Archive for February, 2009

He Actually Owns a Computer!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

It’s easy to poke fun at the naivety of our pre-Information Age perspective. That’s why folks love to trot out historical quotes like “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” [IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943] and “640K is more memory than anyone will ever need” [Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the early 70s]. (It never seems to dampen anyone’s spirits that the second quote, at least, never actually happened.)

It was in this spirit, though, that I recently watched a fascinating news story from 1981 about how someday, we might all get our news via computer instead of by newspaper. The video is notable for being reasonably accurate, level-headed, and smart. It wasn’t alarmist, nor did it make ludicrous predictions – a rarity for tech stories in any decade. Here’s the video:

One thing jumped out at me the first time I watched it, though. Note that the guy the interview is not identified as Richard Halloran, technology expert or Richard Halloran, computer consultant or Richard Halloran, businessman. Nosiree, he’s credited with a status far more amazing, awesome, and rare. Richard Halloran actually owns a computer! And that’s so freaking amazing that it is the label they use to identify him on television:

owns-home-compter It makes me imagine that if he had cured cancer in 1980, they still would have gone with the “owns home computer” caption for this particular interview.