I was saddened to hear this week that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen had died, aged 65, from complications due to the lymphoma which he had been battling since first being diagnosed with the disease in the early 1980s. I researched his life extensively for my book and felt that I got to know him a little, even though I’d never met him. Although he was not as well known as his friend and business partner Bill Gates, his contribution to the birth and early success of Microsoft was equally important, with Allen often taking the lead in the technology developments and business decisions that would propel Microsoft from start-up to giant corporation in under 15 years.
Like Gates, Allen was also a dedicated philanthropist and it will be a fitting memorial to see his enormous wealth being put to many good causes in the coming years.
In my last post on progress with the book (Only One More to Go) which I posted back in February, I mentioned that I was about to begin the final chapter and had set myself an ambitious target date for completion of 31 July this year. Well, that date has now passed but I’m not quite there yet.
With the home straight in sight, initial progress was indeed swift but work and summer holidays have gotten in the way in recent weeks, with the result that I’m still several weeks from completion. I’ve written just over 14,000 words out of an estimated total of around 17,000. I also have to finish the introduction to the book, which will require an additional 1,500 words or so, plus a much-needed edit of Chapter 10 which I’ve been working on intermittently over the past few months.
The final chapter, ‘Getting Personal – The World According to Wintel’, has been reasonably straightforward to write in comparison with the tortuous Chapter 12, helped along by the plentiful source material available for this part of the story. Unlike the other chapters, I’ve also lived through the entire period covered and have followed the events closely as they unfolded so I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to write from the outset.
The final chapter covers the emergence of the ‘Wintel’ platform in the 1980s and 1990s, and how a software company, Microsoft, came to dominate the industry. It also brings the story up to date by including the development of the World Wide Web, the ensuing Browser Wars and how the incredible advances in portable computing over the past decade have led to an explosion in the use of Information Technology throughout the developed world.
With the total word count already well over 200,000 words, it has not been possible to cover the development of portable computing devices in any detail. To do this topic justice would require an entire book. Therefore, if I can get The Story of the Computer published, this would be the perfect topic for my next book. Now all I need to do is find a willing publisher…