Tag Archives: telephones

Gleick: The Information

I just finished The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood (2011), by historian author James Gleick. This past summer I read his book, Time Travel (2016), which was about time travel in fiction and in our hearts. [see Passing Time (My bad; it should have been titled Gleick: Time Travel, but I can never resist a pun.)]

If you read my post about the time travel book, you know I didn’t care for it, although I place the blame on my expectations, not the book. I do find Gleick, as I said then, “ambling, rambling, and meandering,” but I’m sure many greatly enjoy his excursions. I ended that review mentioning I’d like to read another book of his (a trend takes two data points).

The Information is that book, and I did like it more than Time Travel.

Continue reading


Sideband #61: Tock

relaysYou’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, right? The tick to finally tock? (My clock is — as usual — running a bit behind; this should be #62, but that’s another story.) Today’s tale involves electro-mechanical logic! Computing with relays rather than solid-state gates.

Rather than the tick-tock of a mechanical clock, the tock-tick of lots and lots of relays! Aisle after aisle of racks of relays, many thousands of them all clicking away like chattering insects. That’s what is (or was) inside some of those windowless buildings found in every neighborhood with local phone service.

However, today the focus is quite a bit smaller…

Continue reading


Elephant Story

elephantYou may remember that early this year I said you should be thinking about elephants. I hope you have all been working on your assignments, because there are some important metaphorical discussions ahead concerning elephants.

And some jokes. Do you know why elephants are wrinkled? Because they’re very difficult to iron. And whatever do you do with an elephant with three balls?  Walk him and pitch to the giraffe. [bah-rump-bump] (One pity about blogging… A line that bad really demands a rimshot, or other funny sound effect, for proper punctuation.)

Here’s another little gem from my collection. Just love a good punch line!

Continue reading