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Brief Notices XVI

A recent selection of items I wish I had more time to expound upon.

Stefan Kanfer has written a marvelously amusing and informative history of vaudeville in City Journal. Focusing on the period after vaudeville had been separated from burlesque by Tony Pastor, the essay  quite rightly treats the impressarios (Keith, Hammerstein, Albee and others) as equal in importance to the roster of stars (Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Jack Benny, etc) who trod the stages.

Slate has a wonderful review of an exhibition of Chinese restaurant ephemera at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas in New York.  "One's visit begins with an absence: the never-photographed first Chinese eateries in America, known as "chow chows," which sprang up in California in the mid-19th century to serve Cantonese laborers. True holes in the wall, they were marked, as per a Chinese tradition, with yellow cloth triangles. No menus have survived, if ever there were any; who knows but that they served stir-fried buffalo."

As an old fart myself, I look back in wonder at the changes in computing that have happened just in my working life.  Of particular interest to me is the development of Graphical User Interface, or GUI.  I recently came across this good if incomplete survey.  Looking further, I found the excellent entry at Wikipedia, supplemented by this interesting collection of screen shots.  Perhaps most interesting of all, and a marvel that is has come down to us, is Doug Engelbart's original 1946 presentation that kicked off the whole GUI idea.

May 9, 2005 in Brief Notices | Permalink


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