Showing posts from September, 2019

Dropping a Dynabook: A comic that turned from Science Fiction to Science Fact

Some time around 1982, I saw an amazing comic on the wall of a Xerox Alto computer room at the MIT AI Lab. Given the subject matter, I assume the comic was originally created at Xerox PARC, possibly as part of the NoteTaker project, but can't find any trace of it on the web. I have recreated it from memory, below.
The comic is explaining the events that happen when a Dynabook is accidentally dropped off the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Note that a free-fall calculator claims that it would take over 12 seconds for the Dynabook to hit the Yosemite Valley floor.
T+00.000 Dynabook accidentally dropped from top of Half Dome.

T+00.016 Dynabook notices that
It can't sense its user.It is in zero gravity.There is a 200 MPH wind from below. Dynabook concludes that it is falling.
Turns off the display to save memory. Opens a radio connection to El Capitan radio tower.Begins backing up the user's recent changes.
T+05.000 Dynabook hits a glancing blow to the side of Half …