Started this from a paper copy from the library; finished it on my Kindle.
Interesting memoir of a woman who grew up around various computing projects. Interesting viewpoints on history and changes the landscape has gone through. I could've done without some of her personal biases. On some subjects (like lamenting the replacement of a natural green park with a sterile, mostly-concrete one), it wasn't a big deal, but when someone comes out pretty vocally against core beliefs of mine, especially faith, it's a quick turn-off for the whole book.
I actually stalled on this one for quite awhile and probably would have abandoned it, had I not seen it sitting there at 80% done. Figuring I had sunk enough time into the book, I finished it.
I only highlighted two sections of the book. One was about disintermediation, the process of removing the middle man:
All those who stand in the middle of a transaction, whether financial or intellectual: out! Brokers and agents and middlemen of every description: goodbye! Travel agents, real-estate agents, insurance agents, stockbrokers, mortgage brokers, consolidators, and jobbers-all the scrappy percentniks who troll the bywaters of capitalist exchange-who needs you? All those hard-striving immigrants climbing their way into the lower middle class through the penny-ante deals of capitalism, the transfer points too small for the big guys to worry about-find yourself some other way to make a living. Small retailers and store clerks, salespeople of every kind-a hindrance, idiots, not to be trusted. Even the professional handlers of intellectual goods, anyone who sifts through information, books, paintings, knowledge, selecting and summing up-librarians, book reviewers, curators, disk jockeys, teachers, editors, analysts-why trust anyone but yourself to make judgments about what is more or less interesting, valuable, authentic, or worthy of your attention? No one, no professional interloper, is supposed to come between you and your desires, which, according to this idea, are nuanced, difficult to communicate, irreducible, and, most of all, unique.
The web did not cause disintermediation, but it is what we call an "enabling technology": a technical breakthrough taht takes a difficult task and makes it suddenly doable, easy; it opens the door to change, which then comes in an unconsidered, breathless rush.
Similarly, later in the book:
The starkest and most terrifying description of this fulcrum movement comes from the media-and-technology critic Douglas Rushkoff, who wrote: "Uber's drivers are the R&D for Uber's driverless future. They are spending their labor and capital investments (cars) on their own future unemployment."