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OMNI Magazine Remembered 131

An anonymous reader noted that Slate is doing a bit of a retrospective on OMNI. If you're anything like me, reading it was a treat. At home I suffered through Popular Mechanics, but OMNI was what I wished I had. There's many interesting things in the article, like the fact that OMNI is the place where William Gibson first coined the term "Cyberspace."

The Computer and the Skateboard 157

Lots of people and institutions have apparently good claims on the invention of the digital computer, and many more when that's reduced to just a broader definition of "computer." Few, though, have a better claim to what we think of as a digital computer than John Mauchly. Not as famous as Turing or von Neuman, and with his name no longer on any current computers, it's likely you've never heard of Mauchly (rhymes with "broccoli") -- but you almost certainly have heard of his most famous machine, and the first general-purpose large-scale electronic computer: the ENIAC. Filmmaker Paul David sorted through decades of newsreel footage, old videotape from the vaults at UNISYS and photo archives, and shot hours of new interviews with many of the people who watched and participated in Mauchly's quest. The result is a documentary film which lets the players tell their own stories: it's put together so smoothly that no omniscient narrator appears, or needs to. If you're interested in the history of computing, technology in general, or even World War II, The Computer and the Skateboard is engrossing. (Read on for more.)

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