The future of computing has been short-changed by the short-sighted. This is the story of the man who tried to prevent it.
The Sex Workshops weren’t at all what I expected. There was very little sex. It was about the heart.
Turning toward the Light
For years now I have been full of bitterness, rage and grief from the failure of my projects and my life.
I think it was at the Level Two, the second Stan Dale workshop, that I received a great gift of healing and peace. (Anyway, a calming that is the closest I get to peace.) I became much better able to appreciate other people, at least until they express their opinions. I’m working on that.
After the four Stan Dale workshops, I stayed on the program as an Intern, a volunteer helper, for two years (the standard hitch).
It was a turn toward the light from the bitterness of my life. I became good friends with Stan Dale, and later he helped deeply in my life, flying thousands of miles to facilitate in my family matters– and he didn’t charge a cent. A very wonderful man.
Dropping the Pilot (1988)
It was in third quarter 1988, I think, that I acted decisively to save the Xanadu project. Or so I thought. I did what any sensible person would do,, and it was totally, disastrously, wrong.
I was told on the phone — I forget by whom — that my good friend Roger Gregory, who was in charge at XOC down south in Palo Alto, was throwing things and acting crazy. I heard that ‘everybody was ready to leave,’ possibly quit within a day or so.
That made it an emergency comparable to a fire.
I called John Walker, informally still head of Autodesk, and told him the situation. We agreed drastic action was called for; we summoned Roger to meet us at John’s house at Muir Beach, and Walker told Roger he was no longer in charge.
=== Fall 1959 (I was 22)
Empty Niches (U. of Chicago)
The less said about my year at the University of Chicago the better.
The campus had a lot of empty statue niches, I don’t know why. It was stupid, cold and squalid; the university had a few hundred women and thousands of men; and I constantly felt my father’s curse like a sunlamp close to the back of my neck. I thought of suicide all the time, but I knew what that would do to my grandparents, and so I kept on. To purge Ralph from my life I seriously considered going back to the name I had lived under for ten years of my childhood, Theodor Holm II but I knew it was too late; in college I had irrevocably become (i.e., became known as) Ted Nelson, and I figure that was who I had to stay.
I had gone to Chicago in sociology because I didn’t want to be too far from my grandparents, and I thought U.Chi was the closest to the romantic anthropology I had enjoyed. I was thinking of William Foote Whyte’s work there, decades before. But changed, getting somewhat strange and stupid. Most of the graduate students in the department wanted t be social workers; I was interested in deep theory, and heard none. In fact, the sociologists of that department kept denouncing theory of any kind.
I had to leave that place. But after such an awful start in graduate school I had to get at least some advanced degree, so I applied elsewhere. I took a test called the Miller Analogies, and, amazingly, that got me a fellowship to Harvard for the following year.