Monday, March 11, 2002

THE FROMEGA CODE: Neat little NYT piece by Sherry Turkle (who wrote this) about the relationship between Lord Of The Rings and computer progamming and progammers. Sample:

In many ways, Middle Earth, the universe of "The Lord of the Rings," is like a computer program, rule-driven and bounded. In the early 1970's, the computer scientists at Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory were so enamored of the books (they were first published in the 1950's, but did not gain popularity in America until a decade later) that they designed three elfin fonts for their printers. Two of the researchers wrote a Tolkienesque, single-player quest game that became known as "Adventure"; it spread worldwide via the nascent Internet.

The personal computer movement of the 1970's and early 1980's was deeply immersed in Middle Earth and translated it into hugely popular (and enduring) role-playing games like "Dungeons and Dragons." When the pioneers of personal computing organized their conferences, they used the metaphor of medieval "faires." In 1993, a computer science student who now works for Microsoft put up the first Web site about Tolkien. Today there are about 856,000 sites devoted to the author and his work.

Via the null device.

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