Once upon a time, torchships would have had a computer rather similar to this one, probably filling the deck below the astrogation deck, and capable of performing thousands of arithmetic operations per second!
Once upon a time, you would have found that performance level awesome. This particular machine is an IBM 701, vintage 1952. The company's first commercial scientific computer, it was known while under development as the 'Defense Calculator.'
Big Blue, of course, is still very much with us, their latest claim to pop culture fame being winning on Jeopardy! (In spite of an embarrassing slip about what country Toronto is in.)
It is also now, indirectly, underwriting Rocketpunk Manifesto. I recently started a work gig writing blog-style tech industry commentary for a forum that IBM sponsors, IBM Infoboom. They partnered with an outfit called Skyword, which in turn has partnered with me.
I have argued here that capitalism is unlikely to bring on the Grand Space Future. But it is capable of supporting some useful space activities, including putting food on our dinner table, which in turn helps keep me blogging. Remarkable how those things work out.
While I have no intention of turning RM into a commercial hustle (fat chance it would pay!), I'm not the least abashed about encouraging you to drop a little free click love on my articles at IBM Infoboom. My work there is aimed primarily at IT managers for small to midsized firms - which probably describes at least some of you. And chances are that if you're geeky enough to be reading this blog, you're geeky enough to have some interest in the tech industry and its trends.
So without further ado, here are links to my first three pieces for IBM Infoboom: (Registration is free, and I'm not even sure you have to register just to read stuff.) Drop by, and feel free to comment!
Amazon's Cloud Crash: Now Come the Reactions
Another Storm Hits the Cloud: Security Breach at Sony
Green Information Technology: Saving Money, Ensuring IT Reliability
As a byproduct of this gig, I'll so be (finally!) setting up an active presence on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any insights, drop them into the comment thread for this post.
The image, from a computer museum website, shows Thomas Watson (Sr) at the desktop console of an IBM 701. Apparently it is only urban legend that he predicted a global market for five such machines; IBM sold about 19 of this model during 1952-55.