[squeak-dev] The Old Man
karl.ramberg at comhem.se
Sun Mar 30 22:49:24 UTC 2008
Marcus Denker wrote:
> "One of the sad memories of my life is a visit to the celebrated
> mathematician and inventor, Mr Babbage. He was far advanced in age,
> but his mind was still as vigorous as ever. He took me through his
> work-rooms. In the first room I saw parts of the original Calculating
> Machine, which had been shown in an incomplete state many years before
> and had even been put to some use. I asked him about its present form.
> 'I have not finished it because in working at it I came on the idea of
> my Analytical Machine, which would do all that it was capable of doing
> and much more. Indeed, the idea was so much simpler that it would have
> taken more work to complete the Calculating Machine than to design and
> construct the other in its entirety, so I turned my attention to the
> Analytical Machine.'"
> "After a few minutes' talk, we went into the next work-room, where he
> showed and explained to me the working of the elements of the
> Analytical Machine. I asked if I could see it. 'I have never completed
> it,' he said, 'because I hit upon an idea of doing the same thing by a
> different and far more effective method, and this rendered it useless
> to proceed on the old lines.' Then we went into the third room. There
> lay scattered bits of mechanism, but I saw no trace of any working
> machine. Very cautiously I approached the subject, and received the
> dreaded answer, 'It is not constructed yet, but I am working on it,
> and it will take less time to construct it altogether than it would
> have token to complete the Analytical Machine from the stage in which
> I left it.' I took leave of the old man with a heavy heart."
> -- Lord Moulton
> Marcus Denker -- denker at iam.unibe.ch
Made me think of the story of John Harrison, but he succeeded...
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