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Copyright

Title: Artifacts
Author: Christine Finch
Publisher: MIT Press
Copyright: 2001
ISBN: 0262062240
Pages: 288
Price: $30.00
Rating: 75%

"Silicon Valley, a small place with few identifiable geologic or geographic features, has achieved a mythical reputation in a very short time." -- book jacket of Artifacts.

So one wonders why in heaven's name Finn chose to write about the myths and ignore the realities of Silicon Valley. One supposes that multimillionaire tech workers and geek-legends might be more glamorous than the small lives of the other 90% of the population. But then, it can also be supposed that this is the way archeology works. First they dig up the Coliseums and the Monticellos and then when there is nothing grand and exciting left to find, they finally get to the brothels and the slave quarters. Finn notes that "there is tech and non-tech." Indeed.

For almost the whole of Artifacts, Finn visits sites related to the recent technology boom. It is surprising how much has degraded during that time. The pieces and parts of the early computer age are largely not preserved. That is kind of sad considering that we entered the information age through the birth canal of the computer. Here we are, fifty years later and we've already lost a piece of our culture. We are not even far enough past the era to be able to gauge the importance of what we've lost. It's almost as if Luddites had been given the job of curating the museum of the industrial revolution.

All in all, Artifacts is insightful into the superficial top ten percent of the silly valley. Perhaps if the slim volume had been a tiny bit thicker, Finn might have delved past the "oh yes, we're happy making peanuts and living umpty-nine people in a hovel that costs a quarter of a million dollars," answers she got from regular working people of Silicon Valley. But the volume remains thin, and in some ways, that's good. It was not a particularly scintillating read, but the information isn't bad... for what it is.

M. E. Tyler's work has appeared in national magazines and high-profile web sites. A former software developer, Tyler has an eclectic technical background, programming for both the Mac and Windows and working as a Web site developer. Tyler was the ebook review editor for ForeWord Magazine and the editor-in-chief for ForeWord Reviews, and is the regular book review columnist for Writer's Exchange and for eBook Web. Tyler owns Private Ice Publications, a niche publishing house dedicated to publishing the best sports fiction for women.