Our esteemed chair, Tom Haigh, noticed a rather shocking set of stories in the mainstream press today that claimed that a man previously unknown to the computer history community was, in fact, the inventor of e-mail:
Last year, around this time, I submitted a blog post summarizing the obituaries of a number of major figures in the history of computing who died in 2010. Given the worldwide headlines in response to the death of Steve Jobs two months ago, I think it makes sense to turn that post into a yearly tradition, reminding us of the less-recognized contributors to the history of computing who we have lost. I was, in fact, rather stunned at the number of names turned up by a simple search for stories containing "obituary" and "computer" in the last twelve months in the New York Times. The computing of the 1960s and 70s is now rapidly passing out of the realm contemporary and oral history.Here's what I turned up:
Apologies for my recent radio silence, and thanks to Marie for picking up the slack. I still don't have anything terribly profound to say, but I wanted to point out a wonderful on-line historical resource that went up a couple of months ago: MIT's 150th anniversary interviews, dubbed Infinite History.
A recent Wired article on Khan Academy gave me a distinct sense of déjà vu. A pre-programmed set of lessons that are written once, and then can be used by kids anywhere in the country? They allow students to proceed at their own pace, simulating the advantages of one-on-one tutorial instruction? They ensure that a student have mastered a given concept before allowing him or her to move on to more advanced material? Data on student performance is automatically collected for analysis by educators? A claim that all of this is totally new and is going to revolutionize the staid old American education system? Where have I heard this all before...