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 […]

Father’s Day

Mom & DadToday was Father’s Day in the USA and that white-haired guy in the picture was my father. It’s the last picture I have of him, taken a few months before he died, ironically on my birthday. I was expecting a call, just not that call. That was in 1991. I had an InfoWorld column due that day and I wrote it, as I recall, about him. They indulged me.

We men spend our lives alternately emulating our fathers and rebelling against them, a process I was surprised to see lasts long after death. They give us their faces: certainly you can see a lot of him in me, though his face is mooshed a bit from landing a […]

The nose knows

pew!We call it The Red Devil — a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee V-8 I bought online earlier this year mainly to pull a trailer filled with airplane parts. But perhaps we should have named it Stinky, because that’s what this column is all about. When buying something on the Internet, how can you make sure it doesn’t smell terrible?

You can’t.

I should have known. The price was too low, the pictures too good, but the seller had sold hundreds of cars online and boasted a 100 percent satisfaction rating. So did I, but my 82 transactions had taken 13 years to accumulate.

When the car arrived it looked great but it smalled like a thousand mice had been camping […]

Cole Cringely on his ninth birthday


I am Cole Cringely

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I wonder how to code Mojang applications.

I hear water splashing on the seashore.

I see happiness in the air.

I want superpowers.

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I pretend I am flying on the swing.

I feel scared of bridges.

I touch the center of the Earth.

I worry about earthquakes.

I cry when I get insulted.

I am an ambitious boy who likes to code Java.

I understand the meaning of life.

I, Cringely version 3.01

cringley media logoToday is my 60th birthday. When I came to Silicon Valley I was 24. It feels at times like my adult life has paralleled the growth and maturation of the Valley. When I came here there were still orchards. You could buy cherries, fresh from the fields, right on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. Apricot orchards surrounded Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, where I flew in those early days because hangars were already too expensive in Palo Alto. My first Palo Alto apartment rented for $142 per month and I bought my first house there for $47,000. I first met Intel co-founder Bob Noyce when we were both standing in line at […]