[svlug] Computer History Museum

Karen Shaeffer shaeffer at neuralscape.com
Sun Jan 27 23:54:01 PST 2008

On Sun, Jan 27, 2008 at 10:31:02PM -0800, Chris Miller wrote:
> 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?


It says admission is free. I can confirm they admitted me without
charge. I guess it wasn't always free. Don't know about that.

For me it was very exciting to see the humble beginnings of computing in
the modern era -- post Von Neumann architecture. I especially enjoyed
following the exhibits that show how system memory and persistent storage
were dealt with in those early days. The first disk drive that IBM
produced requires a fork lift to move it!

And there is a linux angle here. Google donated an actual rack of clustered
Pentium computers that ran in Googles's first data center. I believe they
state it was the first one deployed or something. Those computers were
running _Linux_. The display doesn't mention that, but it should. It is
inevitable the Computer History Museum will one day have exhibits detailing
the history of the Open Source software movement and the emergence of the
Open Source ecosystem. In my opinion, these are milestone events in the
history of computing. And they will one day be fully documented at the CHM.
Let's hope that won't be too long into the future.

 Karen Shaeffer
 Neuralscape, Palo Alto, Ca. 94306
 shaeffer at neuralscape.com  http://www.neuralscape.com

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