Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ted Nelson & Computer Lib at Homebrew Computer Club Reunion

I had a great time at the Homebrew Computer Club Reunion last night, which, I learned, was made possible by a Kickstarter (thank you, KS backers!)

One of the great conversations I had there was with Ted Nelson, author of Computer Lib/Dream Machines and his wife, Marlene Mellicoat. My wife and I had a wonderful time speaking with them. Ted has published a new edition of Computer Lib. It's not a reprint from scans of the original, but a new printing from the original negatives. It's as clear and sharp as the original was back when, possibly even better. It's in the same large format, as well, not scaled down for the size of paper that happens to be cheap and convenient for most books.

Sorry about the fold, I only had my hip pocket as a place to put his flier last night.
I was working so hard at being social last night it didn't even occur to me that I could probably have purchased a copy directly from him right then. I saw that he had a number of copies in his bag, too. It's little things like this that I always think of when people tell me how smart I am. Yeah, about some things, maybe, but about other things I'm not so much.

Nevertheless, I'm going to purchase it now, after the event. I read someone else's copy back when, having noticed it as a pillar on a bricks and boards bookshelf among a number of copies of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers (Fat Freddy's Cat was my favorite of the crew.) Now I'm looking forward to having a Computer Lib/Dream Machines book of my own.

If you're not familiar with Ted's work, I strongly recommend correcting that. The web could be so much more than it is, and require far less human "curation" than it does, if it hadn't turned into the mishmash mess of information without proper structure that it has become. I'd say more, but rather than reading my take on what he thinks, go to the source:

Hopefully I'll have a chance to post more about last night's event in future articles. There was so much packed into so little time that my head is still spinning from it. (They managed to recreate the atmosphere of the original meetings perfectly in that regard.)

It was great that my wife got to hear Ted speak during the formal presentation portion of the evening, too. I got to hear him speak a few times back when, he's a dynamic and engaging speaker. He makes you think about how things could be, possibilities that are better than reality. Now we have hearing Ted speak as a shared experience.

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