16 November 2009


IEEE Spectrum posts a short article and lovely slideshow documenting the restoration of IBM 1401 mainframe by volunteers at the Computer History Museum.
In the 1401's heyday, in the 1960s, some 9300 units were in use. Together with 6000-odd units of various successor models, by 1967 the 1400 line accounted for half of all the computers in the world.

The 1401 was a decimal arithmetic machine, designed expressly for business applications. It preceded the unifying System/360 line (all apps, commercial and scientific) by about five years.

04 November 2009

Someday, maybe

Mark Pilgrim reminds us that less than seventeen years ago, the web's forefathers were trying to figure out how to incorporate images into HTML. He carefully extracts from and annotates the relevant threads, explaining acronyms that even I don't remember.

This proposal was never implemented, although the idea of text-if-an-image-is-missing is an important accessibility technique which was missing from Marc [Andreesen]’s initial proposal. Many years later, this feature was bolted on as the attribute, which Netscape promptly broke by erroneously treating it as a tooltip.

(Via kottke.org.)