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Re: editor and word processor history

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: editor and word processor history
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2014 02:07:51 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

"Pascal J. Bourguignon" <> writes:

> You can always use simulators:
> Otherwise, it wouldn't be too hard to configure emacs
> to reproduce the feel and constraints of software
> development in the 60s or 70s.
> M-x caps-mode RET M-x computer-paper RET
> (

I'll save those links and if I ever get the people I'm
associated with right now to publish a magazine, I'll
write an article on this topic, trying that stuff out.

The attraction of the past is of course that then only
(or almost so) computer people used computers. Then
along came the masses which of course is a good thing
(well, it's complicated). What surprises me so much
though is that computer work still is so focused on
technology - then, it made sense, a necessity even, but
now? As an illustration, during my 5-6 years of
extremely focused hacking I never felt the need for a
single program that didn't already exist in I don't
know how many flavours. I had to change a lot of things
a lot, every day actually, but never an entire
program. Still, when I talk to people, it is always, we
are doing a new application, a new programming
language, a new cloud-based service... I don't
understand that. What's going on? And, even though
there were programmers in the 60s and 70s, in absolute
figures, aren't there one zillion more today? So there
is something wrong with the picture which I don't get.

Anyway, speaking of computers, the 60s, and chess, I
was sent the following interesting review of the
documentary (?) "Computer Chess":

As an inveterate computer chess aficionado for many
years dating back to Sargon II on my Apple II+ and
carried up to the present-day domination of chess
programs Houdini, Komodo and Stockfish (not joking,
non-computer chess people), I can certainly appreciate
many little details in this film [...] that might pass
unnoticed. Captured is the weird mix of collegiality,
rivalry and paranoia that has always been endemic to
the hobby, represented in this film by a collection of
marginal characters, deranged charlatans, academic
uber-geeks and scruffy pot-smoking counterculture types
in a Holiday Inn sometime in the 1979-1982
period. Especially laudatory is the film`s authenticity
with respect to the tournament scenes: you see glimpses
of awkward board positions that could only have been
produced by primitive chess programs of that era, and
the still-operational hardware of the period dug up for
these scenes is simply fabulous. Likewise we can enjoy
the preposterous grooming and clothing of the
post-disco era, captured en passant with pitiless
candor. Juxtaposed against the participants of this
computer tournament are a motley collection of
encounter group' New Agers occupying the hotel at the
same time; they serve to put the chess geeks into
perspective and produce a number of very funny
interactions. Another reviewer notes that this film is
Felliniesque: that is precisely correct, and an apt
approach to the whole idea of computer age pioneers
hauling now-archaic hardware hundreds of miles to play
in a computer chess tournament in some cheap hotel. (NH
aka 'Cato the Younger' in computer chess circles.)

underground experts united:

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