October 24, 2004

Is "Croquet" Coyly Eponymous?

Alan Kay has had what, by anybody's standards, would have to be called a good year. He recently bagged the Draper and Kyoto Prizes, and is poised to deliver his Turing Award lecture tomorrow night. His praises have been duly and extensively sung elsewhere; let it suffice to say that he has more than ample laurels upon which to rest, should he have so desired.

At the frightful risk of appearing to indulge in "lèse-majesté", I must sheepishly concede that I have, on a few occasions, described Kay as the Orson Welles of Object-Oriented Programming. I'm not completely sure why this comparision came to mind, but genius, pure preternatural genius, was surely a factor. And, like Welles, Kay's best-known, most monumental achievements came at a remarkably young age. Then too, one can, if one squints just the right way, discern a certain pyhsical resemblance between the two.

Unlike Welles, Kay has not taken the luxury of resting his laurels until both had gone to seed. Instead, there's a good chance that he'll be demonstrating Croquet, a remarkably collaborative enviroment that foreshadows what can be done with the coming cornicopia of cycles, bandwidth, and graphical power.

It usually takes a few days to discern OOPSLA's Zeitgeist, if any, but this time its evident already that the buzz junkies will have more than the usual methodone to amuse them...

--BF, who valiantly resisted the tempation to entitle this posting "Citizen Kay"...

Posted by foote at October 24, 2004 05:39 PM
hmm, i guess the ceremony was in june or are those photos at squeakland simply fake ¿? greetings ;) Posted by: motz on October 25, 2004 04:29 AM
ups, i missed oopsla. seen and corrected. perdone las molestias ... Posted by: motz on October 25, 2004 08:50 AM
Welles didn't voluntarily rest of his laurels. He was forced to after Citizen Kane offended it's powerful target (William Randolph Hearst). Posted by: joseph cotten on November 3, 2004 08:14 PM
"lèse--majesté" Is it so important to spell it correctly? Is it a mean-spirited attempt to one-up someone who is making a clearly reasoned and important point? Kind of. And no. Given two essays, one with accurate spelling, one without, most folks would choose the one with accurate spelling, much as one would choose a "finer" wine over, say the "house red" to accompany an expensive meal. Now, one could argue that most mugs don't know the goddam difference to which I would reply, that is the way all the smart people in advertising treat the average man and woman in the street. They do not wish to elevate the dialog. They merely seek to sustain a profitable status quo by whatever means necessary. The bosses will say "Don't talk down to your audience." But what they really mean is, "Don't sound uppity to these people who we have trained so well to use their credit cards so freely." Posted by: patrick owens on December 6, 2004 02:29 PM
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