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Welcome to Computing Conversations

Much of modern-day computing can be traced to innovations starting in the 1940s—never before has a major field emerged and matured in a single generation. To better understand computing's potential future directions, it's important to know our past and how we arrived at our current state. This column is dedicated to meeting and talking to people who range from the early pioneers to current visionaries. Multimedia and video will be essential to help explain our profession to new technologists. Using video gives a face and voice to the people in computing and adds to our profession's oral history.

This podcast is brought to you by Computer.

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The Rise of JavaScript

Computing Conversations author Charles Severance provides an audio recording of his column, which highlights the birth of JavaScript and where the language is headed.

The Second-Order Effect of Steve Jobs

Charles Severance, Computer's multimedia editor, reflects on how products from Steve Jobs, Apple, and NeXT often were an inspiration to creative technologists building entire new technologies over the past 30 years.

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About the Speaker

Charles SeveranceCharles Severance has been balancing computer science, information technology, and media for his entire career. In 1975, fresh out of high school, he was simultaneously learning Fortran at Michigan State University; working as a cameraman and director for WILX-TV, the mid-Michigan NBC affiliate; and participating in community theater productions. Over the years, Severance has moved between being a software developer and architect in the commercial and academic sectors, serving as the host of a short-lived national television show on technology, and providing leadership as the chief architect of the Sakai open source learning management system. Currently, he is a faculty member at the University of Michigan School of Information, where he focuses on teaching programming and Web skills to students who think they want to avoid anything technical. He has written several technical books, including Python for Informatics, Using the Google App Engine, and High-Performance Computing. Severance is also the author of Sakai: Free as in Freedom, in which he chronicled his experiences building an international open source community around the Sakai learning management system. View his personal blog and video channels at and follow him on Twitter.