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"...engineers who didn't conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren't attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions"

Does "subdivisions" here mean subdivisions of HP? Why do the kids have anything to do with HP? If not subdivisions of HP, then what's the meaning of "subdivisions" here?

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We need more context. Do you have a link? –  wfaulk Aug 11 '11 at 4:53
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4 Answers

Without more context, I'd imagine that they're referring to housing subdivisions, which are basically preplanned neighborhoods, often in city suburbs.

The connotation is often that they are overly homogenized neighborhoods with no personalities of their own.

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This is a quote from the now released Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. Here's the full sentence with more context:

"There was the technology revolution that began with the growth of military contractors and soon included electronics firms, microchip makers, video game designers, and computer companies. There was a hacker subculture - filled with wireheads, phreakers, cyberpunks, hobbyists, and just plain geeks - that included engineers who didn't conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren't attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. ... There was the hippie movement, born out of the Bay Area's beat generation, and the rebellious political activists, born out of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley. Overlaid on it all were the various self-fulfillment movements pursuing paths to personal enlightenment: Zen and Hinduism, meditation and yoga, primal scream and sensory deprivation, Esalen and est."

The engineers and their children are plain geeks, just "normal" folk outside the hacker-world, and therefore know nothing of subdivisions or facets of hacker subculture.

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Subdivisions (as wfaulk said) refer to the bland "safe" cookie-cutter housing developments which their kids live in (chiefly because engineering companies like HP tend to locate out in the cheaper suburbs rather than near the center of metropolitan areas).

I think some lyrics (consider it poetry) from the Rush song Subdivisions probably say it better than I can.

Sprawling on the fringes of the city

In geometric order

An insulated border

In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown

Growing up it all seems so one-sided

Opinions all provided

The future pre-decided

Detached and subdivided in the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone.

Subdivisions -- In the high school halls

In the shopping malls

Conform or be cast out

Subdivisions -- In the basement bars

In the backs of cars

Be cool or be cast out

Any escape might help to smooth the unattractive truth

But the suburbs have no charms to soothe

the restless dreams of youth.

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But it is a bit condescending to assume all subdivisions have such bad qualities. –  GEdgar Aug 11 '11 at 23:24
@GEdgar - Well, the idea is to show the general perception of "subdivisions" that the quote in the OQ was going for. I think this does the job well. –  T.E.D. Aug 12 '11 at 13:33
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One of the meaning of subdivision is "an area of land divided into plots for sale; an area of housing."
It is referring to the area where many houses are built, and where people live in.

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