December 2011 Archives

The entire year 2011 went by and I never watched a single TV show. We had DirecTV with HD and when we moved we decided not to move the service. Oh, DirecTV tried to talk us into keeping it but they were not persuasive. Far more persuasive was the idea of no television at all, being free of all the noise, the ads, the endless flipping of channels.

A year has passed and I don't miss TV at all. I never think about it. I think about the book I am reading. I think about the book I just read. I think about the book I'm looking forward to reading next.

If you've contemplated cutting the cable, I encourage you to do it. You will not regret it.

Posted a long rambling article over at the MovieGoer blog entitled Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or, Why I Sit In the Front Row at the Movies.

Jack Goldman, 90, former Chief Scientist of Xerox and creator of what became Xerox PARC, died this week. John Markoff wrote the obit in the NY Times and there's a WIRED obit as well.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack on July 30, 2003, over the phone, as part of my research for my book on the history of the PLATO system. I uncovered a story Jack had intended to keep secret, that George Pake was not the actual first choice to be director of Xerox PARC, but rather, it was someone else. I have a chapter on PARC in my upcoming book, in which the decades-old secret will be revealed.

During the interview, I casually asked Goldman, who, remember, created Xerox PARC which would inspire Steve Jobs to pursue the GUI interface for Macintosh, what he used personally: PC, or Macintosh. Here was his reply, in 2003:

I use only Macintosh. If you came into my home, I have -- I still have, I never throw them out, I have a Macintosh, a Macintosh 500, a Macintosh Plus, a Power Macintosh, a PowerBook, and now I just got a new iMac, because I wanted a 17 inch screen, and the easiest way to get one was to get an iMac.

And there you have it. The creator of Xerox PARC, a Mac fanatic. I think Steve Jobs would get a chuckle out of that.
Take a moment, turn up the volume, and enjoy.


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The Friendly Orange Glow: The Story of the PLATO System and the Dawn of Cyberculture, by Brian Dear
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