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 […]

Snowden and the NSA reflect a millennial climate change

mt_snowdonSnowdon (not Snowden) is the name of the tallest mountain in Wales and while by Swiss or Colorado standards it may not seem like much the weather on Snowdon is unpredictable and has taken many lives. I climbed Snowdon as a schoolboy with my class and that day on the mountain another school group was lost in a blizzard and some boys died. This is what first came to mind when I heard about National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaking documents and fleeing to Hong Kong. Like his namesake mountain, this Snowden is trouble for those who are overconfident or unwary.

I’ve written about this general topic many times over the years and doing a […]

Things are looking up for Google Glass

GoogleGlassRemember when Bluetooth phone headsets came along and suddenly there were all these people loudly talking to themselves in public? Schizoid behavior became, if not cool, at least somewhat tolerable. Well expect the same experience now that Google Glass is hitting the street, because contrary to nearly any picture you can find of the thing, when you actually use it most of your time is spent looking up and to the right, where the data is. I call it the Google Gaze.

Only time will tell how traffic courts will come to view Google Glass, but having finally tried one I suspect it may end up on that list of things we’re supposed to drive without.

Another suspicion […]

The Decline & Fall of IBM

That’s a pretty dramatic headline, don’t you think? It’s also the title of an eBook about IBM I will put on sale here about six weeks from now. IBM is in trouble, you see, serious trouble caused primarily by executive corrosion from within. Not only did Big Blue miss its earnings target last quarter for the first time in years, if the rumors I am hearing are correct the company’s primary response will be to screw U.S. employees even more than they have already.

The rumor I’ve heard is that IBM, which not long ago changed its 401K contribution policy to push what had been a biweekly payment into an annual one right at the end of the year, may have […]

The terahertz revolution and local security

lenscraftersIf you were able to get through to yesterday’s column between server crashes perhaps you noticed the very first reader comment, which wasn’t about mobile phones or marathons at all, but about my promise to in this column discuss new anti-terrorism technology.  Here, if you missed it, is his comment:

“Is yesterday going to be an excuse to ban pressure cookers? I’m fed up with the government. Money has been shoveled by the barge load onto the ‘security issue’ and we have nothing to show for it except the union thug goons that feel us up at the airport and a severe loss of personal and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. I suggest we disband these futile efforts […]