Without Charles Simonyi the seemingly simple act of composing documents on a computer would be far less intuitive and visually straightforward. As a computer programmer at Microsoft in the 1980s, he led the team that created Word, the ubiquitous word-processing program (he also led the Excel team). Before joining Microsoft, Simonyi (pronounced sim-OH-nyee) worked at Xerox PARC, where he had a hand in inventing the graphical user interface that enabled consumers to see text and formatting on the screen as it would appear in the final document -- an interface known as WYSIWYG, or "what you see is what you get."
Video game pioneer Richard Garriott resides in a castle-like mansion outside of Austin, Texas, that would be the fantasy dwelling for any grown-up kid. But his favorite place to live is a five-bedroom fixer-upper some 250 miles up.
It's unlikely that you've heard of PJ King, despite the fact that he's about to set himself apart from most humans who've ever walked the planet. In as soon as 18 months, King could be launching into space as a paying commercial space tourist.
American venture capitalist and philanthropist Esther Dyson spent part of 2008 and 2009 training to be a cosmonaut. Dyson is a well-known figure in the world of technology. For many years she penned an influential monthly tech newsletter, and she hosted PC Forum, an annual technology conference. (She sold her company to CNET Networks, which discontinued the conference and sold the newsletter to O'Reilly Media.)
Richard Garriott had more reason than most to dream the Apollo moon landings would rapidly expand space travel. His father was a NASA astronaut, as were many of his neighbors near Texas' Johnson Space Center.