Tech company trends, then and now...


I was finally finishing up Soul of a New Machine the other night, which has been on my list for a very long time, and a bit near the end reminded me of this post from Trevor Elliot about the insane over use of bubbles in tech company logos. The thumbnail I attached above isn't even all of them, visit his site for more! The fact that one of the most over used logos lately is a bubble has soooo many varied meanings, no?

Anyways, the thing that reminded me of this post was a bit near the end of the book (which is the story of the creation of a 32-bit mini computer by Data General in 1980) when the author goes to a computer conference in New York City and walks the floor:

I saw many other names passing by. Among others, I saw Centronics, Nortronics, Key Tronic, Tektronix and also General Robotics. There were Northern Telecom and Infotron and Centurion [...] Also the Society for Computer Simulations, and Randomex, and Edge Technology and Van San, which sold "Quietizers." There were Datum, Data Pro, and Data I/O, Tri Data, Epic Data, Facit Data and Control Data, Decision Data, Data General and Data Specialties. And we didn't even have time to even glance at the wares of Itek, Pertec, Mostek, Wavetek, Intertek, [and] Ramtek."

Remember the Napster-like names? (Feedster, Friendster, etc.) And new ones that sound like Flickr, and the rest? Looks like this has been a trend in technology for about at least 30 years, if not longer. Makes me feel better about the name Mowser, actually, you never know which company will make it above the fray just by the name. Look at that list above, who would have thought that Tektronix would be the only company that I recognize off hand.

In fact, an amazing thing about the book is that before I read it, I had *never* heard of Data General before! If you're an old-skool computer guy, you're probably wondering how I could have overlooked them... I don't know how it slipped past, but I had *no* idea they existed. A quick Wikipedia search, however, turns up some amazing Data General alumni including Jean-Louis Gassee, Craig Mundie, Ray Ozzie, Jonathan Sachs and Ed Zander! Pretty amazing. I'm *definitely* going to have go to the Computer History Museum sometime soon and check out an Eclipse MV/8000 now that I've read all about it.

With Facebook getting so popular, I wonder how many face-somethings or something-books we're going to see soon? :-)


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