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Comment Re:It's not hard to do, just moderately expensive (Score 5, Informative) 56

You are quite correct that we have not built a single demo part. In the two years since I started talking about this project the following has happened:

1. Persuaded the Science Museum to digitize all of Babbage's plans and notebooks (this in itself was a non-trivial task involving a great deal of effort at all levels and they should be thanked for taking on the task).
2. Got the leading Babbage experts to join and work with me (Doron Swade who built the Difference Engine No. 2 and Tim Robinson)
3. Started a UK-based charity (again these things take time as there are legal requirements and the recruitment of a board of trustees)
4. Started research on the Babbage archive itself
5. Begun fund-raising.

No. 4 is non-trivial because there are literally thousands of pages of notes and > 230 large scale plans to decipher. Plus there's a hardware description language to work with. And the archive is not well documented. There are a number of different cross references that conflict with each other. I realize that all this stuff is boring and people would like to see an immediate result, but that's not going to happen. It's years of work to properly study this stuff and build a historically accurate machine.

Note that we have not proposed building the 1,000 memory location machine. That's far too much to demonstrate that it would work and would add to the cost and size. As for the number of parts, until we've deciphered all the plans and come up with a definitive plan that it's hard to answer but we believe there will be roughly 40,000 to 50,000 components to be made.

Comment Re:Great idea, probably not happening (Score 5, Informative) 132

You are correct that I care about the PR side of things. I need to because I need to raise a substantial amount of money.

But it's far from all PR. There's now a registered British charity with a board of trustees and the pre-eminent Babbage expert, Doron Swade, who built the Difference Engine No. 2 at the Science Museum is running the technical side of the project.

Study of the digitized plans has been underway since February and some first results will be announced this summer. We actively want to build a 3D working model in a tool like Autodesk.

Math

Submission + - The Equationater->

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "I had an itch that needed scratching... I needed to render equations on the web and I didn't want to rely on something like MathML because of poor browser coverage. So, I created The Equationater. Type in an equation in LaTeX format and it is instantly turned into a PNG file that you can download or link to."
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Graphics

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JohnGrahamCumming writes: "Photoshop's clone tool provides a powerful way of covering up areas of an image. Uncovering those touched up areas can be done automatically using a recently published algorithm. This blog post describes the algorithm, with examples, and provides GPL licensed source code to image forgery detection."
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Security

Submission + - Cryptographically hiding TCP ports->

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "The shimmer project implements a cryptographically-based system for hiding important (e.g. SSH) open ports in plain sight. By automatically forwarding from a range of ports all but one of which are honeypots and by changing the ports every minute only a user knowing a shared secret can determine the location of the real SSH server."
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Software

Submission + - 'Wildfire' brings social news to Facebook

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "My newly released Wildfire application brings social news to Facebook by exploiting Facebook's social graph. Instead of "digging" stories, or "voting up/down", stories gain credibility only if you deem them worthy of being passed onto your friends. Wildfire offers users three views of the news: the news you and your friends deem interesting, the news that the great unwashed deem interesting and a random view. Randomness means that the Wisdom of Crowds is harnessed without succumbing to mob rule. And RSS integration means you can automatically bring your feeds to Facebook and pass on a subset of the stories. Personally, I started with the Slashdot feed."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - The Long Tail of Facebook Applications

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "1,225 Facebook applications. 73,109,074 installed in profiles. Hence, the average application has 59,700 users. The problem with the average is that it hides a savage reality of Facebook applications: some have many users, most have almost none. 86% of applications on Facebook have less than 10,000 users, with 62% having less than 1,000."
Spam

Submission + - Generating a CAPTCHA of your email address->

JohnGrahamCumming writes: "Web crawlers that search for email addresses on web sites are a big problem. My simple and free email image generator service generates a randomized image containing your email adddress. Simply copy and paste the relevant HTML to your web site to get a human-readable image that contains your email address but hides it from web crawlers."
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