Damn, what a man.
WOW, why have I not heard about this guy before. What an incredible life he had and we should not allow him to be forgotten by those like me.
Robert Taylor, who oversaw the creation of the internet's precursor ARPANET, the computer mouse and the first GUI-based personal computer, has died after a long illness. He was 85. For over 50 years, Bob Taylor was at the forefront of research into computing. He had a hand in many of the technologies we take for granted today …
Sounds like a rich, full and very interesting life.
"In his early years Taylor's schooling was sporadic, and while at university in Texas he pursued many interests, eventually ending up with a major in experimental psychology and minors in mathematics, philosophy, English and religion. Psychology didn't pay the bills for his family, so Taylor moved into engineering in the 1950s, helping build nuclear missiles, which led to a job at NASA."
What are the odds of getting anywhere near NASA or DARPA with that kind of CV today? (Not counting management, obviously.)
He was one of the folks that kept Ken Olsen off the backs of those of us who were working on BSD ... Ken was a un*x hater, Bob saw it as a useful tool,
He was a really good guy, totally down to earth, despite his ability to envision the future. No reality distortion field, he didn't need one. One of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of working with.
On a personal note, he is the person who brought what would become my house to my attention after seeing the for sale sign go up while on a walk during his lunch break (we worked at DEC SRC on Lytton in Palo Alto).
Old Silly Con Valley is much smaller with his passing.
RIP, Bob. You'll be missed by many.
Over the last few years we've seen a generation start to pass: Doug Englebart, Dennis Ritchie, Robert Morris, Bob Norris to name but a few others. And still the kids seem to think that nobody over 40 ever knew anything.
In Taylor's case I can't help thinking that it's not only Xerox who failed to capitalise on what he provided for them. DEC could have owned internet search with Alta Vista.
"I can't help thinking that it's not only Xerox who failed to capitalise on what he provided for them. DEC could have owned internet search with Alta Vista."
A leap of faith was required. A photocopy company building computers. A server company doing a search engine. With hindsight it's easy to see the value of Xerox work on the desktop o/s and PC industry, and the impact of the search engine on the Internet - both now multi-billion dollar industries in their own rights.
Sounds like he was a Wozniak that needed a Jobs. What I mean is - great ideas and innovation also need capitalist bastards to turn them into marketable products and revenue.
Over the last few years we've seen a generation start to pass
It only seems that way. it's easy to see a list of "people we associate with our work/hobby" and think that "wow, we seem to be losing a lot". I think it's just a case of these are the people we recognise as having something to do with our interests - and tend not to remember the steady stream of "others". As that era was when so many of the fundamental developments happened, it's quite natural that those involved should be running out of time - lets face it, we're talking about stuff that happened half a century ago (give or take a decade).
Heck, a lot of us weren't even born when some of this was going on !
"Over the last few years we've seen a generation start to pass: Doug Englebart, Dennis Ritchie, Robert Morris, Bob Norris to name but a few others. And still the kids seem to think that nobody over 40 ever knew anything."
I think that;s more a reflection on our ageing process and the time period of the effective birth of the industry as we know it. Same applies to "celebrities" (and I mean the ones who work for a living!). As a child we were blissfully unaware of the regular deaths of actors, but now they seem to be dropping like flies because it's the ones we grew up with rather the old fogies we'd never heard of as kids.
Having said that, Bob Taylor seems to have been one of the huge "stars" that most of us never heard of, RIP.
The true pioneer.
Note: Is sad that The Register perpetuates the myth of Apple and Microsoft both stealing. Apparently good story always trumph the truth, even in 80s.
Apple - Jobs specifically - got deal from Xerox to view their work and use their ideas. Xerox got pre-IPO Apple stock as compensation. Great deal for Apple, but deal nevertheless.
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