A Chronology of Tech History by Tom Merritt
Published February 20, 2013
- Author Tom Merritt
I’m a big fan of Tom Merritt’s podcasting work, particularly as part of the dream team with Molly Wood, but also on the TWiT network. He’s professional, super smart and explains tech things without being patronising. Yay! So, I was intrigued by the book, clearly born from a simple love of all things tech. I recall a Tech History Today podcast that I lost track of, but the book no doubt came from there.
So, it’s a simple premise, a wander through the annals of technology and science as they gradually moved on from the early days BC to the very current hyperfast developments. Tom explains his aim was to pick two or three things for each day of the year, and then they are arranged chronologically, so there’s no set rhyme or reason to how many posts each year/decade gets (except that, naturally, the more current you get, the more there are!)
Each entry is just a short statement or two, assigned to a date, sometimes with a small comment from Tom as well. Occasionally these are a bit inside jokey and I don’t always get it, but it makes the book feel more personal so that’s not a complaint. I think my only real concern was some odd formatting here and there, a few inconsistencies. Having released my own books though, I know it isn’t easy!
There are plenty of things you’ll know about, landing on the moon, Steve Jobs, the birth of the internet, but there are also some intriguing things to learn. I particularly enjoyed the note about how santa-tracking via NORAD came into being.
Overall, it’s not a reference book I’m going to remember, although it could be useful to refer back to in future. What it is, however, is a romp through tech history that pointed out some things I might want to learn more about. It also is a stark reminder of just how far we’ve come, and all the giants that came before with the widest of shoulders for us to stand on.