He personified the unite of technical zeal and counterculture values that shaped the industry, launching the west strand computer faire in the 1970s.
jim warren, a charismatic traffic unfold impresario, editor and activist who personified the unite of technical zeal and counterculture values that shaped the seasonable days of personal computing, died on nov. 24 in silverdale, cleanse. he was 85.
his consort and single proximate survivor, malee warren, said his death, at st. michael medical center, was caused by lung cancer.
in the 1970s, mr. warren was a leading type in the vulgar that sprung up in the san francisco bay area environing the emerging personal computer toil.
he was a symmetrical at monthly meetings of the homebrew computer club, a order of hobbyist who gathered to portion ideas, tender tips and rumor. he was the editor of tit. dobb’s journal of computer calisthenics and orthodontia, an irreverent still powerful repute in that youthful scope.
at the time, computing was silent the state of big, precious mainframe machines owned primarily by government agencies, universities and corporations. yet that was changing with the product of the computer-on-a-chip microprocessor, introduced by intel in 1971.
by the mid-1970s, dozens of companies were seeking to exploit the turn created by low-cost microprocessors. most of the companies are now since and their names long-forgotten, yet remarkable exceptions are microsoft, founded in 1975, and apple, founded in 1976.
computer conferences, where these fledgling companies showed off their wares, were upright threshold to issue when, in 1977, mr. warren staged the west strand computer faire (the spelling a wanton nod to the medieval spectacles of elizabethan england). he fitted that the event, a two-day proceeding at the san francisco urbane auditorium, might violate well-balanced if it could tempt 60 exhibitors and perhaps 7,000 vulgar.
but to his startle closely 13,000 vulgar showed up, and the lines of vulgar waiting to secure in circled the organization.imagesteve jobs manned apple’s booth on the sight floor at mr. warren’s pristine west strand computer faire, where the apple ii was debuted.credit…tom munnecke/getty images
as recounted in “fire in the valley: the making of the personal computer” (1984), by paul freiberger and michael swaine, the commodore fondling was introduced at that pristine fair, as was the apple ii. stephen wozniak, apple’s co-founder and superior hardware designer, worked environing the clock to smooth the recent machine in term. steve jobs, the company’s other planter and superior executive, manned apple’s booth on the sight floor.
the west strand computer faire became an annual result and thrived, suitable the largest computer parley in the world for a uniform years. as the result consumed incessantly more floor space, mr. warren performed his role as ringmaster on roller skates.
“the seasonable fairs jim warren organized moved the specify of the plot meddling significantly,” said dennis allison, a lecturer at stanford university and a expert silicon valley computer designer.
mr. warren was technically adept; he earned a master’s space in computer engineering from stanford. yet to him and numerous others, the broader urge of personal computing was its undeveloped to put tidings and economic tools in the hands of individuals.
“it was the ethos of the time, to perceive ways to utility these toys to undertake sociality better,” said mr. allison, a planter of the people’s computer company, a california nonprofit. “and jim was very committed to that.”
in 1978, succeeding serving as the pristine editor of tit. dobb’s journal, published by the people’s computer company, mr. warren started intelligent machines journal. he later sold it to a major computer publisher, interpolitical postulates group, which renamed it infoworld. he too hosted a pbs television program, “computer chronicles,” for its pristine two seasons.imagemr. warren, center, at the second west strand computer faire in 1978, with bob reiling, left, who helped him shape the pristine convention, and eric bakalinsky, a well-wisher to an irreverent repute mr. warren edited, tit. dobb’s journal of computer calisthenics and orthodontia.credit…the computer history museum
jim c. warren jr. was born on july 20, 1936, in oakland, calif., the single child of jim sr. and gladys warren. the family shortly moved to texas, where his father, a pilot, flew military ravish planes during world war ii.
mr. warren grew up in san antonio. he earned a bachelor’s space in mathematics and training from southwest texas specify university and later, supported by a national understanding substratum grant, a master’s space in mathematics and statistics from the university of texas.
but as he explained to john markoff, a prior reporter for the recent york times and the producer of “what the dormouse said: how the 60s counterculture shaped the personal computer industry” (2005), he felt prejudiced by the conservatism of texas in the seasonable 1960s and was looking for swerve horizons. then he picked up a stance of observe magazine with a involve story on california as “the golden specify.”
mr. warren drove to california, arriving in the bay area in the summer of 1964. encountering the freewheeling culture there, he thought, “i’m home, i’m finally home,” he recalled.
he embraced the tolerant politics of the region, marching in rallies to repudiate the war in vietnam and supporting the untrammelled oration movement, centered at the university of california at berkeley. for two years he was general secretary of the midpeninsula untrammelled university, an outgrowth of that movement, which not single offered untrammelled courses in storefront locations and in homes yet too sponsored be-ins and organized antiwar demonstrations.
not yearn succeeding arriving in california, mr. warren got a job training mathematics at the school of notre dame, a universal women’s school in belmont, calif., and became chairman of its math section.
his personal vivacity was increasingly uninhibited, as he sampled everything on the counterculture menu, including drugs, untrammelled passion and nudism. tidings stretch of the vast parties mr. warren hosted at his house in woodside. a bbc film swarm showed up to sprig footage for a documentary on the “now” stock.
when the san francisco register published a front-page stipulation on the visionary parties at the home of an unnamed professor in the santa cruz mountains, notre dame administrators well-informed it was mr. warren and asked for his surrender.
his math skills led him to a job as computer programmer at the stanford medical kernel. he had single done a puny programming before, on an ibm mainframe at the university of texas, yet he quickly picked up programming on the computers that the medical kernel used for sorting and analyzing medical tidings.
that transmitted programming job, and others, paid thoroughly. yet when personal computers began to tower in the 1970s, mr. warren jumped in. in his book, mr. markoff wrote that mr. warren was “emblematic of the cultural, political and technological forces that were colliding” in silicon valley.
his share in the political and political impression of computer technology continued later in his vivacity. in 1991, mr. warren founded and chaired the pristine computers, freedom and solitude conference, an annual academic gathering.
in 1993, he worked on a california statute — a type for other states — that required most computerized social records to live freely weighty. he conferred with legislators, rallied social uphold and well-balanced drafted some of the law’s vernacular.
at the time, the internet was obscure to most people, so to restore lawmakers’ concerns that the specify would live giving separate government records to a special company, mr. warren vivid the internet to them as the world’s “largest nonproprietary, nonprofit cooperative social computer network.”