From: "Rob Withers" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:59:11 -0500
Subject: [e-lang] Fw: Alan Kay to Join HP

I thought that you all might find this interesting.   rob

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Cole" <> 
To: <>; <>;
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2002 11:52 PM
Subject: Alan Kay to Join HP

November 26,  2002

A Computing Pioneer of the 1970's Joins Hewlett-Packard 


      Alan Kay, a personal computing innovator who was a leader of Xerox's
pioneering Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970's,  has joined
      Hewlett-Packard as a senior researcher.

His arrival at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, which the company is
announcing today,  comes at a time when the company is hoping that research
can point to new markets in personal computing and give the company an edge
against Dell Computer - the pacesetter in today's personal
computer business and a company known more for operational excellence than
product innovation.

Hiring Dr. Kay is an investment in Hewlett-Packard's innovation strategy. 
Throughout his career, Dr. Kay has worked on the design concepts and
underlying technology to improve the interaction between people and
computers. In the late 1960's, when computing was done on room-size
mainframe computers, Dr. Kay described a concept computer he called the
Dynabook. It would weigh little more than a book; rest on the user's
lap; and come with a flat-panel screen, a keyboard and a stylus, since it
would recognize handwriting. It would communicate wirelessly.

The computer industry has been pursuing the Dynabook ever since.  The
recently introduced Tablet PC models, made by PC companies like
Hewlett-Packard and running Microsoft software, is the latest entry.

At the Xerox research center, better known as PARC, Dr.  Kay led the team
that put a graphics-capable display, overlapping windows, icons and a
point-and-click user interface into a working computer called the Alto.
Apple's Macintosh and Microsoft's Windows are descendants of the Alto.

Dr.  Kay and a few PARC colleagues, notably Dan Ingalls and Adele Goldberg,
also developed Smalltalk, an influential programming language that
uses blocks of code, known as objects, that are put together, like the
cells that make up the human body, to build applications.

At Hewlett-Packard, Dr. Kay, who is 62, intends to continue pursuing his
goal of improving the experience of computing.  "The goal is to show
what the next big relationship between people and computing is likely to
be," Dr. Kay said in an interview.

The best way to do that, Dr. Kay explained, is to build prototypes that
will "show ideas in motion." 

"The trick for a person like me," he added, "is that you get people most
excited by something that looks like a product.  And I'm betting that some of
it will be interesting to H.P."

With the PC business in the doldrums, many executives and analysts say they
believe that the industry is entering maturity. Dr. Kay disagrees. 
Personal computing, he insisted, is "ripe for new markets - I don't think
the real computing revolution has happened yet."

Dr. Kay declined to discuss his ideas precisely.  Starting at Xerox PARC, he
has focused on trying to make computing an engaging medium for play
and learning, and he has often worked with children. After PARC, Dr. Kay
held research positions at Atari, Apple and Disney, where his five-year
contract ended in September 2001. Since then, he has worked mainly at a
nonprofit organization he helped found, the Viewpoints Research
Institute, which seeks to find ways to use computing to improve education
for children as well as their understanding of complex systems like

Since he left Disney, Dr. Kay has been approached by other technology
companies besides Hewlett-Packard.  But the person who recruited him at
Hewlett-Packard, Patrick Scaglia, who heads Internet and computing
platforms research, had studied under the same professor, Dave Evans, at
the University of Utah, which was a wellspring of early computer graphics

"Ultimately, it comes down to the vibes and trust," Dr. Kay said of his
decision to join Hewlett-Packard. 

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