• Issue #31: English Language,  Library

    Jef Raskin

    It is a fairly well-known, but perhaps not broadly appreciated, fact that Apple's Macintosh could have been a very different computer. Sometimes known as the father of the Mac, sometimes as its eccentric uncle, the project was originally under the direction of computer scientist Jef Raskin. He managed to avoid Steve Jobs's ire for a while by not telling Jobs about the project, but after the Lisa failed and with Woz recovering from a plane crash, Steve needed something to do and checked in on what the former director of the documentation group was up to.

  • Issue #30: Home Office,  Library

    Gerald Weinberg

    Some books are like mirrors. By that I mean that reading them involves a great deal of looking at oneself, both for praise and loathing. Taking a look back in time, reflecting on all those times we thought we were right and we were wrong, bringing back memories of times long gone, some of them painful, most hopefully fun and joyful.

  • Issue #29: Internet Of Things,  Library

    Douglas Hofstadter

    You may be worried that I am going to talk about an author of books that are not about programming, and you are correct and incorrect. Correct, in that Hofstadter's books are not about programming (the intellectually hollow like to claim that they are not about anything at all, or that if you think you know what they are about then you did not understand them; this is untrue). Incorrect, in that Hofstadter's books and computer programs themselves are about the same thing.

  • Issue #28: Programming As A Hobby,  Library

    Michael Hiltzik

    Imagine that you are a fourth grader in California, in 1973. You were 6 or 7 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, and there were still astronauts up there just last year. On the radio you can hear Pink Floyd, Elton John or Led Zeppelin. One day your teacher receives an invitation for an experiment involving school kids in a laboratory somewhere in Palo Alto, a location 40 minutes south of San Francisco. Even stranger, the invitation comes from a well-known firm in the photocopier business.