bjesiek's blog

The Betrayal of the Internet Imaginaire

In a recent blog post, The Betrayel of the Internet Imaginaire, SIGCIS Chair Elect Andy Russell offers a fresh perspective on Snowden, the NSA, and Internet politics. Drawing insight from historical and social studies of technology, he especially focuses on whether the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) might serve as a mechanism for enabling a more open Internet - a highly germane topic given recent revelations about the extent to which our technologies and networks are riddled with backdoors and actively surveilled.

The Book-Writing Machine: What was the first novel ever written on a word processor?

This week in The Slate Book Review, writer Matthew Kirschenbaum tells the story of what was probably the first novel ever written using a word processor - IBM’s MTST (Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter). This brief but insightful article, titled The Book-Writing Machine, gives us a glimpse of the author, the machine, and the novel at the center of this pleasent little slice of late-1960s era computing history. 

25 Years of IBM’s OS/2: The Strange Days and Surprising Afterlife of a Legendary Operating System

IBM OS/2 Logo

Lots of recent coverage about the 25th anniversary of OS/2, including this from Time Techland: "Big Blue's next-generation operating system was supposed to change everything. It didn't. But it's also never quite gone away." I can still vividly remember installing and playing around with OS/2 Warp. Read more:

Starring the Computer

Image from Starring the Computer

"Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry."

May 30 U of M conference explores gender gap in computing professions

The University of Minnesota's Charles Babbage Institute presents an international conference exploring the gender gap in computing on Friday, May 30, at the Charles Babbage Institute, Anderson Library, 222 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required for lunch and/or dinner.

The conference, entitled History | Gender | Computing, features presenters from six countries who will observe that women were active participants in the early days of computer programming, but examine why computing today is one of the most gender-segregated domains of modern life. Complementing the presentations is a scheduled poster session, showcasing additional views and innovative projects, as well as a new exhibit, "Gendered Bits," exploring how gender has shaped the professional identities and material culture of computing.

Charles Babbage Difference Engine #2 -- See it LIVE !!

On May 10, 2008, Join the Computer History Museum in launching its exciting new exhibit: "Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2," exhibited for the first time in North America.

This five-ton Engine is one of only two of Charles Babbage's computing engines ever built. Designed to calculate and print mathematical tables, it is made of 8,000 parts of bronze, cast iron and steel and measures 11 feet long by 7 feet high. Come see docents crank the Engine by hand and watch it mechanically calculate - an arresting spectacle of automatic computing.

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