Saturday, July 11, 2009

A gift for William Connolley and John Mashey

Ada, Countess of Lovelace discovers the difference engine
Via Brad de Long. In between saving the world, Eli thinks of his friends. Follow this link for more


S2 said...

Excellent! I've just spent far more time there than I really should have.


John Mashey said...

Ho, ho.

To think how long ago TwitterScience might have been introduced....

A minor nit, as I posted over at the source. The second Babbage engine was commissioned by Nathan Myhrvold, who was kind enough to lend it to us at the Computer History Museum for ~18 months, through YE2009.

See it while you can!
Most days, at 2pm is a lecture and demonstration, as a trained docent turns the crank and it computes. [Training needed:turn the crank too fast and it jams.]

Think of it as the first Dot-Bomb. They spent much money, never shipped, although the design actually works, and was indeed buildable with the era's machine tools.

Ada never got a chance to see code running, but at least she got a language named after her.

No One said...

You need to post something interesting.

And pronto!!

Hank Roberts said...

Iconography to be used when replying to trolls, maybe?

Hank Roberts said...

thumbnail size, and background for the image, here:

Hank Roberts said...

Dear Rabett, thanks to a recent advice column in one of the local newspapers, in which a woman who is pregnant asked about the propriety of carrying and using a handheld fan of the type depicted here, I found that in fact they _were_ twitter:
---- excerpt follows----

The Ladies Fan
This fashion accessory ... was a daring way of communication. ...

These messages included:

* “We are being watched” - fan twirls with left hand
* “I am yours” - folded fan pointing to the heart
* “Your are too cruel!” - an abrupt, snapping closure of the fan
* “I’d like to make your acquaintance” - guarding the face with a fan held in the left hand
* “I’m married” - fanning slowly
* “I’m engaged” - fanning quickly
* “I love you” - drawing fan slowly across the cheek
* “I promise to marry you” - closing the fan slowly
* “Kiss me” - placing the handle on her lips
* “Just friendship“, romantic interest declined - dropping the fan
* “I hate you”, emphasizing anger after a lovers quarrel - drawing the closed fan through the hand.

John Mashey said...


Consider these fan gestures early forms of emoticons.

By amusing coincidence, I once gave a keynote talk at at the Tri-ADA 95 conference, so this thread may be more appropriate than Eli realized.

No One said...

John Mashey,

Yes, I was there. It was quite amusing.

Hank Roberts said...

> early forms of emoticons

Ouch. A side-by-side comparison of the signals used by different generations would probably be interesting.


Some rabbits (or rather Rabbits (c) Disney)