Saturday, October 29, 2011


Who Moved My Home Town?

I grew up in Needham, Massachusetts, which seems to have been in two places at once. How can that be?

                The city of Boston has a famous section called the Back Bay. You can’t go to a Red Sox game, read a Spenser novel, or watch the Boston Pops orchestra on the Fourth of July without connecting with the Back Bay. But it wasn’t always there.

                The Back Bay is called that because it was a bay that was back filled. Check out the map.
 The white areas are water. That’s a big area to fill in, especially at a substantial enough depth for building construction, about fifteen feet. In fact, it’s about five-hundred and fifty acres of tidal marshland. How was it done?
                Well, it seems that a contractor firm (Goss & Munson) won the bidding to do the work and they were allowed by Needham to remove gravel by taking down a hill in an area now occupied by the Needham Industrial Park situated alongside the highway known as Route 128. It surrounds Boston as a beltway. The area encompassed approximately one-hundred acres, which lay flat until the 1950s when the land was developed as the Industrial Center.

This was Boston’s real “Big Dig.”

Friday, October 07, 2011


Jobs to Edison

Perhaps you've heard the recent comparison of the late Steve Jobs to Thomas Edison. It's an interesting comparison but there are differences.

I recall reading about Edison when doing my graduate work in Educational Technology. He said that he expected the motion picture projector to be used as a teaching tool, but "when the educators failed to respond, I lost interest." That may not be an exact quote, but it captures his message.

I saw a film clip the other day showing Jobs talking about the Apple II. He said it will seduce people into wanting one in their homes. He was right. Nobody needed a personal computer back then, but today we can't live without them.

Edison never saw the seductive power of motion pictures the way Jobs saw it in his computer. So let's remember Jobs and the other guy, Wozniak, for their great invention. Two guys named Steve.

It's a good name.

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