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  1. #31

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first known use of the word "computer" was in 1613 in a book called The Yong Mans Gleanings by English writer Richard Braithwait: "I haue [sic] read the truest computer of Times, and the best Arithmetician that euer [sic] breathed, and he reduceth thy dayes into a short number." This usage of the term referred to a person who carried out calculations or computations. The word continued with the same meaning until the middle of the 20th century. From the end of the 19th century the word began to take on its more familiar meaning, a machine that carries out computation. (Wiki)

    I think it is reasonable to describe a mechanical clock or watch as a mechanical counter - in both cases the operation is to count oscillations (hopefully regular) and by a series of gears, to display the count in the parameters we use to describe time - strictly elapsed time from the point when the count started. So my logic is if you regard a mechanical counter as a computer ....

    John

  2. #32

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: John Matthews)

    Doncha just love semantics?
    Martin Rosen

  3. #33
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyR View Post
    Doncha just love semantics?
    Isn't this discussion about semiotics?
    Tom McIntyre Click me.
    If you don't learn to laugh at trouble,
    you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old.
    Will Rogers

  4. #34
    Registered User gmorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    Hi Martin,

    ... I first wrote programs on punched cards for an IBM 1401 ... and I remember writing program amendments on a hand punch. Oh happy days ...
    I can't go back quite as far, I started on an IBM 360/50, with a whole 512k of magnetic core storage.

    Regards,

    Graham

    "Ut tensio, sic vis" - Robert Hooke

  5. #35

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: gmorse)

    Quote Originally Posted by gmorse View Post
    Hi Martin,



    I can't go back quite as far, I started on an IBM 360/50, with a whole 512k of magnetic core storage.

    Regards,

    Graham
    I started about 6 years ago...

    Robert

  6. #36

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Accutronica)

    I'm a complete Luddite, though my first involvement with computers at school was programming the Winfrith AEA computer using Fortran IV. When we started the business we had an IBM PC and later upgraded to an XT.

    I'd be more at home with Babbage's machine.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: novicetimekeeper)

    Quote Originally Posted by novicetimekeeper View Post
    I'm a complete Luddite, though my first involvement with computers at school was programming the Winfrith AEA computer using Fortran IV. When we started the business we had an IBM PC and later upgraded to an XT.

    I'd be more at home with Babbage's machine.
    I used a computer sometimes just for work stuff, but only started really using a computer and surfing the web 6 years ago.

    Robert

  8. #38
    Registered user. David Mac Farlane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom McIntyre View Post
    I doubt that I will lose the longevity contest. I wrote my first programs using a paper tape punch in 1963. Prior to that I had been entering programs through the console switches. Prior to that it was analog computers and cutting out cardboard curve followers that used an oscilloscope display and a photosensor as a function generator.

    I am now in my 54th year of programming. I am not counting our tour of the Kansas City Pipeline Computer which was literally an analog computer with 2,000 amplifiers that modeled the KC Mo. sewer system (or any other pipeline system). That visit was in 1954 when I was a college freshman.
    Brilliant! I don't mind losing that one - as they say nowadays, 'respect'

  9. #39
    Registered user. David Mac Farlane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Britannicus)

    Quote Originally Posted by Britannicus View Post
    I used to live where the last commercially operated Jaquard loom was still used for Silk manufacture up until just a few years ago. The equipment was identical to that installed 100 years earlier (in fact it was the same equipment if you don' t count the replacements due to woodworm!). They did tours and they are amazing looking things, all strings and wooden slats. It's usually upheld as the first example of programmable hardware, though the purists might not call it a computer as such. Programmable input but no real "compute" as such.

    In terms of mechanical complexity - Jacquard wins hands down on moving parts, but I'd still probably say that for sophistication in an engineering sense, the watch would have my vote - so many important developments, precision work, ultra fine tolerances, continuous development, materials technology, etc. etc.

    As for a watch - probably fits a 19th C definition as to compute. Both marvelous products of the industrial revolution and stimuli for a whole bunch of other technologies. I have an engineering colleague at Rolls-Royce jet engines, who makes a reasonable claim that just about every engineering technology in the 17th and 18th Century emerged from the watchmaker's workshop. I'm not sure I understand how the steam engine fits in there, but there you go :-)
    I think as engineers, we're allowed to be a bit geekish about things like that - I live near Dundee, Scotland, and they have a Jute mill museum, and there are residents old enough to tell a few tales - fascinating stuff.

  10. #40
    Registered user. David Mac Farlane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyR View Post
    I still don't see it, David.

    A watch doesn't process time at all - it comprises a means of "reckoning it" (as does a water clock or an hourglass or a sun dial) but then it simply displays its reckoning by means of a purely mechanical device. Are you claiming that an hourglass is a computer? Or a sun dial?

    I mean, I don't mind if you do want to call an hourglass a computer, but then I would want to argue that a flower is also a computer, and a worm, and of course the sun itself

    I can't remember a norbit, but I only lose to Tom by a couple of years. I first wrote programs on punched cards for an IBM 1401 ... and I remember writing program amendments on a hand punch. Oh happy days
    Brilliant! And on the computer theory, an abacus doesn't do any reckoning of it's own accord, but it's still hailed as one of the early computers - I wonder about Stonehenge being some sort of sophisticated slide rule of the galaxy................

  11. #41
    Registered user. David Mac Farlane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: David Mac Farlane)

    Splendid observations.
    I have long been a subscriber to Model engineer's workshop, and what amazes me is the eloquence of the gentlemen who write there. Having started life in electronics/ software, I always thought, naively enough, that because we could spell better than we did in the dark ages, and this was a young science, that the electrical side of engineering would hold the literary geniuses - obviously not, and I enjoy wordy jokes as well etymological history.
    This forum has been all I expected of you wizards, and as for the chap who has only been into computers, my granddaughter (pictured in avatar) has remarkable abilities with computers, and she has only been 'into' them for 1.5 years or so. She is only six.

  12. #42
    Registered user. Britannicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: David Mac Farlane)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Mac Farlane View Post
    Brilliant! And on the computer theory, an abacus doesn't do any reckoning of it's own accord, but it's still hailed as one of the early computers - I wonder about Stonehenge being some sort of sophisticated slide rule of the galaxy................
    Now don't get me started about the function of Stonehenge ! - Archaeology enthusiast as well :-)

    As for Semantics - I guess it's all depends on how you define Semantics LoL !

  13. #43

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: novicetimekeeper)

    Hi, I agree with this statement,
    an abacus doesn't do any reckoning of its own accord, but it's still hailed as one of the early computers
    An Abacus has variable inputs to get variable results, whereas a Pocket Watch does not have variable inputs and shows the correct time (if you are lucky).

  14. #44
    Registered user. ANDY YALE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: Tom McIntyre)

    I use a journal ruled cash ledger . I write the info in with a fountain pen. It will never crash, or lose data, I can find stuff quickly and it has a nice old timey look that matches the watches better than a computer screen.

  15. #45

    Default Re: Databases - what do you use (By: MartyR)

    Hi Andy, I am stunned, I just looked on the well known auction site and you can still purchase a journal ruled cash ledger. Regards Ray

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