Archie McCardell: Worst CEO Ever

Archie McCardell is the worst CEO in history. Sure, there are CEO’s who committed crimes, CEO’s who bankrupt their businesses, and CEO’s who looted their businesses. There are crooks, those who hire cronies, people who paid bribes, plenty who demanded sex or servitude, and countless sociopaths. In fairness to him, Archie did none of these […]

Easy Credit

Background Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper revolutionalized agriculture. McCormick’s reaper enabled one man to harvest the same amount of grain in one day as he could in two weeks by hand. Since grain goes bad when not timely harvested, the reaper enabled farmers to plant far larger crops with commensurate profits. Additionally, the reaper lowered the […]

Computer Assisted Design (Sketchpad)

“The cinema camera doesn’t make movies; it allows movies to be made. It’s the creative people who make it real to people.” Ivan Sutherland Computer Assisted Design (CAD) uses mathematics to do the geometry and calculations necessary to draw and design. CAD is faster and more accurate than hand drawing. Sutherland’s “sketchpad” software, part of […]

Wi-Fi

In 1941, Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr devised a system and submitted a patent for radio signals that changed frequencies. Background Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (Heidi Lamar) was born in Vienna. She is most famous as the first woman to appear nude in a mainstream film. In the same movie, she was also the first woman […]

Streaming Video

Early streaming video was more science experiment than entertainment. Video over the internet wouldn’t become common for almost 20 more years after the first stream. Background However, computer companies, thinking about the early Internet, were interested in using it for television. These early transmissions required expensive and complicated computers and extremely expensive Internet connections to […]

Portable Computer

Portable computers are more convenient than stationary computers. They increase productivity for people who travel, allow office workers to bring work home, and enable telecommuting. Background Portable computers were developed at (where else), Xerox PARC. The Xerox NoteTaker, released in 1978, was the first portable computer. Staying true to Xerox tradition, only about ten were […]

Interpress & PostScript

Interpress and PostScript enabled display technology, initially printers and eventually screens, to display output exactly as it would look between media. Printouts and screens, no matter the size, would look exactly the same. The technology is another from Xerox PARC. Background Warnock left Evans & Sutherland, a computer graphics company founded by Ivan Sutherland, to […]

Graphic User Interface

Computers “must be learnable in private… Kindness should be an integral part.” Alan Kay The Graphic User Interface (GUI) consists of windows, folders, icons, mice, etc… It enables ordinary people to use computers. Xerox PARC’s GUI vastly simplified computer use and increased productivity by making computers easy and fun to use. Like the internet itself, […]

Electronic Paper

Electronic paper is an ultra-low-power display that requires electricity only to change. ePaper is useful for eBook readers, grocery store price tags, and other displays that need not rapidly change and cannot be plugged in. Electronic paper is a lesser-known Xerox PARC invention. Helping cement their reputation as the Worst Managers of All Time, Xerox […]

Ethernet Networking

Ethernet is a computer networking protocol. Before Ethernet, computers were connected using a hodgepodge of various systems, a digital Tower of Babel. Background Bob Metcalfe invented Ethernet at Xerox PARC. However, Xerox failed to commercialize the technology. Metcalfe left and worked on his own Digital (see minicomputers) and Intel to set Ethernet as a networking […]