Yahoo! Chat
Home - Instant Messenger - Yahoo! - Acct Info - Sign Out  

Yahoo! Chat Event Calendar
Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer
Wed, Feb 16 7pm ET
Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer
First published in 1984, Fire in the Valley by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine told the sexy and compelling computer history story of the making of the personal computer. Based on interviews with more than 100 of the individuals who did it, Fire in the Valley became a riveting, cult classic that combined solid reporting and exciting story-telling. Fire in the Valley was out of print for years. Now McGraw-Hill has released a new edition, updated by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine with new chapters and pictures. Join the Yahoo! Author Series as we welcome back Paul and Michael to chat about this ground-breaking book on Wednesday, February 16th at 7pET/4pPT.

Yahoo_Host1: Welcome to Yahoo! Chat.
Yahoo_Host1: First published in 1984, Fire in the Valley
Yahoo_Host1: by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine
Yahoo_Host1: told the sexy and compelling computer history story
Yahoo_Host1: of the making of the personal computer.
Yahoo_Host1: Based on interviews with more than 100 of the individuals who did it,
Yahoo_Host1: Fire in the Valley became a riveting, cult classic that combined solid
Yahoo_Host1: reporting and exciting story-telling.
Yahoo_Host1: Fire in the Valley was out of print for years.
Yahoo_Host1: Now McGraw-Hill has released a new edition,
Yahoo_Host1: updated by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine
Yahoo_Host1: with new chapters and pictures.
Yahoo_Host1: And Paul and Michael are chatting with us live!!
: Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, authors of Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer, have both joined us
Yahoo_Host1: Let's give them a big welcome.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Hi! This is Paul!
author_fire_in_the_valley: Great to be here at Yahoo!
author_fire_in_the_valley: to talk about *Fire in the Valley*
author_fire_in_the_valley: This is Mike, and it's great to be here
author_fire_in_the_valley: I'm ready to chat.

honey_crash asks: so who do you credit as being the leader in the pc industry?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: Historically, we give credit to
author_fire_in_the_valley: Ed Roberts, who's company created the Mits Altair
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: A lot of the credit also has to go to a collection of people known as the Homebrew computer club
author_fire_in_the_valley: a few of those people are probably well know to all of you out there
author_fire_in_the_valley: such as
author_fire_in_the_valley: Steve Wozniak
author_fire_in_the_valley: and Steven Jobs
Yahoo_Host1: Keep your questions for the authors of Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer coming!

slackinattitude asks: when was the first computer built? and who built it?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: We talked about the Mits Altair...and that first came to light
author_fire_in_the_valley: in January 1975
author_fire_in_the_valley: You could buy one of those through the mail back then,
author_fire_in_the_valley: if you dared to try to put it together!

jay_a12756 asks: It seems that Jobs and Gates are the most widely recognized individuals from the early days of the PC. However, I have heard that there were a number of advances made by others such as the development team at Xerox. Who are these people and where are they today?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: The star developers at Xerox have gone in many directions
author_fire_in_the_valley: Bob Metcalfe, credited with creating ethernet
author_fire_in_the_valley: is a columnist for Infoworld Magazine
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: A lot of the pieces of what came to be a critical part of the personal computer and the industry were initiated at Parc
author_fire_in_the_valley: they weren't all commercialized back then, however,
author_fire_in_the_valley: but things like a windows based User Interface
author_fire_in_the_valley: local area networking
author_fire_in_the_valley: laser printing
author_fire_in_the_valley: to name a few
author_fire_in_the_valley: all came out of those prestigious labs.
author_fire_in_the_valley: we talk about this to a large extent in Fire in the Valley2m
author_fire_in_the_valley: we try to delegate credit appropriately.

zooey_franny asks: are you going to write a book about the internet boom?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: we touch on the internet boom in the new Fire in the Valley
author_fire_in_the_valley: and we're trying to utilize it with our own website
author_fire_in_the_valley: please come and visit
author_fire_in_the_valley: we're not sure what the next book is
author_fire_in_the_valley: thoughts

Wed Feb 16 16:10:23 2000
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: you can leave us message there
author_fire_in_the_valley: at the website
author_fire_in_the_valley: if you have book ideas for us.
Yahoo_Host1: What was your motivation for writing the first book?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It wasn't even an industry yet
author_fire_in_the_valley: when we started the first book
author_fire_in_the_valley: we thought it was going to become a huge industry
author_fire_in_the_valley: that was going to change the world
author_fire_in_the_valley: and it seemed worthy of a book!
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: we were talking regularly with people like Jobs, Gates
author_fire_in_the_valley: and even earlier pioneers
author_fire_in_the_valley: and we knew that they had wonderful stories to tell
author_fire_in_the_valley: and somebody had to get them down on paper
author_fire_in_the_valley: before they were forgotten

toddsegall asks: Do you believe that Bill Gates revolutionized the computer industry or hampered its development?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: How about a 3rd option?
author_fire_in_the_valley: That better than anyone else
author_fire_in_the_valley: he has understood
author_fire_in_the_valley: and capitalized on it
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: Mike is right!

_O07 asks: Is there a physical limit to how fast computers can get? If yes, what is it?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: I think that for speed, the key thing to think about now is the speed from one computer to another
author_fire_in_the_valley: that's what will improve the performance and experience that you're having right now
author_fire_in_the_valley: things like DSL
author_fire_in_the_valley: and cable modems
author_fire_in_the_valley: and Fiber are an important part of that.

slackinattitude asks: who was the most interesting person you interviewed for the book?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: Everybody was more interesting than you might expect.
author_fire_in_the_valley: what was wonderful
author_fire_in_the_valley: and I think it comes alive in the book...
author_fire_in_the_valley: was how passionate they were
author_fire_in_the_valley: we'd be chatting with them about a daily topic
author_fire_in_the_valley: and when we told them what we were writing the book on
author_fire_in_the_valley: they really came alive
author_fire_in_the_valley: It's probably true that Steve Jobs turned out not to be disappointing.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: Jobs was and is a fascinating person
author_fire_in_the_valley: we talk in the book about lesser-known people who had fascinating involvement with the PC as well
author_fire_in_the_valley: I think of Chris Espinosa
author_fire_in_the_valley: who literally grew up at Apple, computer
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: we also met a lot of interesting people
author_fire_in_the_valley: not necessarily as famous as Jobs and Gates
author_fire_in_the_valley: but are important in our book
author_fire_in_the_valley: and cared about the world in many ways
author_fire_in_the_valley: and were involved in social movements
author_fire_in_the_valley: and anti-war movements
author_fire_in_the_valley: and understood the relationship between technology
author_fire_in_the_valley: and their social concerns
Yahoo_Host1: We're chatting with Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine authors of Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer. Send in your questions for them now!

lauren_magee asks: What are your thoughts on wireless networks?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: Since about a year ago
author_fire_in_the_valley: I moved out of the valley
author_fire_in_the_valley: to rural Oregon
author_fire_in_the_valley: where i can't get cable
author_fire_in_the_valley: or any other fast modem connection
author_fire_in_the_valley: I'm very interested in wireless for internet access
author_fire_in_the_valley: and I hope Al Gore is also
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It's amazing.
author_fire_in_the_valley: The whole area of wireless is going to change real fast
author_fire_in_the_valley: in the next year or two
author_fire_in_the_valley: with capabilities and options changing rapidly
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike will probably be ok there out in the woods! :)
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: In about a week, I'll have strong opinions about wireless
author_fire_in_the_valley: for local area networks
author_fire_in_the_valley: i'm installing a five person Apple Airport Wireless Network
author_fire_in_the_valley: here in my three building home office

punkrox101 asks: Do you think that Bill Gates marketed Windows better than Steve Jobs marketed the macs operating system?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It's hard to imagine marketing windows any better.

joe_willard asks: Where can I buy your BOOK?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: You can go to our website
author_fire_in_the_valley: and click on the amazon link
author_fire_in_the_valley: and when you get to amazon
author_fire_in_the_valley: you can specify as much quantity as you like!
author_fire_in_the_valley: it makes a great gift.
Yahoo_Host1: Is it a very technical book?
author_fire_in_the_valley: It's not a technical book at all...It's about exciting people doing things to change the world
author_fire_in_the_valley: the business world, the financial world, entertainment world, creative world
author_fire_in_the_valley: there's also 100 or so photos.

megawatt_ca asks: who is Chriss Espinosa?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: I'm not sure what his job is today,
author_fire_in_the_valley: but he's still at Apple
author_fire_in_the_valley: Chris was one of the homebrew computer club members
author_fire_in_the_valley: at age 14
author_fire_in_the_valley: Steve Wozniak was his ride to the club
author_fire_in_the_valley: and Chris wrote the program that you saw if you saw an Apple II demo'ed in the early days
author_fire_in_the_valley: The CEOs who walked through Apple's offices in 1977\
author_fire_in_the_valley: got demo's of the machine from this (then 15 year old boy)
author_fire_in_the_valley: Chris is in his 30s now
author_fire_in_the_valley: and stayed with Apple through all the dark years
author_fire_in_the_valley: and Chris could write a book!

punkrox101 asks: Do you think that Pirates of Silicon Valley is close to what really happened?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It is a movie based on our book.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Part of the movie closely uses some of our research
author_fire_in_the_valley: the movie was energetic
author_fire_in_the_valley: and fun!
author_fire_in_the_valley: it didn't get everything right, though.
author_fire_in_the_valley: and it couldn't cover more than a snapshot of the whole picture.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: It got some things verrry wrong!
author_fire_in_the_valley: IE IBM meeting with Microsoft
author_fire_in_the_valley: the movie implied that the meeting was Microsoft's idea
author_fire_in_the_valley: when the truth is really more interesting
author_fire_in_the_valley: that mighty IBM sought out little Microsoft
author_fire_in_the_valley: to help it create its PC

CJJohnson43 asks: I grew up in the valley, but I didn't take notice of what was happening until the early 80s. Was there a single company or event that really made the world take notice of the valley. (e.g. PC compatibles, Macintosh, Atari, etc.)
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: CJ you're probably not as rich as you could be!
author_fire_in_the_valley: stanford university...
author_fire_in_the_valley: the entire semiconductor industry
author_fire_in_the_valley: Intel
author_fire_in_the_valley: Hewlett Packard
author_fire_in_the_valley: and of course Apple
author_fire_in_the_valley: among dozens of others
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: but the name really pays homage to the semiconductor companies

_O07 asks: Do you think Microsoft will dominate the computer software market for many more years to come?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: That's becoming less and less obvious
author_fire_in_the_valley: at the risk of giving Microsoft any ammunition against the justice department
author_fire_in_the_valley: some competition is actually appearing on the scene
author_fire_in_the_valley: particularly LINUX
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It's interesting
author_fire_in_the_valley: It's more appropriate to speak of the software market
author_fire_in_the_valley: that's what makes things more complex
author_fire_in_the_valley: as MS understands, it's not about building software exclusively for computers anymore
author_fire_in_the_valley: the battleground is much more vast
author_fire_in_the_valley: since it includes, your television set, too.
Yahoo_Host1: We're chatting with Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine authors of Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer, send in your questions for them now!

_O07 asks: Is there a future for Linux?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: I've been covering the industry since 1981
author_fire_in_the_valley: and for the first 8 years the standard joke
author_fire_in_the_valley: was that every year somebody would announce that that year
author_fire_in_the_valley: UNIX would take off
author_fire_in_the_valley: what has prevented that from happening is any standardization
author_fire_in_the_valley: there are just too many UNIXES
author_fire_in_the_valley: and LINUX may finally be the banner that UNIX proponents can rally behind.
author_fire_in_the_valley: It is 100 percent cheaper than windows
author_fire_in_the_valley: a remarkable competitive advantage!

slackinattitude asks: is the net going to replace tv?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: No one knows what's going to happen.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Everyone who claims to know
author_fire_in_the_valley: has already placed their bet.
author_fire_in_the_valley: It's clear that you'll be using the net with all kinds of devices
author_fire_in_the_valley: including TV
author_fire_in_the_valley: microwave ovens
author_fire_in_the_valley: and of course computers
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: my take is that the TV will not be replaced by the computer
author_fire_in_the_valley: until the couch is replaced by the chair
author_fire_in_the_valley: the desk chair

punkrox101 asks: Is silicon valley the place to go if you want to be somebody in the computer business?
author_fire_in_the_valley: but there are a few other places to be also
author_fire_in_the_valley: in fact the internet and the web have made it possible
author_fire_in_the_valley: to argue that you don't have to be in Silicon Valley
author_fire_in_the_valley: anymore
author_fire_in_the_valley: the venture capitalists are investing a ton of money
author_fire_in_the_valley: all of the country
author_fire_in_the_valley: \notably in New York recently, as well\
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: as someone who recently moved to Oregon
author_fire_in_the_valley: and lives on the net
author_fire_in_the_valley: I like Paul's answer,
author_fire_in_the_valley: but Silicon Valley is still Silicon Valley
author_fire_in_the_valley: and ist still a magnet
author_fire_in_the_valley: for people with bright ideas
author_fire_in_the_valley: who want to make a fortune

robbd_again asks: My question is more towards the future of PC...with the upcoming waves of consumer internet appliances, corporate thin-client applications and integrated cellular technologies - how do you see major PC manufacturers adjusting to keep up?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: One of the CEOs who has committed his company completely to the internet appliance market
author_fire_in_the_valley: is Jean-Louis Gassee
author_fire_in_the_valley: who is the CEO of Bee
author_fire_in_the_valley: and Gasse has said
author_fire_in_the_valley: that he did not believe internet appliances will replace PCs
author_fire_in_the_valley: the question remains

Wed Feb 16 16:40:28 2000
author_fire_in_the_valley: how do you sell PCs in a market
author_fire_in_the_valley: that is pretty close to saturation
author_fire_in_the_valley: when people see opportunities to surf the web etc.
author_fire_in_the_valley: via 100 dollar devices
author_fire_in_the_valley: they can carry in their pockets
author_fire_in_the_valley: I'm glad i don't have to answer that question!
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: The devices that are not basic desktop PCs
author_fire_in_the_valley: represent a way to do an end run
author_fire_in_the_valley: around the ever-charging MS line

_O07 asks: Do you see an overpopulation in the computer industry in the next few years?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: I don't think there is over-saturation
author_fire_in_the_valley: I think there are lots of people who are going to get computers for the first time
author_fire_in_the_valley: the model for making money in that scenario
author_fire_in_the_valley: is still changing
author_fire_in_the_valley: you may get your computer for free
author_fire_in_the_valley: and just pay for services

lauren_magee asks: I've heard we're going to start seeing other technology and telecom hot spots pop up around the country. Where's the next Silicon Valley?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: You could argue that it's in New York
author_fire_in_the_valley: Venture capitalists are telling me how much they are investing
author_fire_in_the_valley: in companies there these days
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: Anywhere there is a major university
author_fire_in_the_valley: also, it seems that people in the Silicon Valley are willing to accept larger and larger commutes
author_fire_in_the_valley: from areas outside the valley
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: Bill deserves plenty of credit
author_fire_in_the_valley: It was his *stated* vision
author_fire_in_the_valley: to bring computers into the home
author_fire_in_the_valley: e hasn't been entirely successful,
author_fire_in_the_valley: but how can you argue with his success?
author_fire_in_the_valley: Although if MS software was lighter and friendlier
author_fire_in_the_valley: computers would be moving into the home even more rapidly.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: I think bringing computers to the masses is exactly what Bill should be credited with
author_fire_in_the_valley: others have innovated
author_fire_in_the_valley: Bill has popularized
author_fire_in_the_valley: and exploited
author_fire_in_the_valley: there are those who think that his popularization and exploitation have gotten to the point of cramping the style of the innovators
author_fire_in_the_valley: but that may all change in the next chapter!
author_fire_in_the_valley: (of Fire in the Valley)
author_fire_in_the_valley: yet to be written

Yahoo_Host1: Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine have to go now. Thank you so much for joining us.
author_fire_in_the_valley: Paul: It's been fun talking with you all here at Yahoo!
author_fire_in_the_valley: check out
author_fire_in_the_valley: and let us know what you think of the book
author_fire_in_the_valley: and of the site
author_fire_in_the_valley: we'd love to come back again!
author_fire_in_the_valley: Mike: Yeah seriously!
author_fire_in_the_valley: stop by and click on the *email the authors* link
author_fire_in_the_valley: we'd love to hear from you!
author_fire_in_the_valley: thanks!

Back to Yahoo! Chat - More Chat Transcripts Copyright 1994-2000; Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy - Terms of Service - Guidelines - Help