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Analysis / Halt and Catch Fire

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Cameron Howe: Character Study

The thing that comes into full flower in Season 4, and which sheds further light on her problems in Seasons 1 - 3 of Halt and Catch Fire, is that she can't recognize that "perfect" is the enemy of "good".

The first sign we see of this is when she helps code a specialized OS for the Giant, but it needs hefty computing power and is ill-suited to the generally corporate nature of portable computer use in the 1980s. In order to make it marketable, Cardiff Electric has to strip the OS and market the Giant as a straight IBM clone capable of running PC-DOS or MS-DOS. Cameron reacts very badly to this, having a near Heroic BSoD over the last-minute change.

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Then, in the second and third seasons, the Mutiny BBS becomes Cameron's new pride and joy, and her increasing unwillingness to compromise on certain aspects of the BBS's development and usage creates friction with her subordinates and with Donna. In particular, her increasing insistence on perfecting Mutiny collides with Donna's own increasing insistence that Mutiny can bring in new funds with an IPO.

In season 4, she misses critical chances to help leverage mNET's (Later Calnect's) chances of evolving past being an ISP by insisting on perfecting the browser as well as her video game. In particular, her game - as she envisions it - is a perfect thing, but because she made it so "perfect", it was incomprehensible to anyone but her, and the game flops badly after an advance copy gets reviewed by Electronic Gaming Monthly.

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