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Re: Ventura



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> From: Wagner Design <anet@ANET26.COM>
> Organization: Wagner Design
> Reply-To: anet@anet26.com
> Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 15:12:58 -0700
> To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
> Subject: Re: Ventura

Thanks for this very helpful reply, Annette. Interestingly enough on
Wednesday, Oct. 17, PARC is hosting "Early Computer Mouse Encounters," a
panel discussion with Daniel Borel, Stuart Card, Bill English, Jean-Daniel
Nicoud and Niklaus Wirth.

Now that's quite a line-up! I wish I could be there just to shake hands with
Nicholas Wirth!

For more on this:
http://www.computerhistory.org/events/lectures/mouse_10172001/

Before I forget, It was Jeff Raskin who told Steve Jobs about PARC. There's
a really excellent narrative history (if a bit sophomoric at the beginning)
at http://www.WebmasterBase.com/article.php?pid=0&aid=511

> MSWindows copied the Mac.

Well, this is a bit fuzzy, since Microsoft worked on the Mac interface for
Apple and received certain rights to the material as part of the deal.

Now, digging deeper:

Do you know of any graphical interfaces (or precursors) that came out of the
military. I found what could have been a hint of this in "The Socio-Biology
of Enterprise" by C. L. Ring (a pseudonym), published in 1980 by Libra.

Ring was a technical writer at a major defense contractor who was working on
the documentation of a missile system. The generals in charge of the project
decided that they wanted an online help system that would diagnose and
correct any problem that could possible occur, so that "any cook or baker"
could launch the missile no matter what might have happened to the rest of
the unit. This was to substitute for the traditional system-oriented
manuals.

Ring found the idea ridiculous. There was no way that anyone could predict
everything that could go wrong. The only way to deal with unforeseen
problems was to understand the way the system worked. There was also no way
to assure that the help system itself might not be unavailable. He worked on
the idea, but continued the process of traditional documentation, which I
gathered went forward as the missile itself was developed. When the online
system turned out to be unfeasible, he had saved the day with his
traditional materials.

Given what I saw at Genigraphics in 1980, I wonder if there might have been
some sort of graphical navigation system in the military and aerospace
computers long before commercial designers began to think about it.



--

JULES SIEGEL Apdo 1764 Cancun Q. Roo 77501
http://www.cafecancun.com

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