[SIGCIS-Members] NASA contributions to computer development

Armando Fox fox at berkeley.edu
Fri May 31 12:21:34 PDT 2019

tl;dr: try this ebook <https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Pm0tPzG5Wr2nQ9G_SYswsef9VSSrSpgx> (it's in .mobi format).

long version: i have long had a nonprofessional interest in this same topic. several years ago, i found a public domain book called "Computers in Spaceflight: The NASA Experience", which was made available online as a series of hundreds of linked web pages.  i contacted the webmaster and ultimately arranged to have them send me the MS Word "source" documents of the book, which i used as the basis of a conversion to Kindle format.  (this was 2009; i was an early Kindle adopter.)

annoyingly, when i tried to "publish" the result on the Kindle Store, Amazon required setting a minimum price of $1 (i had wanted to make it free).  note that since it's public domain, it is legal for me to charge for it, though i had no wish to do so.

today i logged into amazon KDP to see if they had removed the restriction and if i could change it to free.... but instead they forced me to RAISE the price!!

so, you can buy it for $2.99 on amazon, or download it for free here <https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Pm0tPzG5Wr2nQ9G_SYswsef9VSSrSpgx>.  the conversion isn't perfect - i was a newbie to Kindle conversion, and the target device was the original Kindle which had much more limited display capabilities than current devices - but the conversion is good enough.  and it's not DRM-protected so you should be able to convert it to epub or whatever else you want.

if i can find the original Word files they sent me i'll post a link to those on this list as well.  the historian i communicated with assured me that the manuscript was in the public domain, having been produced by a civilian agency at taxpayer expense.

hope this helps someone!

Armando Fox (pronouns: he, him)
Professor, Computer Science Division
Faculty Advisor, Digital Learning Strategy & MOOCLab
UC Berkeley Campus Equity Advisor
581 Soda Hall MC#1776, Berkeley, CA 94720-1776
+1.510.642.6820 / http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~fox <http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~fox>

Learn to build software free at saas-class.org

> On May 31, 2019, at 10:48, Alex Roland <alex.roland at duke.edu> wrote:
> Friends:
>           I have been a passive member of SIGCIS for many years now, even though I am no longer an active researcher in the field.  Still, I follow your correspondence with great interest.  I am writing now because I have received an inquiry from a reporter for the Wall Street Journal who is interested in NASA’s historical contributions to computer development.  I know from research on my book Strategic Computing: DARPA and  the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983-1993 (2002) that NASA was involved in the Federal High Performance Computing Program in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  I do not, however, know of other significant contributions by NASA to computer development.  If anyone knows of such contributions, I would be happy to know about them.
> Thanks,  Alex Roland
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