Bill Duvall

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pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

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augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Markoff, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, Robert Metcalfe, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

Engelbart’s model, derived as it was from his conception of language, assumed a common stock of conceptions, a common structure radically opposed to personalized side trails. There were many reasons for this, as Bill Duvall remembered in our interview, ‘not the least of which was that a lot of the work was done under government financing, and if you looked at it the structure of NLS pretty closely mapped the structure of government documents. (Duvall 2011) An important point to remember about NLS (a point, I feel, Bardini misses) is that the linking structure was separate from the system structure. Although information was carefully articulated into headers, subheaders and statements, you could link from anywhere to anywhere. Unlike in contemporary hypertext systems (those built with HTML, for example), the links were not part of the architecture; they were a mode of transport. According to Bill Duvall, who designed the software, the linking structure was also separable from the content: it was not embedded in the text like in HTML.

Michael Joyce volunteered his time for an interview, and also read the book and provided some comments on the Storyspace chapter. John B. Smith and Jay David Bolter also gave their time for interviews in 2011. Stuart Moulthrop read the whole book and provided comments, as well as a beautiful foreword. I’d like to thank Michael for permission to use his personal photos from the late ’80s and for a copy of his unpublished manuscript Re:mindings, which I cite in this chapter. Doug Engelbart sat for an interview in 1999. Bill Duvall, a member of Engelbart’s original team at SRI, also donated his time for an interview in 2011, and provided feedback on the NLS chapter. Thierry Bardini, author of the seminal work on Engelbart, Bootstrapping (2000), provided important corrections to this chapter in 2011. On occasion Bardini disagrees with my interpretation, and I have tried to incorporate this dialogue where possible. Bill English, co-inventor of the mouse and the chief engineer in Engelbart’s original team, sat for an interview in 2011.

Bush’s prototype computing machines – the Analyzer and also the Selector – did exactly this, and as a result, they influenced the design of his own proto-hypertext device, Memex. As technical vision, Memex also incorporated the innovations that were current at the time – for example, microfilm. TECHNICAL EVOLUTION 9 The most influential demonstration in computing history is, of course, Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demo of NLS. But as one of the original members of Engelbart’s Augmentation Research Centre (ARC) at the Stanford Research Institute, Bill Duvall, put it in an interview with the author: The one thing I would say – and this isn’t just true about NLS, this is true about innovation in general – is that […] sometimes just showing somebody a concept is all that you have to do to start an evolutionary path. And once people get the idea of ‘hey we can do that’, then somebody does something, somebody does something better, that just keeps developing.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The head count continued to expand from seventeen at the time of the demonstration to a peak of forty-five in 1976, when the laboratory was sold to the Tymshare Corporation. But apart from the glare of public notoriety, new tensions had begun to beset the Augment lab. The antiwar movement and the counterculture were now dramatic forces in the Bay Area. The outside world intruded both as political and cultural chaos and in the form of a new wave of skilled software and hardware designers who were drawn to Engelbart’s ideas. Bill Duvall had grown up a couple of miles away from Engelbart’s laboratory. His father was a physicist who worked at SRI. During junior high school, the younger Duvall studied at the Peninsula School, an alternative school that had been attended by Joan Baez and her sister and which had a rich tradition dating back to the 1920s. He had started in the public school system, but math and science had always come easily, and the public schools at the time had a policy of no accelerated studies.

He was living over the hill in the redwood forests of La Honda, where his neighbor was David Casseres, the young technical writer. Both men were single, and both of them also owned the same kind of car—offbeat three-cylinder Saab 96s. They were unusual vehicles in the United States at the time, and their owners tended to have a cult devotion to the machines, which were known for their handling prowess in European sports-car rallies. Shortly after Bill Duvall arrived at Engelbart’s lab, he was joined by a young Berkeley physics student who was also looking for a way to avoid the draft and at the same time find something interesting to do. Harvey Lehtman had graduated from Berkeley, and like Duvall he was a veteran of the Free Speech Movement, having been arrested at Sproul Hall. After college, he was tugged a bit by feelings of guilt over his privileged status, but he really didn’t want to go to Vietnam.

Let’s pick something you can do a thesis on and get that off your back. I want to do this journal, so why don’t you do the detailed design for it?” Unfortunately the idea of a single project didn’t really tame Evans, who continued to veer off in multiple directions, albeit this time on one subject. Ultimately, he wrote a five-hundred-page paper describing all kinds of collections of information. It was left to Bill Duvall to write the code to make the concept a reality. He did it by writing a database that made it possible to create a record of everything that took place on the system. A user could search for documents, group them together, and track changes that were made in each one. Since there was not enough capacity to store the whole journal electronically, it was saved on paper in binders. Today, it can be found at the Stanford University Library in the special collections section, where it stretches for more than four hundred linear feet.

Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

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Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

For Engelbart, P ARC's decision to start over, using the bootstrapping process to develop user- friendliness, was equated with a rejection of the entire ARC experience and the central goal of the Framework for the Augmentation of the Human Intellect. But the rejection in fact was not total. Most of my interviewees took part in setting up several ARC-PARC collaborative projects at the beginning of PARC in 1971.7 In fact, some of the earliest members of the ARC laboratory to join P ARC, Bill English and Bill Duvall in 197 I, joined their efforts to cre- ate the PARC On Line Office System (POLOS) with the explicit purpose to im- plement NLS at PARCo The project was officially set up as a collaborative ef- fort between the two institutions, and both Bill Paxton and Donald Wallace worked on the project from the SRI side before they, too, joined PARCo Most of the PARC researchers agreed very early that the type of personal computing they wanted to explore could not just be done on a time-sharing machine: "you could prototype software that way but the future was in indi- vidual computers" (Deutsch 1996).

Lampson says they discovered after they had built the char- acter generator that it was "painful to use" (Lampson I 997), and Peter Deutsch reported to me that POLOS "suffered from a combination of a sort of second- system syndrome and the fact that doing software on a network of microcom- puters is just different from doing software on a time-sharing system. You had to do sharing in a very different way," and what would have been necessary "to replicate a . . . shared environment on a network of Altos, I don't think that any of us appreciated what that would take" (Deutsch 1996). The project to implement NLS or parts of it at PARC was not dead yet, though. Bill Duvall, a former ARC member who had been very instrumental in POLOS, carried on with the implementation of a subset of NLS functions on a single Nova. This implementation was dubbed RCG, an acronym whose meaning is long lost now. But here again, the project was not necessarily con- sidered a success by all, including by some of those who should have been the most sympathetic toward its goals. For example, Charles Irby, a former ARC member and later a leading researcher at P ARC, recalled: The transfer of the technology was hampered a lot in my view, because Doug put so many constraints on what they could or couldn't do.

For example, Charles Irby, a former ARC member and later a leading researcher at P ARC, recalled: The transfer of the technology was hampered a lot in my view, because Doug put so many constraints on what they could or couldn't do. I think [if] they'd. . . done a free flow of information, there would have been a much greater acceptance of it. But there was a prototype buIlt of that technology at PARC by Bill Duvall, it was called UGH.1O It only carried certain of the concepts forward, the simplest ones, basically the structured editing, outline editing, and file management, that was al- most all there was in UGH. So all of the things having to do wIth the journal and tying and teleconferencing and integrating text and graphics and all that stuff was not part of the prototyping effort at Xerox. That was used by a small community and eventually disappeared. . . .


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

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Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, 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

Ingalls, LRG member, developer of “BitBlt” graphic program and principal developer of Smalltalk Adele Goldberg, LRG member, learning specialist and co-developer of Smalltalk Ted Kaehler, LRG member, co-developer of Smalltalk and “Twang” music program Diana Merry, LRG member and co-developer of Smalltalk Larry Tesler, LRG member, co-designer of Gypsy user-friendly word processing program and first PARC principal scientist to be hired by Apple John Shoch, LRG member, inventor of the Worm Tim Mott, co-designer of Gypsy Chris Jeffers, childhood friend of Kay’s and “chief of staff” of LRG Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer Lynn Conway, co-developer (with Carver Mead) of VLSI tools and technology allowing the design of highly complex integrated circuits on silicon chips Douglas Fairbairn, hardware implementer of POLOS and co-designer (with Tesler) of the Notetaker portable computer Bill English, head of POLOS (PARC On-Line Office System) group, early but unsuccessful multimedia office network Bill Duvall, chief designer of POLOS David Liddle, head of System Development Division after 1978, supervisor of the development of the Xerox Star, first fully realized commercial version of a PARC computer GENERAL SCIENCE LABORATORY Gerald Lucovsky, associate manager (reporting to Pake) David Thornburg, scientist David Biegelsen, scientist OPTICAL SCIENCE LABORATORY (AFTER 1973): John C. Urbach, manager OTHERS: Max Palevsky, founder of Scientific Data Systems (SDS), sold to Xerox in 1969 Rigdon Currie, chief of sales at SDS Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and author of “Spacewar,” 1972 article in Rolling Stone that introduced PARC to the general public Carver Mead, California Institute of Technology professor and co-developer of VLSI tools and technology at PARC James Clark, principal inventor of the “Geometry Engine” graphics chip at PARC, founder of Silicon Graphics Inc. and Netscape Communications Corp.

The achievement was all the more remarkable given that it involved an uphill battle against nearly universal skepticism. More than once Engelbart’s thinly financed project narrowly eluded extermination. Gradually, however, he acquired a sizable coterie of young engineers and scientists who felt their lives altered by their first meetings with the charismatic Doug Engelbart and who regarded his vision with an almost religious awe. “He not only made sense,” recalled Bill Duvall, one of the early disciples. “It was like someone turning on a light. Love at first sight is perhaps the wrong term to use, but it was as close to that as you can get.” One other individual entranced by Engelbart’s work was Bob Taylor. At NASA in 1963 Taylor had saved Engelbart’s lab by scrounging enough money to overcome a budget crisis. After moving on to ARPA he turned the trickle of funding into a flood.

And I got the joke about the price of the technology and where it was going and the fact that what was being worked on there was really going to be commercially viable, in time.” But he also saw where the research train was going off the rails. On the POLOS team, he found, “there wasn’t a lot of time spent looking at what mere mortals would be able to do with the system.” Instead they had produced a system bewilderingly technical and counterintuitive. English and his software chief, Bill Duvall, had faithfully reproduced Engelbart’s system of “structured text” in which every line and paragraph of a file incorporated reference pointers to other pertinent text, allowing users to follow a sort of subterranean intellectual path through a document. Mott regarded it as a fascinating model for analyzing computer programs or navigating through information space. “But it wasn’t a particularly good model for editing manuscripts, let alone doing page layout of text and graphics.”


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, 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, 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, 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, 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

And then he would go on to sketch a vision of using computers to permit people to “bootstrap” their projects by making learning and innovation more powerful. Even if it wasn’t in the mainstream of computer science, the ideas captivated Bill Duvall. Before long he switched his allegiance and moved down the hall to work in Engelbart’s lab. In the space of less than a year he went from struggling to program the first useful robot to writing the software code for the two computers that first connected over a network to demonstrate what would evolve to become the Internet. Late in the evening on October 29, 1969, Duvall connected Engelbart’s NLS software in Menlo Park to a computer in Los Angeles controlled by another young hacker via a data line leased from the phone company. Bill Duvall would become the first to make the leap from research to replace humans with computers to using computing to augment the human intellect, and one of the first to stand on both sides of an invisible line that even today divides two rival, insular engineering communities.

During the first half of this century, society will be tasked with making hard decisions about the smart machines that have the potential to be our servants, partners, or masters. At the very dawn of the computer era in the middle of the last century, Norbert Wiener issued a warning about the potential of automation: “We can be humble and live a good life with the aid of the machines,” he wrote, “or we can be arrogant and die.” It is still a fair warning. John Markoff San Francisco, California January 2015 1|BETWEEN HUMAN AND MACHINE Bill Duvall was already a computer hacker when he dropped out of college. Not long afterward he found himself face-to-face with Shakey, a six-foot-tall wheeled robot. Shakey would have its moment in the sun in 1970 when Life magazine dubbed it the first “electronic person.” As a robot, Shakey fell more into the R2-D2 category of mobile robots than the more humanoid C-3PO of Star Wars lore. It was basically a stack of electronic gear equipped with sensors and motorized wheels, first tethered, then later wirelessly connected to a nearby mainframe computer.

This would be a radical improvement on today’s videoconferencing and awkward telepresence robots like Scott Hassan’s Beam, which place a human face on a mobile robot. Gary Bradski left the world of robots to join Abovitz’s effort to build what will potentially become the most intimate and powerful augmentation technology. Now he spends his days refining computer vision technologies to fundamentally remake computing in a human-centered way. Like Bill Duvall and Terry Winograd, he has made the leap from AI to IA. 8|“ONE LAST THING” Set on the Pacific Ocean a little more than an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz exudes a Northern California sensibility. The city blends the Bohemian flavor of a college town with the tech-savvy spillover from Silicon Valley just over the hill. Its proximity to the heart of the computing universe and its deep countercultural roots are distinct counterpoints to the tilt-up office and manufacturing buildings that are sprinkled north from San Jose on the other side of the mountains.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

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3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

I don’t want to dwell on this, but I think it does need to be said. There have not always been conferences like this one held in Nelson’s—or Engelbart’s—honour. Although Engelbart, as an engineer with a prestigious post at SRI, had more basis for conversation with the computing mainstream, what he was doing was not seen as “science” back then either. As the Head of Engineering at SRI told a young Bill Duvall (and Duvall later recounted to me), “You don’t really think what they’re doing up there is science, do you?” (Duvall 2011, personal communication). That kind of resistance has dogged Nelson for many years. People didn’t understand what he was going on about, and neither Ted nor his vision seemed to fit in any one nice explanatory box. As The Economist put it in 1986, “Boon or boondoggle, nobody is quite sure” (cited in [9], preface).


pages: 349 words: 114,038

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens

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4chan, airport security, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, commoditize, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, intangible asset, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mega-rich, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, selection bias, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, union organizing, wealth creators, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law

The document, simply called "RFC001", says: During the summer of 1968, representatives from the initial four sites met several times to discuss the HOST software and initial experiments on the network. There emerged from these meetings a working group of three, Steve Carr from Utah, Jeff Rulifson from SRI, and Steve Crocker of UCLA, who met during the fall and winter. The most recent meeting was in the last week of March in Utah. Also present was Bill Duvall of SRI who has recently started working with Jeff Rulifson. Crocker, Carr, and Rulifson are not household names. Steve Crocker and his team invented the Requests for Comments, or RFC series. These documents became the laws of the Internet, specifying every standard in a clear form that was freely usable by all. These were spectacularly successful standards by any measure. They were implemented in hundreds of thousands of products and have survived for forty years with no sign of decay.


pages: 290 words: 94,968

Writing on the Wall: Social Media - the First 2,000 Years by Tom Standage

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Bill Duvall, British Empire, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, New Journalism, packet switching, place-making, Republic of Letters, sexual politics, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, yellow journalism

“Certainly Samuel Morse did, when he prepared ‘What hath God wrought,’ a beautiful Biblical quotation … or Armstrong up in the moon: ‘a giant leap for mankind.’ These guys were smart. They understood public relations. They had quotes ready for history.” The message that would be sent along the link from UCLA to Stanford, however, was rather more mundane: it was simply the word “login,” which would enable Kline to log into the Stanford computer from his terminal at the UCLA computer. At about 9:30 P.M. Kleinrock called Bill Duvall, a young programmer at Stanford, to say that they were ready to begin the test. Kline typed an “L” on his terminal. Over the phone, Duvall confirmed that it had successfully traveled through the two IMPs to reach the Stanford computer. Kline then typed an “O.” Again, Duvall confirmed that it had been received. Kline typed a “G.” But nothing happened. The system had crashed. The first message sent across the ARPANET was therefore “LO.”


pages: 352 words: 96,532

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon

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air freight, Bill Duvall, computer age, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, fault tolerance, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, natural language processing, packet switching, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy

One crucial difference between the two sites was that whereas the UCLA guys disliked their Sigma-7, the SRI guys loved their host computer, an SDS 940. Like the Sigma-7, the 940 was built by Scientific Data Systems. But the Sigma-7 had been designed as a commercial processor, whereas the 940 was basically an academic device, a revolutionary time-sharing system first put together by a team of Berkeley researchers, later to be sold under the SDS nameplate. As a result, it was far more fun to program than the Sigma-7. Bill Duvall, an SRI researcher, spent about a month writing a clever program for the 940 that essentially fooled it into thinking it was communicating not with another computer but with a “dumb” terminal. A dumb terminal can neither compute nor store information; it serves only to display the most recent set of information sent to it by the computer to which it’s linked. Duvall’s program was a very specific interim solution to the host-to-host communication problem.


pages: 523 words: 143,139

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

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4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, Donald Knuth, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

(“I don’t remember exactly what he said,” Cooper recalls, “but it was really quiet for a while. My assumption was that he was grinding his teeth.”) And the text message began, on December 3, 1992, with cheer: Neil Papworth at Sema Group Telecoms wishing Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis an early “Merry Christmas.” The beginnings of the Internet were, somehow fittingly, much humbler and more inauspicious than all of that. It was October 29, 1969, and Charley Kline at UCLA sent to Bill Duvall at the Stanford Research Institute the first message ever transmitted from one computer to another via the ARPANET. The message was “login”—or would have been, had the receiving machine not crashed after “lo.” Lo—verily, Kline managed to sound portentous and Old Testament despite himself. The foundation of human connection is protocol—a shared convention of procedures and expectations, from handshakes and hellos to etiquette, politesse, and the full gamut of social norms.

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

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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 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, 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

So they plunged in glee- fully and, during the fall, winter, and spring that followed, laid the foundations of the entire graphical user interface that would later be made famous by the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. Kay himself, for example, designed a "paint" program so that the kids who would one day use his Dynabook could sketch their own computer graphics. His design was implemented by Steve Percell, a student intern from Stanford, and then integrated with a line-drawing system developed by PARC's John Shoch. Meanwhile, Bill Duvall of the paLOS team devised a "mini-NLS" that could be used for text processing on the terminals. Bob Shur built an animation system. Kay and paLOS's Jeff Rulifson began kicking around ideas for "iconic" programming languages, which would allow kids to write their programs in terms of graphical symbols instead of as text. And to keep the screen from get- ting too crowded, the team found a way to let documents appear in separate but overlapping "windows"-a brainstorm that had hit Kay one day while he was in the shower, his favorite place to think.