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 Saturday, 19 March 2005
Saturday, 19 March 2005 10:15:07 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )
If I seem quiet it is because I'm in the midst of tons of travel... I've been to snowy Milwaukee (spoke at the Sheraton Hotel where one week later a guy was driven insane by a church sermon so he went on a shooting rampage - ain't religion great?). I've been to sunny (well, hazy really) Silicon Valley where I spoke at two conferences at the same time, so I was running back and forth between them. Next week I'm in Orlando, then Seattle, then Boston and finally Toronto then I get to not travel for a couple weeks.
 
On one hand this amount of travel is really draining. On the other hand, it allows me to do what I love, which is speaking to computer professionals. As an added bonus, I'll get to see some of my best friends while I'm in Boston, and that's really nice!
 
Every now and then there are other benefits as well. For instance, while I was in Santa Clara this week we got to tour the museum of computer history that is just a couple blocks from the Microsoft office. That was awesome! They start with the abacus and go through slide rules and manual calculation machines into electronic calculation devices and then computers up to today's PDAs. They have one of the few actual Enigma machines from WWII. They had a VAX 750 and a VAX 780 which brought back memories, as well as an Amiga 1000.
 
There was even a $10,000 (in 1968 dollars) "kitchen computer". Looked like a bit of plastic counter-top, but along the back were switches so you could change the bits in the register, and buttons to move data to/from the register to memory so you could program the device. The promo picture for the thing had a 60's era housewife flipping these switches. Apparently they expected that everyone would learn to program computers at the 011001 level!! What a trip!
 
They also had some of the computers for Minuteman missiles, for NORAD and all sorts of interesting stuff. The displays included various supercomputers including a couple Cray machines, some grid computers and even a rack of machines from Google.
 
All the people I toured with were aged from 35 to 50, so there was a lot of nostalgia going on :)
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