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Computers and Thought–The Back Story; Online Shopping in the 1980s
October-December 2011 (vol. 33 no. 4)
pp. 56-61
Julian Feldman, University of California, Irvine

This installment of Anecdotes gives some of the back story behind the classic computer science and AI text Computers and Thought. In the first part of this installment, one of the book's coeditors, Julian Feldman, describes some of their reasons for publishing the book and some of the challenges involved in its actually publication. In the second part of this Anecdotes installment, Michael Aldrich gives a brief history of the first business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications in the UK in the 1980s, which presaged today's Internet-based home shopping industry.

1. This anecdote focuses on UK activities with which I had firsthand involvement and does not try to place these activities in a larger historical or international context.
2. Redifon manufactured and sold several versions of Teleputers (which combined televisions and computers) in the 1980s, including the Teleputer/3, http://www.aldricharchive.com/downloadsTELEPUTER_ SPECIFICATIONS.pdf .
3. J. Reynolds and M. Lowe, "Commemorating the Life and Work of Professor Ross Davies, 1940–2005," Int'l J. Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 35 no. 8, 2007, pp. 616–619.
4. For an interview with Mrs. Snowball, see http://www.aldricharchive.comsnowball.html .
5. M. Aldrich, Videotex − Key to the Wired City, Quiller Press, 1982.
6. A. Hamilton, "The Return of the Teleputer," Time,11 Nov. 2002; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article 0,9171,1003620,00.html.
7. Many of the original documents associated with the developments I describe here are held by the Aldrich Library, University of Brighton, England. Some are reproduced as part of the Michael Aldrich Archive, http://www.aldricharchive.comindex.html.

Index Terms:
history of computing, Computers and Thought, Julian Feldman, Edward Feigenbaum, online shopping, Teleputers, Redifon, ROCC Computers, Prestel, videotext
Citation:
Julian Feldman, Michael Aldrich, "Computers and Thought–The Back Story; Online Shopping in the 1980s," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 56-61, Oct.-Dec. 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.69
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