The Book-Writing Machine: What was the first novel ever written on a word processor?

This week in The Slate Book Review, writer Matthew Kirschenbaum tells the story of what was probably the first novel ever written using a word processor - IBM’s MTST (Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter). This brief but insightful article, titled The Book-Writing Machine, gives us a glimpse of the author, the machine, and the novel at the center of this pleasent little slice of late-1960s era computing history. 

The Race for Microprocessor Leadership in Silicon Valley: Jan 7, 2012 IEEE Life Member Meeting in Mt View, CA


The microprocessor changed what is now known as Silicon Valley from a mostly agricultural and defense electronics region into a center of innovation for many new technologies. How did that happen and what challenges were faced along the way?

CEO John Hollar's CHM Progress Report at Jan 7, 2012 IEEE Life Member Meeting

John Hollar, Computer History Museum (CHM) President and CEO, delivered a progress report on CHM activities at the January 7th IEEE Life Member meeting in Mt View, CA.  The CHM has become the leading institution that's archived computer artifacts, but also a thought leader on the impact of computing on our society.

Four CHM areas were cited by John as being particularly successful:

1.  Events such as lectures and conversations, such as the Revolutionary series, have been very well attended and widely acclaimed for excellence.  The Revolutionaries series launched with 13 lectures in 2011 and won such acclaim that it has been extended for another 14 events in 2012-13.

CHM Event Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Sun Micro’s SPARC Microprocessor

On November 1, 2012, a panel of Sun Micro luminaries discussed how the company “bet the ranch” on the SPARC microprocessor at an early and critical stage of the company’s development.    The panel was expertly moderated by my Northeastern University MSEE classmate Dave House. CHM CEO/Prez John Hollar did a great job introducing and closing the program.

The rationale for developing SPARC was that Sun Micro needed higher performance than was then available from Intel, Motorola, Zilog, microprocessors for their next gen workstations. SPARC was designed by Anant Agrawal as a higher performance RISC microprocessor using gate array technology rather than traditional stored program machine.

Doomsday Scenarios-Big Science Discussion @ Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mt View, CA on October 27, 2012

Several very provocative doomsday scenarios were discussed, but then refuted by subject matter experts called up to the stage to engage in conversation with the program hosts- an astro-physicist and a science writer.

Oct 25, 2012 was a Banner Day at Computer History Museum!

This Thursday, Oct 25th was a huge event day at the CHM in Mt View, CA.  The week included a number of important events and milestones:

1. There were 5 different venue rental events on Oct 25th, including Day One of the Rusnano Conference; Day Two of the Internet Identify Conference; a Symantec theme party; a K&L Gates meeting, and the University of Texas.

2. There was also a Quarterly CHM Board of Trustees meeting.

3. Thursday is a "open to the public" day for the CHM's flagship Revolution exhibit.  There were over 1,100 visitors were at the museum- quite a bit for a work day.

Exciting Happenings at Computer History Museum: New Blog, Social Media, Digital Repository, Exhibits & Events!

1. The venerable Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mt View, CA recently launched a multimedia blog, with contributors from their seasoned staff of curators and subject matter experts.

CHM Prez John Hollar told me, ”This has been one of the most important initiatives CHM has taken in the area of digital content and distribution. It is and will continue to be a window into the museum’s work by publishing different types of content on a variety of interesting topics.”

@CHM is the blog name. Check it our here:

More info at:

You can subscribe to this blog as a RSS feed to get updates which are published once or more per week (I like Google Reader for that purpose).

CHM-7/31 Event Summary: Ken Segall on "The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success"

A Sell Out/SRO crowd of over 400 people attended an outstanding Computer History Museum (CHM) talk by Ken Segall, author of the book, Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success. Mr. Segall was interviewed by Harry McCracken of Time magazine about his his experiences with Steve Jobs and other executivess at Apple.

Segal named the iMAC personal computer, which gave rise to all the other Apple iXYZ products (iPOD, iPAD, iPhone, etc). He worked with Steve Jobs for over 12 years while he was with an advertising agency. Segall saw all sides of the mercurial Jobs, acknowledging that Jobs could be controlling, unkind and petulant, but could also stroke egos and incite inspiration.

From Antisocial to Alphasocial: Exclusionary Nerd Cultures and the Rise of the Brogrammer

         “Sometime in the last ten or twelve years, the stereotypical image of the Silicon Valley programmer has shifted from a socially awkward, Utili-kilt-wearing geek to something far more sinister, and fratty, and sexist,” begins the article in the Sfist. Recently, a new term for programmers in their 20s has come into the national consciousness: brogrammer. Half fratty “bro” and half programmer, as a whole the concept of the brogrammer is completely masculine. So is this latest reaction to the nerdy programmer stereotype a problem?

Email inventor - premature termination of the Post's correction process

Below is a message I sent to the Washington Post's Ombudsman outling my concerns with the paper's failure to follow through on the corrective process he had outlined in his "Mea Culpa" to its readers regarding Emi Kolawole's story on the "Inventor of Email" and his initial defense of that story. This was two days after the paper decided not to publish the article it had comissioned from me. I received a prompt one line acknowledgement and promise to investigate but, a month later, nothing further has arrived.


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