I was amused to read about a restoration project yesterday. The Harwell Dekatron computer is a 1950s computer was built for the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment (where my cousin still works!).
It was designed to perform routine and repetitive calculations – which it did for around 7 years. It then found a home at Wolverhampton University where it was used to teach students. It was renamed WITCH – the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell. The name was not catchy. In 1974 the machine was sent to computer heaven. Until in 2008 it was discovered again – this time in a Museum Collection Centre in Birmingham.
It’s now been restored to its former glory and is on display at the National Museum of Computing. In 1973 Guinness named the Dekatron the Most Durable Computer in the World. That’s not far wrong today!
In case you are wondering – it is about the size of a family 4×4. It weighs the same – but it has the computing power of a 4 function digital calculator!
I blogged about the potential disaster I had with my trusted AppleMac Pro. It managed to get patched up two months ago. But in the last week it was clear that it was not a terribly happy patient.
It has had it’s motherboard and hard drive replaced, but it was becoming unstable and I decided that I couldn’t risk being without it. It has lasted me around 4 years so (in computer terms) it has done well.
So, on the day that Steve Jobs announced his retirement as CEO from Apple, I spent some more hard earned cash with the Company (it didn’t help their share price!) and bought a new iMac 27″ machine. The transfer of data took 11 hours and 3 minutes! This was perhaps mostly my ginormous iTunes library – all 300gb of it (51,000 songs).
It was pretty painless – except that at the moment I can’t print, as MacOS Lion doesn’t like our Canon machine. They don’t speak which is disappointing as they are both new and shiny?
The screen is astonishing – and makes my other 23″ monitor look positively ‘soft’….
I have also got more of my desk back as it is so slim.
My colleagues keep asking me if I fancy going back to the dark side of PC’s. No thanks.
My next resolution is to start listening to my whole iTunes library. I have worked out that if I start this morning and leave it running, we will have played everything by 12th January next year – assuming I leave it on for 24 hours each day…