Thursday, April 8, 2010

While at the MySQL UC, pop by the Computer History Museum

If you are coming to the MySQL User Conference, you might want to pop by the Computer History Muesum. The CHM is in Mountain View, jus off the 101. If you have a car, just take the 101 and get off at Shoreline, it's just on the east side of the 101. If you don't have a car, you can get there anyway, from the UC take the light railway to Mountain View and then you can walk (some 20 minutes or so, not the nicest of walks, across the 101, but it's possible, I've done it) or take a bus from Mountain View.

At the CMH, among other cool things, is Babbage's Difference Engine in working order, a mechanical computer. That Babbagewas a smart dude is obvious from the fact that he never finished building the machine, although he designed it, and when now built using his original designs, it actually worked! I mean, the whole concept of designing the thing first, it truly weird, along the lines of code documentation that is actually correct and commented code that is actually helpful, two arcane ideas that I find very hard to grasp. The machine is demonstrated at the museum, and I think there is work in place to make it run Linux. (yes, that is a Joke, it's just barely powerful enough to run DOS).

The PDP-1 restoration project at the CHM is also interesting as is many other things there, so a visit to CHM is recommended.


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