Movie Night at the Museum

Computer History Museum

I know I promised more on the cloud; that will come later. Right now I want to plug another excellent resource for the history of computing, the Computer History Museum (CHM)'s YouTube channel.

Frictions in the Cloud

Cloud Computing

In light of the recent failures of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud service, Paul Ceruzzi has pointed out the very grounded reality of the cloud. It all comes down to real data centers in real physical locations that can suffer from real failures.

N-Grams and the History of Computing, Part 2

Leave it to Beaver

I was fiddling around some more with n-grams, and I came across a surprising result. So surprising, in fact, that I am deeply suspicious of it. As you can see from the graph, I searched for "radio," "television," "computer" from 1920 to 2000. The oddity is the powerful surge of "computer" in the 1950s and 60s. If n-grams are supposed to be a tool for the quantitative study of culture, surely there is something badly off here.

N-Grams and the History of Computing

Google NGram Search

As I'm sure most of you know, late least year Google announced a new research tool known as the Ngram Viewer. (An n-gram is any sequence of items--in this case words--of length n; so a 2-gram would be any word pair). The tool was released in conjunction with the publication of a paper in Science that made use of it to explore the history of culture.

Paul Baran's Passing

Baran's Networks

Polish-born engineerPaul Baran died this week in Palo Alto, at age 84. [Aside: the number of important figures in the history of computing who were born to Jewish families in Eastern Europe before World War II and later emigrated to the U.S. is quite astounding; computing must rival physics in this regard.] He is best known as one of the originators of communications based on "message blocks" (a.k.a packets), while working at RAND Corporation in the early 1960s.

The Latest Synthesis

Johnny Ryan's A History of the Internet and the Digital Future

Ars Technica has posted the last of three articles adapted from Johnny Ryan's recent book, A History of the Internet and the Digital Future (Here are the first and

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