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Interesting read - Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era
01-14-2018, 02:55 PM
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RE: Interesting read - Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era
(01-14-2018 01:26 PM)Ed Wright Wrote:  … a very interesting book … "Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era" … by Springer. … includes a lot of historical information on slide rules, but also the introduction of electronic calculators, most notably the HP-35 …
from pgs. v & vi in the Preface
The arguments of the book are then developed around retrieving and interpreting a series of representative comparisons. Central here are comparisons involving the slide rule, an artifact with a uniquely rich history throughout the mechanical and the electrical eras. The book introduces it in two chapters, which offer an overview of the history of the use of the slide rule (Chap. 2) and details of its use in the context of electrification (Chap. 3). With the addition of a chapter that includes artifacts that represented the highest and the lowest ratio of machine to human computing capital, like the analyzers (Chap. 4) and the graphs (Chap. 5), respectively, the comparisons of the book open up to the whole range of computing artifacts—tools, instruments, mechanisms, machines—that have been historiographically devaluated through their a posteriori placement under the allegedly inferior class of analog computers.
The book includes a chapter that focuses on comparisons undertaken from the other side, that of promoters of the class of the calculating artifacts—calculating and tabulating machines—that were a posteriori designated as preelectronic ancestors of the digital electronic computer (Chap. 6). By this chapter, all the elements are in place in order to retrieve the key role of the concealment of the laboring with the analog part of computing machines through its encasement (blackboxing), which left on display only a view of the machine as digital (numbers). It follows that this is not a book about preelectronic analog or digital computers but about the how and why the two emerged as technically different in the electronic era—the one with the concealed analogy, representing, supposedly, an evolution from an inferior to a superior class of computers.

The reference to HP-35 calculator is found in 2.9 "Unfair to Compare" pages 30 thru 35. It is an interesting read!

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RE: Interesting read - Calculation and Computation in the Pre-electronic Era - SlideRule - 01-14-2018 02:55 PM

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