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May 5, 2024

I've been feeling like rambling, so it's time for a classic ramble. This time we are looking at the origins of books about computers. More specifically, computer books targeted at a general audience. Along the way we stumble into the first public disclosure of digital computers, the first intentionally unimportant...


Apr 21, 2024

This is a hefty one. I usually try to keep things as accessible as possible, but this time we have to get a little more technical than usual. We are picking up in 1964, with the first proposals for a new version of ALGOL. From there we sail through the fraught waters of ALGOL X, Y, W, and finally 68. Along the way we...


Apr 7, 2024

ALGOL is one of those topics that's haunted the show for a while. It comes up any time we talk about programming languages, and with good reason. Many of the features and ideas found in modern languages have their roots in ALGOL. Despite that influence, ALGOL itself remains somewhat obscure. It never reached the highs...


Mar 24, 2024

Originally presented at VCF SoCal in February of 2024.

The cryotron, a superconductive switch, almost revolutionized computing. It's one of those fascinating near misses. In this episode we are talking about the history of the cryotron, how the NSA and supercomputing factors into the mix, and the current state of...


Mar 11, 2024

This is going to be a wild rambling ride. In 1939 a computer called Nimatron was made. It was one of the earliest digital electronic computers in the world. It did one thing: play a game called Nim. Over a decade later, in 1951, another Nim machine hit the scene. This computer called Nimrod, was designed to demonstrate...