“Dreaming in Code” Book Review

Ultimately I found this book inconclusive, frustrating, with too many words.  And I guess that is a fair reflection of the project that it sets out to document.  The ‘Chandler’ open source project started in 2003, and still hasn’t hit the streets in 2007, as far as I can see.  Meanwhile Microsoft have identified the good ideas and the latest ‘Windows Live Hotmail Beta’ has incorporated a fair few of them.  Scott Rosenberg published his book because he probably couldn’t wait any longer.  There were some gems in it though. And it’s very much my field, so could never be boring.
As a software development manager, I could see what the problem was by page 100.  But being there is different to reading it in a book. 
It’s good to know that ‘PHB’ stands for ‘Pointy Haired Boss’  a la Dilbert.  And that the process of moving from programmer to manager is referred to by programmers as ‘Taking the Lobotomy.’  Must be why I am so blissfully happy…
I love the genre, and would refer any interested party to the following:
  • The Soul of a New Machine — Tracey Kidder.  This is a classic from the late ’70s.  The team that built the Data General Eagle.  The first and still the best.
  • Showstopper! — G. Pascal Zachary.  The building of Windows NT.  The most amazing cliff-hanger showstopper ever.  "Cancel all those Hilton ballrooms for the simultaneous worldwide release!"  Worth reading it just for that.
  • Boo Hoo — Ernst Malmsten et al.  The biggest dot-com boom and bust story ever to come out of the late ’90s.

A book review from Joel Spolsky here (He agrees with me): http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/01/21.html

There are also some movies.  Most notably "Startup.Com", and the Enron movie, "The Smartest Guys in the Room."  But that will have to be the subject of another blog.


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