Doug Engelbart, visionary

EngelbartGeniuses can be found on every street corner in Silicon Valley, but visionaries are much less common. Geniuses are good at completing tasks while visionaries are the first to recognize tasks that need completion. And of all the visionaries none were greater or had a longer range view than Doug Engelbart, who died last night at age 88.
To most people who recognize his name Doug Engelbart was the inventor of the computer mouse but he was much, much more than that. In addition to the mouse and the accompanying chord keyboard, Doug invented computer time sharing, network computing, graphical computing, the graphical user interface and (with apologies to Ted Nelson) hypertext links. And he invented all […]

Computer History Day — Part 2

I forget sometimes that my kids are as young as they are. And I’m also in the habit of packing as many interviews into a day as I can. Both of which explain why Computer History Day was both a success and a failure.

We made it on time to breakfast with Steve Wozniak, who very wisely arrived with magic tricks to entertain the kids. All of the carefully rehearsed questions for Woz were instantly forgotten, but we did come away having mastered a couple really good card tricks.

I did learn one new thing (at least new to me) from Woz. Steve Jobs told me in Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview that Woz had been thrown out […]

By |March 24th, 2012|2012|23 Comments

Computer History Day — Part 1

This week my kids are off school for Spring Break. Daytona and Cabo are out of the question for three caballeros ages 10, 7, and 5, but day trips around the Bay Area to learn about this or that are easy. Tuesday it’s San Francisco to learn all about the cable car system for Channing’s report on that topic. And Wednesday will be Computer History Day for the Cringelys.

It’s a no brainer for us to visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. That fabulous facility happens to be run by John Hollar, the guy who hired me in 1997 to write for pbs.org. My kids have never been there. But to make […]

By |March 18th, 2012|2012|113 Comments