The other thing, of course, is in Foundation, Hari Seldon is able to put together his long term plan and actually nudge history in the direction he wants it to go, and so far I’m feeling not like Hari Seldon but like Cassandra. I keep on predicting bad things, no one will believe me, and then…
— Sharon, presumably asking her father about tie-down straps.
James Levi, at 38 hrs old. Born April 3, 29 days early, weighing 7lbs, 5oz. Doing well.
Sorry, true believers (both of you), I have been derelict in my updates. The reasons are trifold:
1. Photo selection and management and on the iphone is not easy.
2. The wireless signal at Fort Worden is not good.
3. We gained after hours access to the shop.
One and two were obstacles, but Number three really killed things in the blog dept.
Class has finished, and I will endeavor to process the backlog. (Steam-bending really produced some great photos)
The genius at the heart of Hickman’s secret proto-answering machine was not so much the concept—perceptive of social change as that was—but rather the technical principle that made it work and that would, eventually transform the world: magnetic recording tape. Recall that before magnetic storage there was no way to store sound other than by pressing a record or making a piano roll. The new technology would not only usher in audiocasettes and videotapes, but when used with the silicon chip, make computer storage a reality. Indeed, from the 1980s onward, firms from Microsoft to Google, and by implication the whole world, would become utterly dependent on magnetic storage, otherwise known as the hard drive.
…”The impressive technical successes of Bell Labs’ scientists and engineers,” writes Mark Clark, were hidden by the upper management of both Bell Labs and AT&T.” AT&T “refused to develop magnetic recording for consumer use and actively discouraged its development and use by others.” Eventually magnetic tape would come to America via imports of foreign technology, mainly German.
But why would company management bury such and important commercially valuable discovery? …AT&T believed that the answering machine, and its magnetic tapes, would lead the public to abandon the telephone.
More precisely, in Bell’s imagination, the very knowledge that it was possible to record a conversation would “greatly restrict the use of the telephone,” with catastrophic consequences for its business. Businessmen, for instance…might fear the potential use of a recorded conversation to undo a written contract…In sum, the very possibility of magnetic recording, it was feared, would “change the whole nature of telephone conversations” and “render the telephone much less satisfactory and useful in the vast majority of cases in which it is employed."
— The Master Switch, by Tim Wu. pgs. 104-106. (via curtisretherford)
I stayed in Port Townsend this weekend. The wife and dog visited.
Ben wedging a through-tenon
“It is a drawing, or rather a simple sketch by the Italian genius Leonardo Da Vinci C.1480 that affords us our first glimpse of what an early treadle wheel lathe looked like. The main elements required for foot propelled continuous rotation is clearly shown for the first time; the flywheel, crank and treadle.”