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

by JohnGrahamCumming (#41750033) Attached to: Building Babbage's Analytical Engine

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.

Canada

Journal: My new career path. 24

Journal by tomhudson

More here.

As a bonus , I'll probably soon reveal the unbelievable story of how I acquired my legal knowledge - by doing something nobody else ever has, and which, until now, would be considered pretty much impossible.

I'd rather not, because there is some danger involved, but it's necessary to achieve my goals in an open and transperent fashion.

Advice and help sought and welcome.

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

by JohnGrahamCumming (#39839421) Attached to: The Greatest Machine Never Built

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.

Open Source

Journal: Yet another open source failure 14

Journal by tomhudson

Trying to print an envelope address in openoffice under linux? What a waste of time.

Do the people who code this sh*t actually ever use it? Or do they never use anything else, so they simply don't know that it's possible to do better?

The Internet

Journal: Every browser is *still* broken. 17

Journal by tomhudson

After 15 years, we still don't have an un-b0rked browser. CSS 2.1 was done in 1997, and yet firefox, opera, chrome, arora - they all render differently for non-trivial layouts.

15 years, and they still can't get the basics right. It means that the problem is not the implementation, but the underlying concepts that are flawed in fundamental ways.

And there's no blaming Microsoft or Apple for this fiasco.

Comment: Re:I vote troll. (Score 1) 203

by tomhudson (#39617957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Viable Open Source Models For Early Startups?

In reality, if you have software which cannot make you money directly, it's a very good candidate for making open-source

... because the world really really needs yet another bloated "massive framework" that will take more time to bang into shape^W^W^Wcustomize than doing it from scratch ...

The "I'll give the code away and make money off support" model rarely works.

Programming

Journal: NoSQL+ sprintf() == better. 7

Journal by tomhudson

Old technology doesn't die - it get re-implemented when newer ways get too bloated and turn everything it touches into Beavis and Butthead.

In the dying days of the last century (awk! - how time flies) I used to do web cgi using c, same as a lot of people. Used malloc and sprintfs() to insert variables into a "template" and then printf()s to output. It was easy to track memory allocation for such cases, so the whole "OMG you'll leak memory" issue was a non-starter.

Operating Systems

Journal: Bad news for Windows and Linux 9

Journal by tomhudson

Remember how Apple captured a generation of users by concentrating on getting their computers into schools? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

One trend that I haven't heard a peep about is how mothers and grandmothers are using their iPhones and iPads to play with their kids. I'm not talking grade-school children, but babies under a year old. I have yet to see a parent do this (play with their baby) with a non-iOS device.

User Journal

Journal: I guess I'm PMSing a bit ... 6

Journal by tomhudson

... or that I'm fed up that I went to check my email after spending most of the day away from the computer, and I get yet another SEO con artist from India sending more spam offering their crappy services - stuff anyone who can throw together a few meta tags and a sitemap.xml file can duplicate.

So corporatesales@web-seo-proposals.in got the following reply:

Medicine

Journal: Good news, bad news ... 7

Journal by tomhudson

The good news - doctors visit yesterday, and got the results from my latest labs. It turns out that going off that evil blood pressure medication was a smart move - my bp is lower now than when I was on it. He asked what I was doing, and I told him that every once in a while I would stop and remember to just "clear my head and RELAX!!! NOW!!!! DAMMI!!! :-)"

If you do something right once, someone will ask you to do it again.

Working...