Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]
The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: December 2004
Pages: 320

There was a time, not too long ago, when the typewriter and notebook ruled, and the computer as an everyday tool was simply a vision. Revolution in the Valley traces this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and beyond.

The stories in Revolution in the Valley come on extremely good authority. That's because author Andy Hertzfeld was a core member of the team that built the Macintosh system software, and a key creator of the Mac's radically new user interface software. One of the chosen few who worked with the mercurial Steve Jobs, you might call him the ultimate insider.

When Revolution in the Valley begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple's first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II. He sees that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company's most brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort the Macintosh. Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team, and the rest is history.

Through lavish illustrations, period photos, and Hertzfeld's vivid first-hand accounts, Revolution in the Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book's portrait of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the Macintosh team. Now, over 20 years later, millions of people are benefiting from the technical achievements of this determined and brilliant group of people.

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oreillyRevolution in The Valley [Paperback]
 
4.3

(based on 6 reviews)

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      5.0

      How the Mac came true

      By p6ril

      from Guyancourt, France

      About Me Developer

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      • Fun

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        Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

        Revolution in the valley is a great book. A kind of time machine that will transport you back in the early 80s to participate in the creation of the original Macintosh from the inside.

        It's made out of anecdotes and stories extracted from the folklore blog chronologically ordered. If you're a bit of a geek interested in the dark ages where smartphones, the internet or the simple idea of a graphical user interface were still almost considered science fiction, then this book is for you.

        You can think of it as a computer science history book but fun to read. You'll have the chance to glance over the shoulders of the Macintosh developers team and live the Macintosh revolution from its inception until it's famous launch in 1984.

        The interesting thing is that for once it's not a book focused on Steve Jobs but rather the story of the people who made his vision come true. Also don't expect a full story of Apple, the bulk of the book is really focus on the 1979-1985 period.

        In the end I really enjoyed reading the book and would definitely recommend it. Even though it's probably a "niche" book it is a piece of history unveiled.

         
        4.0

        The Making of Mac.

        By dominickm

        from Eatontown, NJ

        About Me Designer, Developer, Maker, Sys Admin

        Verified Reviewer

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          Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

          Revolution in the Valley is the story of that first Apple development team that brought the world the Macintosh and in doing so changed computing history by making the computer a personal item focused on communication rather than computation.

          Popular mythology portrays the development of the original Macintosh as a somewhat religious experience. In fact, that was not really the case. As with any large scale project there are problem, conflicts, and unforeseen bugs that raise both costs and tempers. Revolution in the Valley gives the reader what a more accurate account of the not only the development culture at Apple during its early days but also how large scale projects work in the really world when real people who don't necessarily agree on the best ways to implement feature X.

          As this is not a technical training or reference, there are really no prerequisites to reading but that does not mean that more experienced developers or even designers won't get a lot out of the book; in fact, I always find it interesting to see how those early developers of the personal computer 1980's solved complex technical issues with such limited hardware and software resources; after all there was no Github or BitBucket when the Macintosh was being developed.

          In short, I would recommend this to anyone who works on or will be working on larger scale software projects.

          (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          Very esoteric one

          By Michal Konrad Owsiak

          from Poland

          Verified Reviewer

          Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

          This book is not for everyone. Definitely. Why? Because it is very esoteric. Andy and his colleagues describe what was happening behind the scene when Macintosh has been built. It is really deductive to read this kind of stories, however, sometimes you might end up with the feeling that you weren't taught much. This is the case here. I admit, some stories are really interesting, but they are simply the memories. Some of them are so esoteric and focus on matters so much context dependent that you won't be able to feel exactly the same way authors did.

          What is worth in here is that every idea, everything that is innovative has an army of people behind it. It is not as simple as saying "I made it.". There are always people who are left behind by the management, who are sitting in the second row while in fact they are real creators of the "thing".

          I must admit that some chapters really caught me - especially one, titled "Too Big for My Britches". At some point, it shows the role of the tension between managers and developers within the team. You will find it everywhere, in every company. When managers starts to take over, regular developers are left behind, they start to disappear in a cog machine.

          In my opinion, this book is only for Mac lovers who would like to take a look at the backstage of Macintosh development.

           
          5.0

          Iconic and Authentic

          By shawnday

          from Dublin, Ireland

          About Me Developer, Educator

          Verified Reviewer

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          • Engaging
          • Entertaining
          • Well-written

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            Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

            Iconic and authentic. I remember being mildly amused by the first incarnation of Andy Hertzfeld's collection of anecdotes when it was first published. Revolution in the Valley was an intriguing and engaging set of reminiscences by many of those involved in making the Macintosh a reality collected from folklore.org. Newly re-released in 2011 here I find myself re-reading the stories and enjoying them even more.

            This is a very unique volume. The anecdotes are short snippets written over the past decade and contributed to the folklore blog. This books brings them together and groups them into five seemingly logical segments of the development of the Macintosh and sprinkles in some great images - including Andy's own notes and sxcribbles from the period.

            The result is a poignantly authentic telling of the Macintosh development story from a variety of perspectives. It is not meant to be comprehensive or unbiased, merely reflective. It is almost Tolstoyan in delivery. You can walk away for a time and just jump back in and easily pick up where you left off. There are multiple intersecting plots and things just come together naturally. You don't want to put it down though and I must say that I just wanted to read and read and read some more. It's totally engrossing. Like many who will read the book I remember the early days and how I originally dismissed this toy of a machine, but one that went on to change my own life. This book takes you back to a different time (as Andy reflects himself in the afterword to the new edition) before so many recent Apple triumphs. Everything was so new and exciting in the early 80's and the introduction of the graphical user interface on the Lisa and then Mac was a true revolution that goes on.

            This is the book of tales from the inside. I think it's all the more engaging for those who were there for the revolution and would be very interested to hear the perspective of those not there and who take what was so revolutionary for granted.

            I read this as an ebook which seems somewhat odd, as the original conception of the book was to take the online version and put it into a particularly attractive and quality print edition and here it is coming full circle and being reassembled in an electronic format. Its really rather deserving of the print edition and I made a point of reading it on the iPad with full colour PDF rather than on the Sony eBook reader where this would be lost...but I did imagine myself reading the book and feeling the paper. I would highly recommend this for any and all and ebook or print volume this is a great collection. Taking it from content oriented folklore blog and creatively presenting it embellishes the collection and is well worth the investment.

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            An Entertaining and Engaging History

            By Anonymous

            from Undisclosed

            Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

            Revolution in The Valley

            The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made

            By Andy Hertzfeld

            Reviewed by Brian M Oldham, for the East Bay Macintosh User Group

            (ebmug.org)

            "Revolution in The Valley" is an entertaining history of the Macintosh. Andy Hertzfeld has collected stories from and about the original Macintosh team (which he was a member of). Most of the stories are brief, and told in a friendly and engaging manner.

            I've read many biographies of Apple. Most are written by people that were not involved in the events, and most also ignore to a great extent the machines and the engineers that created them, instead focusing on Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. There is some of both Steves in "Revolution in The Valley," but the focus of the book is the Macintosh and the people that directly gave it life, as told by these everyday heroes, the Mac's collective parents.

            I have rarely been so drawn into a book. The first time I read it, I went through it much faster than I normally read, and I continue to pull it down from the shelf, and revisit the stories.

            "Revolution in The Valley" receives and EBMUG rating of Five Bridges out of

            five.

            (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Flashback!

            By Uncle Dave

            from Undisclosed

            Comments about oreilly Revolution in The Valley [Paperback]:

            This is a really interesting book for those of us who were around and aware at the Mac's inception, and especially those of us who developed Mac applications usng the toolbox. It was fun to recall products like Alice, Amaze, ThunderScan, and the Calculator Construction Set. It is a relief to have survived the tight memory constraints, the concerns about pre-flights, and hoping all our code really was 32-bit clean. I can't believe we were programming the details of event loops and event handling.

            The thinking and discoveries during the development are fascinating. The Mac was so radical that, even though it took five years to come to life, it was still the most advanced personal computer of its time.

            I really like seeing the notes people kept at the time.

            My only reservation about the content is that most of the anecdotes that still appear humorous to Andy are flat in the reading; you had to be there, I suppose.

            And my only complaint about the book is that the binding is very poor for a hardback, with pages loosening up as you read.

            But if you were "there" in '84, get this book.

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