October 18, 2012

Dubose Montgomery, from Asimov to Siri

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Silicon Minds: The book may be the most powerful technology ever invented. In the hands of a child the results are nothing short of miraculous. Dubose Montgomery, founder of Menlo Ventures in Silicon Valley, can attest to a journey that began with imagining other worlds in the stories of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and other writers. Montgomery imagined himself at M.I.T. before he knew quite what it was. Perhaps this is the spirit that makes for successful venture deals. In this edition of Silicon Minds, a conversation with Dubose Montgomery about his story, technology and looking forward. ...read more

July 30, 2012

Earle Jones, An Inventor’s Life

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Silicon Minds: After graduating from Georgia Tech in the early 1950s, Earle Jones thought he would merely pursue a graduate degree. “Georgia Tech and Stanford had a close relationship three thousand miles apart,” he recalls. “I wanted to go to graduate school, so the guys in Atlanta said, ‘go out to this town called Palo Alto.'”

When he arrived the Stanford Research Institute, also known as SRI, was barely 6 years old, where he would immerse himself in technology research for the next 40 years. Pictured in the cover photo are the numbers ...read more

June 22, 2012

The Alan Turing Centennial

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Silicon Minds: Alan Turing was born on June 23, 1912. Well before World War II he conceived of a machine which could compute and it was a machine that, although an abstraction, could solve problems. It was a monumental achievement on par with the framing of relativity and atomic discoveries, though no one at the time realized it. Deservedly, he is called the father of computer science. But he was the son of proper British parents and a brother to a man who wrestled with accepting Alan’s homosexuality. Cambridge University Press has republished the 1959 biography of Alan Turing written ...read more

May 29, 2012

Bruce Perens and the Origins of Open Source

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Silicon Minds: Open source continues to make gains despite the perception that its era has passed. Just recently, the NYSE Technologies announced it was using the open source software called Drupal to make collaboration tools and for content management, an important strategic move for the NYSE which is looking to strengthen global partnerships.

The Open Source Definition is one of the powerful ideas in the history of computing. As Bruce Perens contributed in Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, “The Open Source Definition is a bill of rights for the computer user. It ...read more

April 23, 2012

Don Massaro and the PC Revolution

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Silicon Minds: The legend goes that Don Massaro, President of Shugart Associates in the 1970s, drew the 5.25 inch dimension of the minifloppy diskette on a napkin at lunch. “That’s not quite true,” says Don Massaro. “If you go look at the Wikipedia entry and look at the 5.25 inch story, I’ve tried to fix it 14 times, but you know with Wikipedia somebody can always override what you’re doing.” What is true is Massaro and Shugart engineers knew the diskette had to be slightly too big to fit in a shirt pocket. “If you creased the disk and you’d ...read more