ALAN KAY & the Dynabook. Alan Kay is an American Computer Scientist. He is known for his pioneer work on “object-oriented programming” and in “graphical. Born in , computer scientist Alan Curtis Kay is one of a handful of Every modern portable computer reflects elements of the Dynabook. by Alan Kay. VPRI Paper In practice for the Dynabook, this required inventing better in , the year of the Dynabook idea, by Licklider and Bob Taylor (a.

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To call Alan Kay brilliant is an understatement.

Kay, in case you’re unfamiliar with his work, is a Turing Award winner who played an integral role in the development of object-oriented programming. A highly respected computer scientist, Kay worked for many years at Xerox’s famed Palo Alto Research Center and also did a stint as an Apple fellow in the company’s Advanced Technology Group during the ’80s and ’90s.

The full extent of Xynabook visionary prowess can be found in a research paper he wrote titled, “A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages. The research paper describes a device Kay dubbed the Dynabook, a notebook sized device with functionality remarkably similar to what the iPad would eventually go on to become.

To that end, Kay’s vision for the Dynabook can in many ways be viewed as the not-so-ancient blueprint for modern day tablet computing.

Dynabook, the first tablet, was born four decades ago

The device envisioned by Kay back in featured a display capable of displaying text and graphics, along with the ability to play several hours of audio files. Kay also envisioned, back in mind you, that the Dynabook would be able to connect to high bandwidth networks, download remote content and djnabook offer a virtual keyboard if need be. Suppose the display panel covers the full extent of the notebook surface. Any keyboard arrangement may might wish can then be displayed anywhere on the surface.


Kay was probably one of the few people whose opinion Jobs deeply valued, and some of Jobs’ favorite quotes are attributable to Kay. All that said, one would imagine that Kay would be particularly thrilled with Apple’s iPad, a device that eerily embodies many of his predictions dyhabook 40 years later.

In a recent interview with Time Magazine’s David Greelish, Kay levied a few harsh criticisms on Apple’s wildly popular tablet.

Alan Kay has some choice criticisms about the iPad

According to Kay, Apple’s iPad not only fails to live up to the promise outlined in his ridiculously ahead-of-his-time research paper, but betrays it to a certain extent. For all media, the original intent was “symmetric authoring and consuming.

Apple dhnabook the iPad and iPhone goes even further and does not allow children to download an Etoy made by another child somewhere in the world. Apple’s reasons for this are mostly bogus, and to the extent that security is an issue, what is insecure are the OSes supplied by the vendors and the insecurities are the result of their own bad practices — they are not necessary.


I’m not quite sure where Kay is coming from here.

An Interview with Computing Pioneer Alan Kay

For instance, there are no shortage of stories of individuals who are sometimes as young as 12 if not younger who learn how to program and subsequently release an app on iTunes, instantly making their work accessible to millions of iOS users across the world. There are also apps like MinecraftWoodcraft and Eden which allow sharing of created objects and worlds. Kay also took issue with the iPad’s user interface, calling it “very poor in a myriad of ways.

With Scott Forstall now out of the Apple mix, perhaps that leaves the door open for Kay to return to Apple and really spice things up. All kidding aside, Kay’s entire interview with Time is worth a thorough read.

Alan Kay: Dynabook

Kay is incredibly sharp and insightful, and while he has a few bones to pick with the iPad, he shares a number of interesting perspectives on computing, education and business leadership. Google aims to fix kwy interface on Chrome OS tablets. Classic puzzler ‘Lemmings’ returns as a free-to-play mobile game. Latest in Alan kay. Steve Jobs made that same exact point dgnabook he unveiled the original iPhone back in From around the web.