In May 1980 I got an Apple-II machine on my desk. I was working with forecasting and future studies at a Swedish government agency. In a few weeks the investment was paid back. With VisiCalc and VisiPlot we immediately produced analysing work and reports which made the previous work with primitive tools at the mainframe computing palace seem totally inadequate.
My head of department used to read Californian magazines about microcomputer systems. He was interested in building electronic music instruments. He didn’t like to see the expensive CPU seconds ticking on the screen. I and my colleagues did not understand this Steve-Jobs-like prophetic insight. But, the Apple-II could do most of the things that a PC can do today. (This is true if you look at what you really need.) We bought a 128 KB extension card and found that the computer top lid had to be taken off for cooling.
Since then I have worked with computers either as part of my future-studies or statistical work, or else as an IT consultant working in a wide variety of fields. Nearly 20 years each in these two worlds.
In the nineties the pioneering ISPs could have their computer racks in a wardrobe and you could download the national Internet community as a dBase file from KITH university, I blogged about the internet being a democratic revolution. It was a time when the “blog” had no name. A clean desk and a George-Orwell-1984 labelled computer contempt ruled in the intelligentsia. Around year 2000 the dam walls broke. A stunning global IT development accelerated.
Around 1997 I created the first version of LM – The Literary Machine PC program. For many years I was irritated by the steady stream of academic outbursts about “computers cannot be compared with human intelligence”. Only many years later I discovered that there has existed a quite advanced research field with AI and linguistics all the way since the 1950’s. I had not looked far enough behind the noise of conventional prophets in a conservative university bulwark. Perhaps I have missed living an interesting life working with computational linguistics.
I have retired from work. That is, my work is to unveil what work I really want to do. I have learned the hard way that a retired man is a busy man. I have three sons, all working in IT-oriented jobs. One is VP at King.com – as head of its “Candy Crush Saga” studio – for the moment being the worlds leading smartphone game app (2015) . Another is a researcher exploring industrial system risks and IT warfare.
Since more than five years I have a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. My medicines removes all symtoms except bending forward when walking longer than 300 meters. Bicycle use on the other hands works perfect.
What is on? Making a new LM program is on the list. I also have a follow-up engagement with Statistics Sweden, my most recent employer. The project has also involved the European Environment Agency. It is about greenhouse gases vs. economic futures. My experience and stimulus is that actually produced data and statistics are not understood at depth.
The LM programming work is driven solely by my own interest.
Was the PC application “LM” a success? Users of the LM2000/LM Pro/LM2007 version have been respectful. Many have been very innovative in designing uses of the program that I never thought about.
The database structure of data in LM is a kind of research hypothesis. In fact I cannot remember having discussed this with anybody.
Quite a few academic persons have made encouraging comments. Special thanks!
The final version “LM Professional”, with numerous features, was sold for US $47 during five years. I reached about 1000 paid licenses.
The Yahoo group “literarymachine” with more than 2000 posts tells the history.