Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alan Kay

Alan Curtis Kay is a very influential character in the history of New Media. When he came to speak to our class of under ten students I was surprised that he actually had the time to take out of his busy schedule to meet and preach to us his history in the computer science world. After listening to his lecture I was astonished to learn how many intricate inventions one individual can be entwined in creating in a single lifetime. Anyone would assume that Mr. Kay was a very wealthy man, but in fact he lived a moderate life. He went on to explain this in terms of percentages and in comparison to the population as a whole. He exclaimed that about one percent of the population invent for the pure purpose of bettering human kind and the way we live and he was one of those individuals. His professional career stretched back from Xerox PARC all the way up to Apple and working closely with Steve Jobs. It is not only interesting to hear one speak of their past, but to have such genuine pride in what he has helped to create was very pleasing to me. He described Jobs as a "nuts", but had the utmost respect for him as an individual. Not only was Alan an influential speaker, but he also taught me a life lesson that I will never forget and that is to never to do it for the money. This wasn't his intention to give advice, but he was very pleased to hear that is what I took from his lecture. Alan Kay was one of the most intellectual speakers that I have ever encountered and would love a chance to experience something like that again. An individual who puts others before himself as an ordinary practice is one to  be admired. I only hope that we can experience more speakers like this in the last weeks of our semester. Thank you professor Strate and Alan for being a great influence on us. The thing that I found most interesting in his lecture was when he spoke of separating an object that was joined together and placing a computer in between them. He claimed that this ideology lead to the laser printer, which in the long run profited billions of dollars and lead to the strong structure of present day Xerox Corporation. This process is also how scanning and many other mechanisms that we regularly use today were created. His lifelong interest in Jazz intrigued me and really showed that an individual can do what he or she loves and still make a difference for the whole.

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