FLOSS Manuals: Pure Data (2006–)

31 March 2009, dusan

Pure Data (or Pd) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. Pure Data is commonly used for live music performance, VeeJaying, sound effects, composition, audio analysis, interfacing with sensors, using cameras, controlling robots or even interacting with websites. Because all of these various media are handled as digital data within the program, many fascinating opportunities for cross-synthesis between them exist. Sound can be used to manipulate video, which could then be streamed over the internet to another computer which might analyze that video and use it to control a motor-driven installation.

GNU General Public License version 2

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Laszlo Solymar: Getting the Message: A History of Communications (1999)

31 March 2009, dusan

The past century has seen developments in communications technology that rival those in any other field of human activity. Significant advances are made every year, and the impact on our day-to-day lives has been tremendous. Getting the message explores the fascinating history of communications, starting with ancient civilizations, the Greeks and Romans, then leading through the development of the electric telegraph, and up to the present day with e-mail and cellular phones. In clear, non-technical language the book explains the details of each new development while interweaving ideas from politics, economics, and cultural history. The book concludes with a look at the possible future developments and how they may further transform how we live. Lavishly illustrated and including many original illustrations, the book is an informative and highly entertaining guide to this lively field.

Published by Oxford University Press, 1999
ISBN 0198503334, 9780198503330
311 pages

Key terms: optical fibres, waveguide, carrier wave, AT&T, field effect transistor, integrated circuits, Morse Code, capacitor, Minitel, Second Industrial Revolution, personal computers, electromagnetic waves, p-n junction, Bell Laboratories, Robert Noyce, Poldhu, Claude Chappe, pulse code modulation, teleprinter, semaphore

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Howard Rheingold: Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Extending Technology (1985)

31 March 2009, dusan

The digital revolution did not begin with the teenage millionaires of Silicon Valley, claims Howard Rheingold, but with such early intellectual giants as Charles Babbage, George Boole, and John von Neumann. In a highly engaging style, Rheingold tells the story of what he calls the patriarchs, pioneers, and infonauts of the computer, focusing in particular on such pioneers as J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, and Alan Kay.

Taking the reader step by step from nineteenth-century mathematics to contemporary computing, he introduces a fascinating collection of eccentrics, mavericks, geniuses, and visionaries. The book was originally published in 1985, and Rheingold’s attempt to envision computing in the 1990s turns out to have been remarkably prescient. This edition contains an afterword, in which Rheingold interviews some of the pioneers discussed in the book. As an exercise in what he calls “retrospective futurism,” Rheingold also looks back at how he looked forward.

First published by Simon & Schuster, 1985

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Howard Rheingold: The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (1993)

31 March 2009, dusan

Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the “virtual community” of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical communityandmdash;one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others. At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received online emotional support during devastating illnesses, he acknowledges a darker side to people’s behavior in cyberspace. Indeed, contends Rheingold, people relate to each other online much the same as they do in physical communities.

Perseus Books · 1993
ISBN: 978-0-201-60870-0
ISBN-10: 0-201-60870-7

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Sam Williams: Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman’s Crusade for Free Software (2002)

30 March 2009, dusan

“Free as in Freedom interweaves biographical snapshots of GNU project founder Richard Stallman with the political, social and economic history of the free software movement. It examines Stallman’s unique personality and how that personality has been at turns a driving force and a drawback in terms of the movement’s overall success. “Free as in Freedom examines one man’s 20-year attempt to codify and communicate the ethics of 1970s era “hacking” culture in such a way that later generations might easily share and build upon the knowledge of their computing forebears. The book documents Stallman’s personal evolution from teenage misfit to prescient adult hacker to political leader and examines how that evolution has shaped the free software movement. Like Alan Greenspan in the financial sector, Richard Stallman has assumed the role of tribal elder within the hacking community, a community that bills itself as anarchic and averse to central leadership or authority. How did this paradox come about? “Free as in Freedom provides an answer. It also looks at how the latest twists and turns in the software marketplace have diminished Stallman’s leadership role in some areas while augmenting it in others. Finally, “Free as in Freedom examines both Stallman and the free software movement from historical viewpoint. Will future generations see Stallman as a genius or crackpot? The answer to that question depends partly on which side of the free software debate the reader currently stands and partly upon the reader’s own outlook for the future. 100 years from now, when terms such as “computer,” “operating system” and perhaps even “software” itself seem hopelessly quaint, will RichardStallman’s particular vision of freedom still resonate, or will it have taken its place alongside other utopian concepts on the ‘ash-heap of history?’

Published by O’Reilly, 2002
ISBN 0596002874, 9780596002879
225 pages

Key terms: GNU Project, Richard Stallman, Unix, Lisp Machine, Linus Torvalds, GNU Emacs, free software movement, AI Lab, operating system, hacker ethic, Free Software Foundation, Sun Microsystems, proprietary software, Steven Levy, GNU Manifesto, source code, Open Publication License, Eric Raymond, Minix, Napster

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