Great and Good honour the designer of world's first laptop
The GRiD Compass. A snip at $8150
Forgotten Tech The British designer of the world's first laptop has pipped Vivienne Westwood to win the 2010 Prince Philip Designer prize.
Bill Moggridge was commissioned by John Ellenby, the founder of a Silicon Valley start-up called GRiD, to design a powerful computer with an electronic display.
Moggridge came up with a physical prototype that had a clamshell case, opening to reveal screen on top and a keyboard below. Sound familiar? Here is a pic of the prototype:
Ellenby raised some venture capital, while Moggridge assembled a design team and completed the design of what became the GRiD Compass.
Released in 1982 and sold for a whopping $8150, the laptop weighed in at 10lb, 2oz (4.6 kilos). So it was more luggable than portable.
Grid Compass - the first laptop
The spec included an Intel 8086 CPU, 256K of DRAM, a flat 6inlectroluminescent display, 384K bubble RAM as internal storage, an external floppy drive, and its very own operating system, Grid OS.
The Compass was a hit. NASA astronauts even took their GRiDs to space.
For Moggridge, the impact "lay not in the physical design achievements", the Design Council citation reads, "but in the way that the user interacted with the hardware and software."
This fascination with the interface between the software and its users led Moggridge to "develop and pioneer the discipline of interaction design". ®
Ahhh, those were the days
I pine for the old days when innovation was king and anyone who had an idea could whack together a prototype and run with it. Geeks ruled and hacking abounded.
These days PC developments have been repressed by the dead hand of corporate greed and suppressed by monopolist control.
The hackers of the OSS community are the evolution of the Computer Clubs of the 70's and 80's and thank god they are still doing OK. For me, playing with Linux evokes some of the geeky fun that was common back then and it would be a shame if the likes of Microsoft are able to ever shut them down for good to suit their own bottom line.
You missed the point completely
The great thing about impossibly hot magnesium
is that its weight rapidly becomes the least of your problems
Not sure I want the bad karma, but...
This is part of what annoys me about Jobs, Gates, et al.
They were all a part of the hacking community originally, and started their respective empires from it. Then, when it suited them, they switched to trying to prevent the same communities from getting involved in what they've created.
I realise they each have their own visions, but I've always found their ire at the hacking/modding/OSS communities counterproductive and unnecessary (for everyone).
It's like a Van Allen belt,
but wearing deely-boppers and a water cooler on its head.