Tag Archives | Pixar

PARC Predicts the Future of Mobile Tech, Circa 1991

I’m spending the afternoon at PARC–the Xerox subsidiary formerly known as the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center–for a fascinating event celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the legendary research organization. Ethernet, laser printers, and much of the concepts and technologies in every modern graphical user interface  all emerged from PARC; among the many legendary alums here today are Adele Goldberg, Alan Kay, Bob Metcalfe, and Charles Simonyi. And I just shook the hand of the man sitting next to me–Alvy Ray Smith, a computer graphics pioneer and former PARC employee who cofounded Pixar.

Here’s a video I stumbled across on YouTube–it was apparently made at PARC circa 1991, and talks about ubiquitous computing, a long-time subject of PARC research that’s being discussed by panelists here even as I speak.

No, it doesn’t predict the iPhone–but it’s still fascinating and prescient, like much of the work done at PARC over the past four decades.


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25 Unanswerable Questions About Apple

unanswerable

Everybody has two businesses, the old saying goes: their own business, and show business. It’s the same with technology, except everybody’s two business are their own business…and Apple’s. No other tech company on the planet is followed as avidly, nor is any so routinely second-guessed. And if anything, controversy over Apple’s decisions and dramas intensifies with time: I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if someone, somewhere, still contends that Jobs and Wozniak should have slashed the $666.66 pricetag of 1976’s Apple I to better compete with the $495 Altair.

Apple’s long history is rife with defining moments…and, therefore, with roads not traveled that might have led to radically different places. I call the twenty-five items in this story “unanswerable questions” because none of them have right answers: Nobody knows what would have happened if things had turned out differently. All you can do is speculate. Which is what I do, briefly, for all of the questions below. But mostly, I’m curious what you think. These questions may be unanswerable, but it’s still a blast to try and answer them anyhow, as I hope you’ll do in the comments…

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? After the jump, that is…

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