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Saturday, April 1, 2006

It Was Fifteen Years Ago Today. . .

…the Information Letter got away! Yes, fifteen years have come and gone since Autodesk Information Letter 14 self-replicated its way onto desktops all over Autodesk (and beyond; it was, arguably, one of the most widely-distributed “internal memos” in the history of the computing industry up to that time). That wasn't my intent—like other documents, I had circulated a draft copy to a short list of people whose opinion I value before sending the memo to senior management. Unfortunately, one of the individuals to whom I gave a draft was somewhat deficient in discretion and made copies for everybody in his department, whence they started to spread in all directions.

Information Letter 14 started the process of turning a complacent Autodesk around, which eventually resulted in the arrival of Carol Bartz as CEO a year later, in April 1992. To commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of Information Letter 14, a new, easier to read edition is now available, which is a prototype of the style to be used in the Fifth Edition of The Autodesk File which, given how much free time I have to work on it, will probably be available sometime in the twenty-sixth century. The new edition, like this Information Letter 14 pathfinder, will be 100% XHTML and CSS compatible, and use Unicode entities for typographic symbols unavailable in the Latin-1 character set. As in the Fourth Edition of The Hacker's Diet, each chapter will be a single HTML document, no longer chopped up into screen-size morsels as was done in previous editions in the interest of reducing download time for users with slow dial-up Internet access.

Posted at April 1, 2006 21:23