Stephen Levy toured the personal library of Priceline founder Jay Walker and discovered nerdvana: a wunderkammer piled to the rafters with the most pricelessly awesome nerd artifacts of all time -- an original Sputnik, the Thing hand from the Addams Family, a globe of the moon signed by every astronaut who's walked on it, an original of Robert Hooke's Micrographia, an Enigma machine, etc. You know, I've often turned my nose up at the absurd excesses of wealth, but this is one guy who knows how to spend several million on really rad junk.
Nothing quite prepares you for the culture shock of Jay Walker's library. You exit the austere parlor of his New England home and pass through a hallway into the bibliographic equivalent of a Disney ride. Stuffed with landmark tomes and eye-grabbing historical objects–on the walls, on tables, standing on the floor–the room occupies about 3,600 square feet on three mazelike levels. Is that a Sputnik? (Yes.) Hey, those books appear to be bound in rubies. (They are.) That edition of Chaucer ... is it a Kelmscott? (Natch.) Gee, that chandelier looks like the one in the James Bond flick Die Another Day. (Because it is.) No matter where you turn in this ziggurat, another treasure beckons you–a 1665 Bills of Mortality chronicle of London (you can track plague fatalities by week), the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket (which launched the Apollo 11 capsule to the moon), a framed napkin from 1943 on which Franklin D. Roosevelt outlined his plan to win World War II. In no time, your mind is stretched like hot taffy.
Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library
CutiePi is a tablet based on the Raspberry Pi: compact enough, but more open, versatile and hacker-friendly than mainstream models from Apple, Microsoft or the Google coprosperity sphere. CutiePi is a complete Raspberry Pi in a tablet form factor, minus the trouble of connecting monitor or power supply. It’s slimmer because of using Compute Module, […]
I am addicted to Thinkpads in large part because of the trackpoint (AKA "The Nipple") -- the little wiggly joystickbetween the G, H and B keys that allows me to control fine mouse-movements without bending my hand into the RSI-inducing trackpad position; between that and the amazing, best-in-class warranties, I am a committed Thinkpad user, […]
You can buy microcontrollers for as little as 3 cents, if you order a lot of them, a staggeringly cheap number even if you’re so young you don’t know a Zilog Z80 was $10 in 1978 money. But are these cheapo parts any good? Hackaday says they’re terrible, but Tim finds a role. [it] surely […]
It’s a great time to be a maker. 3D printers are on store shelves for anyone to buy, and coder kits like Arduino and Raspberry Pi are letting kids as young as 9 or 10 dive into the Internet of Things. Here are a few examples of our favorite tech toys, all priced low enough […]
Want to make a hit? The right software is out there for anyone, but any music producer will tell you that finding the right sound can still take time and talent. Still, the right tools are a great shortcut, which makes this Synth & Sound Pack Bundle absolutely priceless. And now that it’s on sale […]
Let’s face it: People at the gym aren’t bragging about their headphones. If they were that great, they’d be listening to them instead of talking about them. So while we’re sure those new PowerBeats Pro earbuds are something special, why would you shell out $250 for a tiny pair of speakers when comparable ones are […]