[Dixielandjazz] George Morrow obituary

David W. Littlefield dwlit at cpcug.org
Fri May 9 10:44:27 PDT 2003

Hi All. Here's one of those "ya never know who's gonna like OKOM" items.
>From the NY Times. The next to last paragraph states the OKOM-relevance.

George Morrow, a Personal Computer Visionary, Dies at 69


eorge Morrow, a mathematician and programmer who was a member of a group of 
unorthodox hobbyists who were instrumental in creating the personal 
computer industry, died at his home in San Mateo, Calif., on Wednesday.

He was 69 and had suffered from aplastic anemia for the last year, his wife 

Mr. Morrow was born in Detroit. He dropped out of high school, but at the 
age of 28 decided to return to school and received a bachelor's degree in 
physics from Stanford University and a master's degree in mathematics from 
the University of Oklahoma. He entered a Ph.D. program in mathematics at 
the University of California at Berkeley, but was sidetracked by his 
passion for computers.

He started working as a programmer in the computer laboratory at Berkeley 
in the early 1970's and began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer 
Club, an informal group of engineers, programmers, experimenters and 
entrepreneurs that ultimately spun off dozens of companies that formed the 
core of the personal computer industry in the 1970's.

Initially, most personal computers were sold as kits. Mr. Morrow formed 
Microstuf, a company in Berkeley, Calif., to sell expansion cards and other 
computer add-on products to the first generation of personal computer 
enthusiasts. He would later change the name of the company, first to 
Thinker Toys and later to Morrow Designs.

A self-taught computer designer, Mr. Morrow was involved in the efforts to 
create and standardize the S100 bus, a hardware design that made it 
possible for early PC makers to share expansion cards.

Morrow Designs thrived when the personal computer became an important tool 
for small businesses. The first machines ran the Digital Research CP/M 
operating system. Later, Mr. Morrow introduced a portable computer intended 
to compete head-to-head with the popular Osborne 1 computer. The Morrow 
machine matched the Osborne's $1,795 price but offered more bundled software.

Mr. Morrow was well known for his enthusiasm and his sense of humor within 
the computer industry. Lee Felsenstein, who was one of the original members 
of the Homebrew club and the designer of the Osborne 1, recalled that Mr. 
Morrow was usually dressed in jeans and tennis shoes.

When I.B.M. began to dominate the PC market, Mr. Morrow was forced to shift 
to the industry standard. In 1985, his company introduced a popular 
portable design known as the Pivot and sold the design to Zenith Data 
Systems. But with the industry becoming increasingly dominated by large 
electronics companies, Morrow Designs filed for bankruptcy in 1986.

In recent years, Mr. Morrow spent his time maintaining a collection of 
70,000 78-r.p.m. recordings, with much of the collection being dance and 
jazz music of the 1920's and 1930's. He had developed an advanced 
electronic system for digitizing and remastering the recordings and he was 
distributing them on compact disc on his own label, the Old Masters.

He is survived by his wife, Michiko Jean, of San Mateo; two sons, John, of 
San Mateo, and William, of New York; and a daughter, Kelly, of San Jose, Calif.

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