IBM's Booch launches documentary fundraiser

IBM chief scientist and co-creator of the Unified Modelling Language Grady Booch has a new project to keep him busy: a 'trans-media' documentary on the history of computing.

Dubbed Computing: The Human Experience, Booch envisions the project as a multi-part documentary series broadcast via traditional media as well as web streaming but also in a veriaty of other formats, including eBooks, iPad apps, "a social network," and a series of educational games.

"Computing is a story of ambition, passion, invention, creativity, vision, avarice, and serendipity, powered by a refusal to accept the limits of our bodies and our minds. From the abacus to the iPad, from Gutenberg to Google, from Enigma to GPS, we have created computers to count the uncountable, remember beyond our own experiences, and see the invisible as well as the unforeseeable," enthuses Booch of his pet topic.

"To explore computing is the 21st Century equivalent of Cousteau exploring the sea, of Hughes exploring modern art, and of Burns exploring the American experience through the Civil War, baseball, and jazz. In just one or two generations – an imperceptible time in the timeless sweep of the universe – we have created a technology that has the power to extend us, to transform us, to define us, perhaps even to destroy us.

"Just think about it: there is practically nothing you see or do in your daily life that is NOT created, supported, delivered or impacted by computing," Booch breathlessly exclaims.

"Just as Carl Sagan’s Cosmos made the universe understandable and exciting to a mass audience twenty-five years ago (was it really that long ago?) Computing: The Human Experience will inform, inspire, and entertain. We will grab audiences of all ages by the throat and/or brain by telling the story of this incredibly technology that is changing our world…while changing humanity."

Booch's enthusiasm for the topic is obvious, but he's looking for funding. In his time of need, the scientist has turned to Kickstarter, the US-based crowd funding site, with a series of offers for those willing to stump up the cash to make hsi vision a reality.

Those pledging $1 or more get Booch's "deepest gratitude," plus a mention on the website and status as an 'Outreach Partner;' pledge $10 and you get a subscription to emails sent quarterly on the status of the project; $25 gets you all of the prior plus a fridge magnet to treasure forever; while $50 or more gets a handwritten note from Booch thanking you personally.

For the big spenders, $100 gets the chance to meet Booch and get a book signed at one of his scheduled events; $250 or more gets you a personal phone call of thanks; $500 extends that call to an hour; and $1,000 gets a mention in Booch's next book. $5,000 gets you an invitation to a private Facebook group for behind-the-scenes discussions regarding the project, and finally $10,000 or more gets everything previously mentioned plus - and we're not making this up - "a limited edition Grady Booch bobble head/action figure."

"There's a story inside of me that's fighting to get out and to be shared with the world. I am ready to focus the next three years of my professional life on telling that story. I have assembled a world-class team of creative talent to help me, and I am ready to expand my team to make my dream happen," Booch explains. "I just need a bit of a kick to start us on the next phase of this journey."

More information is available on the project's Kickstarter page.

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