Some time around 1982, I saw an amazing comic on the wall of a Xerox Alto computer room at the MIT AI Lab. Given the subject matter, I assume the comic was originally created at Xerox PARC, possibly as part of the NoteTaker project, but can’t find any trace of it on the web. I have recreated it from memory, below.
The comic is explaining the events that happen when a Dynabook is accidentally dropped off the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Note that a free-fall calculator claims that it would take over 12 seconds for the Dynabook to hit the Yosemite Valley floor.
T+00.000 Dynabook accidentally dropped from top of Half Dome.
T+00.016 Dynabook notices that
- It can’t sense its user.
- It is in zero gravity.
- There is a 200 MPH wind from below.
Dynabook concludes that it is falling.
- Turns off the display to save memory.
- Opens a radio connection to El Capitan radio tower.
- Begins backing up the user’s recent changes.
T+05.000 Dynabook hits a glancing blow to the side of Half Dome, breaking 3 of its 6 CPUs. The Dynabook reconfigures itself to continue working with the 3 remaining CPUs.
T+10.000 User data backup finishes.
T+11.000 Dynabook orders the user a replacement Dynabook.
T+12.000 Dynabook turns on an emergency locator beacon.
T+12.816 Dynabook smashes into the rocks at the bottom of Half Dome.