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that's because they were primitive
but it's also because computer guys
tend to like things that are pretty hard to use.
This is an IBM PC circa about 1983
and on it I have written a letter to my bank manager
asking him to back one of my get rich quick schemes
and I need to file the letter now and let me show you
how I do it - there will be a test on this.
OK the commands are - copy c, colon, backslash,
quickrich, dot, doc space a colon backslash
begging and return - well not very easy to do.
Here's a windows PC about twelve years newer
and we'll do exactly the same thing
I've written a document - quickrich, dot doc
and I put it in the begging file
and it yes I really do mean to do it and that's it.
Pictures rather than words making the PC easy and intuitive.
This is called a graphical user interface - GUI or gooey
where they come up with these names.
The battle to bring gooeys to PCs
and make them more user friendly
took ten years and is a helluva story
that is what this program is about.
It's also about how Bill Gates ended up
master of the gooey universe and a gazillionaire.
I never said it was a fairy story.
It all began in 1971 in Palo Alto,
just south of San Francisco,
when Xerox, the copier company, set up the
Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC.
The Xerox management had a sinking feeling
that if people started reading
computer screens instead of paper,
Xerox was in trouble.
Unless... they could dominate
the paperless office of the future.
You could take computer technology into the office
and make the office a much better place to work,
more productive, more enjoyable
a lot more enjoyable, ehm more interesting,
more rewarding and so we set to work on it.
Bob Taylor ran the PARC's Computer Science Lab
and one of the first things he did was to buy
bean bags for his researchers to sit on and brainstorm.
Here's a couple of the original beanbag chairs.
The role of the beanbag in computer science is ease of use.
- OK.
It was said that of the top 100 computer researchers in the world,
58 worked at PARC.
Strange, as the staff never exceeded 50.
See you didn't get your butt low enough...
But Taylor gave these nerd geniuses unlimited resources
and protected them from commercial pressures.
BOB: It's very comfortable.
BOB TAYLOR: Now let's see you get out of it.
BOB: I feel my neural capacity already increasing - Oh God...
The atmosphere was electric eh there was total intellectual freedom.
There was no conventional wisdom almost every idea
was up for challenge and got challenged regularly.
The management said go create the new world.
We don't understand it.
Here are people who have a lot of ideas
and tremendous talent, young, energetic.
People came there specifically to work
on five year programs that were their dreams.
This is a computer room in the basement of
the Xerox Pala Alto Research Centre...
about twenty five years ago they built
the max time sharing system in here
and now it's loaded with all sorts of other computers
and eh there's one that we're really interested in here
let's see... here it is... let me turn on the lights.
OK, here we have it.
This is a Xerox/Alto computer built around 1973.
Some people would argue that this is the first personal computer.
Ah it really isn't because for one thing
it wasn't ever for sale
and the parts alone cost about $10,000 but
it has all the elements of quite a modern personal computer
and without it we wouldn't have the Macintosh, we wouldn't have Windows
we wouldn't have most of the things we value in computing today
and ironically none of those things has a Xerox name on it.
What's the mail this morning?
This promotional film made in the mid seventies,
to flaunt XEROX PARC research,
shows just how revolutionary the Alto was.
It was friendly and intuitive.
This is an experimental office system. It's in use now...
It had the first GUI using a mouse to
point to


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