Living technological change

There was an article in the New York Times recently that summarized findings of scientists studying the effects of light on sleep/wake cycles. One of the most interesting findings, for historians of computing, was the fact that the bright, bluish light put out by modern computer screens very effectively suppresses the body's ability to generate melatonin, and therefore to sleep well and regularly. Disturbed sleep, however, was not the only effect observed. In fact, the studies go on to describe how the suppression of melatonin production can lead to everything from mood disorders to obesity.

This raises the perennial question of how we live through our technologies, and how we are molded by them, not just socially and economically, but even at very basic biological levels.

Science Fiction and the History of Computing

Science Fiction and Computing Cover

David Ferro recently posted on the SIGCIS mailing list about the release of his and Eric Swedin's new edited volume, Science Fiction and Computing. This is a sequel, of sorts, to a workshop at the Society for the History of Technology meeting in Tacoma last fall.

IBM Turns 100, and Creates a Stir

The IBM Personal Computer

Journalists across the Web (mostly) celebrated the 100th birthday of IBM last week, on June 16th. See for instance, coverage at The New York Times, Wired, and Forbes. My history of computing colleagues at the IT History blog also covered the story, with a business history perspective from Joel West.

Preserving individuals' on-line efforts at capturing bits of computer history

There are many excellent individually maintained websites that give bits of computer history, for instance,

E3 Gets Historical

Gamers Playing Atari at Classic Gaming Expo

The annual Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is where video game companies have congregated since 1995 to show off their forthcoming gadgets and games to the press. It is a bombastic celebration of the latest and greatest, the newest and shiniest. Any attention to the past is, for the most part, uncomfortably out of place there.

Filming the History of Computing

Triumph of the Nerds

Next month, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View is screening a new documentary called Something Ventured. To my knowledge, this is the first documentary on the history of computing intended for theaters. Okay, technically it is a history of venture capital, not computing. But the primary focus is on entrepreneurial firms in computing or closely related industries: Intel, Atari, Apple, and Cisco are featured prominently.

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