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Trysts with Technology

I support The Jason Scott Sabbatical

I started using computers around 14 years ago, Internet around 12 years ago and have seen the world changing by leaps and bounds since then. What’s more interesting is, to know about the Internet that was there before those times,  like the 80s and early 90s. It was in  a completely different shape and flavour from what we see it today.

I am talking about ages before Rediff, Amazon or Google came into picture. When a search engine was considered folly, because “Who’d like people to go away from their site?”. When emails were niche of large corporates and PCs could be seen only in office. When net had all text and no pics and chat meant IRCs. Then came the ages, when a Geocities’ homepage could classify you as ‘The Geek’ and if you knew the names of a few keyloggers and trojans, you were immediately classified as a Hacker – A respected one (pun intended). Moving ahead in the years the world has just not taken a break. Its changing everyday around us.

A lot of these facts, anecdotes and details on how-things-were are documented and can be found on net. BUT a large chunk, a very very large portion, mostly of times before mid-90s, is not. That is what the Historians are there for, right? But in this case, we don’t have the luxury of a dozen history scholars who’ll document it like they did for the Rise and Fall of Roman Empire or Boston Tea Party. Its to be done by people like us, who have seen it for real and know things inside out; and if its not done in the next few decades it may never get done because all who have seen it for real – will not be around anymore.

This person, Mr. Jason Scott, is -in his own words- “a computer historian. And a documentary filmmaker. And a pundit/media critic. And a demoscener. And a rogue archivist”.  When he came up with a dream of completing his unfinished projects on Computer History so that we and the generations ahead get to know all about it, I was truly fascinated.

He says:

I suddenly thought back to Kickstarter and got this crazy idea – what if I simply asked the world and fans to contribute a bit of money towards keeping me somewhat solvent, and give me the opportunity to go full-time with computer history? If I was able to get all these things done over the years, what if I just asked people to subscribe or give me some patronage and in return I fill their free time with cool stuff to look at, learn from, and enjoy?” (Link: Kickstarter’s Project Page)

Yeah, it sounds crazy and vague and probably is, but I see here a person who’s trying to do what he really WANTS to. He doesn’t just want to make a living but actually want to make a difference and if he succeeds in doing it, I am sure he’ll get his name etched in bold in the pages of Computer History.

Hence, I supported his sabbatical with whatever I could and it feels great that his target of $25k is finally met and he’ll be starting off with his project soon. Feels great to witness The History being logged (read written). <EOL>