Meet the People Who Make Your World

After ten years of conducting interviews with many of the greatest innovators in modern technology, I'm proud to offer these discussions as no one has ever seen them before. When these talks first appeared in CPU magazine, they had to be sliced down for space. But now, thanks to ebooks, I've been able to go back to the source material and replace the gems and fascinating tangents that were formerly lost. Moreover, most interviewees have generously contributed follow-up discussions.

These people aren't locked in the past. They're still here, still changing the world, and (usually) still giving us glimpses showing that the best is yet to come. I'll share some great passages from the "Architects of Tomorrow" series below. If you like what you see, grab the complete books here:

Good reading, and prepare to be inspired!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aaaand We're Live! AoT Volume 2 Now on Kindle

At last! My latest ebook, "Architects of Tomorrow, Volume 2," is now live on Amazon. As with Volume 1, you'll find well over 50,000 words of in-depth Q&A with some of the most influential figures from the world of computing technology. The lineup for Volume 2 spans:

Nolan Bushnell, Founder Of Atari
David “Dadi” Perlmutter, Godfather Of The Modern Processor
Shari Steele, Executive Director & President Of The EFF
Jon S. von Tetzchner, Co-Founder & CEO Of Opera Software
Gordon Bell: Inventor, Minicomputer Designer & Microsoft Researcher
Peter Rojas, Co-Founder Of Gizmodo & Engadget
Mark Re, Seagate’s Senior Vice President of Research
Tim Westergren, Founder Of Pandora
Jaron Lanier, Virtual Reality Pioneer
Noel Lee, Founder Of Monster Cable
Ken Huang, Father Of The Small Form Factor PC
Professor Kevin Warwick, The World’s First Cyborg

Available exclusively on Amazon's Kindle platform -- and only $1.99! At that price, why not gift a couple as stocking stuffers? We're just in time! :-)

Architects 2 -- Uploading to Amazon Now!

At last! It's been a bit of a slog getting final editorial sign-off, but at last, "Architects of Tomorrow, Volume 2" is now converting into Amazon's Kindle system. I'll be double-checking the formatting this morning and return soon with the published link. Also, for the next couple of days, I'll be leaving the pricing for Volume 1 at $2.99, but then I'll raise it to $3.99 until further notice. So if you've been on the fence about picking up Volume 1 or gifting it for the holidays, don't wait!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Glowing Review From Down Under

I'd like to offer a great "thank you!" to Isobelle Clare, a nominee for the Sydney Writers' Centre's Best Australian Blogs 2011. I just found her recent review of "Architects of Tomorrow, Volume 1," and would like to share it with you:

Back when my family first encountered the excitement of dial-up internet, I took up knitting. This was back when loading a single website could take five full minutes or more. Starting at the little eggtimer was just as frustrating then as it is now, so knitting at least kept me busy in those interminable pauses.
I was thinking those early days as I read Architects of Tomorrow by William Van Winkle. Some of the interviews collected in the book date back to that period, while others are more recent. The thing that they have in common is that all of the interviewees are in one way or another, pioneers in the technology field. From gaming to processors to personal computers to services such as Smashwords, these were people with a vision of where technology would take us. One thing I particularly like in the book is that Van Winkle has gone back to the interviewees in the past year, asking them which of their predictions have come true and what their new vision for the future is, given the exponential speed at which technology is now developing. While it’s a form of guessing game, it is made up of educated guesses by some of the smartest minds in the business, so all of their comments are well worth reading.
As a book, I think the collection holds up well. I’m not a reader of CPU Magazine, where the articles originally appeared, and I’m fairly sure I don’t fall into the target readership either. Some of the interviews were a little heavy on the technical details or of limited interest to the general reader. However, Van Winkle’s interviewing style is full of enthusiasm and he doesn’t presume a great deal of technical knowledge. I do think that there were perhaps too many interviews in the collection – as a book, I think it may have been more satisfying if some of the weaker interviews were cut out.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book, and I’ll probably buy Volume 2 as it comes out – perhaps not to read cover to cover as a whole, but to dip into now and again. Many people ask “What’ll they think of next?” and it’s the interviewees in Architects of Tomorrow who are most likely to have the answers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bring On the Bushnell!

It's official. "Architechts of Tomorrow, Volume 2" just went off to my editors at "CPU" magazine for their feedback and (hopefully) approval. Only a little bit of formatting left to go, and then almost 55,000 words of amazing, new interviews with a dozen of computing's brightest minds will be available for the ridiculously low price of 99 cents. More on that later.

For now, I leave you with this tidbit from Atari founder Nolan Bushnell:

CPU: I spent probably one-quarter of my grade school years connected to [an Atari] 2600. So being a parent and having seen an entire generation of kids like me intoxicated with consoles, do you feel there’s such a thing as excessive or counterproductive gaming?

Bushnell: Absolutely. In fact, there’s some pretty good evidence that excessive game play is not good for kids, but moderate game playing is extremely good for kids. You find kids are much better problem solvers. They’ve shown some actual jumps in measured IQ for game players. But if they start exceeding two hours a day, then you see a serious drop off in other knowledge acquisition. I think that it may in fact drop kids’ curiosity factors and their patience. I try very hard to limit my kids to two hours.

CPU: Do you succeed?

Bushnell: Intermittently.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazon Reviewer Arth Denton Strikes Again

I just wanted to give a shout out to top-ranking Amazon review Arth Denton, who voluntarily plugged "Architects of Tomorrow" in a recent press interview. Check out his other eclectic selections. I'm gonna have to jump on those Twain titles soon. And off the record, a humble extra thanks to Mr. Denton for allowing me to see my book mentioned in the same sentence with a national bestseller ("The Hunger Games"). That really made my day.

Stay tuned for some blog overhaul within the next couple of weeks. I finished "Architects of Tomorrow, Volume 2" over the weekend and will be providing plenty of new content here soon!

Monday, July 18, 2011

BigAl Weighs In On "Architects"

BigAl's Books and Pals specializes in reviews of ebooks, and Kindle titles in particular. BigAl is also an Amazon Top 100 reviewer, and I feel very fortunate that he took the time to read my book. The fact that he gave it the following glowing review is just icing on the cake!


Oregonian William Van Winkle has over twenty years of involvement in the personal computer industry, the last fourteen as a journalist. For more, visit his blog.


For almost ten years William Van Winkle has interviewed some of the most influential people in science and technology for CPU (Computer Power User) Magazine. This book is a collection of twenty-five of those interviews, some old and some recent. Each also has additional information that catches up on what the interviewee has done since, updates some of the things discussed, or provides predictions or further insights from the interview subject. Two additional volumes are planned.



As someone who has been involved in technology my entire working life and who considers himself well read on many of these subjects, I was amazed at the breadth of topics covered and how much I learned. Van Winkle’s interviews even extracted new information from the interview subjects I thought I knew all about. 

The only negative I found was the propensity of some of the interviewees to use acronyms and jargon in their answers. Obviously, Van Winkle couldn’t control how his subjects answered the questions. Given the breadth of subjects discussed, many readers may find a section on a subject they’re interested in requires additional research to translate the jargon. However, most sections should be understandable to the majority of readers with a basic knowledge of computers and the internet.

There were three sections of particular interest to avid readers of e-books. The interviews with Mark Coker, the founder of the e-book distribution company Smashwords, and Bob Young, co-founder of Red Hat (a software company) and (more important for us) founder of LuLu Publishing, give their thoughts on publishing and e-books. I also thought the 2003 interview with Esther Dyson (the “First Lady of the Internet”) was especially interesting when she was talking about the music industry and its difficulties at the time. Her comments seem to apply to the publishing industry today.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When Hacking Leads to War

According to the BBC, the U.S. is set to make military retaliation an option in the face of cyber-attacks. This follows the hacking last month of top-tier defense contractor Lockheed Martin. While on one hand Washington notes this being a "last resort" measure, The Wall Street Journal quoted one military official as saying, "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks."

With the rise of tactical hacking against government-related interests on the rise around the world, this is no small matter. One need only recall 9/11 and the resulting Patriot Act to realize that attacks, whether real or virtual, that lead to military action can also have a direct impact on civil rights.

With eerie prescience, I touched on this matter with Amit Yoran, the first director of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division. An excerpt is below, but you can read the whole interview in Architects of Tomorrow.

CPU: So are we in a state of cyber war?

Yoran: There is a high volume of cyber threats and attacks going on, but I’m cautious to use phrases like “cyber war” and “cyber terrorism.” When you do, you not only have a strong emotional connotation, but it also brings in a certain legal frame of reference—Title 10, the Department of Defense, and other constructs that may or may not make sense for a lot of cyber activities.

CPU: You’re saying, “Don’t make the problem bigger than it is, otherwise you might wind up losing some of the liberties you currently enjoy.”

Yoran: Exactly. If everyone believes that’s the right term and frame of reference—a “cyber war”— then perhaps they will believe that the Department of Defense is the best way for the United States to protect itself.  I don’t believe that’s the best outcome for us.