Next month Don Williams and I will be presenting a short course, Introduction to Color Management for Cultural Image Capture. This is part of a full short-course programme of the IS&T Archiving Conference in Lisbon.
Below is a (5 min) video about things we will be discussing. For those who do not have that much time a shorter (1.5 min) version is available here
On this day in 1822, Charles Babbage proposed a ‘Difference Machine’ in a lecture to the Royal Astronomical Society of London, ‘Note on the Application of Machinery to the Computation of Astronomical and Mathematical Tables’*
His difference engine is a mechanical calculator that evaluates polynomial functions. The name comes from the method of divided differences, a way to interpolate functions by using a small set of polynomial coefficients. Most mathematical functions commonly used by engineers, scientists and navigators, can be approximated by polynomials. A difference engine can, therefore, compute many useful tables of numbers. Babbage is credited with the concept of a digital, programmable computer.
The errors which arise from the absence of facts are far more numerous and more durable than those which result from unsound reasoning respecting true data**.
*This is the title from the Memoirs, or as we would say today Proceeding, of the Royal Astronomical Society. Later Babbage published the abstract of his talk in a book and used the title, ‘A Note Respecting the Application of Machinery to the Calculation of Astronomical Tables’.
**C. Babbage, ‘Of Price as Measured by Money’, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1st ed., 1832), chap. 17, 112.
When I was at the Electronic Imaging Conference in San Francisco in February there was a man with a parrot attending. He walked around with it and brought a cage to the conference rooms when he was attending. On the last day of the conference, I was near the back of a room where a speaker was being introduced. The parrot said ‘Hello!’ and it resonated. Everyone turned around for a second then the session continued.
Leaving the room later, I passed the parrot in his cage (he had been taken there by his owner). I talked to the parrot to see if I could record it, but no luck. I just got a squawk.
Later I imagined a BBC radio story, The Parrot at the Conference (audio).