Unconscious Inertia


This is just a little trivia I picked up over the weekend.

Peter Kropotkin was, for a brief time, one of the more influential men of philosophy in Europe. A Russian—technically, a prince, though he repudiated the title, descended from the Rurik dynasty—who had gone to live in England, he wrote extensively about his vision of anarchist communism, differing from Karl Marx in that while the latter wanted to harness the state (at least for a while), Kropotkin felt that the state should be immediately abolished, in favor of voluntary associations. Although in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Kropotkin’s ideas lost out to Marx’s, he did go back to Russia, where he was—somewhat begrudgingly—tolerated until his death in 1921.

Kropotkin had a daughter, Alexandra. After her father’s death, she came to the US, where she lived the rest of her life, writing various articles and books, and trading on the Russian title her father had given up. Near the end of her life, in the 1964 US presidential election she supported—Barry Goldwater.

#100DaysToOffload #history #trivia

I mentioned a while back that what we mean by “personal computer” could be very different had DEC made a different decision in 1973.

I discovered today that Leonard Tramiel, son of the late founder of Commodore Jack Tramiel, shared a similar anecdote on the software side of things:

After my first academic year in graduate school, I came home for the summer where I returned to the PET program at Commodore. One of the tasks I was given was to review a box of software that been submitted so that Commodore would sell the software. I didn't recommend that Commodore take any of the software. One piece of software deserves special attention.

I said that this piece of software wasn't worth selling because there was nothing that it could do that couldn't also be done by a nearly trivial BASIC program. One reason for having this view was that nearly all of the discussions that I had had with the people involved in producing the first personal computers centered around the primary use being to learn programming. So I was biased to think that everyone that used a PET would be able to write simple programs. The program I'm talking about was VisiCalc.

(emphasis in original)

VisiCalc, of course, was the first “killer app”.

#Commodore #history #computing #software