Mar 19

When you clicked an icon to launch your web browser to read this article, you can thank Charles Thacker (among others).

In 1973, Thacker and a group of scientists at the famed Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) built the Alto, the world’s first desktop computer.  The Alto featured many innovations that we take for granted today in our personal computers: a television-like screen, graphical user interface, windows, icons, and a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) text editor.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) has awarded Charles Thacker with the Turing Award, which is considered to be the “Nobel Prize in Computing.”  The award includes a $250,000 check, with financial support by Intel and Google.  Since 1966 the Turing Award has honored computer scientists and engineers who “created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.”

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Jul 21

I have a friend who announces when she’s going to bed every night on Facebook.  It’s the 21st century equivalent of “Good night, John Boy.”  But does anyone really care?

Facebook, MySpace and especially Twitter provide a global platform to the narcissist in each of us.  We tweet the minutia of detail in our normally normal lives, hoping that somebody in cyberspace actually cares.

I’m not throwing stones in a glass house; I’m actually throwing them at the mirror.  I, too, am guilty of sharing my life ad nauseum on Facebook.  Even this blog is an electronic indictment of my narcissism, as if anyone truly cares about my rants.

But like many things in life, you may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, or a pony in this seemingly endless pile of poo.

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May 04

Bjarne Stroustrup is a Danish-born computer scientist and the College of Engineering Chair Professor of Computer Science at Texas A&M University.  He is most notable for developing the C++ programming language.  But many English speakers fumble at pronouncing his name. 

A rough English pronunciation would be "B-yar-ne Strov-stroop".  Or you can listen here to how Stroustrup himself pronounces his name.

Jul 10

The millionaire founder of an Internet software security company has gone missing in Hawaii following months of bizarre behavior.  Steven Thomas, 36, was last seen June 30 at a Waikiki hotel.

Thomas and ex-girlfiend Kirsten Talley founded Webroot Software in Boulder, Colorado in 1997.  Thomas wrote Spy Sweeper and Window Washer programs.  The pair sold their stake for $108 million to venture capitalists in December 2004.  They split the proceeds and parted ways.  Thomas then moved to O’ahu, where he bought a beachfront home.  His net worth is estimated to be around $50 million.

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May 07

It’s widely accepted in the software industry that some programmers are much more productive than others. Many experts cite an order-of-magnitude productivity difference between the “best” and “average” programmers.

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Mar 20

In 1968, inventor Robert Propst revolutionized the American workplace with his “Action Office” design for the Herman Miller furniture company.  Propst intended to create a more dynamic and flexible workspace, but the end result was the much-maligned office cubicle.

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Mar 19

Hans Reiser, a programmer famous for creating the ReiserFS computer file system for Linux, is charged with killing his wife, whose body has never been found.

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