'Home' computer: Definition

From: Ward Griffiths and/or Lisa Rogers <gram_at_cnct.com>
Date: Sun Jun 29 17:57:11 1997

On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Brett wrote:

> I remember someone saying in one post about MCMXXX and the response being
> *must have meant MCMLXXX* - why? Triode tubes (valves - I love that word)
> were around - Why couldn't you build a computer using tubes from the 30's.
> I mean - it would keep the house warm (probably too warm 8-) and it would
> be some what limited in storage - but heck weren't some of the first
> tubers (like that word too) big word machines. Wierd things like 12 and 23
> and 31 bit come to mind. Wasn't there a huge 64 bit TTL one as well? This
> was back in the late 50's. Government funded stuff. Or am I just blowing
> wind?

That was me. Yes, it might have been _possible_ to build a machine in
1930, but at that time nobody had made the connection between Babbage's
ideas and electronics. IIRC, it was John von Neuman who took that fatal
step, then published it. And then all Hell broke loose, and there is no
sign of the rift closing within our lifetimes. I _love_ it. With
respect to the old Chinese curse, we live in interesting times. And we
have done so since the Harvard Mark I. (Well, there _is_ that rumoured
German predecessor, but it was never advertised.)
Ward Griffiths
"America is at that awkward stage.  It's too late to work within 
the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." --Claire Wolfe
Received on Sun Jun 29 1997 - 17:57:11 BST

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