Homage to Nick DeWolf | AspenTimes.com

Homage to Nick DeWolf

Dear Editor:In 1981, naively and ignorantly, I called Nick. “I think I need to get a microcomputer.””Okay, Richard, one of these days when I have a few minutes, I might make a few suggestions.”To my surprise, Nick called me the very next day, and said, “Come on over.” For five solid hours, I sat listening spellbound, not uttering a single word myself during the entire time. I had entered Nick’s inner sanctum in a state of total and unknowing confusion. When I left, five hours later, I was a hundred times more confused, and had been launched into Nick DeWolf’s world of technology.Later that year, Nick founded the Aspen Computer Society. I am proud to say that I was one of a small number of founding members. We often invited Nick to speak at our monthly meetings. Since we never knew what he was going to say, we touted his talks as “Nick DeWolf In Concert.” Happily, we were never disappointed. In our official, federal, nonprofit charter, we formally designated Nick as the organization’s “guru for life.”Nick is probably the last man earth will ever see who, totally and single-handedly, conceived, designed and executed his own microcomputer. Had he been able to deliver the revolutionary finished product on the day it was conceived, he would have sold millions of them. Unfortunately, the project required two solid years of hard work for him to bring to completion, two years in which IBM totally grabbed control over that part of the microcomputer world. His beautiful, elegant ON! Computer never sold a single copy.Hundreds of anecdotes come flooding back. Nick’s activity, in Aspen alone, deserves half a dozen books; we should at least labor to bring forth one of them. It should not be forgotten that, for many years, the high point of the year in our magnificent formerly egalitarian community were Maggie and Nick’s New Year’s Eve parties, open to all, in their Bleeker Street home, crowded to the gills with locals, and graced year after year, thanks to Maggie, with tables of the most scrumptious food this community has ever seen.Two weeks before his death, Nick put in an appearance at the Friday Lunch Group, at Jimmy’s Restaurant. Though weakened by disease, he was still the center of attention, and his spirit was still flying high. Now, he has become our “guru for life and death.”Richard ShermanAspen

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