|Title: Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age
Author: James Essinger
Publisher: ALBA TRAYECTOS
Review: 150 years after Ada’s Lovelace death, a well-known computer program was named Ada, after the one and only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron. Her crucial, but often forgotten, contribution was acknowledge in first place by mathematicians such as Alan Turing. Nowadays her work is considered groundbreaking in the digital age.
Her mother, Annabella Milbanke, abandoned her husband in 1816. In her determination of moving her daughter away from ‘Byron craziness’, Ada received a really strict education focused on Mathematics in order to avoid giving free rein to his imagination.
However, the young girl was already thinking about the flying machine at thirteen. At nineteen Ada knew Charles Babbage, designer of The Analytical Engine (a really sophisticate calculator), and she saw the endless possibilities of this new discovery. Her contribution was vital, in fact, as long as she was the one who distinguished between data and processing, an essential knowledge in computer science.
James Essinger narrates in a detailed and entertaining manner the circumstances and development of this unusual talent flourishing in the middle of the parental fears of her stubborn mother and the legacy of her fiery father. An intimate portrait of the short but remarkable life of Ada Lovelace framed in the context of London high-class society in the nineteenth century.
|Title: The Thilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage|
Author: James Gleick
Publisher: Editorial UOC
Review: The most dynamic duo in Victorian London: Charles Babbage, the accidental inventor of the computer and his colleague Ada, countess of Lovelace, a peculiar proto-programmer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace transcribed Babbage’s construction plans for a huge analytical engine machine back in 1842, she added notes three times longer than the original text. Their notes contain the first appearance of the general theory of computing, one hundred years before the real first computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer ten years later after her work was published, and Babbage’s machines were never built.
|Title: From the Abacus to the Digital Revolution
Author: Vicenç Torra
Publisher: RBA LIBROS
Review: Throughout its own development, calculation tools were always the result of culture specific numbering systems and available technologies at the time. From prehistorical calculation to Roman abacus, and from Arabian algorithms to the very first calculator, history of calculation is also, to a large extent, history of numbering systems. At the end of this evolutionary process, we find computers and informatics, which were developed with the same purpose: to achieve computer tools more and more powerful in order to perform more complex calculations. Through history the evolution of calculation tools leads us from Babylon to Alexandria, from Rome to China, from Egypt to India, and over the centuries we find Ramón Llull, Charles Babbage, Turing and his Colossus…until the current computer which is already part of our daily environment.
Title: The Innovators. How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
|Original Title: Une histoire de l’informatique
Author: Philippe Breton
Review: How IT was born? How we have passed through Ancient dreams about fantastic creatures to such an extraordinary evolution of contemporary computers? How and how much present-day culture has change? Philippe Breton tries to find the answer to this and some other questions through a global approach to history of this technique, and a rigorous analysis of social and ethic risks that it involves. It is written for all sectors of society, it covers both technical questions from newcomer readers worried about the impact of new technology, and also concerns from the specialist who ignores his own assimilation process inside modern society. Philippe Breton is an investigator inside the Scientific Researcher and Study Group of the Louis Pasteur University Strasbourg I, he is also Computer History lecturer at Strasbourg II University as well as consultant in Communications Department at the Quebec University in Montreal.
Title: From Euclid to Java
|Title: Breaking Codes. Life and Legacy of Turing.
Author: Manuel de León y Ágata Timón
Review:This book attempts both to draw the life of British mathematician Alan Mathison Turing, and going over his major achievements. Alan Turing was certainly one of the most brilliant Scientifics of 20th century, and his work laid the foundations of what we know today as informatics. Turing was a decisive figure in WWII, since the end of the conflict was accelerated by his cryptographic work, he breached the security of German communication breaking the codes of Enigma machines. His life was not made any easier by the fact that he was a homosexual. He was pursued and condemned for his sexuality, which clashed with strict moral codes of British society at that time. To this day, his tragic death by poisoning remains an unsolved mystery.
Title: Turing’s Cathedral
|Original Title: Ocho Quilates (Una historia de la Edad de Oro del software español (1983-1986)) (I)
Author: Jaume Esteve Gutiérrez
Publisher: STAR-T MAGAZINE BOOKS
Review: Did you know that twenty years ago Spain was one of the main videogame powers in Europe? “Ocho Quilates, Una historia de la Edad de Oro del software español (1983-1986) (I)” is an overview over the origins of Spanish videogame industry in times of 8-bits.You may remember the 80s as the years of Nocilla sandwich after school, Naranjito, The A-Team and Mecano. But 80s was also an historical point in videogame’s world. It was the time when they started to evolve into the huge beast that we know today thanks to 8-bits microcomputers as ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, or Commodore 64. Surrounding this technological mess a beardless bunch of young men (and some just a little older) built up a nonexistent industry at that time. Companies such as Dinamic, ERBE, Made in Spain, Opera and Topo won a place in the hearts of an entire generation of Spaniards who found that computers were more than a tool to do their homework. If your hair stands on end when you hear talking about La Abadía del Crimen, Navy Moves, Mad Mix Game, Livingstone, Supongo, La Aventura Original, Abu Simbel Profanation, Silent Shadow, Sir Fred, La Pulga, Mot, Lorna, El Misterio del Nilo, After the War, Emilio Butragueño o Fernando Martín. Or if tears come to your eyes when someone mentions Afteroids, Army Moves, Fred, Goody, Desperado, Narco Police, Risky Woods, Rocky, Perico Delgado, Humphrey o París – Dakar, welcome, you are at home.
Original Title: Ocho Quilates (Una historia de la Edad de Oro del software español (1987-1992)) (II)
|Original Title: Obsequium. Un relato cultural, tecnológico y emocional de La Abadía del Crimen
Author: Jaume Esteve Gutiérrez
Publisher: OCHO QUILATES
Review: There is no game from the Golden Era of Spanish software which stirs debate more than The Abbey of Crime, and Obsequium was written in order to provide its followers – and why not? Also its detractors -, enough elements to be able to study this game from different approaches. What was the background when the game was launched? Was it a good adaptation of The Name of the Rose? Why Juan Decán fought so hard to include this controversial camera system? Was the code set by Paco Menéndez a brilliant idea or a nonsense in binary code? How was it received by the press? And among gamers? How far has come its legacy in videogames and social fields? These and other questions will be discussed here. This book was coordinated by Jaume Esteve, also José Manuel Braña Álvarez, Enrique Colinet, José Manuel Fernández, Antonio Giner, José Antonio Morales, Juan Manuel Moreno, Manuel Pazos y José Luis Sanz have contributed to the elaboration of the text.
Title: The Man Who Knew Too Much. Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer