July 16th, 2008

Stanford Bookstore

It's weird how campus bookstores never carry printed copies of their school's law review: this was also the case at Yale and Harvard.

It should be a point of pride, I think :)
Stanford Bookstore

View of quad from Hoover Tower

Apparently this is the same tower which houses the Hoover Library, and provides office space for visiting Hoover fellows. As these have included Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, this tower has become a frequent focus of campus protests.
View of quad from Hoover Tower

At the Computer History Museum

It's in Mountain View (i.e. right next to Palo Alto / Stanford) and is the most comprehensive museum of its kind.

Google doesn't offer tours, so if you want a taste of Silicon Valley I think this is the next-best thing.
At the Computer History Museum

IBM Model 1311 Disk Drive

Similar to that which the company my dad managed used when they switched from typewriters to computers.

I guess I'm part of the last generation to have even a vague memory of this fundamental transition in how business is done.
IBM Model 1311 Disk Drive

Heh

I remember playing with one of these as a child :)
Heh

Possibly the world's worst product

Neiman Marcus featured this item in its 1969 catalog, selling them for for $10,600 each. They called it a "Kitchen Computer," and the idea was that housewives would keep it in the kitchen for storing and retrieving recipes. One problem was the input was only via binary coding into its underlying Honeywell 316 minicomputer (in other words there wasn't a keyboard in the ordinary sense - you instead pressed the numbered address switches and register buttons shown above). The other problem was that the advertising tagline was pretty bad even for the time: "If she can only cook as well as Honeywell can compute."

Neiman Marcus failed to sell even one of these.
Possibly the world's worst product

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

This plaque soft-pedals it a bit: apparently the widow Winchester lost her mind, and had random work done on the house continually, expanding it in a bizarre and never-ending fashion, until her death.

I've wanted to see this thing ever since I heard about it many years ago.
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

Hey look...

I just scored "Burning" on the historic "Love Tester" machine (they had one of these in the Pietro's Pizzaria my family sometimes went to when I was young).

I suppose that's reasonable.
Hey look...

And so the insanity begins...

Here's a staircase which leads right into a ceiling.

The building has 160 rooms, and from the air it looks like a bizarre mall the size of many city blocks.

The widow Winchester was also obsessed with spiderwebs and the number 13.
And so the insanity begins...