Profile

Cover photo
Matt Madison
71 followers|147,432 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos+1's

Stream

Matt Madison

Photos, Images  - 
 
Some nice pictures of the exhibition being put on by the New York Historical Society.
When you think of the history of computers, it's easy to mentally jump right into the garages and basements of Silicon Valley, or even the Silicon Prairie of Texas that is so moodily depicted in H...
10
1
Peter Walker's profile photoEd S's profile photoGuille Farfan's profile photoaurobind enugala's profile photo
4 comments
 
I'm late on this but it is the IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC). I posted about this unique machine before here in the CHC when I was touching the Columbia University computer history online collection of documents (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/ssec.html)
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Documents,Books,Essays,Articles,Blogs,Wikis  - 
 
An interesting article on popularization of computing history, with some not-so-kind words for Walter Isaacson's The Innovators.
6
2
Mark Miller's profile photoDavid Anders (prpplague)'s profile photoCarlisle G Childress's profile photo
 
While I have been a student of computer history, Jean Sammett's contribution with Cobol completely slipped by me. Going back to my teen years in the 1980s, I had always heard that Hopper was the driving force behind Cobol, though later articles more accurately attributed Cobol's predecessor, Flow-Matic, to Hopper. It was also informative to hear how women were involved in constructing the hardware of ENIAC. This was the first I'd heard mention of that. The stories I'd read elsewhere had implied that "the men constructed the hardware," and stated that, "The women did the programming." I can see the author's point that we should not diminish their roles as operators of ENIAC, but the way I've always seen it expressed is that "operating" and "programming" with it were meshed together. As the article says, part of programming it was really to rewire it. What often doesn't get mentioned is the role that punch cards played in the programming. In any case, it was impossible to separate the roles with the way it was designed.
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Home Computers  - 
12
1
Sergey Kiselev's profile photoLaura Ess's profile photoAlex Pring's profile photoPaul Bennett's profile photo
6 comments
 
I have over 85GB of spectrum nostalgia all accessible with Spectaculator and other emulators. If this new keyboard from Elite systems let's you use it with other emulators on PC and Tablet/phone, then I can see a use for it. In the meantime websites like worldofspectrum.org are my first port of call for anything nostalgic with regards to the speccy.
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Documents,Books,Essays,Articles,Blogs,Wikis  - 
 
Many, many links on this page to Internet resources of all kinds related to computer history.

(via DragonFly BSD Digest)
2
Ed S's profile photoMatt Madison's profile photo
2 comments
 
I just finished watching that video, along with a few others I found on that page.
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Documents,Books,Essays,Articles,Blogs,Wikis  - 
 
A bit of a look back, as well as forward, in this CW article.
Forty years after Intel's iconic 8080 chip launched the personal computing revolution, we spoke to early processor designers and other industry experts to find out what the next 40 years of computing will bring.
6
1
Ed S's profile photoDavid Anders (prpplague)'s profile photo
Ed S
+
2
3
2
 
Led me to this comment: "8080 ... Let me tell you, that processor is an effing dog. The available addressing modes are the bare minimum so that to do anything non-trivial, you have to burn registers in a bad way. 6502 is just as bad (although I could never stay mad at it)."
And that's the important thing - love your 6502, you won't get another.
(http://www.metafilter.com/130871/Simulating-a-TI-calculator-with-crazy-11-bit-opcodes#5136021 - a discussion well worth reading)
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Books about old computers  - 
 
The Innovators: How a group of hackers, geniuses, and geeks created the digital revolution.  Walter Isaacson.  Simon & Schuster, 2014. 542pp.

While I wouldn't consider this a computer history book per se, this history of the "digital revolution" naturally involves the development of computers (in particular, personal computers) and the Internet, so it covers quite a few topics that folks here would find interesting.  Aimed at a general audience (particularly business people), I found it well-written, with technical concepts explained reasonably well even for the layperson.

The book begins with a chapter on Ada Lovelace, and her work with Babbage, then moves quickly on to the development of the first electronic computers, early developments in computer programming, transistors and ICs, video games, ARPANET, PCs, the shift from hardware to software as a dominant market force, and the shift from standalone computing to going "on-line" and the rise of the modern-day Internet.  The final chapter summarizes the main themes of the book:
- computers augment human intelligence, rather than replacing it
- creativity and innovation are collaborative, rather than inventions of lone genius
- successful innovation requires a mix of people with vision with people who can execute on visionaries' ideas
- success also requires a mix of analytical thinking with creativity - Ada's "poetical science"

I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the latter chapters; Isaacson used up-to-date histories for sources, and includes information on developments outside the U.S.  Later chapters are very U.S.-centric (indeed, very Silicon Valley-centric), and perhaps it's just my bias against hero-worship, but I found the coverage of the more recent industry luminaries (Gates/Allen, Page/Brin, etc.) a bit too gushing.

Computer historians might balk at Isaacson's conclusions on "who invented the computer" at the end of chapter 2, but I thought he treated the question fairly and provided reasonable arguments.

I liked the logical progression of the chapters, which are generally chronological but cover different aspects of the industry.  It's perhaps a bit too neat for total accuracy, but it flowed well.

So overall, a mixed bag, but worth checking out.
5
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
71 people
MingHong ly's profile photo
owan mixage's profile photo
Sandra Wheeler's profile photo
Don Denesiuk's profile photo
Dave Gray's profile photo
Granite State Skeptics's profile photo
Austin Luton's profile photo
Naomi Baker's profile photo
Dan Baker's profile photo

Matt Madison

Curiosities  - 
 
Those were the days.
A legacy from a dead computing platform, the Guru Meditation lives on.
17
Darren Schebek's profile photoChris McClelland's profile photo
3 comments
 
Duh. Note to self: read the article before commenting.
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Movies,Videos,Presentations  - 
 
I just finished listening to this brief BBC Radio4 series that aired last month.  It's about computer languages, with episodes on FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, Java, and finishing with coverage of today's Tower of Babel variety of languages.  Being for a general audience, it's not particularly technical, but the episodes are only about 15 minutes each and easy to listen to.

Also available in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/codes-that-changed-the-world/id984502014?mt=2
Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages that have been used to talk to machines.
8
2
Wolfgang Stief (stiefkind)'s profile photoKen Harbit's profile photo
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Curiosities  - 
 
Some retro emulation...
Emulating older computers on modern, much faster systems, is very common nowadays – but how about emulating the Intel 8080 (1974) on a MOS 6502 system like the KIM-1 (1975)? The "8080 Simulator for...
18
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Shared publicly  - 
 
In-depth story of the invention of modern home video game systems.
How a forgotten company's 1970s technical breakthrough launched a billion-dollar business and helped spawn a new creative medium.
10
2
Seth Story's profile photoKam-Yung Soh's profile photoTodd Sanchez's profile photo
 
I read this a couple weeks ago on Twitter. It was pretty cool
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Shared publicly  - 
 
Ah, the dangers of headline writing...
1
Add a comment...

Matt Madison

Shared publicly  - 
 
This looks like fun...
We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new "hollywood" package made for this exact purpose.
1
2
duane attaway's profile photoBrian Mills's profile photo
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
71 people
MingHong ly's profile photo
owan mixage's profile photo
Sandra Wheeler's profile photo
Don Denesiuk's profile photo
Dave Gray's profile photo
Granite State Skeptics's profile photo
Austin Luton's profile photo
Naomi Baker's profile photo
Dan Baker's profile photo
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Introduction
Software geek
Work
Occupation
Software developer
Skills
Systems programming, build systems, release engineering, software tools
Matt Madison's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Conference of Curiosity
chicagoweekly.net

Gladii and nuclear codes and magic oh my. A Conference of Curiosity in the South Loop's Glessner House.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
timesdispatch.com

If progress is defined as making the same mistake less often, or making new mistakes of a higher caliber, then by that one narrow measure th

My bad – on accountability in science journalism | Not Exactly Rocket Sc...
blogs.discovermagazine.com

Uncategorized | There are many reasons why errors creep into science journalism, beyond what the journalist happens to write. Scientists can

Why You Can't Have A Tacocopter Drone Deliver You A Taco For Lunch Today...
www.techdirt.com

We've talked a bit about some more intriguing uses of drone technology lately, including personal individual surveillance as well as for bui

Wacko of the Week is no more | Skeptoid
skeptoid.com

Wacko of the Week is no more. Posted on December 6, 2011 by Brian Dunning. Subscribers to the Skeptoid email newsletter are going to notice

Patent Trolls or Tech Fairy Godmothers?
reason.com

Software patent lawsuits reveal their true natures

The Great Apple Screw Hoax
mikemchargue.com

I've been watching a hoax spread across the Internet. It's about a screw.​ The authors of this hoax have come clean and shared their finding

Richmond Times-Dispatch
timesdispatch.com

You can't swing a dead cat by the tail these days without hitting a liberal who thinks conservatives don't believe in science. The liberals

More on the intersection of rhetoric and skeptical activism (the first i...
mirandaceleste.net

TAM is less than three weeks away. Yay! I’m going to be on the Skepticism and the Humanities panel, and I’m very excited about that. To prep

Are Facts Dead? | Talking Philosophy
blog.talkingphilosophy.com

Ideology Icon. Misrepresenting facts and actually lying have long been a part of politics. However, it has been claimed that this is the yea

Mission Drift, Conflation, and Food For Thought – ICBS Everywhere
icbseverywhere.com

The intersection of these two strikes me as important. That post addressed a specific comment in a much longer piece by Ashley Miller, a com

What “Matters” – ICBS Everywhere
icbseverywhere.com

I am doing some more 'navel gazing', but in a very real sense, it is of a skeptical nature. Given the name of this blog space, it sh

And the Winning T-Shirt Design Is… | Skeptoid
skeptoid.com

The judging committee has met, thrown back an Irish beer or three, and torn through a pile of more than 50 contest entries. In going through

“No one has the right to a world in which he is never despised."
reason.com

The New York Times reports a demonstration in Moscow in which Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned... ...liberal ideolog

Hollywood Hackers Vs. Reality | Techdirt
www.techdirt.com

Perhaps no single "demographic" is more misunderstood (and feared -- especially post-SOPA debacle) by Hollywood than "The Hacker." In the ha

Psychic Prediction: Rush Limbaugh’s Advertisers Will Be Back | Skeptoid
skeptoid.com

I just want to get this psychic prediction on record, so James Randi can award me the million dollars. In the wake of yet another outpouring

One nation under gods
www.economist.com

WHEN he was campaigning to become president in 1960, John Kennedy made a famous speech in Houston calling for the absol

Culture Warriors Resort to Propaganda
reason.com

Since the first casualty in war is the truth, it is no surprise to see a great deal of deceit in the culture clash over abortion and contrac

A Magical Journey through the Land of Reasoning Errors
skeptoid.com

Four common types of analytical errors in reasoning that we all need to beware of.