Computers can do anything, our imagination is the only limit. To cultivate the imagination about it I am proposing a global discussion that I call computer criticism, a dialogue all over the world between all sorts of people, software designers and artists, enterpreneurs and professors, writers and film makers, computer users and computer haters, to judge the current computer world, see what goes and what does not, see what things are useful and what desires are not fulfilled, to imagine out the next goals to achieve.
Doug Engelbart: Augmenting Human Intellect. A conceptual framework, summary report from the Standford Research Institute, 1962, 139 pages.
Edsger W. Dijkstra: The search for beauty and simplicity in computing as a mathematical discipline.
Systems and Languages
Plan 9 from Bell Labs: Experimental operating system
Time-Sharing: The first vision of interactive computing in the 1960s.
Lisp: The programming language that manipulates source code as a data structure.
Forth: An original programming language and system.
Emacs: The text editor that grew up as a full work environment.
Seed7: An extensible programming language by Thomas Mertes. A program can define new statements and operators, types are itself objects.
Cultural Computer Critics
Neil Postman: Technopoly. The Surrender of Culture to Technology. Vintage Books, Random House, New York, April 1993. Neil Postman points out that the present society, especially in the United States, relies uncritically in experts in all areas, even in areas where expertise is not possible at all such as live and love, whichs leads to cultural poverty and loss of orientation.
M. E. Hobart, Z. S. Schiffman: Information Ages. Literacy, Numeracy, and the Computer Revolution, The John Hopkins University Press, 2000. This sound book written by historians interprets writing, mathematics and computer algorithms as different technologies for creating and handling information. It handles the history of writing in the last five thousand years, orality and early literacy in Summer, the rise of the alphabet, medieval writings, the printing press, science in the enlightement and in the 20th century, until the computer algorithms, which are used not only in computing but also in current sciences that deal with complexity and emergent phaenomena.
Howard Rheingold: Tools for Thought, 360 pages, 1985.
Steven Levy: Hackers. Heroes of the computer revolution, 477 pages, 25th anniversary edition, May 2010, O'Reilly. A stirring story of the first three hacker generations, the MIT AI lab Lisp hackers (1960s, Richard Greenblatt, Bill Gosper), the hobby hackers of the 1970s (BASIC, Homebrew Computer Club, Steve Wozniak), and the game hackers of the 1980s (on Atari, Apple II computers).
M. Mitchell Waldrop: The Dream Machine, 502 pages, 2001.
Matthias Müller-Prove: Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces, Master’s Thesis, University of Hamburg, 122 pages, 2002.
Lev Manovic: Software Studies Initiative. Studies on software as a cultural phenomenon.
HXA7241 by Harrison Ainsworth. Articles and Notes around Software Engineering including thinking about the fundamental material of software. Background: programming theory, C++, graphics programming.
Paul Graham: Essays about computing and computer business. Background: Lisp, start-up business.
Charles H. Moore: Inventor of the programming language Forth.