Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Computer History Museum and HP Garage

I've away for a few weeks visiting relatives in sunny California and one of the places I visited was the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.

It's a must for Geeks like me, for normal people like my girlfriend, I'm not so sure. Actually, that is not true, she found it really interesting, but had had enough after a few hours, I, on the other hand would have stayed all day and not only because I got this:
It took me a bit to work out that it spelt CHM in binary, because two of the ones are very close together and I was counting them as a single digit rather than two. Technically, it spells 67, 72 & 77 in Binary, which converted to its ASCII values is CHM.

I can recommend the Tour, or experience (the guide's own words), as the guide was very knowledgeable and because of this: 

Oh, yes, it's a punch card, a real one (at least the guide said so, so it must be true).

We also looked at a demonstration of the only working Babbage engine in the world, a very impressive machine, indeed.

The only disappointment was that flash photography was not allowed anywhere, which meant that taking pictures was tricky at the best of times, which is a shame. I did manage to take a few which can be seen below. All in all, it was a great experience at a fairly reasonable price

Xerox Alto - Probably the first ever personal Computer

Google Server Rack. All Google Searches were originally served from these servers

Finally, since we were in the neighbourhood, we thought we stopped by the birth of Silicon Valley, which is this little garage at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, where HP was founded.

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