Read Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology Online Free - The never-more-necessary return of one of our most vital and eloquent voices on technology and culture, from the author of the seminal Close to the Machine.
When Ellen Ullman moved to San Francisco and became a computer programmer in the late 1970s, she was joining an idealistic, exclusive, and almost exclusively male cadre that had dreams and aspirations to change the world. In 1997, she wrote
Close to the Machine, the now classic and still definitive account of life as a coder at the birth of what would be a sweeping technological, cultural, and financial revolution.
The intervening twenty years has seen, among other things, the rise of the Internet, the ubiquity of once unimaginably powerful computers, and the thorough transformation of our economy and society—as Ullman’s clique of socially awkward West Coast geeks became our new elite, elevated for and insulated by a technical mastery that few could achieve.
In Life in Code, Ullman presents a series of essays that unlock and explain—and don’t necessarily celebrate—how we got to now, as only she can, with a fluency and expertise that’s unusual in someone with her humanistic worldview, and with the sharp insight and brilliant prose that are uniquely her own. Life in Code is an essential text toward our understanding of the last twenty years—and the next twenty.
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October 17, 2017
Ellen Ullman's memoir Close to the Machine is one of the books I remember most vividly from the 1990s. She followed it up with two novels; I admired but didn't love 2003's The Bug, but I thought By Blood, from 2012, was fantastic. When I found out about Life in Code, I was ecstatic, expecting Ull...
February 05, 2018
A pretty good, if variable, collection of essays. Many were previously published in pretty obscure places, and the author has revised many of the older ones. They were written between 1994 and last year, and document her ups and downs in the computer-programming business, and in life. The downs a...
January 24, 2018
MOOC chapter is amazing
October 27, 2017
LIFE IN CODE. (2017). Ellen Ullman. ***1/2.
Ullman is a computer programmer and software engineer who manages to take a look at the state and future of our world as governed by computers and the internet. She manages to examine a variety os issues that have developed through society’s growing dep...
August 31, 2017
This is a very thoughtful book of essays by a woman who has long experience as a software engineer while morphing into a career as a novelist and essayist. The book comprises chapters that span Ullman's career from the 1990s up through 2017. She remembers her life in programming and the toxic env...
September 12, 2017
Another must-read, and a pleasure to read, given the quality of her thinking and writing. And I say that despite the fact that it is a collection of pieces from across three decades, only one of which was written in early 2017. If you are in my age group, and particularly if you lived in San Fran...
December 23, 2017
I don’t really give five star reviews and I was hesitant about this one, but this book made me feel things. I especially loved the essay “Dining with Robots” because it painted cooking and programming (art and science?) as two different things, valuable in their own right but certainly not the sa...
November 19, 2017
A rich philosophical discussion of technology. A striking contrast to literature whose philosophical moments rarely seem to reach past adolescence.
Explores questions about the mindset of technology. The genius and self-doubt. Questions about artificial intelligence, intelligence itself, and the...
February 18, 2018
I programmed computers back in the 80s and I have been longing for someone who would put that experience in words. This book does that. I usually dislike recycled literature, but in this case, I admit that the selection of essays and articles came together. I mostly enjoyed the stories about prog...
October 09, 2017
An interesting read. As a female working in technology (although not an engineer myself) I found the first 1/3 to be very interesting and helped explain some phenomena I have observed. 4 our of 5 stars because there was a middle section which talked about AI for what seemed like a really long tim...