Brad Feld

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Book Review: Nightwork

Feb 19, 2005
Category Books

I spent seven years of my life at MIT.  I ended up with two degrees, an addiction to caffeine, the ability to do several things at once even when massively sleep deprived, a deep understanding of the phrase IHTFP, and an appreciation for a good hack.

I’ve spent the last two days in Cambridge and Boston showing my 15 year old nephew Drew the sights.  We wandered around MIT, hung out at the Media Lab, got some demos from several of the researchers being sponsored by the Deshpande Center (and got to play with powered joint braces and the HexFlex nanomanipulator), ate lunch at the Other Side Cafe and breakfast at Sonsie, counted the Smoots on the Mass Ave Bridge (ok – Harvard Bridge), shopped at The Coop, ate dinner at Legal Seafoods, hung out in the Museum of Science, checked out the new Stata Center (Dr. Seuss would be proud), visited my fraternity (ADP), saw the location of my first office (Feld Technologies – 875 Main Street, Cambridge), wandered past NetGenesis’ first offices (56 Rogers Street, Cambridge), and walked the Infinite Corridor.  It’s been a blast playing tour guide, revisiting some of my old favorite spots, hanging out with Drew, and starting to teach him how to program computers in Logo.

We tried to take a quick trip to New York to see The Gates today, but Logan was completely screwed up, all the computers at the Delta and US Airways Shuttle were down, the lines were 100’s of people long, and – well – it just wasn’t going to happen. 

So – we did more MIT, eventually picking up a copy of Nightwork, the definitive book on the history of hacking at MIT.  I remembered a couple of the hacks, including the infamous Harvard / Yale game that MIT won and the police car on the dome. The book is 40% pictures, 40% commentary on hacks, and 20% essays – and is a delight for anyone that’s either been involved with MIT in any way (including being on the receiving end of a hack) or finds hacking amusing.  It’s an easy read – and well worth being a coffee table book.

Maybe someone hacked the Delta and US Airways computers.  Or – maybe they are just incompetent.