[svlug] Computer History Museum

Chris Miller lordsauronthegreat at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 22:31:02 PST 2008

On Jan 27, 2008 12:43 AM, Karen Shaeffer <shaeffer at neuralscape.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 27, 2008 at 12:11:46AM -0800, Paul Cubbage wrote:
> > Every other Saturday, the PDP-1 Restoration Project opens to the public.
> > Amongst other things, they run the first version of Space Wars (and some
> > visitors get to play it) and some very good computer music.  Both programs
> > were developed by office mates at MIT.  Often the music guy  himself is
> > speaking.
> >
> > You can take all the (personal use) photos you want but don't touch the
> > hardware.  There is an  original Apple I signed by Woz and lots of iron.
> Hi Paul,
> Yes. In fact, my friend, Lyle Bickley, who I believe is lurking on this
> list, and who is a member of the PDP-1 Restoration Team, met me at the
> CHM today, and gave me a private tour of the Museum. Wow!
> And, the music guy, hmmm, I believe his name is Mike, was there today
> giving a scheduled tour of the museum at the same time Lyle and I
> were there. And Mike (hopefully I got that right) and Lyle fired up
> the PDP-1 and gave us all an unscheduled demonstration of the PDP-1
> in operation. (smiles ;) And, yes, the Star Wars game is awesome. The
> music synthesis was impressive as well. The story behind the music
> program is fun and interesting too. Mike originally wrote that
> music synthesis program 40 years ago on a PDP-1 at MIT. That specific
> instance of the restored PDP-1 at the CHM was manufactured in 1963. It
> was the first interactive computer.
> I liked the Apple I as well. Impressive. I also very much enjoyed
> seeing the first disk drive, which was designed and built at IBM
> in San Jose I believe. That isn't on display, but I saw it in
> the restoration lab.
> The CHM is a vibrant institution. I highly recommend it to all.
> FYI, the Computer History Museum is free and open to the public.

Sweet!  Last time I was there I think they were still charging
admission.  Well worth the money.  Very cool for one young as I to see
that which went before.  Heck, I was stuck in memory lane most of last
night after finding the MacTracker utility.  Just the sound of that
little Apple LC III threw me back so many years...

A humorous little anecdote, a lot of game programming guys think it's
awesome that I've seen *the* first object to be rendered in a 3D
graphics renderer.  I mean that funky pink teapot I think was towards
the west side of their main gallery, assuming they're still at the old
SGI building.  A lot of people don't think it's all that special, but
that little teapot started a total revolution in the way computers
interface with people.  The whole 3D phenomenon has taken decades to
realize its full potential.  Even now we can't even begin to imagine
its possibilities.  Xgl, anyone?

If you guys organize a trip there, man, you might even drag me out of
my cave here all the way up in Pleasanton.  Seems more like Redding
given the nasty traffic to get down just to Fremont even.


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