Heiser Christmas Letter 1990

Household News

Loretta and I had a sinfully satisfying summer vacation. We relaxed in the warm pool.

We love living with Dorothy and Bennett and Mary Lou and Ryan.

Loretta got a new (old) cello; she sounds very good, and is making lots of music, in two orchestras and three chamber groups.

We have two new cats. One of them will bite your ear if you whistle.


I got a new, much more powerful Macintosh IIcx computer this year. Its 19“ screen, laser printer, and 320-megabyte disk make it the nicest computer on the block.

Right now, I‘m interested in object-oriented programming. I've been developing a “groupware” program to facilitate meetings. It's called "Bob" (after Roberts Rules of Order.)

I've been teaching short courses in C++ programming for Learning Tree International, and am getting excited about programming again. Graphic user interfaces made programming really hard; now graphic toolkits and code generators have come to the rescue.

DeskTop Publishing is exactly the combination-style do-it-all graphic arts system I’ve always dreamed about. The only trouble is that its complexity can be daunting. I made this newsletter with Quark Express and Type Styler. You might call it Display Typography.

Information Overload

I’m drowning in information! Too many newspapers, technical magazines, environmental magazines, peace magazines. Loretta is smart: she subscribes to a different magazine every year, so she samples lots of magazines without accumulation. I’ve got too many books, notes, manuals and training materials as well. My favorite people can deal with tremendous amounts of information; Ted Nelson keeps everything; my Dad reads four newspapers, but I can’t bear to throw information away!

I’m about to double the complexity of my computer by adding the Unix operating system. This is likely to lead to NetNews as well as to learning a whole new set of programs. If I were really going to cure my information overload, would I still add Unix?


I’m planning to become a school teacher. For the past year, I’ve been a substitute, to get acquainted with the school system. I’d like to teach physics, chemistry or computing in a senior high school. After seeing the movie Stand and Deliver, I want to teach more than

Los Angeles teachers have negotiated significant salary increases. I predict that within ten years teaching wil be a very popular again.

Next year, many Los Angeles schools will change to a year-round calendar with multiple tracks. They expect to choreograph three or four groups of students and teachers in and out of one set of classrooms. This is supposed to be more “efficient”, but they’re ignoring the lack of air- conditioning and the confusion caused by “off-track” teachers and students missing meetings and memos. School planners have a periscopic view of problem-solving; otherwise, they would be sure to steer clear of such complications!

Until next year...

Peace and Love! Dick and Loretta Heiser