Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents (Paperback)
With a New Introduction by Jaron Lanier
A "Salon" Best Book of the Year
In 1997, the computer was still a relatively new tool---a sleek and unforgiving machine that was beyond the grasp of most users. With intimate and unflinching detail, software engineer Ellen Ullman examines the strange ecstasy of being at the forefront of the predominantly male technological revolution, and the difficulty of translating the inherent messiness of human life into artful and efficient code. "Close to the Machine" is an elegant and revelatory mediation on the dawn of the digital era.
About the Author
Ellen Ullman is an American computer programmer and author. She has written novels as well as articles for various publications, including "Harper's Magazine," "Wired," "The New York Times," and "Salon." Her essays and novels analyze the human side of the world of computer programming. Ullman earned a bachelor's degree in English at Cornell University in the early 1970s. She then turned to business programming in the following years. She eventually began writing about her experiences as a programmer in 1995 when she wrote an essay titled "Out of Time: Reflections on the Programming Life." She lives in San Francisco.
"Astonishing…Impossible to put down."---San Francisco Chronicle
"Close to the Machine may be the best---it’s certainly the most human---book to have emerged thus far from the culture of Silicon Valley. Ullman is that rarity, a computer programmer with a poet’s feeling for language."---Laura Miller, Salon
"Part memoir, part techie mantra, part observation on the ever-changing world of computer science…[Ullman is] a strong woman standing up to, and facing down, ‘obsolescence’ in two different, particularly unforgiving worlds---modern technology and modern society."---The New York Times Book Review
"This book is a little masterpiece….I have never read anything like it."---Andrei Codrescu
"For someone sitting so close to the machine, Ellen Ullman possesses a remarkably wide-angle perspective on the technology culture she inhabits."---The Village Voice