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Blog Archive for the ‘Computing’ Category

The History of Computers

by Charlotte Hajer on June 14th, 02012

When we think about the development of computers, we often think into the future: we imagine (or work on developing) new software, ever larger capacities for data storage, and ever smaller, sleeker hardware design.

But Ptak Science Books, a blog on the history of science with an emphasis on images, gives us an interesting look. . .   Read More

The Evolution of Search Engines

by Charlotte Hajer on March 21st, 02012

Long before the era of the Internet, humans already dreamt of creating the perfect search engine.

In 01895 two Belgian lawyers, Paul Otlet and Henri la Fontaine, began building their Universal Bibliographic Repertory: a card catalog similar to that of a library, but vastly larger. It aimed to classify all human knowledge and provide searchable. . .   Read More

The Expanding Frontiers of Computing

by Alex Mensing on January 5th, 02012

Advances in computing technology have led to increasingly powerful devices – a cell phone can now do what early desktop computers did not even approximate. But these developments have largely been in the form of devices, objects made of silicon and plastic. Stanford bioengineering professor Drew Endy imagines, in a New York Times article, another frontier. . .   Read More

Revolution: The First 2,000 Years of Computing

by Austin Brown on January 17th, 02011

The Computer History Museum’s newly re-designed main exhibition, Revolution: The First 2,000 Years of Computing, is now open to the public. Starting with the abacus and ending with social networking, the exhibit traces our ongoing attempts to mechanically and digitally keep track of our world. In between the two is a history. . .   Read More

The Lego Antikythera Mechanism

by Simone Davalos on December 9th, 02010

Is Kurzweil’s future arriving?

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on November 30th, 02010

John Rennie over at IEEE Spectrum has an excellent article on Ray Kurzweil’s 108 predictions for 02009 from his book Age of Spiritual Machines.  Ray Kurzweil is an avid and fearless predictor who also logged the first of our Long Bets with Mitch Kapor.  I think it is great that people are taking the. . .   Read More

The qubits entangle

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on October 2nd, 02010

Nature reports quantum computing researchers achieve “success at entangling three-circuit systems”.

“The entanglement of two or more qubits sets up a ‘superposition’ of states in which calculations can run in parallel — in principle allowing a quantum computer to race through problems that it would take a classical computer eons to solve. Such a quantum. . .   Read More

Mainframe dark age

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on August 5th, 02010

The usual “digital dark age” stories we see are the ones where people lose data because a platform obsolesces.  Business Week is running an interesting story about a computer platform that has refused to obsolesce, and it is the people who are leaving it behind – The Mainframe.  It turns out that there are still over. . .   Read More

The woman that programmed the first computer

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on June 17th, 02010

“Long Shorts” – short films that exemplify long-term thinking.  Please submit yours in the comments section…

Information Pioneers: Ada Lovelace from Information Pioneers on Vimeo.

This is a nice intro to Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer who wrote programs for Babbage’s mechanical computer. While this computer is similar to the binary mechanical computer. . .   Read More

Mechanical Computing Videos

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on February 20th, 02010

Patrick Tufts sent in these absolute gems.  Historical training videos for mechanical computers from the US Navy which used them as fire control computers.  It is so easy to forget where modern computers got their start.  We assume they are all gray boxes with monitors attached, but back in the good old days they were. . .   Read More