Articles in Curatorial Insight(76)

Happy 30th to the World Wide Web!

Happy 30th to the World Wide Web!

Marc Weber Mar 12, 2019
Thirty years ago this month, physicist turned programmer Tim Berners-Lee first proposed what became the World Wide Web. A few months later he resubmitted the proposal with his colleague Robert Cailliau. Today the web is living up to its ambitious name, serving over four billion people with more to come. Read More
A Conversation with Artist & Musician Mark Mothersbaugh

A Conversation with Artist & Musician Mark Mothersbaugh

Chris Garcia Mar 11, 2019
DEVO has reunited a few times, but Mothersbaugh has kept working on his solo projects, including scoring films by Wes Anderson, like The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as major blockbusters like The Lego Movie and Thor: Ragnorok. Even now, when he might compose a half-dozen scores in a year while still occasionally touring with DEVO, he is also creating unique art works, like his orchestrions, on exhibit in the CHM Learning Lab. Read More
Meeting Whirlwind’s Joe Thompson

Meeting Whirlwind’s Joe Thompson

David Brock Feb 20, 2019
The photograph was dated 1950, a date when a now unimaginably small number of humans had ever beheld a computer, no less touched one, and when unabashed racism and discrimination was endemic on the American scene. Who was the young African-American man who nevertheless sat at the controls of this storied machine? What was his name? What was his story? Read More
Jingle Bits: Auditory Maintenance, Whirlwind Holiday Songs & the Dawn of Computer Music

Jingle Bits: Auditory Maintenance, Whirlwind Holiday Songs & the Dawn of Computer Music

CHM Editorial Team Dec 16, 2018
Sixty-seven years to the day after the television debut of Whirlwind’s “Jingle Bells,” we offer you this restoration of the program from the original punched paper tape at CHM, recovering an overlooked early piece of the rise of computer music from the auditory maintenance of early electronic digital computers. Read More
Portraits of Silicon Valley Tech Pioneers: The Legacy of Hal Hohbach

Portraits of Silicon Valley Tech Pioneers: The Legacy of Hal Hohbach

David Laws Dec 05, 2018
Hal Hohbach spent more than 40 years working as a patent attorney, developer, and investor, including serving on the board of Sutter Hill Ventures. His admiration for the persistence and contributions of inventors culminated in his commissioning of a modern-day version of Christian Schussele’s 1862 composite portrait of American Men of Progress, scientists and inventors who “had altered the course of contemporary civilization.” Read More
An Inflection Point in the History of Multimedia: Video Ethnographies of Visual Almanac and News Navigator

An Inflection Point in the History of Multimedia: Video Ethnographies of Visual Almanac and News Navigator

Hansen Hsu Oct 18, 2018
CHM's Center for Software History has been conducting “video ethnographies” to record and preserve the experience of running historical software. Over the course of 2018, the center has conducted two video ethnographies surrounding a key moment at the end of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the birth of multimedia. Watch and learn from experts as they discuss and demonstrate the Visual Almanac and News Navigator. Read More
Who Invented the Microprocessor?

Who Invented the Microprocessor?

David Laws Sep 20, 2018
The microprocessor is hailed as one of the most significant engineering milestones of all time. The lack of a generally agreed definition of the term has supported many claims to be the inventor of the microprocessor. This article describes a chronology of early approaches to integrating the primary building blocks of a computer on to fewer and fewer microelectronic chips, culminating in the concept of the microprocessor. Read More
Navigating the Quantum Computing Frontier

Navigating the Quantum Computing Frontier

David Brock Aug 24, 2018
Perhaps you are like me: You’ve aware that quantum computing is a hot topic today but have a nagging feeling that you don’t really have a good picture of what it’s all about. Sure, you know it has something to do with the unintuitive behavior of the world described by quantum mechanics—cats in boxes that are blends of alive and dead until you look inside, and photons coordinating their properties instantaneously over great distances and that are also sometimes a particle and sometimes a wave. And you also know that somehow in this weird behavior, researchers see the possibility for a new kind of computer that accomplish feats that computers like the ones that you own could never dream of doing. Oh, and you know there is something about these quantum computers being able to break all the codes. Read More
The Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop and the Billion Dollar Toilet Seat

The Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop and the Billion Dollar Toilet Seat

David Laws Aug 07, 2018
A microprocessor-embedded Lucite toilet seat and colorful handheld sun umbrellas featured in a group photograph of attendees at the 44th Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop (AMW44) in April 2018 represent the irreverent sense of humor combined with the pursuit of cutting-edge technology and an unrelenting hacker ethic that have pervaded these influential annual meetings of “movers, shakers, nerds, and greybeards of the industry” since 1975. Read More
QuickTime and the Rise of Multimedia

QuickTime and the Rise of Multimedia

Hansen Hsu Mar 30, 2018
QuickTime, the pioneering mass-market digital video format for personal computers, was developed by Apple and released in 1991 on the Macintosh. As part of the MPEG-4 video standard, QuickTime technology can be found in every device today that plays digital video, from cell phones to 4K streaming TVs. Read More
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