Work has gotten underway on Plan 28
, a project to create Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, the never-built successor to the Difference Engine. The Analytical Engine was to have been a general purpose computer, and Ada Lovelace designed the first-ever programming language to run on it. Many factors led to its never being completed -- the state of the art in precision engineering in Babbage's day, finance woes, and so forth. John Graham-Cumming, who founded the project, is also the author of The Geek Atlas
, a fantastic book.
This has required building relationships with a number of bodies. I recently announced that the project had been accepted into the portfolio of projects handled by the Computer Conservation Society. They will provide expert advice as needed.
Plan 28: Analytical Engine project gets underway
The other vital body to work with is The Science Museum in London. Doron and I have been working with The Science Museum team at many levels to ensure that the project is known about and that we would be able to get access to Babbage's plans and notebooks to perform the vital academic study of the Analytical Engine as Babbage imagined it. The first step to doing that research was to digitize the entire Babbage archive. Digitization greatly facilitates research as these precious documents can be viewed conveniently from around the world.
I am pleased to be able to say that The Science Museum agreed that digitization was vital and undertook this project. The work on digitization started on Monday, September 12 and early in October Doron and I will have access to the digitized versions of Babbage's plans and notebooks for study. This great first step on Plan 28 is, finally, underway. We are very, very grateful to The Science Museum and all we have worked with there for their support and for having undertaken this vital work that will benefit not only Plan 28 but all those who wish to study Charles Babbage's work wherever they are.
(Image: AnalyticalMachine_Babbage_London, Wikimedia Commons/Bruno Barral, CC-BY-SA-2.5.)
Andrew Lekashman offers a brief pictorial a history of mechanical keyboards, from adding machines to dumb terminals to Symbolics monstrosities to modern blank-key hacker totems. There was a lot of ingenious tech left by the wayside on the way to finding the perfect click. Pictured above is one not included in the roundup, a particularly […]
Yesterday, we learned The Wirecutter (with sister site The Sweethome) was headed to New York City. It’s the sort of good ending that’s also a good beginning: they succeeded in their mission and have bright prospects for further growth. But Matt Haughey points out how much of the story everyone’s missing: the entire site is […]
The stainless steel shakers are designed to have a lot of heft (the Enterprise is 7oz empty, the Bird of Prey is 5 oz): they’re $60 from Thinkgeek.
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]