From the Horse's Mouth

Leonard Kleinrock, Paul Baran, and Larry Roberts, photographed by Vanity Fair in 2008.

I'm pleased to share with the SIGCIS community a resource on Internet history that I was totally unaware of until a friend of mine sent me the link a couple of weeks ago: an oral history of the Internet compiled and edited by Vanity Fair magazine. It begins (as many Internet histories do) with packet-switching and Paul Baran, who (as some Internet histories are not) is realistic about his contribution:

The Root of the Problem

Internet Map

An interesting story appeared recently from Nancy Scola at The Atlantic on a little-known event in Internet history (yes, it was only 14 years ago, but in Internet Time, history started yesterday!)

When Computer Dating Was Mail Order

A couple promoting the Harvard University-based dating service Operation Match.

Atlantic blogger John Hendel reports on the phenomenon of computer dating in the 1960s. These services operated by comparing questionnaires that would-be romancers submitted by mail, returning a list of potential matches some days or weeks later (in a similar fashion to job-matching systems of the era).

Watson and AI: Does Mind Matter?

The upcoming televised matches between IBM's Watson and Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter seems like a good time to reflect on the history of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a field.

A Tribute to Ken Olsen

Paul Ceruzzi has pointed the mailing list to this video, commemorating the life of Digital Equipment founder Ken Olsen, who died on Sunday. (See also the discussion onSlashdot and the New York Times obituary).

King Knuth

The latest discussion on the SIGCIS mailing list surrounded the impending release of a new volume (or sub-volume, rather) in Donald Knuth's computer science masterwork, The Art of Computer Programming. Volume 4A is now in print from Addison-Wesley. Paul Ceruzzi announced this development earlier today:

Unknown Knowns

An interesting piece from Ars Technica last month described the divergence between the set of plant species that have been collected by botanists and the set of plant species that have been cataloged into the set of known species.

Hardware De-constructed and Re-constructed

A group of engineers have done emulation one better. In a a fantastic piece of reverse engineering, they have re-constructed a full-on software simulation of the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, the heart of the Apple, Apple II, Commodore PET, and a number of other early microcomputers and video game consoles.

The Magical Shrinking Cubicle

Just a quick one-off link this time. Given the growing interest I sense in the community in the labor history of computing (see, for example, the recent IEEE Annals issue dedicated to the subject), I thought people might be interested in a recent story from the L.A. Times.

Useful Sites on Contemporary Computing

One of my colleagues suggested that a good use of this blog would be to inform those of our members who might not be aware of some the good places to find up-to-date information the latest goings-on in computing.

Here are a few annotated suggestions (as with most of my posts, with a strong American bias. I welcome proposed additions from other parts of the world):

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