John Markoff (Part 2 of 2)

Technology Columnist and Author

SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series
75 minutes, 34.6mb, recorded 2005-06-08
The SDForum Panel
In this second part of an evening with John Markoff at the SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series, Bill Duvall, Lee Felsenstein, Dennis Allison, Larry Tessler and moderator Sanford Rockowitz follow-up with John and explore the beginnings of the PC revolution.

The Homebrew Computer Club started the hacker culture. Sharing code seemed to be the natural way of doing things. Therein also lie some of the roots of the open source movement as it is today. People who were members of the Club just came together and talked about some interesting problems they had solved. The People's Computer Company was another such group. They published a magazine which played a pivotal role in the PC revolution. It was the precursor to the famous Dr. Dobbs Journal which is still published today.

Doug Engelbart was working on augmenting human intelligence. His demo of the mouse had a profound influence on a whole generation of computer scientists and programmers. Another stalwart was John McCarthy who was working on replacing human intelligence in the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The panel talks about their profound influence on them and some of the foundations of the PC revolution.

This is Part 2 of a two-part presentation. You'll find Part 1 here.

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John Markoff was born in Oakland, California in 1949, grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, in 1971. He attended graduate school at the University of Oregon where he received a masters degree in 1976. He joined The New York Times in March of 1988 as a reporter for the paper's business section. He now writes for the Times from San Francisco where he covers Silicon Valley, computers and technology issues.

At the Times he broke the story identifying Robert Tappan Morris as the author of the 1988 Internet worm that crashed thousands of computers. He writes frequently on technology policy issues and he also broke the story of the Clinton Administration's plan to introduce "Clipper" chip surveillance system.

He came to the Times from the San Francisco Examiner where he worked for three and a half years. He has written about the field of technology since 1977. From 1984 to 1985 he was West Coast editor for Byte Magazine and from 1981 to 1983 he was a reporter and an editor at Infoworld. From 1983 to 1985 he wrote a column on personal computers for the San Jose Mercury News.

Dennis Allison was co-founder of the Peoples Computer Company, created Tiny Basic, and was a founder of Dr. Dobbs Journal. He is currently a lecturer in the Computer Systems Laboratory at Stanford and works as an independent consultant.

Bill Duvall worked in Doug Englebart's Augment group at the Stanford Research Institute, where he wrote the software that sent the first ARPANet message. He subsequently moved to Xerox PARC.

Lee Felsenstein ran the Homebrew Computer Club and designed the Sol and Osborne 1, two of the original personal computers. He is currently a partner at the Fonly Institute, a consulting and research organization focused on developing groundbreaking products that place computer power in the hands of ordinary people.

Larry Tesler worked at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) and later Xerox PARC and Apple, where he was Vice-President and Chief Scientist. He is currently Vice-President and Research Fellow at Yahoo!, where he heads their User Experience and Design Group.


This program is from the SDForum 2005 Conference series.

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