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Found Footage: Understanding technology's past

When I think about a computer, I usually don't think about a 5-ton assembly of brass gears, cams, and steel rods. Yet in 1847 - 1849, Charles Babbage first created his design for the Difference Engine No. 2, a large mechanical computer that used these non-electronic components.

Nathan Myrhvold, former Chief Technical Officer of Microsoft, commissioned the building of a Difference Engine No. 2 based on Babbage's design. It's on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, and will soon grace the living room of Myrhvold's home.

What does this have to do with Apple? In this MarketWatch video, it's mentioned that Babbage had problems getting funding for a device that was considered to be ahead of its time. It kind of reminds me of Apple's Newton MessagePad. It was the progenitor of all PDAs and smartphones, but failed in the marketplace because of its price and the fact that few people understood what it was good for.

The video also highlights Daniel Janisch, PowerBook Guy, who upgrades and sells antique PowerBooks (8-year old "Pismo" PowerBooks, for example). You can run Tiger on the Pismos, but they're often abandoned for the new kids on the block.

Thanks to Jomo for the link!

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