Perhaps I could do for the computer trade what Casanova did for Venetian diplomacy? Or I could do a history: a history of the computer times I had lived through.I had mountains of books and papers and clippings to help me crosscheck against the increasingly divergent recollections of others, and could certainly make a useful contribution to the unfolding story of that intelligence amplifier everybody now calls the computer.
When I returned to the United States I brought with me the remains of my huge original archive: my 1962 call reports to Control Data, my flight logs, my appointment (and hotel/restaurant) lists, some of my expense account carbons.
Cautiously I began to reconstruct what had happened to me and to the burgeoning world of computers from mid-1959 on. Then I was awarded a National Science Foundation grant.
This is a poor substitute for a careful index, and I apologize. I was a charter member of the world's first and largest professional computer society, and the first national president ever elected by membership petition.
If I ever complete the 1967-87 years, which is possible but not too likely, I will then undertake a full index. To look back from that cusp to a younger and happier time, when anything seemed possible and the world of computing was just opening out, is a great privilege, and a very great pleasure. I worked in Monaco and Switzerland and the Netherlands when I was too controversial to be employable in the U.
What I wanted to do was to weave an exceedingly rich and complex fabric, with a warp of computer history but a filling, a woof, of wives and friends and travels. Think of my magnificently complicated life as a huge multi-dimensional data bank.
The totality is the autobiography - millions and millions of bytes.
I decided to continue the material more or less seamlessly, and to call the result a second edition of COMPUTER rather than a separate book. There are no pictures this time, although I have many more to display. Errors that I am aware of in the first edition have been corrected, although I am sure there are others, and not a few in the new material.
The table of contents and the chronology have been extended.
I wanted to go on; I had toured Europe in the early Sixties, and had other stories from those days that historians and veterans would want to hear.
But as I began again, a family tragedy intervened, and I set the work aside.
But let me reassure readers, and future thesis perpetrators: I have not given "..airy nothing/ A local habitation and a name." All the things in my stories actually happened.