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February 21st, 2010

Zomg Babbage

I'm in Mountain View, CA this week for work and for a variety of reasons ended up taking a ridiculously early flight down today. In the end it was probably worth it since I got to finally visit Weird Stuff and the Computer History Museum. Weird Stuff was something of a let-down as it's mostly just full of old PC hardware and while the prices are good, I wanted more... well... weird.

On the way back from that I remembered that the Computer history museum was nearby and since I'd never managed to get in while it was open I thought I'd try again. It was my lucky day. Just as I walked in and caught sight of The Difference Engine a docent was starting a talk about it. It's an awesome machine. That made getting up early worth it.

There was a bunch of other old hardware, but after The Difference Engine it all seemed somehow a let down. Though the Cray 1 was pretty cool, and you could stand inside of that!

Pics here.

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Tools

For a while now I've been wanting a small metal-working lathe for doing some work associated with the MakerBot and RepRap. There are a few parts on those machines that you need a lathe to make. A new-found friend I met through a few connections has a really nice old lathe and was generous enough to turn the parts we needed so I'm no longer in need.

That didn't stop me from keeping an eye on craigslist though. I managed to score a gently used rebranded Sieg 7 x 12 with a bit of tooling. I have since learned that this is the same lathe sold by harbor freight and grizzly as well as a few other companies. They're all made in the same factory and are of surprisingly good quality for the price. One definite upside to all of this is that both replacement parts and upgrades are readily available. Of course this means that I had to go and buy some of them. :)

Here it is in the back of the car:

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