Halt and Catch Fire

I just finished watching the first episode of the new AMC show called Halt and Catch Fire.  The name comes from an old computer instruction which would stop the machine immediately.  The show follows a small Texas company trying to build IBM PC Clones.  The company and the people are fictitious, but it seems to…

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Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore, dies at age 83

Jack Tramiel was the founder of Commodore International which produced the Commodore 64 and the Amiga computers.  It was also the company that made the once ubiquitous 6502 processor which powered the Apple // and the Commodore 64.  The Commodore 64 was the best selling computer of all time and the Amiga (which came after…


Steve Jobs on the Value of Saying No

I ran across a great segment of Steve Jobs talking at the WWDC in 1997 just after he returned to Apple.  Similar to my post about pruning the decision tree, he speaks about the power of saying no to the bad ideas.  “Focusing is about saying no,” he says.  His analysis of what was wrong…


How much did Steve Jobs Mean To the Tech Industry?

  This picture says it all.  The front page of Hacker News is completely dominated by the news of Steve’s death.  Even as someone who never owned an Apple product, he had a huge influence and raised the bar.  Not just once, but at least 5 major products from him changed the state of the…


Alan Kay on User Interface Design

As part of the Berkeley Webcast project, a pair of presentations by Alan Kay (of Smalltalk fame) is available.  The presentation is from the early 1980s and discusses the development of user interface design from the 1960s onward.  If you ware into computer history at all, these are very interesting. Part 1 Part 2 The…

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Modern Computing Began 40 Years Ago Today

Modern computers all utilize the same user paradigms:  interactive computing, mouse, windows, hyperlinks, teleconferencing, etc.  Many people consider Xerox Parc to be the nest in which most of these concepts were born.  That is, afterall, where Steve Jobs got his inspiration for the Macintosh.  It is not where they were first conceived or even accomplished. …

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The MUD is 30 Years Old

Back before World of Warcraft or even Everquest there existed an entity called a MUD or Multi-User Dungeon.  These were a lot like today’s MMOs except that they were text-only interfaces.  Most of the concepts were the same.  Build a character, kill lots of bunnies/elves/etc. to grind out levels, get cool gear, group with your…

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A Little C= 64 Love

Here’s a fun one for the weekend.  A retrospective of the Commodore 64 and it’s place as a great game machine.  The C= 64 sold something like 17 million units and is, to this day, the single greatest selling computer model of all time.  My first computer was a Commodore 128 which was basically an…

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More Amiga History From Ars Technica

Ars just released another edition of its history of the Amiga series.  The first deals with the purchase of the Amiga by Commodore.  I’ll be updating this post as new articles in this edition are posted. Part 4 – Enter Commodore Part 5 – Postlaunch Blues

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iWozn’t Impressed

I just finished listening to the unabridged version of iWoz.  It’s basically the autobiography of Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.  I was hoping to get an understanding of the early days of Apple.  I’ve read several books on the subject but this is directly from someone who was there.  Alas, I was disappointed.  Less than a…

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