Accidental Empires, Chapter 5 — Role Models

altost1ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER FIVE

ROLE MODELS

This being the 1990s, the economy is shot to hell and we’ve got nothing much better to do, the personal computer industry is caught up in an issue called look and feel, which means that your computer software can’t look too much like my computer software or I’ll take you to court. Look and feel is a matter of not only how many angels can dance on the head of a pin but what dance it is they are doing and who owns the copyright.

Here’s an example of look and feel. It’s 1913, and we’re at the Notre Dame versus Army football game (this is all taken straight from the film Knute […]

The DARPA Way

Depending on who you are talking to there were several very different reasons why the Internet was created, whether it was military command and control (Curtis LeMay told me that), to create a new communication and commerce infrastructure (Al Gore), or simply to advance the science of digital communications (lots of people). But Bob Taylor says the Internet was created to save money. And since Bob Taylor was, more than anyone, the guy who caused the Internet to be created, well I’ll believe him.

Bob Taylor, probably best known for building and managing the Computer Systems Laboratory at XEROX PARC from which emerged advances including Ethernet, laser printing, and SmallTalk, was before that the DARPA program […]