Starring the Computer

Image from Starring the Computer

"Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry."

Who Invented E-mail?

Image of At Symbol

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:

Obituaries in the History of Computing, 2011

The Board of Digital Equipment (Ken Thompson is at center)

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:

Thanks to all for another successful SIGCIS workshop

Tom Misa's Keynote on Cyberinfrastructures 2011
Tom Haigh's Intro 2011 (Sexy Bill Gates slide courtesy of Marie Hicks)
Dissertations in Progress Session 2011
Closing Plenary 2011
Cleveland Public Art 2011

This year's workshop has now come and gone successfully and thanks are in order for all of the speakers and attendees who made it a success. Tom Misa has offered slides from his keynote talk to be posted here.

SHOT 2011 Syllabi Session

SIGCIS Workshop 2011 Logo

After today's syllabus session at SHOT it seems like an ideal time to remind folks that we have a great repository of syllabi in the history of computing, information, and technology here on the site. Go to www.sigcis.org/syllabi or navigate down to "syllabi" in the bar on the left hand side.

Backstage at the Creation of the iPod

iPod

Apropos of my post a while back on the hidden engineers behind Steve Jobs' recent triumph, video-game historian Benj Edwards has posted an article on MacWorld that provides a nice synthetic account of the origins of the iPod.  Edwards covers a number of the major figures responsible for the design and development of the iPod.  Tony Fadell (formerly of the General Mag

Travel Awards for SIGCIS Meetings

SIGCIS offers an integrated program of travel awards to broaden the base of participants in its annual workshops. Maximizing our support here is the top financial priority for the SIG, and a highly cost effective investment in the future of our field.

SIGCIS Travel Award Programs

Our awards are named in recognition of their various sponsors, but the eligibility criteria and application process is the same for all of them.

We have three ongoing awards programs:

Another Great Online Resource

CP Car on the Great Dome

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. The dozens of interviews at the site, with important figures in MIT's academic history,  include both a video and a synchronized transcript.   Interviews in the collection relevant to the history of computing include Leo

Steve Jobs, whose vision domesticated the computer, is dead at 56

Steve Jobs (Photo credits: Apple Inc., original photo by Albert Watson)

In a sad but expected follow-up to Chris's post from a little over a month ago, this entry marks the passing of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, who has died at the age of 56.

Babbage's Notes to be Digitized in Order to Build Working Analytical Engine

Close up of analytical engine model

Recently, the BBC reported that the London Science Museum plans to add to its collection in the history of computing by digitizing Charles Babbage's huge store of design notes on the Analytical Engine. Though the 19th c. Analytical Engine is often pointed to as a machine that presaged the modern computer, a working version was never fully built in Babbage's lifetime (although the notes on the potential machine resulted in the first computer program, written by Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace). And historians have not been the only ones fascinated with this machine--alternate histories in which the Analytical Engine was successfully built form the bedrock of a significant amount of science fiction, particularly in the steampunk subgenre.

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