Severe Tire Damage Mentioned in New Media News Online
Stan came in the other day and asked if I thought he could get away with expensing a $280 sushi dinner. No. And how could you have possibly eaten that much sushi? Turns out Stan and photographer Dave Koehn were hanging with Mark Weiser, Xerox PARC's Chief Technologist, and the boys in his band--all brilliant guys. Once the sake kicked in Stan got the inside scoop on PARC developments.
In addition to conducting groundbreaking scientific research that has transformed computing (the mouse, the graphical user interface, etc.) Weiser's team has come up with some really useful devices. For instance, the Hi-Tech Coffee Alert System. A newly brewed pot of coffee generates an alert signal that's sent across their office network. Added bonus: an automatic counter to record coffee-sitting-out-on-burner time.
Meantime Rick lunched with more incredibly smart people at another Bay Area think tank--IBM's Almaden Research Center. Heard the story behind the development of the trackpoint for IBM laptops. Ted Selker and his team went through 100 prototype keyboards before deciding to place the device between the g, b and h. Material presented another problem---needed to be firm, but couldn't dent the finger. They tried fish skin, but Selker's father, a rubber expert, convinced them that rubber was the way to go.
Now, I was going to conclude this column with some paragraph about how much fun it is to meet some of these people--but I'm being distracted. Gixman is loudly talking on the phone to a Broderbund PR person. He's explaining why the Miller brothers should not feel miffed about the fact that the Today Show has no interest in interviewing them about Riven (the Myst sequel they developed, a very big deal in the game world)........
"Hey, the only way the Today Show would be interested is if the game blows up when you play it".
'Til next time....
-- "Cool People We Get To Meet", Jan Boyd, New Media News Online, www.newmedianews.com/jan/j101797.html, October 20, 1997.