in the business, so all of their comments are well worth reading.
As a book, I think the collection holds up well. I’m not a reader of Computer Magazine, where the articles originally appeared, and I’m fairly sure I don’t fall into the target readership either. Some of the interviews were a little heavy on the technical details or of limited interest to the general reader. However, Van Winkle’s interviewing style is full of enthusiasm and he doesn’t presume a great deal of technical knowledge. I do think that there were perhaps too many interviews in the collection – as a book, I think it may have been more satisfying if some of the weaker interviews were cut out.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book, and I’ll probably buy Volume 2 as it comes out – perhaps not to read cover to cover as a whole, but to dip into now and again. Many people ask “What’ll they think of next?” and it’s the interviewees in Architects of Tomorrow who are most likely to have the answers.
If you enjoyed this review, visit my blog at www.brouhahababy.blogspot.com for plenty more!
(reviewed long after purchase)
on June 11, 2011 :
I work in the computer industry, but I'm hardly an industry expert, so this book broadened my mind quite a bit, letting me get between the ears of some pretty remarkable people who have shaped and are shaping the way we live.
The thing that helps the book rise above a mere collection of interviews is that, in addition to the original interviews, Mr. Van Winkle did his best to follow up with each of the interviewees to get a retrospective on the topics at hand. This was especially cool when those being interviewed were asked to forecast the future a bit in the originals. Of course, the predictions were hit and miss, but more hit than you'd probably think. It was cool to see where a few years had taken them.
From Geocaching to the founding of Snopes.com to the origins of Massively Multiplayer online games, this book has something for anyone interested in the Internet and computers.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on April 17, 2011 :
I found “Architects of Tomorrow” to be interesting and entertaining and think anyone with even the slightest interest in computing and technology will feel the same. The author’s insights and writing are excellent, the format of the book flows well, and the interviewees cover a wide swathe of the tech industry, with participants from smaller companies like Snopes.com, to monoliths like Intel, and a myriad in between. I particularly liked the follow-up interview segments, which sometimes took places years after the original interviews. The format and follow-up questions make it easy to spot the hits and misses and also give much insight into the directions of some of the companies involved. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on April 04, 2011 :
I loved this book! William van Winkle achieves time travel in his interviews with some of the greatest icons of technology: Who got it right, who got it wrong. Where else could you read interviews with the founder of Snopes, hear from industry analyst Esther Dyson herself who went into astronaut training after her years with ICANN. I loved reading about Wenchi Chen of VIA who was touting low power x86 processors a decade ago when everyone was going for faster hotter megahertz and stuck to his guns. And the then-and-now interview with gamer Fatal1ty who legitimized computer gaming was fascinating - he mellowed with time (he's almost 30). But my favorite is with Ray Kurzweil - whether it was almost a decade ago or just recently, the man is still an amazing visionary. William van Winkle captures the language and the personality, not only the content of what these thought leaders talked about in their interviews. That's what I liked the best - I feel like I got to know them better as the people behind their great thoughts and innovations. Highly recommended.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)