The Computer History Museum had invited Ivan Sutherland to talk about Research and Fun for an evening in 2005. I was electrified to listen to his words when the recording was first published on research.sun.com – you know, we both worked at Sun those days. I even did a partial transcript of a key section where he offers the essence of what it takes being a good researcher, excerpt of the excerpt:
…if you would be a researcher it seams to me that you’d best search your soul first to find out what it is you like to do. … what ever it is make sure that you pick something to work on that you like, that you think is fun. Because if it isn’t fun you aren’t going to be very good at it. [more]
When Sun went down – this video went away. How odd that a museum depends on the fortune of a single company to preserve its assets. Hence this video was off-line for a couple of years until I offered to upload my backup version earlier this year. The Computer History Museum rejected my idea, but assured me to upload the video to the official CHM channel on YouTube. So thanks a lot to Sara Lott for republishing the talk!
Storytelling is quite en vogue. In fact telling stories is part of the human nature. Things get weird if the story is more convincing than the truth. Word of mouth spreads like wild fire to turn into facts? Is it called urban legends? Viral marketing?
For instance, do you know what happened on Easter Island? Do you know why all the trees are chopped, almost all insular are dead, and many of the famous moai statures are overthrown? These are the ingredients to make up a convincing story of a collapsing culture. Furthermore, it is warning for human kind to be careful with the limited resources on our planet.
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. – Henry Louis Mencken
// rebloggedvia interaction-design.org on fb So this morning I was curious about the origin of what is often referred to as the hamburger icon. Spent a few minutes digging around and found this video from the Xerox Star. Turns out that Norm Cox is who designed the interface for this system. I emailed Norm and asked who designed the hamburger icon? Here’s his response:
You’ve done your homework and found the right guy. I designed that symbol many years ago as a "container" for contextual menu choices. It would be somewhat equivalent to the context menu we use today when clicking over objects with the right mouse button. Its graphic design was meant to be very "road sign" simple, functionally memorable, and mimic the look of the resulting displayed menu list. With so few pixels to work with, it had to be very distinct, yet simple. I think we only had 16×16 pixels to render the image. (or possibly 13×13… can’t remember exactly). Interesting inside joke… we used to tell potential users that the image was an "air vent" to keep the window cool. It usually got a chuckle, and made the mark much more memorable. It’s been nice to see that so many of our designs from those early pioneering years have stood the test of time and become ubiquitous symbols in our UI’s. Feel free to share the short story. I have many more design related stories from my days at Xerox PARC during the birth of graphical UI’s, and subsequent 30+ years consulting. I think it’s important to share the past with designers today to help them understand the philosophies, constraints, considerations and inspirations that got us to where we are today. I only ask for proper attribution when you post something from me. (I like people to know that they can get in touch with me for more design tales!) Kind regards Norm
This is not my planet. And this is not my conference.
– Ted Nelson’s opening words at ACM Hypertext 2001. Once in a while I find it very refreshing to remind myself on potential alternatives and fundamental considerations about the state of technology with respect to the web and our knowledge management tools as such. An ever-trusted source on this is Ted Nelson (bibliography and videos).
More quotes from the talk:
I think of the world wide web and XML and cascading style sheets is the ultimate triumph of the typesetter over the author.
three fundamental problems today:
hierarchical file structures
simulation of paper
the application prison
Software is a branch of movie making.
The question is about starting over.
A friend who has attended the conference gave me a CD with the talk. Eventually, I decided to upload the recording to vimeo. Please enjoy:
The second video – which I helped to put into the public space – is also from the vision’n’concept department: Starfire by Sun Microsystems 1994.
At CHI ’98 I’ve attended a presentation by Frank Ludolph on Apple Lisa. Frank had also booth duty at the conference where he spread a couple of VHS tapes of Starfire. What marvelous concepts! Multitouch, voice UI, wall-size displays, tablets with motion and orientation sensors, telepresence for video conferences, among many more…
Years later – in 2005 – I asked Tog for a digital copy. Of course he had one – but no permission for sharing. By chance I was working for Sun at the time and got approval from Sun’s VP Juan Carlos Soto to release the video. So please enjoy_
There are a couple videos in the public domain space now where I take credit to have preserved them from fading away. The first is Future Shock by Apple 1988.
I saw it first on an Apple promo CD while working at BBDO in the early 1990s. It was a tiny QuickTime movie. But it made a huge impression on me. Gesture and voice interaction, as well as an early predecessor concept of google glass – didn’t know that at the time 😉
A decade later I stumbled upon the CD at the library of the IZHD, made a backup copy, and uploaded it to my site. From there it went to Mac Essentials’ magazine site, and eventually to youtube.
The poor quality is still due to the original QT version. I would be very interested to get a hires version…