Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 11 / NOVEMBER 1985 / PAGE 20

Siliconnections: coming of age in the electronic era. (book reviews) Russ Lockwood.

Forrest M. Mims III, no stranger to readers of Computers & Electronics and Creative Computing, takes us on a whirlwind tour of the microcomputer revolution. Based on personal recollections, Mims describes the birth of the microcomputer, the rapid growth of the silicon world, and the boom-bust cycle of computer magazines. He provides behind-the-scenes details about an Air Force laser laboratory, his efforts to eavesdrop on Howard Hughes' conversations for the National Enquirer, and the court battle with Bell Labs over rights to his invention, the fiberoptic telephone.

Siliconnections bursts upon your siliconsciousness with a vivid description of a high tech practical joke at the University of New Mexico. Mims and several students concocted a story about UFOs and deathrays. Mims, perched atop a roof and armed with a deadly-looking but otherwise harmless heliumneon gas laser, carefully zapped several co-conspirators, causing pandemonium below until the "outgunned" campus police called in the real cops.

Mims continues with the story of his involvement in the MITS Altair 8800, the first real microcomputer, with Ed Roberts and others. His personal model, along with previous electronic projects and documentation, now resides in the Smithsonian.

The entire book is a joy to read. Best of all, it is a first person account by a bona fide pioneer. Those who want the inside story about the microcomputer revolution should pick up Siliconnections.

Review Grade: A