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[Comments] (2) : Yesterday we went to the Computer History Museum. Clearly a lot of money has gone into this museum, but it's fundamentally a county museum where everyone cleaned out their garages and they put it all on display. It's just that since the county is in Silicon Valley the people are very rich and their garages are full of awesome old computers.

So there's a bunch more photos on Flickr, with more to come. New photos start here.

The big draw was the difference engine, which is unfortunate because in a few months Nathan Myhrvold will arrive Mephistophelian at the stroke of midnight and whisk the difference engine away to his living room. And then the Computer History Museum will have a rotating exhibit (currently about chess), an "Innovation in the Valley" exhibit that seems provincial despite having amazing artifacts like Engelbart's mouse and the Apple I, and the big room full of computers. You think it's ridiculous that I'm complaining about free admission to a big room full of computers, but if you've seen the outside of this building it looks like the office-park equivalent of the Guggenheim. You expect more.

Anyway, the difference engine was great, and now I understand how it works. I originally thought the point of it was to find the roots of polynomials and I couldn't imagine how it represented complex roots. But no, it just cranks out the values of polynomials for ever-increasing values of x.

More pictures from the room full of old computers coming eventually. I just wanted to put up enough that I'd get to the Chadwick Magic-Brain Calculator for Susanna and John.

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Comments:

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Sun Nov 23 2008 13:29

Okay, you've coƫrced me into putting up (unsorted and unweeded as yet) all of my photos of the Z1 and the lucite example switching element. I need to assemble the rest of the photos from that trip (including the Z2 and later Zuse models).

I warn you that most of those photos are in triplicate, because I shoot without flash and use the "continuous shots" mode of my camera to shoot three rounds rapid (so that the middle one will be most steady, lacking bounce from the shutter button press).

Posted by Evan at Sun Nov 23 2008 14:58

Nathan Myhrvold == the villain who poaches the cross of cornado (sp?) in the 3rd indiana jones film.

"It belongs in a museum!"
- young Indy


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