Gary Kildall

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 26 — The Sony CD-ROM, Pioneer PX-7, and Halcyon

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 26 — The Sony CD-ROM, Pioneer PX-7, and Halcyon

This episode of Computer Chronicles introduces some minor tweaking to the format established during the initial 1983-84 season. The first is the addition of Wendy Woods as a correspondent. Woods takes over narrating the customary B-roll feature following the introduction and also conducts remote interviews with guests related to the topic of the week. The second change is Stewart Cheifet now gives a brief “cold open” before each episode introducing the theme.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 25 — The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Japan's National Supercomputer Project

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 25 — The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Japan's National Supercomputer Project

You often hear people describe modern smartphones as a “supercomputer in your pocket.” There’s definitely some truth to that, especially when you compare today’s phones with the supercomputers of 40 years ago. In the mid-1980s, supercomputer manufacturers were still struggling with concepts like parallel processing, i.e., breaking down a program into smaller tasks that could run simultaneously on multiple microprocessors. Today, in contrast, multi-core, multi-threaded CPU cores are the norm on just about every personal computing device.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 24 — Edward Feigenbaum

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 24 — Edward Feigenbaum

For this episode, I’m going to handle things a bit differently. There was only a single guest–Stanford University computer science professor Edward Feigenbaum–and the subject is one that, quite frankly, does not strike me as all that interesting. So rather than do an extended point-by-point recap of the episode, I’m just going to summarize in broad strokes. Trust me, if you had watched the episode, you’d thank me. Stanford Professor Discusses AI, Future of Japanese Computing Initiative You may recall that Feigenbaum appeared in an earlier episode, which I recapped in Part 20.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 23 — Steve Wozniak, Adam Osborne, Lore Harp, and Gene Amdahl

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 23 — Steve Wozniak, Adam Osborne, Lore Harp, and Gene Amdahl

This next Computer Chronicles episode focuses squarely on people rather than products. The formal subject is “computer entrepreneurs.” And the four guests are people who were all quite well known in the computer industry during the early 1980s. What’s fascinating, as we’ll see a bit later, is that two of the guests had ventures that each managed to flame out not long after this episode aired. “I Had Been Working My Whole Life to Build a Certain Type of Computer for Myself.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 22 — Dialog and The Source

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 22 — Dialog and The Source

The ostensible topic of this next Computer Chronicles episode is databases. But what we’re really talking about here are early online information systems–that is, the precursor to the modern Internet. This was a time (1984) when just getting online was a chore. First, you needed a personal computer with a separate modem peripheral connected to a telephone line. Then you needed a subscription to an online service. The service itself charged you by the minute or hour for access–and that was on top of any long-distance phone charges you might incur if the service did not have a local number.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 18 — Personal COBOL, Forth, and DR Logo

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 18 — Personal COBOL, Forth, and DR Logo

In Part 16, we saw a demonstration of Apple Logo, a computer programming language promoted as an alternative to BASIC. This next episode of The Computer Chronicles features another version of Logo–this one developed and sold by co-host Gary Kildall’s Digital Research–as well as a broader discussion of the state of computer programming languages around early 1984. The other languages presented in this episode–COBOL, Forth, and Pascal–are still in use today, even if they are not necessarily at the top of the Stack Overflow survey of most popular programming languages.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 17 — Alan Shugart and the Memorex 3680

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 17 — Alan Shugart and the Memorex 3680

This next episode of The Computer Chronicles from 1984 is about storage devices, specifically disk drives. At this point in the microcomputer revolution, the 5.25-inch floppy disk is the accepted standard. But a number of new technologies are vying to supplant it. And while Gary Kildall was bullish on at least some of these new technologies eventually gaining mainstream acceptance, one of the guests aggressively pushed back on the idea.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 15 — Space Shuttle, Excalibur, Pinball Construction Set, and Dr. J vs. Larry Bird

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 15 — Space Shuttle, Excalibur, Pinball Construction Set, and Dr. J vs. Larry Bird

Even if you’re only a casual gamer, there are probably a few video game designers whose names you’re familiar with, such as Sid Meier, Todd Howard, and Shigeru Miyamoto. From the early days of computer gaming, there was a concerted effort to promote certain “superstar” designers to help personalize and sell games to the public. This next episode of The Computer Chronicles featured three such designers from the early 1980s, as well as an executive whose name would become synonymous with computer and video game production in the decades that followed.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 14 — Express EasyScan and The Sales Edge

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 14 — Express EasyScan and The Sales Edge

In a bit of eerie foreshadowing, this episode of The Computer Chronicles from January 1984 opened with a discussion of a global pandemic. Not a real one, of course, but a computer simulation. Stewart Cheifet and Gary Kildall played with a game called Epidemic, released by Strategic Simulations. Cheifet explained this was an example of how someone could use a computer to choose among alternatives, make a decision, and establish a complex strategy for solving a problem.
Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 10 — The Sytek LocalNet

Computer Chronicles Revisited, Part 10 — The Sytek LocalNet

Today, we think of networking as synonymous with the Internet–a global interconnected network that encompasses not just computers but also millions of “smart” devices. But in this episode of The Computer Chronicles from late 1983, the focus was on local area networking or LANs. Stewart Cheifet and Gary Kildall talked with representatives from two companies that were at the forefront of developing the still-emerging standards for computer networking. Cheifet opened by asking Kildall to define a local area network.