Bill Atkinson

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Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made by Andy Hertzfeld

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Atkinson, HyperCard, John Markoff, Mitch Kapor, Paul Graham, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak

Mellor 83: Crowd at US Festival. © Bettmann/CORBIS 85: Steve Wozniak playing air computer. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS 99: Steve Jobs and Bill Atkinson. © Norman Seeff 104, 107: Alice packaging. Photos courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc. 128: Mike Moritz. © Matthew Naythons 150: Steve Jobs, John Sculley, and Steve Wozniak. © Bettmann/CORBIS 169: Defender® screenshot. Used with permission of Midway Games, Inc. 175: Bill Atkinson in 1987. Photo courtesy of Bill Atkinson 178: The Mac design team. © Norman Seef. Photo courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc. 180, 182, 183: 1984 commercial stills. © Apple Computer, Inc.

Jef hired Marc Lebrun to write software in early 1980, but Marc was more interested in Lisp machines than in a limited memory microcomputer like the Mac, so nothing much happened until Bud Tribble replaced him in September of 1980. Bud knew Jef from UCSD, and was also good friends with Bill Atkinson. They had a part-time, two-person consulting company in Seattle called Synaptic Systems while they were both graduate students. Bill and Jef convinced Bud to take a one-year leave of absence from the M.D./Ph.D. program he was pursuing at University of Washington at Seattle. Bud was in the fifth year of a seven-year program. Instead of returning to med school, Bud moved into a spare room at Bill Atkinson’s house and started work on the Mac project at Apple. He quickly began to breathe life into Burrell’s languishing prototype by writing some graphics routines for the 6809.

busy being born A visual history of the development of the Lisa/Macintosh user interface The Macintosh User Interface wasn’t designed all at once; it was actually the result of almost five years of experimentation and development at Apple, starting with graphics routines Bill Atkinson began writing for Lisa in late 1978. Like any evolutionary process, there were many false starts and blind alleys along the way. It’s a shame these tend to be lost to history, since there is a lot we can learn from them. Fortunately, the main developer of the user interface, Bill Atkinson, was an avid, lifelong photographer, and he had the foresight to document the incremental development of the Lisa User Interface (which more or less became the Mac UI after a few tweaks) with a series of photographs.


pages: 244 words: 66,599

Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything by Steven Levy

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Atkinson, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, information retrieval, information trail, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush

Tesler was so impressed, in fact, that a few months later, despairing of Xerox ever getting its act together, he left PARC to seek employment in the personal computer world. At Apple, of course. Tesler recalled Bill Atkinson sitting with his face almost pressed against the screen. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs could hardly contain himself with excitement. After he watched Tesler manipulate the screen display, open windows, click on icons (the Apple people were not permitted to handle the goods), he nearly exploded. "Why aren't you doing anything with this?" he bellowed. "This is the greatest thing! This is revolutionary!" Steve Jobs, Bill Atkinson, and the others walked out that day with something much more valuable than diamonds, treasury bills, or even gold bullion.

They dubbed it the "clandestine mouse." Bill Atkinson quickly hacked a driver program that allowed the mouse to move a cursor on the computer screen. Jobs and Hawkins proceeded to dazzle skeptics with the power of the pointing device. The mouse triumphed. A torch had been passed. The nexus of twenty years and millions of dollars of government and top-level corporate research was now in the hands of a company that only a few years before had operated out of a garage. Apple's task was to take this technology out of the lab and into general circulation. Bill Atkinson quickly learned how difficult this would be.

After the adults took charge, there would be plenty of time for creativity, for innovation, for vision. And Sculley was determined to be known as the architect of that vision. So, in late 1985, when Bill Atkinson went to John Sculley with an idea that dramatically enhanced the Macintosh's ability to handle information, the chairman and chief executive officer was a willing audience. The past few months had been dreary for Bill Atkinson. At first, the inventor of QuickDraw and hero of MacPaint thought he had avoided the post-Macintosh depression paralyzing many of his peers. Capitalizing on the freedom according him as an Apple Fellow, he embarked on a project as potentially transforming as those previous achievements.


pages: 915 words: 232,883

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

air freight, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, big-box store, Bill Atkinson, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fixed income, game design, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Jony Ive, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, profit maximization, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

CHAPTER 8: XEROX AND LISA A New Baby: Interviews with Andrea Cunningham, Andy Hertzfeld, Steve Jobs, Bill Atkinson. Wozniak, 226; Levy, Insanely Great, 124; Young, 168–170; Bill Atkinson, oral history, Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA; Jef Raskin, “Holes in the Histories,” Interactions, July 1994; Jef Raskin, “Hubris of a Heavyweight,” IEEE Spectrum, July 1994; Jef Raskin, oral history, April 13, 2000, Stanford Library Department of Special Collections; Linzmayer, 74, 85–89. Xerox PARC: Interviews with Steve Jobs, John Seeley Brown, Adele Goldberg, Larry Tesler, Bill Atkinson. Freiberger and Swaine, 239; Levy, Insanely Great, 66–80; Hiltzik, 330–341; Linzmayer, 74–75; Young, 170–172; Rose, 45–47; Triumph of the Nerds, PBS, part 3.

CHAPTER 11: THE REALITY DISTORTION FIELD Interviews with Bill Atkinson, Steve Wozniak, Debi Coleman, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, Joanna Hoffman, Al Eisenstat, Ann Bowers, Steve Jobs. Some of these tales have variations. See Hertzfeld, 24, 68, 161. CHAPTER 12: THE DESIGN A Bauhaus Aesthetic: Interviews with Dan’l Lewin, Steve Jobs, Maya Lin, Debi Coleman. Steve Jobs in conversation with Charles Hampden-Turner, International Design Conference in Aspen, June 15, 1983. (The design conference audiotapes are stored at the Aspen Institute. I want to thank Deborah Murphy for finding them.) Like a Porsche: Interviews with Bill Atkinson, Alain Rossmann, Mike Markkula, Steve Jobs.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR The Restoration: The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE Think Different: Jobs as iCEO CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX Design Principles: The Studio of Jobs and Ive CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN The iMac: Hello (Again) CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT CEO: Still Crazy after All These Years CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE Apple Stores: Genius Bars and Siena Sandstone CHAPTER THIRTY The Digital Hub: From iTunes to the iPod CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE The iTunes Store: I’m the Pied Piper CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO Music Man: The Sound Track of His Life CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE Pixar’s Friends: . . . and Foes CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR Twenty-first-century Macs: Setting Apple Apart CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE Round One: Memento Mori CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX The iPhone: Three Revolutionary Products in One CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN Round Two: The Cancer Recurs CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT The iPad: Into the Post-PC Era CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE New Battles: And Echoes of Old Ones CHAPTER FORTY To Infinity: The Cloud, the Spaceship, and Beyond CHAPTER FORTY-ONE Round Three: The Twilight Struggle CHAPTER FORTY-TWO Legacy: The Brightest Heaven of Invention Acknowledgments Sources Notes Index Illustration Credits Photos CHARACTERS AL ALCORN. Chief engineer at Atari, who designed Pong and hired Jobs. GIL AMELIO. Became CEO of Apple in 1996, bought NeXT, bringing Jobs back. BILL ATKINSON. Early Apple employee, developed graphics for the Macintosh. CHRISANN BRENNAN. Jobs’s girlfriend at Homestead High, mother of his daughter Lisa. LISA BRENNAN-JOBS. Daughter of Jobs and Chrisann Brennan, born in 1978; became a writer in New York City. NOLAN BUSHNELL. Founder of Atari and entrepreneurial role model for Jobs.


pages: 611 words: 188,732

Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bill Atkinson, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Byte Shop, cognitive dissonance, Colossal Cave Adventure, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Elon Musk, frictionless, glass ceiling, Hacker Conference 1984, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mondo 2000, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, popular electronics, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, The future is already here, The Hackers Conference, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

The first three Apple Fellows were Steve Wozniak, Bill Atkinson, and Rich Page. The initial definition of a fellow was someone who had made a big impact on the industry. Al Alcorn was recruited—he had done Pong. And they also wanted to recruit Alan Kay. So we brought them both in. Alan Kay: Steve never forgot where his ideas came from. Andy Hertzfeld: Alan Kay was my hero. I was like Damn! But it was still time for me to quit. Larry Tesler: And then as the program expanded and it even included a person who was not an engineer—Kristina Hooper Woolsey. Kristina Woolsey: I came in ’85 when the HyperCard stuff started. Bill Atkinson spontaneously decided to do the product.

Michael Stern: Devices in your pocket, social networking, social media, a notion of an electronic community, anytime-anywhere communication, handheld devices that could enable you to do just about anything from shopping to research to talking to your mother. It’s all there, in that book he wrote. He was at Apple to help springboard the project and get it funded. Al Alcorn: So Marc was pushing this thing, and he infected Bill Atkinson and some of the other guys with this idea. Andy Hertzfeld: Marc met with Bill Atkinson, who had just finished HyperCard and was kind of looking around for what to do next. And he got Bill really excited about it. So one day right after my friend Burrell Smith went insane and I was dealing with that emotionally shattering experience and all of the fallout there, I get a phone call from Bill, incredibly excited, “You’ve got to see this new thing at Apple!

Larry Tesler: We wanted to show them enough that they would build bitmap displays and mice and laser printers and other things that we could get at a consumer-ish kind of price, because they were buying it for a bigger market than we were. And that required showing them a little bit more. So we did. Bruce Horn: Atkinson was just looking at it so closely—trying to figure it out. Andy Hertzfeld: Bill Atkinson was the main graphics engineer at Apple, and he was doing the graphics on the Lisa. Bruce Horn: He was nose to the screen, just trying to figure it out. Trip Hawkins: We were not complete strangers to bitmapped graphics, because Apple II had them. It’s just what you could do with them on an Apple II was kind of limited.


pages: 255 words: 76,834

Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs by Ken Kocienda

1960s counterculture, anti-pattern, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bash_history, Bill Atkinson, Charles Lindbergh, conceptual framework, Donald Knuth, en.wikipedia.org, HyperCard, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, premature optimization, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, zero-sum game

He did his best to use this time gap to the company’s advantage, to make it seem like Apple was playing hard to get with its new smartphone, and at least among geeks and gizmo lovers, it succeeded. When the iPhone arrived in stores, many people couldn’t wait to get one. One of those people was Bill Atkinson. As I walked past the front of the Apple Store and turned left down Kipling Street in Palo Alto, and peered ahead to see the end of the line in the distance, I saw him. Bill Atkinson, the software virtuoso, graphics whiz, one of the visionary contributors to the original Macintosh, developer of revolutionary apps like MacPaint and HyperCard. Since Bill had left Apple long ago, he had to wait in line just like everyone else.

I thought this was marvelous. Bill and I had never met, but we knew many of the same people. I introduced myself after asking him about his wooden iPhone, and I told him that I had worked on the actual iPhone, though I’m not sure it registered. In any event, it was a thrill for me to see Bill Atkinson, one of the makers of the Mac, one of my heroes, waiting in line to buy his first iPhone. Somehow, that felt like a mission accomplished, so I returned to my car and drove back to the Apple campus in Cupertino. When I badged into the Purple hallway, Scott Forstall was standing among a small group of programmers out in front of his office.


pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Atkinson, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

Lisa The Mac’s big sister was not a commercial success. (Courtesy of Apple Computer Inc.) The Lisa was originally conceived as a multi-CPU computer, and Woz was going to design it. That plan had changed over time, and now the Lisa was going to use a single very powerful CPU, the Motorola 68000. And programming whiz Bill Atkinson, instrumental in getting the Pascal language on the Apple II, was spearheading the software-development team. Lisa was to be a potent machine with novel features. Atkinson envisioned a “paper” paradigm—the screen background would be white, and text and graphics would mix freely, as on a printed page.

Jobs was quick to judge people, and was binary about it. Individuals were either ones or zeros—on his good list or his bad list. Raskin didn’t believe he was on Jobs’s list of ones, although he didn’t particularly care. Still, Raskin knew he was not the man to convince Jobs to look at the wonderland at PARC. Bill Atkinson, whom Raskin had hired, had Jobs’s respect, so Raskin encouraged Atkinson to get Jobs to take a tour of PARC. It was Atkinson, then, who brought PARC to Jobs’s attention and piqued his interest. The ploy worked. According to Jobs, he also negotiated a better-than-average demo with Xerox. “I went down to Xerox Development Corporation,” Jobs said, “which made all of Xerox’s venture investments, and I said, ‘Look.

Others had gotten tours of PARC and seen demonstrations of the technology, but now for the first time Xerox was opening its doors to a computer-company executive in a position to bring the technology to market. But Xerox Development Corporation overruled her. Jobs made trips to PARC in November and December of 1979, with Bill Atkinson, Mike Scott, and others. There, Larry Tesler showed them around and gave them “look-but-don’t-touch” demos of the innovations. For the first time they saw a graphical user interface: documents appeared in overlapping frames on a white screen, and software programs were made tangible through icons and direct manipulation of onscreen elements.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Atkinson, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

He had the ability to see around corners, to envision how the seeds of existing ideas could be combined to create something unimaginable to others. The challenge he faced was to become an effective visionary—that’s what turns a dreamer into someone who changes the world. A few weeks before he made that drive up to the Garden of Allah in late 1979, Steve had decided, at the urging of Bill Atkinson, Jef Raskin, and several other Apple technical employees, to check out some work being done by a well-known computer scientist named Alan Kay and some other engineers at Xerox Corporation’s Palo Alto Research Center, just a ten-minute drive up the peninsula from Cupertino. PARC, as it was known, would become famous for developing the concepts behind any number of important technologies, including Ethernet local area networking, high-resolution video monitors, laser printing, and object-oriented programming.

So when Steve assumed full control of the project in early 1980, the team felt a brief spurt of optimism. Steve told them that he fully intended to have the Lisa be the first computer to feature a graphical user interface and a mouse. They had, he told them, a chance to make history. He asked Bill Atkinson, the project’s lead software architect, how long it would take to translate what they’d seen at PARC into software that could be run on the Lisa. Atkinson predicted that he could do it in a mere half a year—missing the mark by some two and a half years. Clearly, Steve wasn’t the only person at Apple who could confuse a clear vision for a short path.

In January 2001, Ruby asked some former Newton engineers to begin work in earnest on some sort of portable audio device around the Toshiba micro-drive. In March he put an engineer he’d hired from Philips NV, Tony Fadell, in charge of the group. Fadell, an energetic entrepreneur with the build of a college wrestler and the intensity of a high school football coach, had worked at General Magic back in the early 1990s, with Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld, and Susan Kare, veterans of the original Macintosh team, who had told him horror stories about Steve in his early days. “I expected an overbearing tyrant,” he says, “but he wasn’t like that at all. He didn’t resemble the guy from their stories at all. On the things he cared about he could be very intense, but in general, he was much softer, much more considerate.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, Bill Atkinson, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, functional programming, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Just as Noble and Biddle had found with their study of reusable software objects, there is nothing uniform about a line of code. There is no reliable relationship between the volume of code produced and the state of completion of a program, its quality, or its ultimate value to a user. Andy Hertzfeld tells a relevant tale from the early days at Apple about his mentor Bill Atkinson, a legendary software innovator who created Quickdraw and Hypercard. Atkinson was responsible for the graphic interface of Apple’s Lisa computer (a predecessor of the Macintosh). When the Lisa team’s managers instituted a system under which engineers were expected to fill out a form at the end of each week reporting how many lines of code they had written, Atkinson bridled.

Then they look at each other. “I’ll be excited when we’re moving forward on implementing,” Hertzfeld says. “My own style is, I implement too soon. But maybe that will cause the group average here to come out right.” “I try to play all the chess moves in my head before I start,” Anderson answers. Hertzfeld laughs. “Bill Atkinson used to say about me, everything was ‘Ready, fire, aim!’” “I’ve typically done most of a project by myself,” Anderson says. “I haven’t been as good at splitting it up so that lots of people could work on it together.” Even, Hertzfeld asks, at Next? “When I was a manager there, I wasn’t writing code.

“Michael is the last person”: This is at http://www.undignified.org/people.htm. “the ground on which we are”: Michael Toy blog posting, June 26, 2003, at http://blogs.osafoundation.org/blogotomy/000248.htm. “Management is about human beings”: Peter Drucker, “Management as Social Function and Liberal Art,” in The Essential Drucker (Harper Business, 2001), p. 10. Bill Atkinson’s “-2000” lines of code: From Andy Hertzfeld, Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made (O’Reilly, 2005),p. 65. Also at http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Negative_2000_Lines_ Of_Code.txt. “management by wandering around”: Tom Peters in a blog posting from September 6, 2005, at http://www.tompeters.com/entries.php?


pages: 398 words: 86,023

The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, Bill Atkinson, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, crowdsourcing, Debian, disinformation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, index card, Jane Jacobs, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, jimmy wales, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, optical character recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tragedy of the Commons, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons, Y2K, Yochai Benkler

HyperCard used the idea of a “stack” of virtual index cards, in which the user could easily create new cards, create links between them, and place content on them. Putting a picture, sound, or video onto a card was as easy as inserting it and dragging it around on the screen. You could also put virtual buttons on cards that could respond to clicks and other commands. The brainchild of Apple programmer Bill Atkinson, HyperCard was originally given away for free in 1987 and became incredibly popular with seasoned computer programmers, novice users, and educational institutions. It was easy to understand, easy to program, and incredibly powerful for creating content. No programming experience was necessary, and even kids were getting into the action, creating their own “stacks” of fun content.

HyperCard was designed around the original Macintosh black-and-white nine-inch screen, and was stuck with that small size for many years despite computer displays getting bigger and bigger. HyperCard was also an odd product for Apple to manage. Because it was given away, something Apple’s esteemed creator Bill Atkinson demanded, the company made no direct revenue from it. So while it became quite popular, it was hard for Apple, primarily a computer hardware company, to justify serious resources to develop it further. The irony is that HyperCard was revolutionary and popular, with entire businesses based on its powerful capabilities, but Apple let it wither on the vine.


pages: 275 words: 84,418

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein

Apple II, Ben Horowitz, Bill Atkinson, cloud computing, commoditize, disintermediation, don't be evil, Dynabook, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Googley, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, web application, zero-sum game

He was young, brash, and smart, having been part of cutting-edge portable-hardware engineering in the Valley for fifteen years. He once told a reporter that he would have ended up in jail had he not discovered computers. He occasionally showed up for work with bleached hair. He was not good at holding his tongue when faced with substandard work or ideas. His first job out of college was at General Magic, a company Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld spun out of Apple in the early 1990s in the hope of developing some of the first software ever written exclusively for mobile devices. The project failed and Fadell found himself at Philips, the giant Dutch conglomerate, where he quickly became the company’s youngest executive.

Steve Jobs’s store was, naturally, the one in downtown Palo Alto at the corner of University Avenue and Kipling Street. It was a mile and a half from his house and he often showed up there unannounced when he was in town. The appropriate high-tech luminaries had already gathered when he arrived. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and early Apple employees Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld were already standing on line. But it also seemed as if Jobs had some internal flames to fan of his own, said one of the engineers who was there along with Grignon and many others who had worked on the project, including Fadell and Forstall. “So there’s this reunion of the original Mac guys, and it’s really cool.


pages: 283 words: 98,673

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer

Bill Atkinson, Joan Didion, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela

Although he had a quick, scientific mind, at the age of fifteen he dropped out of school after butting heads with an especially autocratic teacher, and in 1976 he went to work for Alp Sports, a local manufacturer of climbing equipment. “He started out doing odd jobs, working a sewing machine, things like that,” remembers Bill Atkinson, now an accomplished climber and guide, who also worked at Alp Sports at the time. “But because of Rob’s impressive organizational skills, which were apparent even when he was sixteen and seventeen, he was soon running the entire production side of the company.” Hall had for some years been an avid hill walker; about the same time he went to work for Alp Sports, he took up rock and ice climbing as well.

Thanks, also, to David Schensted and Peter Bodde of the American Embassy in Kathmandu, Lisa Choegyal of Tiger Mountain, and Deepak Lama of Wilderness Experience Trekking for their assistance in the wake of the tragedy. For providing inspiration, hospitality, friendship, information, and sage advice, I’m grateful to Tom Hornbein, Bill Atkinson, Madeleine David, Steve Gipe, Don Peterson, Martha Kongsgaard, Peter Goldman, Rebecca Roe, Keith Mark Johnson, Jim Clash, Muneo Nukita, Helen Trueman, Steve Swenson, Conrad Anker, Alex Lowe, Colin Grissom, Kitty Calhoun, Peter Hackett, David Shlim, Brownie Schoene, Michael Chessler, Marion Boyd, Graem Nelson, Stephen P.


pages: 580 words: 125,129

Androids: The Team That Built the Android Operating System by Chet Haase

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bill Atkinson, commoditize, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Firefox, Google Chrome, Menlo Park, Parkinson's law, pull request, QWERTY keyboard, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, turn-by-turn navigation, web application

A really crowded town with millions of inhabitants all over the world, but a small town nevertheless, where you keep bumping into people you’ve met elsewhere. 253 Cary agreed that he implemented Picture for Skia, but not that he invented the concept. He gave that credit to Bill Atkinson, one of the engineers on the original Macintosh team at Apple who helped create the original QuickDraw 2D graphics engine for the Mac. “Bill Atkinson invented Pictures, and he probably stole it from somebody else. I was just standing on the shoulders of giants.” Most software that is written is either re-implementing existing concepts or building upon and extending them in new ways. 254 The Picture object in Skia is essentially a pre-processed list of the low-level information that the system needs to draw a particular scene.


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Atkinson, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, computer age, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

Almost every program had capabilities that had never been seen in a research prototype anywhere, much less in a commercial system. “There was lots to Smalltalk,” Tesler remembered. “You could see it thirty times and see something new every time.” What was interesting—or to Goldberg, ominous—was the intensity with which the Apple engineers paid attention. Bill Atkinson, a brilliant programmer who would later put his distinctive stamp on the Macintosh, kept his eyes on the screen as though they were fixed there by a magnetic field. He was standing so close that as Tesler conducted his assigned portion of the demo he could feel Atkinson’s breath on the back of his neck.

The main pointing device of the original Lisa interface was something called a “softkey,” which appeared on the screen as a sort of menu listing the command options for the user at any given moment: If the active application was a text editor, for example, it might offer the choices of insert and delete. The user selected a softkey by using keyboard keys to move an arrow on the screens, then executed the command by striking “enter.” The mouse was available, but it was scantily used and entirely optional. Bill Atkinson, whose intense concentration during the demo left such a strong impression on Tesler, had spent months trying to design a more dynamic interface. But he had been unable to solve several programming problems, including how to write text into an irregularly shaped region of the screen—for example, the corner of one window peeking out from beneath another.


pages: 209 words: 63,649

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Airbnb, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, big-box store, Bill Atkinson, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, Elon Musk, Firefox, glass ceiling, greed is good, housing crisis, independent contractor, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, longitudinal study, means of production, Mitch Kapor, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, QR code, Ray Oldenburg, remote working, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Tony Hsieh, too big to fail, underbanked, women in the workforce, young professional, Zipcar

In 1990, then-Apple executive Marc Porat convinced John Scully that the next generation of computing would require a partnership of computers, communications, and consumer electronics. John gave it the green light, but it was under-resourced, and by May of that year, Marc had convinced him to let it be spun out and to allow him to take two of Apple’s stars (Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld) with him. They founded a new company and called it General Magic. Within a couple of years, they launched the first smartphone. You could make calls, manage your calendar, and even shop online. To put this in perspective, this was before the first web browser and required the phone to be connected to a phone line (i.e. not so mobile).


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, Bear Stearns, Bear Stearns, beat the dealer, Bill Atkinson, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, independent contractor, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

We should celebrate!”I Markkula introduced board chair and Macintosh group leader Steve Jobs, who, dressed in a white linen shirt, quoted Robert Kennedy: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” Jobs then singled out two engineers, Bill Atkinson and Rich Page, for their contributions to the new Lisa computer. (The tent also contained an ice sculpture of that machine.) Jobs handed each inaugural “Apple Fellow” a Superman cape and a large medal. Later, they would receive bonus checks, as well. Markkula stepped back to the podium. Every Apple employee, he said, would receive a pair of crystal goblets like the one he held, to commemorate the company’s “billion-dollar achievement.”

Markkula, interview by author, May 3, 2016. 50. Markkula, CHM interview. 51. Larry Tesler and Chris Espinosa, “Origins of the Apple User Interface,” talk given Oct. 28, 1997, http://web.archive.org/web/20040511051426/http://computerhistory.org/events/lectures/appleint_10281997/appleint_xscript.shtml. Andy Hertzfeld recalls that Bill Atkinson, a member of the Lisa group, attended Mac group meetings. Hertzfeld, “Credit Where Due,” http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Credit_Where_Due.txt. 52. Regis McKenna, interview by author, April 11, 2000. 53. Hawkins, interview by author, May 20, 2016. 54. The full interview appears in Computers and People, July–August 1981: 8.


pages: 720 words: 197,129

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Atkinson, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, linear model of innovation, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Yochai Benkler

With his feel for design, familiarity with fonts, and love of calligraphy, Jobs was blown away by bitmapping. “It was like a veil being lifted from my eyes,” he recalled. “I could see what the future of computing was destined to be.” As Jobs drove back to Apple’s office in Cupertino, at a speed that would have awed even Gates, he told his colleague Bill Atkinson that they had to incorporate—and improve upon—Xerox’s graphical interface in future Apple computers, such as the forthcoming Lisa and Macintosh. “This is it!” he shouted. “We’ve got to do it!” It was a way to bring computers to the people.108 Later, when he was challenged about pilfering Xerox’s ideas, Jobs quoted Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

After graduating from Purdue, he got a job at an electronic equipment company, Tektronix, where he was assigned to keep track of projects, a task similar to what Berners-Lee faced when he went to CERN. To do this he modified a superb software product developed by one of Apple’s most enchanting innovators, Bill Atkinson. It was called HyperCard, and it allowed users to make their own hyperlinked cards and documents on their computers. Apple had little idea what to do with the software, so at Atkinson’s insistence Apple gave it away free with its computers. It was easy to use, and even kids—especially kids—found ways to make HyperCard stacks of linked pictures and games.


pages: 297 words: 89,820

The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness by Steven Levy

Apple II, Bill Atkinson, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, en.wikipedia.org, Herbert Marcuse, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, social web, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, technology bubble, Thomas L Friedman

He became an ace pro- The Perfect Thing 54 grammer and started three companies before he graduated from the University of Michigan. His first job out of college, in 1992, was at a start-up called General Magic, working beside two of the stars of the legendary team that had created the Macintosh, Andy Hertz-feld and Bill Atkinson. It was like joining a basketball team and finding yourself teammates with Larry Bird and Dr. J. Unfortunately, the General Magic handheld communicator was a flop. From there, Fadell had a weird few years at the Philips corporation. Concerned about its overly staid reputation, the Dutch conglomerate had offered Fadell, still in his twenties, the chance to head its new mobile computing group.


pages: 193 words: 98,671

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper

Albert Einstein, Bill Atkinson, business cycle, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, lateral thinking, Menlo Park, natural language processing, new economy, pets.com, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, urban planning

I'm not saying that a programmer cannot become a designer; I'm just saying that it is nearly impossible to do either task well while attempting both simultaneously. Every software engineer thinks that he is different, that he is the one who can do both. This is simply not true, as the failure of General Magic showed. Bill Atkinson and Andy Hertzfeld headed General Magic's development effort. These two men were the lead software engineers on the Apple Macintosh and are arguably the two most talented, creative, and inventive programmers ever. Their simultaneous design and programming on the Macintosh was a success in 1984 (although Jef Raskin, who did no programming, contributed much of the design).


pages: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Bill Atkinson, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, disinformation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, Ian Bogost, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, The future is already here, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

My deepest appreciation to Marc Benioff for supporting the cause early on. Thank you to Tim Berners-Lee for sharing my essay from Washington Monthly. Huge thanks to Gail Barnes for being my eyes and ears on social media. Thank you to Alex Knight, Bobby Goodlatte, David Cardinal, Charles Grinstead, Jon Luini, Michael Tchao, Bill Joy, Bill Atkinson, Garrett Gruener, and Andrew Shapiro for ideas, encouragement, and thought-provoking questions. Many thanks to Satya Nadella, Peggy Johnson, and Bill Gates for taking the issues seriously. Thank you to Tim Cook and all of Apple for their commitment to protecting the privacy and freedom of customers.


pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bill Atkinson, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mondo 2000, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

That meant you weren’t dealing with languages, tools, or libraries from other programmers. Everything important was fresh, entirely made of your own mind. You were an abstract explorer, facing only wilderness. If you wanted to get a circle to appear on a computer screen, you had to figure out a way to code a circle that would be fast enough to matter. I remember going with Bill Atkinson, who coded the graphical aspects of the original Macintosh, to see the legendary guru of algorithms at Stanford, Don Knuth, to present new ways of drawing circles. It was like visiting the code pope. Push anything far enough and it transforms. This principle applies even to computers. At the core of the coding experience, when you are functioning at the very highest level of excellence, you reencounter a mysterious sense of the world that is not code-like.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backpropagation, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Atkinson, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, Herbert Marcuse, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, Seymour Hersh, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

He said that in response to Sculley’s request, he had pulled together a variety of ideas from his original Dynabook research and the artificial intelligence community, as well as from MIT Media Laboratory director Nicholas Negroponte, an advocate of speech interfaces.5 Negroponte had created the Architecture Machine Group at MIT in 1967, in part inspired by the ideas of Ivan Sutherland, whose “Sketchpad” Ph.D. thesis was a seminal work in both computer graphics and interface design. Historians have underestimated Negroponte’s influence on Apple and the computer industry as a whole. Although Negroponte’s “Architecture Machine” idea never gained popular traction, it did have a very specific impact on Bill Atkinson, one of the principal designers of Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh computers. Many of the ideas for Lisa and Macintosh were generated from Negroponte’s early efforts to envision what the field of architecture would be like with the aid of computers. Negroponte’s group created something called “DataLand,” a prototype of a visual data management system.


pages: 481 words: 121,669

The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See by Gary Price, Chris Sherman, Danny Sullivan

AltaVista, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bill Atkinson, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, dark matter, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, natural language processing, pre–internet, profit motive, publish or perish, search engine result page, side project, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, Vannevar Bush, web application

Nelson’s project never achieved enough momentum to have a significant impact on the world. Another twenty years would pass before Xerox implemented the first mainstream hypertext program, called NoteCards, in 1985. A year later, Owl Ltd. created a program called Guide, which functioned in many respects like a contemporary Web browser, but lacked Internet connectivity. Bill Atkinson, an Apple Computer programmer best known for creating MacPaint, the first bitmap painting program, created the first truly popular hypertext program in 1987. His HyperCard program was specifically for the Macintosh, and it also lacked Net connectivity. Nonetheless, the program proved popular, and the basic functionality and concepts of hypertext were assimilated by Microsoft, appearing first in standard help systems for Windows software.


pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, Bill Atkinson, business process, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Erik Brynjolfsson, Garrett Hardin, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Larry Wall, Leonard Kleinrock, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, Tragedy of the Commons, transaction costs, Yochai Benkler, zero-sum game

The computers simply could not communicate with each other.49 Berners-Lee thus began to think about a system to enable linking among documents—through a process called “hypertext”—and to build this linking on top of the protocols of the Internet. His ideal was a space where any document in principle could be linked to any other and where any document published was available to anyone. The components of this vision were nothing new. Hypertext—links from one document to another—had been born with Vannevar Bush,50 and made famous by Bill Atkinson's HyperCard on the Apple Macintosh. The world where documents could all link to each other was the vision of Robert Fano in an early article in the Proceedings of the IEEE. 51 But Berners-Lee put these ideas together using the underlying protocol of the Internet. Hyperlinked documents would thus be available to anyone with access to the Internet, and any document published according to the protocols of the World Wide Web would be available to all.


pages: 500 words: 146,240

Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play by Morgan Ramsay, Peter Molyneux

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, Bill Atkinson, Bob Noyce, collective bargaining, Colossal Cave Adventure, game design, Ian Bogost, independent contractor, index card, Mark Zuckerberg, oil shock, pirate software, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Von Neumann architecture

This led to an even hotter 1983 for funding companies doing personal and home computer software. After then, the market and funding climate became more difficult. Ramsay: Can you tell me about the publishing process at the time? Hawkins: I developed my idea for the “software artist” from working with brilliant developers at Apple, such as Bill Atkinson. These guys were legitimate divas. I decided to study and transfer the principles of artist management from the music industry to software. I wanted the best game ideas from the most passionate independent artists that were driven enough and good enough to get the job done. I hired a couple of my buddies from Apple, Dave Evans and Pat Marriott, to be my first producers, but I was really the first producer.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Bill Atkinson, bioinformatics, Biosphere 2, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Conference 1984, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Herbert Marcuse, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mondo 2000, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, the strength of weak ties, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

“I don’t want anyone fooling with that.”65 In discussion Bob Wallace said he had Tak i n g t h e W h o l e E a r t h D i g i t a l [ 137 ] marketed his text editor PC-WRITE as shareware (in shareware, users got the software for free but paid if they wanted documentation and support), whereas Andrew Fluegelman indicated that he had distributed his telecommunications program PC-TALK as freeware (users voluntarily paid a small fee to use the software). Others, including Macintosh designer Bill Atkinson, defended corporate prerogatives, arguing that no one should be forced to give away the code at the heart of their software. The debate took on particular intensity because, according to the hacker ethic, certain business practices—like giving away your code—allowed you to claim the identity of hacker.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, Bill Atkinson, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The future is already here, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

The timeline continued to the work of Douglas Engelbart, whose team at the Stanford Research Institute devised a linked document system that lived behind a dazzling interface that introduced the metaphors of windows and files to the digital desktop. Then came a detour to the brilliant but erratic work of an autodidact named Ted Nelson, whose ambitious Xanadu Project (though never completed) was a vision of disparate information linked by “hypertext” connections. Nelson’s work inspired Bill Atkinson, a software engineer who had been part of the original Macintosh team; in 1987 he came up with a link-based system called HyperCard, which he sold to Apple for $100,000 on the condition that the company give it away to all its users. But to really fulfill Vannevar Bush’s vision, you needed a huge system where people could freely post and link their documents.


pages: 1,201 words: 233,519

Coders at Work by Peter Seibel

Ada Lovelace, Bill Atkinson, bioinformatics, cloud computing, Conway's Game of Life, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, fault tolerance, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, functional programming, George Gilder, glass ceiling, Guido van Rossum, HyperCard, information retrieval, Larry Wall, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Perl 6, premature optimization, publish or perish, random walk, revision control, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, side project, slashdot, speech recognition, the scientific method, Therac-25, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, type inference, Valgrind, web application

In general when I'm reading a technical paper, it's the same challenge. I'm trying to get into the author's mind, trying to figure out what the concept is. The more you learn to read other people's stuff, the more able you are to invent your own in the future, it seems to me. We ought to publish code. The Lions Book is available. And Bill Atkinson's programs are now publicly available thanks to Apple, and it won't be too long before we'll be able to read that. That's well-documented code with lots of pioneering graphics algorithms in it. Seibel: Certainly with open source there's a lot more code out there to read than there used to be.


The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Atkinson, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, functional programming, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game

According to legend, moreover, he immediately ordered that the Lisa be reconfigured to match the Alto display. But in reality, Hiltzik concluded in his book, the visit didn't have all that much impact on the Lisa-or not directly, anyway. Apple's partnership with Xerox fell apart soon afterward, the victim of a culture clash that was just too ex- treme. Lisa's chief programmer, Bill Atkinson, had to re-create most of what he'd seen on his own. Indirectly, though, the visit did give energy and focus to a project that badly needed both of those things. More important, it was an epiphany for Jobs and his whole team: from now on Apple would follow the gospel according to Small talk. "Lisa must be fun to use," declared a project design manifesto written a month or so after the show-and-tell.


pages: 1,293 words: 357,735

The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance by Laurie Garrett

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bill Atkinson, biofilm, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, discovery of penicillin, disinformation, double helix, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, global village, Herbert Marcuse, indoor plumbing, invention of air conditioning, John Snow's cholera map, land reform, Live Aid, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, phenotype, price mechanism, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, San Francisco homelessness, South China Sea, the scientific method, trade route, transfer pricing, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Zimmermann PGP

More than 27,000 U.S. children, half of them under four years of age, contracted measles during 1990; 100 died of the disease. Hardest hit was New York City, with 2,479 reported measles cases. CDC investigators were baffled by the severity of illnesses in the 1990–91 epidemic. “These kids are much sicker, and death rates are definitely higher,” the CDC’s Bill Atkinson said. “We don’t know whether it’s because the strain of measles out there is more virulent, or the kids are more susceptible.” Many of the ailing children, particularly in New York City, had never been vaccinated. They hadn’t even received their primary shots, much less boosters. “Now the majority of cases are in unvaccinated children,” Dr.