Jef Raskin


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Jef Raskin (March 9, 1943 - February 26, 2005) was an American human-computer interface expert best known for starting the Macintosh project for Apple in the late 1970s. Raskin was born in New York City to a secular Jewish family. He received degrees in mathematics (B.S. 1964) and philosophy (B.A. 1965) at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1967 he earned a master's degree in computer science at Pennsylvania State University. His first computer program, a music program, was part of his master's thesis.
Raskin later enrolled in a graduate music program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), but stopped to teach art, photography and computer science there, working as an assistant professor in the Visual Arts dept from 1968 until 1974. He was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to establish a Computer and Humanities center which used a 16 bit Data General Nova computer and graphic display terminals rather than the teletypes which were in use at that time. Along with his undergraduate student Jonathan (Jon) Collins, Jef developed the Flow Programming Language for use in teaching programming to the art and humanities students. The language was first used at the Humanities Summer Training Institute held in 1970 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. The language had only 6 instructions (get it, print it, print "text", jump to, if it is ' ' then & stop) and could not manipulate numbers. The language utilized "typing amplification" in which only the first letter was typed and the computer provided the balance of the instruction eliminating typing errors. It was also the basis for programming classes taught by Jef and Jon in the UCSD Visual Arts Dept. He curated several art shows including one featuring his collection of unusual toys. It was during this period that Jef changed the spelling of his name from Jeff to Jef after meeting Jon and liking the lack of extraneous letters.
He occasionally wrote for computer publications, such as Dr. Dobb's Journal.

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Raskin, Jef (2004): We Are All Blind: Cognetics and the Designing of Interfaces for Accessibility: Introductio. In: Klaus, Joachim, Miesenberger, Klaus, Zagler, Wolfgang L., Burger, Dominique (eds.) ICCHP 2004 - Computers Helping People with Special Needs - 9th International Conference July 7-9, 2004, Paris, France. pp. 1-5.

Raskin, Jef (2001): Turning the Art of Interface Design into Engineering. In: Little, Murray Reed, Nigay, Laurence (eds.) EHCI 2001 - Engineering for Human-Computer Interaction, 8th IFIP International Conference May 11-13, 2001, Toronto, Canada. pp. 5-6.

Raskin, Jef (1999): The User Interface in Text Retrieval Systems Revisited, A Letter to the Editor. In ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 31 (1) pp. 37.

Raskin, Jef (1997): Looking for a Humane Interface: Will Computers Ever Become Easy to Use?. In Communications of the ACM, 40 (2) pp. 98-101.

Raskin, Jef (1997): What's NeXT for Apple?. In Interactions, 4 (3) pp. 12-16.

Raskin, Jef (1996): Wanted for Crimes Against the Interface: Thoughts on an HCI Poster. In Interactions, 3 (6) pp. 70-76.

Raskin, Jef (1994): Viewpoint: Intuitive equals familiar. In Communications of the ACM, 37 (9) pp. 17-18.

Raskin, Jef (1994): Holes in History. In Interactions, 1 (3) pp. 11-16.

Raskin, Jef (1991): A Concern about the Samuelson-Glushko Survey. In ACM SIGCHI Bulletin, 23 (3) pp. 12-14.

Raskin, Jef (1989): Systemic Implications of Leap and an Improved Two-Part Cursor: A Case Study. In: Bice, Ken, Lewis, Clayton H. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 89 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 30 - June 4, 1989, Austin, Texas. pp. 167-170.

Raskin, Jef (1987): The Hype in Hypertext: A Critique. In: Weiss, Stephen, Schwartz, Mayer (eds.) Proceedings of ACM Hypertext 87 Conference November 13-15, 1987, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. pp. 325-330.

Raskin, Jef (2000): The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems, Addison-Wesley Publishing,

Raskin, Jef (2000): Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems, Addison-Wesley Publishing,