My post yesterday about Symbolics.com was woefulliy incomplete. I had planned to write more on the anniversary, but I was busy completing my first Android product, now awaiting final QA results before I publish it.
Symbolics and ideas pioneered at Symbolics have had a lasting impact on the industry in ways many are unaware of. But my posting was intended to be more personal. Rich mentions that Symbolics Lisp Machines were used in computer graphics, citing in particular, Stanley and Stella in Breaking the Ice, an early computer graphics short featuring the "boids" behavioral animation techniques originated by Craig Reynolds.
The Symbolics Graphics Division hardware and software pioneered a lot of stuff we take for granted today -- capabilities we find in trivial games on the phones we carry in our pockets.
I made a lot of friends at Symbolics, friends whom have profoundly affected my own life and career. But the most important connection came 4 years after I left Symbolics.
In August 1992, I attended a Lisp Users and Vendors conference in San Diego, CA (called LUV '92). After a mad rush trying to get my slides printed the night before, and a flight from hell that turned into a layover in Denver, I managed to arrive in San Diego minutes before my scheduled course in Lisp Macrology.
Despite being an exhausted wreck, I must not have done too badly with my presentation. Present in the audience was a computer graphics artist from Japan. She had come to the conference to give a talk about using Symbolics machines in commercial computer graphics projects in Japan.
As I spoke some Japanese at that point, I helped her prepare for her presentation the next day.
Craig's boids behavioral animation techniques played a role in many of her projects at R&H and ILM. I've helped her develop her math, physics, programming and English skills. My Japanese has not progressed so much... but I've been treated to a ring-side seat to the computer graphics business ever since.
My experiences at Symbolics shaped and formed me in too many ways to count. We were close at Symbolics; we were a family. But I've been married now for almost 3 times as long as I was at Symbolics, and yet Symbolics played a critical role in that as well.