Feb. 19th, 2013

Feb. 19th, 2013


If you have not already done so, please go & take a look at today’s Google Doodle ©. Feb. 19th is the 540th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus and Google is celebrating the anniversary with a Copernican model of the Solar System as the logo on the search engine’s front page.

Don’t put it off! The Google Doodle © is available for only one day and this one is too good to miss.

The first computer that Dr. Data ever encountered was a SAGE – Semi Automatic Ground Environment – installation in a huge block-house at Fort Lee, VA. These machines were physically the largest computers ever built and used 55,000 vacuum tubes; each tube was individually air-conditioned. You did not just walk through the computer room – you walked through the computer.

Since that time in the early 60’s, Dr. Data has seen a lot of hardware come and go. His favourites were the NCR Century Series  and the NCR Criterion which followed. Ask him about those machines and he will get a far-away look in his eye and ramble on and on about the joys of programming for those machines using NCR’s NEAT/3 language.

All this brings him to the main point of today’s post. Tech Republic has an article and slide show about computers that defined the information age being restored to more or less working condition. If you have even the slightest interest in computing history, the article is definitely worth a look.

Dr. Data hopes that he’ll one day see an article about an NCR Century machine – the 101 or 151 will do nicely – being brought back to life.

OK. I admit it. I’m a Geek and Geekie things amuse me. It’s no accident that Jim Parsons is my brother . . . No, not the one from Big Bang Theory . . . Jim Parsons, the Amateur Radio geek who is well on his way to establishing  Ham radio contact with every patch of land on this planet. Yes, he’s done Antarctica!

Well, anyway, I regularly check out Tech Republic’s Geekend postings and today there were a couple of good ones:

  1. What Science Fiction Movies are better than Star Wars?  My absolute favourite is on this list and it was made in 1951!
  2. What inside joke is hidden in the wheels of the Curiosity Rover on Mars?  I’m still blown away by that photo of the parachute descent take by the Mars Orbiter!
  3. Ten stupid things people have said.  You can probably think of additional examples. I know that I can!!

You may or may not have noticed that this past week-end marked the 1-year anniversary of the last Space Shuttle flight. When Discovery touched down at the Kennedy Space Centre on July 21, 2011 it was the end of an era. No more NASA Space Shuttle programme. Ever since the days of the Gemini space programme NASA has been using musical selections to wake the in-flight crew for another day’s work in space.

So, what were the last songs used for the last shuttle flight? Tech Republic has the answer. Enjoy.

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