February 12, 2011

Computer History Museum, Mt. View, California


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photo by Donald Kinney

I visited two years ago but since then the Computer History Museum has been expanded into a fabulous journey though advancements in the science of numbers, including differential equations used in calculating rates of change -- predicting where a rocket is going to hit, for instance.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

I never worked in the field of electronics, but that doesn't mean I didn't spend two years in junior college studying the subject.   And those were the days before calculators took over so we still used slide-rules for math.

And of course, the first thing you learn about punch cards is do not fold, spindle, or mutilate.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Hands up if you remember vacuum tubes.   Oh, the warm glow of the illuminating tubes -- listening to Vince Guaraldi or maybe some Roland Kirk late on a Saturday evening.   Wondering if I was EVER going to find love.

But vacuum tubes was the way it was done before transistors took over, allowing everything to scale down in size.   Even my nonexistent love life. (((Oh don't worry about me -- eventually I fell in love with a cat)))



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

You'll see a lot of spaghetti at the museum.   Wiring can get quite complex.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

An early plotter.   It made precise curves using a complex system of gears.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And a plotter of a later date with a few more bells and whistles.

Stop by tomorrow and I'll have more.



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3 comments:

Scott said...

Indeed these photos do bring back memories. It's actually been kind of fun living through all this development in the computer world.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

It is beyond my comprehension but does provide for great photos. The thing about vacuum tube radios is they produce a better sound than transistor types. Don't understand why but we have two of them.

Tomate Farcie said...

"And of course, the first thing you learn about punch cards is do not fold, spindle, or mutilate. " or drop the stack of cards. That was the first thing they told me, is don't drop the stack ;)

I've been meaning to go back to see the renovated museum, and perhaps I will very soon. It's just so much fun!

I hope you took the time to go photograph Google's lawn decorations , since you were in the neighborhood. ;)

 
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