Kalkulator, by Stanislaw Lem

Back in 1997, I wrote a few web pages about Stanislaw Lem, with some reviews of his books, including his delightful collection of short stories “The Cyberiad”. Inspired by his fictitious criticism of non-existent books, I wrote some fictitious home pages in the first person of his brilliant but braggadocios constructor robot characters Trurl and Klapaucius, excerpting some Wonderful Poems and Horrible Poems written by Trurl’s Elecronic Bard, and the Femfatalatron 1.0 Product Description. One story from that same book, The Seventh Sally or How Trurl’s Own Perfection Led to No Good, inspired a game called SimCity. …

by Don Hopkins, Kaleida Labs, 1995

Note: This all seems pretty obvious now, but I wrote it in 1995, before the appearance of Java and JavaScript. Of course the links don’t work any more (except to the arpanet map), and unfortunately kaleida.com didn’t get snapshot by archive.org, but this is some of the content we published on the web in 1995 that I saved. See 1995 Apple World Wide Developers Conference Kaleida Labs ScriptX DreamScape Demo for a whirlwind demo!

ScriptX Source Code:

ScriptX DreamScape Demo:

1995 Apple World Wide Developers Conference Kaleida Labs ScriptX DreamScape Demo

Benefit of ScriptX to Web Browsers

The World Wide Web is an excellent way to…

Head Phaking, Phase 1

Demo of The Sims character animation, and early design description of “head phaking” feature (November 17, 1998).

The Sims Head Faking in the Hot Tub

The Sims Character Animation Demo starts at 17:40:

The Sims Character Animation Demo starts at 17:40

From: Don Hopkins
To: Chris Trottier
Date: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 7:57 AM
Subject: Head Phaking, phase 1

I’ve implemented a preliminary cut at head faking, and hooked up the “look at” primitive!

It’s not content based yet (it procedurally turns just the head, up to a certain amount), nor have I finished adjusting it, but it basically works!

The ideal content based approach (which we can move to if the current implementation doesn’t look…

Demo and early design description (August 20, 1998) of The Sims object placement tool.

The Sims Object Placement Tool Moving a Table
The Sims Object Placement Tool Moving a Table
The Sims Object Placement Tool Moving a Table

The Sims Object Placement Tool Demo starts at 4:45:

From: Don Hopkins
Date: Thursday, August 20, 1998 5:45 PM
Subject: New simple object placement and rotation implemented for arch mode!

I’ve implemented a new simple object placement mode, and turned it on in architecture mode.

The move button in buy mode, and the buy placement tool, are still the same old tools, though.

To try out the new placement tool:

Place a few chairs, a few large sofas, and a few beds to try out the multi tile placement behavior.

Then switch…

From: John Wainwright at Lyric
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 1998 1:31 PM
To: Don Hopkins at Maxis
Subject: CGDC talk

Hi, Don.

Kinetix has roped me into giving a talk about MAXScript at the Game Developer’s Conference in Long Beach on Friday. I wanted to see if its OK to mention your use of MAXScript at Maxis and if so, maybe you could give a few bullet points on what it’s OK for me to mention. …

This is a transcript of a video taped demonstration of SimCity on HyperLook in NeWS.

HyperLook SimCity Demo Video

This video was badly compressed a long time ago, and was recorded in the Exploratorium so there are kids screaming maniacally and people laughing uproariously in the background! It was a pretty insane demo and the camerawoman almost dropped the camera, but I’m glad I got it all on tape. (Including the Happy Tool back-story!) The transcript may be easier to read than the video is to hear. Sorry!

Demonstration of SimCity running under the HyperLook user interface development system, based on NeWS PostScript, running on a SPARCstation 2. Includes a demonstration of editing HyperLook graphics and user interfaces, the…

Timeline of pie menu development by Don Hopkins.

** 1968–12–09: The Mother of All Demos

— Doug Engelbart (1968)

The Mother of All Demos, presented by Douglas Engelbart (1968)



Augmenting Human Intellect. A Conceptual Framework by Doug Engelbart.

Web site:

Discussions about Engelbart from Hacker News.


Valerie Landau interviewed by Martin Wasserman: Doug Engelbart’s advice to a young software developer.


A: I think — I wanted to say one thing that Doug told me many years
ago. And this is really for the software developers out there. Once,
this was in the 90’s. And I said, Doug, Doug…

Pie Menu

Date: April 10, 1988
To: Members of the Technical Writing Class
From: Don Hopkins
Subject: Proposal to investigate interaction techniques and display styles appropriate for the application of pie menus to window management.

Pie menus are a fast, accurate way of selecting commands from a list
of options shown on the screen, by using a mouse to point and click at
the desired selection.

Pressing a mouse button causes a menu to be displayed, centered on the
cursor location. The menu choices are positioned in a circle around
the cursor, which is initially located in a small inactive region at
the menu center…

Techniques for the Design of Circular Menus
By Don Hopkins, October, 1987.


Pie menus are used for making selections from items displayed on the computer screen, by pointing and clicking at the desired one with a mouse. The regions of the menu are shaped like the slices of a pie, laid out in a circle around the menu center.

The click of a mouse button invokes a menu, which pops up on the screen positioned so that the cursor is centered in the small inactive region in the menu center. The active target regions are all adjacent to the cursor…

As sad as it was, Steve Jobs was right to “put a bullet in OpenDoc’s head”.

Jobs explained (and performed) his side of the story in this fascinating and classic WWDC’97 video: “Focusing is about saying no.”

“Focusing is about saying no.” -Steve Jobs


Q: What about OpenDoc?

Jobs: What about OpenDoc??! (nods)

Q: Yeah.

Jobs: Yeah. (sips) (smirks) (leans) What about it? (laughter)

Don Hopkins

User interface flower child. Pie menus, PizzaTool, SimCity, The Sims, Visual Programming, VR, AR, Unity3D / JavaScript bridge.

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