I’m spending the afternoon at PARC–the Xerox subsidiary formerly known as the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center–for a fascinating event celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the legendary research organization. Ethernet, laser printers, and much of the concepts and technologies in every modern graphical user interface all emerged from PARC; among the many legendary alums here today are Adele Goldberg, Alan Kay, Bob Metcalfe, and Charles Simonyi. And I just shook the hand of the man sitting next to me–Alvy Ray Smith, a computer graphics pioneer and former PARC employee who cofounded Pixar.
Here’s a video I stumbled across on YouTube–it was apparently made at PARC circa 1991, and talks about ubiquitous computing, a long-time subject of PARC research that’s being discussed by panelists here even as I speak.
No, it doesn’t predict the iPhone–but it’s still fascinating and prescient, like much of the work done at PARC over the past four decades.