The Colony

Our company CTO, David Smith, has been the principle architect of Croquet since the beginning. Long before that, he wrote the first commercial 3D game for a personal computer. Here’s some video (made with an actual video camera on old Mac) of how The Colony looked in 1987.

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. Thanks. That makes me feel even stupider than I was already feeling.

    Seriously, you can see the “Croquet” thinking implicit in all this from way back when. . .

  2. Yeah, David is smart as heck, and has very clear sense over time of what he wants to achieve.

    Of course, the other approach to feeling stupid is to wrap your head around Tea Time, which is the technical foundation that would allow the David/Colony stuff to work with a replicated state between multiple collaborating computers. Croquet uses a so-called Simplified Tea Time, which even I can understand:… STT is simply elegant. But the full blown thing was David Reed’s 1978 MIT PhD thesis: “Naming and Synchronization in a Decentralized Computer System”. (Byzantine Paxos anyone?) At the time he wrote it, neither computers nor networks were fast enough to implement it. So Dr. Reed had to go ahead and “invent the Internet”: he’s sometimes referred to as the guy who put the slash in TCP/IP. (In other fields, Harold was citing him just yesterday.…) Anyway, the story goes that Croquet came about when Alan Kay (…) realized that maybe now things had developed to the point where this stuff could work, and so he brought David and David together, along with maybe the wisest software engineer I’ve ever known, Andreas Raab. TEA-time refers to the penultimate letters of their last names. Anyway, I remember David Reed giving a presentation on Teatime (…) on the day that I met him in person. I was sitting next to him before and after and he seemed perfectly normal and comprehensible. But during the presentation I felt I couldn’t understand anything he said.

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