Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts

Historical Documents

The Original Technomad

This lovely piece by Karl Smerecnik served as a reminder to press on… back when I was stuck in a deadlock between a lab in the Camano Island woods and the lovely¬†Nomadness moored 2 hours away. I’m grateful to the author for motivating me with my own adventures. Click image to go to the full…

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Son of a Sailor

This update is a bit of a divergence from my usual breed of randomness, which typically has something to do with S/V Nomadness, development facilities, technomadic gizmology, or random noodlings triggered by any of the foregoing. I’d like to dedicate this posting to my father, Ed Roberts, who passed away in 2005. The trip to…

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Birth of the Technomads List Server

Over the years, the term “technomad” has undergone a variety of interpretations, beginning in the mid-80s as a playful re-parsing of my “high-tech nomad” moniker and eventually defining a very diverse community of location-independent workers who use networking tools to enable open-ended travel. During my BEHEMOTH epoch, I corresponded with hundreds of people drawn to…

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Hustling the Scrounge – Juggling with Jef Raskin

At the very beginning of the BEHEMOTH project, I landed in Silicon Valley… and my first corporate host organism was Information Appliance, the playground of Jef Raskin (who started the Macintosh project at Apple in 1981, along with countless other fascinating creations over the course of his life). He offered lab space as I was…

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Cincinnati Milacron George – Your First Computer

This machine was introduced in 1977, and I was technically a dealer although I never sold one (which explains the Cybertronics label on the cover page). Prices ranged from $16K-70K, and it was a radical foray into the world of “small business computers” for a long-established company that had been focused on numerical-control machining and…

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SPE – Society of Plastics Engineers – 1952 Pin Design

My father, Edward H. Roberts, was a lifelong member of SPE, designing plastic parts and ice cube trays for GE Erie Works in the 1940s and moving on to household refrigeration (AP5) at Appliance Park in Louisville in the early 1950s. Among his effects was a small batch of treasures from the Society of Plastics…

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Edward H Roberts and his lever-release aluminum ice cube tray

Ever wonder where the aluminum ice cube tray came from? When I was a kid in the ’50s and ’60s, my father, Edward Roberts, was a design engineer at General Electric… first at Erie Works, then at Appliance Park in Louisville where we moved when I was about 3. Obviously, ice cube trays weren’t much…

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New York Election – 1940 Certificate of Literacy

scanned by Steven K. Roberts from family archives on Oct 6, 2016 When my mother was living at the Barbizon in 1939-40¬†(read this wonderful letter of recommendation), she took the test required by the state of New York under Section 166 of the Election Law… and received this certificate (click to embiggen): This is posted…

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St. Clair McKelway Recommends Phyllis McCarthy to Barbizon

My mother worked as a fashion model in New York back in the 1930s, and it was fascinating, while working through the old family papers, to discover a wealth of photos and other archives from this epoch of her life. My favorite, by far, is this gem… in which St. Clair McKelway, the managing editor…

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