[IAEP] Apple Eases Restrictions On iPhone Developers

Alan Kay alan.nemo at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 14 07:17:08 EDT 2010

Hi Stephen,

I don't quite know how to say this, but you could possibly imagine that *my* main problem could also be "limited time" -- I might even be busier than you are. In any case, I find it quite odd (as I mentioned about the college students and professors who were not curious or energetic enough to type a few characters into Google and visit a few sites), that the vast resources on the Internet (albeit with lots of errors) are quite obviously not used by many of the "opinion broadcasters" in blogs and mailing lists.

If I type in "Alan Kay reading list" I find these two links at the top: http://procod.com/preda/kay.html and http://www.squeakland.org/resources/books/readingList.jsp
This dates from 15 or more years ago when someone asked me for my 10 favorite books.

A few more minutes will turn up "great names" connected with birthing the various ideas of interactive computing, and getting the research started:
McCarthy, Licklider, Clark, Shaw, Simon, Engelbart, Sutherland, Minsky, Papert, Evans, et al.

This will lead to several excellent histories and analyses:
-- The Dream Machine by Mitchel Waldrop
-- Tools For Thought by Howard Rheingold

(and some not so excellent and rather inaccurate books)
-- e.g. Fumbling The Future

There are many writings by the pioneers, and by the generation of graduate students they created.

The ACM (the world wide computing society) and (separately) the Computer History Museum have taken the trouble to get first person histories from most of the pioneers while they are still alive. Most of these have been carefully vetted. 

I've already mentioned how easy it is to find out what Doug Engelbart did.

And that Nicholas Negroponte has written several early and deep books
-- The Architecture Machine (MIT Press)
-- Soft Architecture Machines (MIT Press)

Simon's book "The Sciences of the Artificial" is important to read in this context.

I wrote a tribute to my research community "The Power of the Context" -- I was not surprised to find it on the website of our research organization: Viewpoints Research Institute:
-- http://www.vpri.org/pdf/m2004001_power.pdf
This has an extensive bibliography, which includes pointers to:

The history they got me to write is in the book ACM History of Programming Languages II (Prentice Hall 1996) -- "The Early History of Smalltalk" -- this has quite a lot of commentary on the influences of cognitive psychology on interface and educational design. An online version is http://www.smalltalk.org/downloads/papers/SmalltalkHistoryHOPL.pdf

There's a 90 minute video history of user interfaces etc. that I did for University Microfilms in the 80s. I found it by selecting "video" in Google and typing my name. 
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-533537336174204822# (lots of examples from psychology, education, etc.)

And so forth ...

From: Steve Thomas <sthomas1 at gosargon.com>
To: Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com>
Cc: Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com>; Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de>; IAEP SugarLabs <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
Sent: Sun, June 13, 2010 8:07:21 PM
Subject: Re: [IAEP] Apple Eases Restrictions On iPhone Developers

On Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 9:30 AM, Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com> wrote:

2. Now
> as to your first question. Let me ask if it is really incumbent on me to supply a reading list about one of the most important and influential set of technological inventions of all time? 
No, but thanks for doing so anyway :)

Why wouldn't people be curious enough (and use one of these technological inventions -- the Internet --this is why we invented it!) to find out what happened, by whom, how and why?
I am curious, its just that with four kids, and other responsibilities my main problem is limited time.  Having someone who has thought deeply about these subjects provide guideposts and suggestions about the questions I should be thinking about can make me more productive. Your time and thoughts and GREATLY appreciated.  
Thank you,

From: Steve Thomas <stevesargon at gmail.com>
>To: Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com>
>Cc: Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com>; Bert Freudenberg <bert at freudenbergs.de>; IAEP SugarLabs <iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org>
>Sent: Sat, June 12, 2010 10:03:13 PM
>Subject: Re: [IAEP] Apple Eases Restrictions On iPhone Developers
>>On Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 12:18 AM, Alan Kay <alan.nemo at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>2. Have you put in the effort to learn about the psychological, anthropological, neurological and educational sources that were drawn on to invent both personal computing and the "powerful ideas" curricula which have been done and carefully tested over the years? (Hint, most of this information has been published and is readily available ...)
>Do you have a suggested reading list?
>The deeper scientific questions in soft areas like educational theory and curriculum design have to be concerned first asking important questions, and second with whether all the relevant cases have been identified and considered and factored into the actual designs and experimental methodology. (And I'm a big fan of being really careful and getting real criticism from real peers too)
>What are the important questions?

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