Remembering Bob Taylor

2013_robert_taylorBob Taylor, who far more than Al Gore had a claim to being the Father of the Internet, died from complications of Parkinson’s Disease last Thursday at 85. Though I knew him for 30 years, I can’t say I knew Bob well but we always got along and I think he liked me. Certainly I respected him for being that rarity — a non-technical person who could inspire and lead technical teams. He was in a way a kinder, gentler Steve Jobs.

Bob’s career seemed to have three phases — DARPA, XEROX, and DEC — and three technical eras — mainframes, local area network (workgroup) computing, and the Internet.

At DARPA […]

Ken Olsen and post-industrial computing

Digital Equipment Corporation founder and longtime CEO Ken Olsen died this week at 84. I never met Ken Olsen, but I have a sense of him through his products. The first computer I ever programmed was a PDP-1 accessed over an old TTY terminal from my junior high school. At one point in the 1980s I owned a PDP-8 I bought as salvage and installed in my California cellar. Not only did that old PDP-8 give me many hours of fun as I brought it back to life, it also heated my bungalow! So when I think of Ken Olsen, I think of industrial-strength computers.

Avram Miller did know Ken Olsen and has a recollection of […]