Ramble On…

My heart broke the day Julian left the University of Wisconsin: 11/1/05. We were struggling to get anything out the door. An amazing technology entrepreneur (and Lisp guy!) named Greg Nuyens was trying to hold startup Qwaq together with both hands. I knew it was going to be a tough time for Croquet.

Fast forward.

I have left the University of Wisconsin Division of Information Technology to work at Qwaq, Inc. Sweet!

Our last newsletter at UW went out last week. There’s a lot of good stuff in it about what we did here, as well as what has happened generally with this wonderful association of Croqueteers (such as the Consortium and the release). I’ve mentioned a couple more developments recently.

But frankly, it’s nothing compared with the Qwaq Forums product.

My son and I can talk naturally as we see who can be the first to stick a post-it note on a butterfly as it goes by. How cool is that?

In a world where context is king, Forums lets you bring in any application content and collaboratively work with it, IN CONTEXT. While Mac OSX will let me create stickies, it won’t let me put them anywhere on any application, and it won’t share them with everyone else working live on the same application. How crude. In Forums, you don’t enable context sharing – it just happens.

This is for real now. CEO Greg and new VP-Enterprise Remy Malan are very focused on making this work for business. My wife and conscience Robin is very excited that we’ll be DOING stuff instead of demo-ing for profs. These guys are unbelievably awesome. After working together for a couple of years now, I wasn’t surprised that Andreas had built such a solid business infrastructure with the expected reliability and security capabilities. Nor was I surprised that David and Qwaq engineer Brad Fowlow had created such a useable system. But I was caught off guard my first week in how much infrastructure Josh had created in just a few months for scalable media and applications sharing. Very cool work. You’d think I’d know all this stuff, and yet it’s going to take me a bit to absorb it all.

There’s so much going on, and not just at Qwaq in Palo Alto. Julian, Marilyn, and Mark are building critical mass near David Smith in the North Carolina research triangle where the whole area presents some serious devotion to technology in education. With lots of development around the globe, and two strong centers, things are looking very solid. Any way you turn now, there are great things happening. Now, if I can just get my freakin’ house sold….

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.


  1. Congrats!

  2. Dude!

    Mazel tov!

    We shall look forward to updates! To where are you planning to relocate? Palo Alto?

  3. Marcus Lunzenauer

    Will all this cool stuff come back to the Croquet SDK? Is there a roadmap for this?

  4. Thanks, all.

    We’re all really looking forward to building a strong community through the Consortium. David Smith is chief architect of both the open source Croquet project and of Qwaq which helps keep things consistent. (See http://croqueteer.blogspot…. and http://croqueteer.blogspot….)

    There is a Road Map (http://croqueteer.blogspot….) produced by the Consortium Technical Committee (http://www.croquetproject.o…).

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