Stanford Libraries preserves historical software collection with Federal Agency

Two-year project will image one of the largest pristine historical collections of microcomputing software in the world for historical and cultural research.
Read the full article here.

GameCity 2012 and game preservation

I will be on the program of this year's GameCity festival in Nottingham, England.  I will have a couple of chances to talk about PVW/PVW2 and will be having conversations with James Newman, Iain Simons and some other people at NTU (Nottingham Trent University, where the UK National Videogame Archive is located) about projects.
The two public events for me are:

Monday, 9am.  GameCity Breakfast talk. "You're All Going to Die." This is a panel with James, me, and Stella Wisdom of the British Library.  I expect that one theme will be the link between web archiving and game preservation.

Monday, 2.30pm. "Before It's Too Late: The National Videogame Archive Four Years On."  This is a "keynote" with James giving the main talk about the NVA, and I will respond.   Yes, the title has a familiar ring, and I'm sure that's intentional.

Tips for Nottingham and the Midlands are welcome.

New Oral History released by Computer History Museum: Al Alcorn

The Computer History Museum has just released the oral history I conducted with Al Alcorn back in 2008. The transcript can be found here.  The two interviews (both about two hours long) were also videotaped, and I am sure CHM will be releasing clips from the interview for various purposes.
Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite.  

"Lowood: You made a quick comment in there. Do you think Steve Jobs was influenced by Bushnell?
Alcorn:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  Again, my personal belief-- remember, Steve was an adopted child, right.  And I don't think the relationship with his parents was that good, and and he was, what, 18, 19 years old?  To all of a sudden see this weird relationship between Nolan and myself, how the dynamics worked and how, you know, we already were known to be a pretty innovative company.  He came to us because it was clearly a fun place to work.  And then to see that process and the very nature of what happened with the Breakout story, you know, that Nolan would get him to go do this thing.  You heard the Breakout story. You know.   
Lowood:  Yes.   
Alcorn:  And not even tell me about it, you know, to get things done.  I mean, look at how things happened with the Macintosh and things at Apple later on, the same kind of thread, just flat out not taking no for an answer.  I think that Steve was affected by that [relationship with Bushnell.]  Yeah."

Stanford acquires archives of "Bay Area Video Arcades: Photographs by Ira Nowinski, 1981-1982."

The Stanford University Libraries have acquired the photographic archives of "Bay Area Video Arcades: Photographs by Ira Nowinski," 1981-1982."  The collection consists of approximately 650 35mm images, with contact sheets, as well as prints and digitized images for approximately 50 selected images. 

Ira Nowinski is an acclaimed documentary photographer who has created extraordinary photo essays in a variety of areas of recent history, including North Beach in San Francisco, the evacuation of elderly citizens in San Francisco's SOMA district, aspects of Southeast Asian, Jewish, and Native American culture, and an important photographic study of Holocaust Memorials.  

Ampex Model 200a installed in Green Library, Information Center

This photo was taken just after the installation of the restored (to working condition) Ampex Model 200a in the Stanford Library's Information Center, in Green Library. It stands alongside the VRX1000. These two machines are the highlights of the hardware portion of our Ampex historical collection, showing off key artifacts from the early history of audio and video recording, respectively. The gentleman standing next to the machine is Larry Miller, a former Ampex engineer who did a marvelous job of restoring the machine to near-pristine condition. Interestingly, Larry's father ran an electronics shop in the 1940s and probably produced a number of prototype components for this very piece of equipment.


Ampex Model 200a, Green Library, Information CenterAmpex Model 200a, Green Library, Information Center


Project Xanadu: Loss and Recovery

 The text below is from "Project Xanadu: Loss and Recovery," a side-bar I wrote for the AIMS (An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship) Project Final Report on the building of framework for archival processing of born-digital materials. The report was issued in Jan. 2012.  You can read about the project and get the final report here.
“What we're actually building at this point is only a part of Ted's original conception, though it's designed to be the first stepping stone to the whole thing.”
– Chris Hibbert, post to comp.multimedia newsgroup, 30 March 1992 (from file on XOR hard drive).
Ted Nelson’s Project Xanadu provided the original vision of hypertext as a system for document management, publication, linking and citation. Begun in 1960, the project to build Xanadu continued well into the 1990s. From 1989 to 1992, Autodesk funded Nelson’s Xanadu Operating Company (XOC) to complete software development. However, when a new group of programmers primarily from Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) joined the group in 1991, they abandoned the earlier version of Xanadu written largely by Roger Gregory and began a new version rewritten from scratch in PARC’s new programming language, Smalltalk. This forking of the project eventually led to the collapse of the Autodesk-funded effort. Keith Henson, an XOC investor, encouraged the Palo Alto-startup, Memex to pick up the project In 1994. Memex licensed Xanadu from XOC and brought the Xanada project to its office space on California Avenue. Before long, however, the arrangement collapsed. The team disintegrated, with Nelson and Gregory regaining control of Xanada, which would finally be released as the open-source Udanax system in 1999.

Stanford's Apple Collection in the News

Henry Lowood was interviewed recently about the Apple collection at Stanford University by Julissa Ortiz for CBS's Good Day Sacramento TV program. The original contract signed on April 1 between Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne as well as the first Apple logo are highlighted.




A second segment:


The not-so-secret Apple Archives at Stanford

The Associated Press (AP) carried a story and produced a short video about the Apple Archives at Stanford. Since it was AP, the story was carried by hundreds of websites and print outlets, such as local newspapers.



4th Annual Machinima Expo: November 19th & 20th

Come celebrate the best of world machinima online! The 4th Annual Machinima Expo has been screenings of over 50 films this week (still time to catch some of them), and will present two days of panel discussions, interviews and opportunities to meet and learn from filmmakers all over the world this weekend. Henry Lowood will be presenting the keynote on Saturday as well as participating in one of the panels on Sunday. See the schedule for more details. The conference will be held in Second Life as well as LiveStreamed. Read the BoingBoing article or go to the Machinima Expo site to learn more. 

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