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It is mid-1973: microprocessors exist, but only in control systems. Punched cards dominate. Bill Gates is getting ready for Harvard, where he will eventually produce a version of Basic for the new Altair "microcomputer". Fortran, Cobol, and PL/I are the languages, unless you're doing something pretty specialised, or still using assembly language. It is less(More)
The human brain is capable of coordinating a large number of muscular actions to produc e impressive results : we think of an organist, a typist, a driver. A worthy goal fo r rehabilitation computing is to provide a way to achieve the same results for people whos e physical condition make the actions of playing the organ, or typing, or driving, impossible ,(More)
This topic was brought to mind by the title of a recentish publication[1], where "a tiny virtual machine" was mentioned. I have told you[2] about our virtual machine for Basic which ran in 16 kilobytes; the smallest of the processors used for the "tiny virtual machine" provided 32 kilobytes of non-volatile storage, with an additional 0.5 or 1 kilobyte of(More)
In Stephen Pinker's book The Language Instinct[1], the author argues convincingly that the remarkable human facility for managing language depends on our being equipped from birth with machinery to do just that : " Language is ... a distinct piece of the biological makeup of our brains ". Because of this machinery, he suggests, any signs of linguistic(More)
As you probably know, Edsger Dijkstra died on August 6th. I am writing this on August 9th, so I have no idea how much of what kinds of memorial publication will appear to mark his passing, but I think I can safely expect that there will be a lot of almost everything imaginable. This article will not be published until December; what can I offer that has any(More)
We describe a project originally inspired by an article in a New Zealand computer magazine 1 bewailing the lack of resources provided by New Zealand Telecom to aid deaf peoples' use of the telephone network. The plan was to develop a computer, telephone, and intemet system with which people unable to manage a conventional telephone would be able to(More)
But then? The real information channel was still print—for sheer versatility, it's hard to beat a book. Indeed, text (not quite print, but close) was both the user interface and storage medium of Bush's information machine. Nevertheless, I don't think it would have occurred to me at first sight that print would be a promising basis for multimedia. I(More)