Retro Tech – “Silicon Valley Guy”


clip-on tie, computer, nerd, geek, code monkey

“The Official Silicon Valley Guy Handbook”
, written in 1983 by Patty Bell, Doug Myrland and Bob Glazar. As with most of my unusual finds, I found this in the bottom of a bin at an estate sale. This is one of the earliest tomes chronicling the rise of the code monkey. It’s a tongue in cheek instruction manual for living as and understanding the computer programmer in the early days of the computer age. It’s also one of the earliest examples of using computer hardware as a euphemism for reproductive organs that I’ve found. Overall, this book seems antiquated, since the terminology and in-jokes are mostly obsolete now. But it’s a fun read if you’re nostalgic for the early days, before 3 out of 10 high-school students knew at least some HTML.

More photos and illustrations from the book, after the break. Click images to enlarge.


One of about 90,000 illustrations from the early 80s depicting a PC as a superhero robot. I’ve seen hundreds of them over the years. And yes, most of them did indeed wear roller-skates.


“Hey Alan, can I have some of your popcorn?” Spock and the Enterprise poster… nice touch. I also like the three rows of soda cans being used to extend Ray Fifo’s cube walls.


I love 1980s illustrations. So many of them had a certain sloppy yet uber detailed feel to them. These illustrations are all signed, KSW, but the book has no illustration credit, so I have no idea who this was? I feel like I’ve seen this person’s stuff a hundred times, in all the Basic Programming books I had when I was a kid.

Zenner Mania? I realize this is some kind of inside joke from a bygone day, but I’d like to know what it refers to. Zener Diode? Accidental misspelling? Anyone wanna shed some light?

Author: jetpackjason

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