THE SUPERMEN

THE STORY OF SEYMOUR CRAY AND THE TECHNICAL WIZARDS BEHIND THE SUPERCOMPUTER

The name Cray is to the computer world what Ferrari is to the automotive world: a synonym for sheer speed and engineering bravado. Here's the story of the man behind the name, from Murray, a senior editor at Design News. Seymour Cray was among the young WW II vets who found an engineering job at Minnesota-based ERA, one of the companies that grew up in response to the continuing military demand for advanced computers. He was almost immediately recognized as a genius. Cray combined a quick grasp of theory with the willingness to sit and hard-wire his own circuits. It was his recognition, in 1954, that transistor technology allowed both greater speed and reliability that catapulted him into the front rank of industrial genius. Moving to the newly founded Control Data Company, at age 35 Cray produced the CDC 1604, the fastest machine ever built. Impatient with the corporate rituals of meetings, lunches, and political maneuvering, Cray soon moved CDC's research facilities to Chippewa Falls, Minn., and continued to design faster and faster machines. His design philosophy was unique: He insisted on building every new computer from the ground up, while resisting the temptation to base his designs on untried technology. Eventually his independence led him away from CDC to found Cray Research. The Cray 1, the first computer to adopt integrated-circuit technology, became the instant standard by which all other machines were judged. But by 1989, Cray's maverick ways led him to split from his own company, searching for even faster and better computers. By then, though, the loss of Cold War funding had changed the economic landscape; there were no longer customers willing to pay whatever it cost to get the fastest possible machine. The Cray 4, his last completed design, never reached the marketplace. Murray tells the story of Cray compellingly, and few readers will be able to close the book without a regret at the passing of an age when such independent giants could rule the world. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 1997

ISBN: 0-471-04885-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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