Starting June 14, 2000
A book as an award, Weblog from the delivery room: Congratulations Don, Lynne, and baby Cooper!, 3rd Annual MIMC Awards, Happy Birthday Bob!
Tuesday, July 4, 2000
A book as an award
Each year my old high school gives out a Computer Award to a senior at graduation. The teachers choose the recipient(s), and I provide a book as the physical award to each. This year I decided to give Henry Petroski's Design Paradigms: Case Histories of Error and Judgment in Engineering as the book [link to Amazon]. (This is one of the books I listed last year on my Resources page.)
I try to give books with timeless ideas, rather than how to program today's greatest thing. In this one, Petroski presents several general paradigms of error, such as errors in conceptual design, errors related to scale in size, errors in logic, success masking failure, and others. To quote from the Preface: "This book argues for a more pervasive use of historical case studies in the engineering curriculum." (As you see from this web site, I like learning from the past.) "The objective of this book is not only to present a model for explaining how errors are introduced into the design process but also to provide a means by which practicing designers may avoid making similar errors in their own designs." Many of the cases he presents come from Galileo's writings, emphasizing Petroski's feeling of the timelessness of these paradigms.
Book cover, linked to Amazon
Notice the picture on the cover of Icarus plunging into the sea when he pushed a technology past its limits. How different is that from today?
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
Weblog from the delivery room: Congratulations Don, Lynne, and baby Cooper!
Trellix Corporation CEO Don Bulens took his use of the web to communicate his passions with his friends and family a step further: He kept up a weblog from inside the delivery room while Lynne gave birth, posting at least four times in 24 hours. I don't expect all couples to take the sharing of their lives this far but we really loved this at Trellix -- it was so much like Don.
Don's picture of himself writing his weblog
If you haven't already, you should check out his full web site, www.goofster.com, which includes his normal weblog news page, where he has pictures from the night before in the hospital, and several other sub-sites about other parts of his personal life. Congratulations Don and thanks for sharing it with us!
Monday, June 19, 2000
3rd Annual MIMC Awards
Last Wednesday night I attended the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council's 3rd Annual award ceremony. The organization is known as MIMC (pronounced "MIM-mick") and has over 2,200 members (individuals may join) and claims to be the largest interactive council in the world. Myron Kassaraba, a coworker of mine at Trellix Corporation, is a MIMC board member and invited me and a few others from Trellix to attend.
Poster with sponsor names, a chocolate mouse: one of the give-aways at the table
Since this was an official annual meeting, like many organizations there first was legal stuff to take care of: The election of new officers. Scott Randall of Fairmarket is the new president.
Scott Randall, new president, with chairman Larry Weber over his shoulder
Larry Weber, a local PR entrepreneur who is now the head of the huge Allied Communications Group of Interpublic and chairman of MIMC, was the Master of Ceremonies.
Larry Weber before the ceremony
The awards were:
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Mark Johnson, HighWired.com
Contributions to Society: Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts
Unsung Hero: Adam Berry of Allaire
Hottest Startup: Akamai
CEO of the Year: Jay Wood, Silknet Software
Company of the Year: Be Free, Inc.
Lifetime Achievement: Pattie Maes, OpenRatings
The actual award is a neon star on a pedestal that actually lights up if you plug it in.
Pattie Maes after the ceremony, the Urban League's award, another award plugged in
No special fireworks. Just good networking and well deserved awards.
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
Happy Birthday Bob!
Today is Bob Frankston's 51st birthday.
It was around this day 21 years ago that Bob delivered a paper at the old National Computer Conference in New York City describing a new program he had just written that was being announced publicly for the first time: VisiCalc. In hindsight it was a great paper (I'll post it when I can find a hard copy to scan...). However, it wasn't the well received announcement you might expect. Lots of our relatives and our publishers attended. Almost nobody else cared. There were 20 friends and family and 2 "real" attendees, but as Bob recalls the two people we didn't know walked out early probably because it wasn't like the talk about the undocumented opcodes of the TI-59 calculator (a hot topic in those days). Afterwards we went to a kosher restaurant nearby to celebrate. At that conference Bob and I met Bill Gates and Ben Rosen for the first time. Bill was a young kid best known for his version of BASIC and speeding tickets. Ben was still an electronics analyst at Morgan Stanley. I graduated Harvard Business School a couple of days later.
The New York Times ran a humorous article about the tradeshow: "A Layman's Trip into the Mega-Mega Land of Computers" by Frances X. Clines. Seeing a sign with a funny name being made for the Personal Software, Inc., booth he wrote:
Even as the believers gather, the painters in the Coliseum sign room are adding to the pantheon, carefully lettering "VISICALC" in giant black on yellow. All hail VISICALC."
I found an old picture of part of the article:
Humorous New York Times article from June 1979
It looked like Mr. Clines didn't fully understand what he was writing about, but we sure appreciated the quote. Interest in what it did, i.e., being an electronic spreadsheet, was low. VisiCalc didn't appear in a major newspaper or business magazine for many months after that first mention. Technology often takes a while to be appreciated and catch on.
Of course, there are always some visionaries who "get it". See Ben Rosen's write up in a newsletter July 11, 1979. He "got it". Ben left Morgan Stanley and eventually became a venture capitalist who funded Lotus, Compaq, and others, and has been chairman of Compaq for years. His brother Harold invented the geosynchronous satellite. What a family!
Here's a picture of Bob and me taken about a year later that appeared in the Boston Computer Society's Boston Computer Update, and one of him recently 20 years later. He hasn't aged much:
Me and Bob Frankston in 1980, Bob at PC Forum March 2000
Bob and I first met in January 1970. We've been great friends ever since. Happy Birthday, Bob, and many more!
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