Home | Community | Message Board


Edabea
Please support our sponsors.

Feedback and Administration >> Shroomery News Service

Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!

Jump to first unread post. Pages: 1
OfflinemotamanM
old hand
 User Gallery
Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 6,021
Last seen: 10 days, 5 hours
Hippies shaped the PC revolution
    #4177512 - 05/15/05 11:17 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-5706396.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=zdnet

Hippies shaped the PC revolution

By Charles Cooper
URL: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-5706396.html


Commentary--The '60s represent many things to many people, but did that same era of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll also inspire the revolution in personal computing?
That remains an unconventional reading of contemporary history. You could just as easily argue that heavy investment in military research was the moving force. Same goes for pro-market tax policies. But a generation of pot smokers and draft dodgers?

Needless to say, it has the makings of a feisty barroom debate. Still, don't dismiss the argument out of hand. In fact, Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand made a convincing try a decade ago.

In an essay he wrote for Time magazine in 1995, Brand maintained that the communal and libertarian outlook espoused during the hippie era spawned the seeds that later bore fruit in the form of the modern cyberrevolution. "At the time, it all seemed dangerously anarchic (and still does to many), but the counterculture's scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal-computer revolution."

He wasn't talking about Vint Cerf doing bong loads. You can easily get lost in the caricatures of the counterculture's sometimes perverse opposition to authority and entirely miss the point. In fact, that very willingness to challenge convention led to leaps of imagination that got repackaged into a furious assault on mainframe centralization.

Power to the people = popular access to computers? Actually, it's not such a stretch. But how did the pieces fall into place? Explaining that is the hard task, and it's one ably taken up by John Markoff in "What the Dormouse Said: How the '60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry." Markoff, a Silicon Valley correspondent for The New York Times, has produced a fascinating read, uncovering the many threads that connected the counterculture with the pioneering computer research later carried out just south of San Francisco.

Why history works out the way it does always makes for a good story, especially when the outcome is unexpected. By rights, the East Coast should have bested the West Coast in the computer competition. The East Coast computing axis, which ran from just north of New York City, where IBM housed its headquarters, up to Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was rich in talent, money and pedigree. But as Markoff recounts, most of the groundbreaking research was getting done in California.

"The East Coast computing culture didn't get it. The old computing world was hierarchical and conservative."

He's got that right. In a certain sense, the East Coast establishment was a victim of its own success. Unfortunately, it was also blind to the future because it had such an entrenched interest in the preservation of the status quo. Ken Olson, the founder of Digital Equipment Corp. and a leading figure of the East Coast computer establishment, once famously quipped in public that there was no need for a home PC. But the outside world was changing, and DEC would later pay the price for its management's myopia.

Meanwhile, Northern California had attracted the talents of brilliant thinkers such as Doug Engelbart, Fred Moore, Alan Kay and Ted Nelson--not to mention the sundry hobbyists who belonged to the now legendary Homebrew Computer Club.

The contrast between the West Coast and the Old Guard back East was stark--in some cases a parody of the difference between the two coasts. IBM was famous for sending its employees out into the business world with pressed suits and white shirts as mandatory battle fatigues. What would they have thought had they known their future nemeses were dropping serious amounts of acid?

LSD was hardly verboten. Just the opposite. Long before Ken Kesey's electric Kool-Aid acid tests, Engelbart belonged to a small band of computer researchers who tried LSD to test whether they could enhance their creative powers with psychedelic drugs. It's unclear whether this paved the way for later technology breakthroughs. (Engelbart was sufficiently inspired by one of his LSD trips to think up a training toy to teach little boys to urinate properly.)

Like the founding generation that led the United States to independence, this was a special cadre of thinkers and doers. Was their zeal fired by the '60s counterculture? Or was it due to sheer dumb luck that a collection of special talents came together at exactly the same time in exactly the same place? It's an argument that will go on for quite a long time.


--------------------
http://heffter.org


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Offlinejcldragon
Stranger
 User Gallery

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 117
Loc: Los Angeles
Last seen: 5 years, 9 months
Re: Hippies shaped the PC revolution [Re: motaman]
    #4177688 - 05/15/05 12:09 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

When I was in High School during the late 1960s, I went to a science fair, and was offered a job with some small company putting together home computers in a garage in the next town over... Sunnyvale. The prospective employer seemed fairly cool, and certainly had no problems at all with my Hippie philosophy.

BUT, stupid me didn't see what it might have become, so I turned down the job with Apple Computers.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


--------------------
The Soul exists simultaneously throughout all of Time.
The Ego merely exists now.


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineAdamist
ℚṲℰϟ✞ЇѺℵ ℛ∃Åʟḯ†У
Male User Gallery

Registered: 11/24/01
Posts: 10,211
Loc: Bloomington, IN
Last seen: 1 year, 8 months
Re: Hippies shaped the PC revolution [Re: motaman]
    #4177765 - 05/15/05 12:31 PM (11 years, 6 months ago)

The internet was literally born in the hippie era...

Brief timeline of the Internet


--------------------
:heartpump: { { { ṧ◎ηḯ¢ αʟ¢ℌ℮мƴ } } } :heartpump:


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
OfflineHooty
Reality isRelative

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 2,467
Last seen: 5 years, 6 months
Re: Hippies shaped the PC revolution [Re: Adamist]
    #4184745 - 05/17/05 01:51 AM (11 years, 6 months ago)

Quote:


BUT, stupid me didn't see what it might have become, so I turned down the job with Apple Computers.





Ain't that a bitch.


--------------------


Without love in the dream
It will never come true


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
Jump to top. Pages: 1

Feedback and Administration >> Shroomery News Service

Similar ThreadsPosterViewsRepliesLast post
* Skinny Dipping in Reality: The Great Hippy LSD Enlightenment Search Party veggie 2,107 7 03/26/09 03:00 PM
by danlennon3
* US Senator would destroy MP3 traders' PCs TinMan 1,139 6 06/25/03 02:57 PM
by daussaulit
* The history of 'Hippies' on the History Channel veggie 9,903 11 10/06/07 01:50 PM
by KevsaNewb
* Bonnaroo Traffic Slows Down And So Do Arrests motamanM 3,859 4 06/19/06 04:44 PM
by Koala Koolio
* 2005: NORML's Top Ten Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy veggie 630 0 12/30/05 11:16 AM
by veggie
* Graying hippies mark 'Be-in' anniversary veggie 2,163 4 01/16/09 01:38 AM
by veggie
* Hillary/Schumer want $1 million for hippie Museum bodynotdead 1,681 9 07/18/07 05:16 AM
by SunshineDaydream
* The hippies were right all along -- we knew that Bridgeburner 2,384 12 05/03/07 03:13 AM
by highdroponics

Extra information
You cannot start new topics / You cannot reply to topics
HTML is disabled / BBCode is enabled
Moderator: motaman, karode13, Alan Rockefeller, naum, Mostly_Harmless
837 topic views. 2 members, 8 guests and 13 web crawlers are browsing this forum.
[ Toggle Favorite | Print Topic | Stats ]
Search this thread:
Everything Mushrooms
Please support our sponsors.

Copyright 1997-2016 Mind Media. Some rights reserved.

Generated in 0.034 seconds spending 0.002 seconds on 14 queries.