anyone read dealers of lightning?

blstuart at blstuart at
Thu Jun 4 10:58:11 CDT 2009

> As was mention, the book wasn't so much about the DG business, but I'd 
> disagree and say it wasn't so much about the engineering either; very 
> little actually.  It was mostly about the dynamics of the to bring the 
> machine to life, both the internal politics of this skunk-works project 
> and the inherent dynamics of the teams of mostly inexperienced engineers 
> trying to accomplish something way beyond what they should have been 
> able to do.  If it had been a book about the actual engineering, very 
> few people would have read it.

Good point.  That's part of why I phrased it as being told from
the point of view of the engineers, rather than being about
the engineering.  Still there were elements that rang very
familiar.  It's been a long time since I last read it, but the
picture is still vivid of going into a machine room, pulling
the boards from a VAX one at a time and just looking at the
choice of chips and the layout getting a feel for the mind
of the creators.  And who could forget the perspective of
comparing features to a paper bag taped to the side of the
machine?  Those aspects of the engineering do make for an
insightful story.  After all, it's all too easy to get lost in the
details of clock skew and debates over VHDL and forget that
engineering is fundamentally about creation of artifacts that
never before existed.


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