*The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the revolution that made computing personal*

By M. Mitchell Waldrop.  Not only is the content essential, but it is one of the most beautiful books, as a physical object, I have seen in years.  From Stripe Press.


This sounds marvelous. When I read the Wizards book I was shocked at how many of the ideas I considered new in 1980 were actually very old by then.


By the way, in the early eighties I interviewed at a company that had a former Xerox Parc researcher on staff. His was one of the interviews I had to pass. When I met him, he seemed a bit .. casual.

So I get hired, and report 2 weeks later. I say "hey, where is that Xerox guy?"

They say "oh, he quit 2 weeks ago."

My luck. He had already figured out what I would in the next year.

Yeah, I hate when that happens.

In truth, I've been fortunate and haven't had that literally happen to me, but there have been times where I already knew people who'd worked at places I was applying to, and got useful information from them.

Conversely, I could tell stories about places that I've worked, but only rarely do I get asked.

JCRL in his words, 1986


Wow, at about 34 minutes he talks about the value of open source

I hadn't heard of Licklider, so when the Amazon blurb went on and on about his futuristic vision without really describing who he was my initial reaction was: so what, a lot of people had fancy visions, going back to Babbage and Lovelace and earlier.

But then the other blurbs mentioned Xerox Parc, then I finally understood. So this book is fairly high on my priority list now.

Not quite at the top though, because there's still the question of how much of his vision was the inspiration for the other researchers and developers. In some cases the stories are well-known, of Xerox Parc developing say the mouse and GUI. And his connection with ARPA is significant. But was his vision of the "Intergalactic Network" as influential as the blurbs make it sound? Maybe, and it's probably worth reading the book to find out.

I worked with Lick (as he was generally known) at MIT Project MAC (later the Laboratory for Computer Science), and read this book when it first came out some years ago. It's an excellent biography/history that does justice to a brilliant and imaginative man.

I generally love physical objects that are designed well, especially hard cover books. With Tyler's recommendation, I rushed to Amazon to purchase, only to find this review (1st and only review on the site as of Sunday Sept 30 8:15 pm EST): "The font size is way too small. The attached image shows the font size of this book on the left versus a normal font size in a 2018 non fiction book on the right. Made the book near illegible for me, so cannot comment on the contents. Shiny cover, though!"

Has anybody else seen the book? Any other comments on legibility?

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