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Hi, I'm Bob Cringely - and I'm here to tell you the incredible story
of how personal computers took over the world.
Why am I telling you this at a basketball game? Well, I like
the game - but mainly it's because of that guy down there.
His name is Paul Allen and everything you see here belongs to him
-- the Portland Trailblazer's basketball team, their arena,
even the dancers.
Thanks to personal computers, he has $8 billion to spend
on such toys.
Twenty years ago Allen and his high school friend, Bill Gates,
were running a two-man software company called Microsoft.
Today Allen is richer than God and Gates is richer than Allen.
Twenty years ago, young men like Paul Allen and Bill Gates
invented the personal computer
and in doing so launched a revolution that's changed the way
we live, work and communicate.
It's hard to believe that twenty years ago there were
no personal computers,
now it's the third largest industry in the world, somewhere
between energy production and illegal drugs
but the most amazing thing of all is that it happened by accident
because a bunch of disenfranchised nerds wanted to
impress their friends.
This is the story of how a handful of guys launched an
industrial revolution.
How they changed the culture of business, how they made history.
I feel incredibly lucky to be at exactly the right place in Silicon Valley,
at exactly the right time historically where this invention has,
has taken form.
It wasn't like we both thought it was going to go a long ways,
it was like, we'll both do it for fun
and even though we're goin' to lose some money probably
we'll just have been able to say we had a company.
Now all of us would get together and just hope we were right
that the PC would become a big thing.
You know I stop and say wow the PC really has become part of the
very fabric of the way people live
and we certainly surged with it. I used to stop and say
hmmm pretty incredible ride.
Most of these people come from the place I call home,
the Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, California.
Growing-up here near the electronics companies
that give the place its name,
these founders of the PC revolution were for the most part
middle class white kids from good suburban homes.
But it's not their homes we're interested in -- it's their garages.
This is my garage and this is all my junk.
I'm probably one of the few guys in Silicon Valley who
actually has room in his garage for a car,
most everyone else seems to use theirs to start
computer companies and create great fortunes,
but I don't have a fortune - I'm a failure, I've written
computer programmes that almost ran and I've designed
and built hardware devices that frankly didn't work at all
but I'm the ideal guy to tell the story of the personal computer
business because I'm its premier gossip columnist and
everyone tells me all their secrets.
And this is my home where I write a gossip column for a
computing magazine.
Sorry about the mess.
Institutions in constant change like the PC industry are driven
by rumor and gossip and I thrive on both.
My electronic mail address is deluged with inside information
about everything from product flaws to who's sleeping with whom.
What ties these gossipers together is a desire for truth.
These people and their love of technology have fueled
the PC revolution.
To understand them is to understand that revolution.
So let's go find some.
Meet Edwin Chin on a Saturday morning at the Weird Stuff Warehouse.
This could be 1976 or 1996 because there is always a new
generation of techies like Edwin
who hear the calling. Most other kids are watching TV,
but not Edwin.
You know I've been interested in electronics and technology
as a hobby since I started when I was like six or seven you know.
How old are you now, Edwin?
- Ten, right now.
It's no coincidence that the only woman in the vicinity looks bored,
because this is a boy thing -- the obsession of a

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