First Personal Computers. (1970s)

Both Everett and Reisler were in love with what was still a novelty in those days—the personal computer. In DBS there were only two, one of which was used personally by Everett. Most of DBS's computing work was done on timesharing facilities leased from American Management Systems (AMS) in nearby Fairfax, Virginia. Everett, for the rest of his life, was an AMS vice president [102]. Today, AMS is an international corporation with an annual income of over a billion dollars [146]. Retrospective estimation, based on its present growth rate, suggest that at the end of the 70s AMS income amounted to tens of millions of dollars per year. (Strangely, it is the only institution that has not responded to my inquiries about Everett.)

Everett was a true computer hacker at heart. He claimed to have invented a technique to deliberately scramble program code prior to delivery to the customer, and took inordinate satisfaction from this practice. (His hacking was quite disinterested and did not involve breaking into secure sites or disrupting other computers, activities now associated with the word.) Everett and Reisler became almost evangelical about computers; they just could not control themselves in the face of glowing perspectives, including freedom from the control of authorities. The bitter paradox is that they were ten to twenty year ahead of their time. DBS lost money and had to shut down. Now, some of the ideas conceived first at DBS are starting to be invented by others [147].

Previous | Next