Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

Laptop innovator

Bill Moggridge

A British industrial designer, Moggridge designed the form factor of a new computer. At the time, “portable” computer meant sewing-machine-like “luggable” systems like the Osborne or Kaypro. But in 1979, Moggridge was working on a smaller computer, the Grid Compass, which took three years to get to market. He realized that it was small enough that he could fold the display over the keyboard: the clamshell design. “He came up with that particular form factor,” says Alex Bochannek of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. — the design used for most laptop computers today. The Grid cost $8,150 ...in 1982 (equivalent to $19,350 today). At that cost, it was mostly used by the military and NASA — the Space Shuttle Discovery used one to show astronauts their location, since the shuttle had no display included to show where they were (in relation to the “map”), among other tasks. Moggridge later became the director of the Smithsonian’s National Design Museum. He died September 8 from cancer, at 69.

Grid computer on Space Shuttle
Grid (or, as they spelled it: GRiD) computer on Space Shuttle Discovery in orbit on 18 June 1985; astronaut John Creighton is in the foreground.

From This is True for 9 September 2012


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

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