A Logic Named Joe

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Stephen Hart
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A Logic Named Joe

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:20 pm

A recent thread on Macintouch discussed science fiction depictions of what we now call "the web."

One reader suggested the short story "A Logic Named Joe," first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.

It's funny, and a pretty amazing prediction of how networked computers make our lives easier--until things go wrong. The computers imagined, of course, are pretty far from the mark, but much of what we do today with our Macs and iPhones is eerily similar.

You can find "A Logic Named Joe" free in pdf and ePub on--wait for it--the web.

iTunes also has a dramatization of the story from the mid-50s radio show X Minus One. This dramatization imagines Joe's future as the 1970s.
(At that time, I was working on a PDP 8e that required a long line of switches to be set for booting, the input was from a standalone teletype machine, digital input and output was in the form of punched paper tape, and storage was 6" diameter 1/2" magnetic tape reels. Apparently I didn't leave work exactly on the dot of 5. I know I never got to work that early!)
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"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
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