From left to right: Joi, Alan, David
David Smith has been trying to introduce me to Alan Kay for quite awhile now. We also have a bunch of other mutual friends including Scott Fisher, my brother-in-law who used to work for Alan at Atari and Megan Smith. Alan, David, Kim and the "team" were visiting Kyoto so I invited them to dinner at Minoya, my favorite tea house in Kyoto which I've written about in my blog before. I found a picture of Kaoru, the owner and me from when she was staying with us in the US. I am 3 years old and she is 18 in this photo.

It's a bit difficult to talk about the past, present and future of computing surrounded by geisha in a tea house, but we tried. Alan talked about how so much of great computer science was invited in the 60's and 70's and we're just getting around to re-discovering some of it. It reminded me about my thoughts about ECD. People like to talk about quantum computing and nanotech because it is a long way away and is not threatening to the current products. Technology such as ECD's technology and Alan's architectures which have been feasible for decades is often ignored because it threatens business models and architectures today.

It's great that Japan really respects Alan Kay and gives him a great deal of credit for his discoveries. I think Ted Nelson also gets much more credit for his discoveries in Japan than he does in the US. Maybe foreigners aren't as threatening. ;-)

Alan and David are working on Squeak and are also developing a completely object oriented, cross-platform, networked, collaborative environment called Croquet which sounds very exciting. David's supposed to give me a demo tomorrow.

2 Comments

Joi you lucky punk, schmoozing with Alan et. al! May I ask what they are doing 'in town'? Are there any open lectures/presentations those of us in Japan should know about?
Incidentally, i noticed you don't have the TED conference on your list of events you'll be attending. I would have thought you would definitely be going to this one...

Hey Matt. Alan Kay was speaking at Kyoto University. It was the end of their trip. I bopped down for one night.

This isn't really isn't the kind of thing you write in a public place, but for some reason, I've never gone to TED. I met Richard Saul Wurman a few times, but he wasn't really very nice to me and I've never been "invited" to TED. Having said that, I go to a lot of conferences where I'm not invited to speak. Maybe it's some childish sentiment about feeling "left out" at the beginning. I think the other thing is that I already have a lot of cool conferences that I have to go to this year which I know for sure will be great.

Another conference I have never been to that I should probably go to is the PC Forum. Esther's nice to me and I'm a subscriber to Release 1.0 so there's no good reason I shouldn't be going...

I guess there is some basic resistance to "getting over the hump" of going to a new conference. Every conference that I go to, now that I think about it, I go to because someone dragged me or invited me the first time... What a spoiled brat I am. ;-p

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My long-time friend, colleague, and co-founder David Smith is with Alan Kay in Japan, and they dined with Joi Ito the other night: It's a bit difficult to talk about the past, present and future of computing surrounded by geisha... Read More

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