Saturday Scenes

Thu 17 May 2012

I can’t do that, Dave

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 18:48

On the 12th of May in 1941, Konrad Zuse presented the Z3 machine in Berlin. His Z1 machine was a mechanical computer without using gears; the program was stored on punched tape. It was able to do basic arithmetic and was probably the first floating-point machine in the world but only worked for a few minutes at a time. The Z2 was a desktop concept for the Z3. The Z3 was an electromechanical relay machine, similar to the Z1 but using different technology. It was the world’s first programmable, fully automatic computing machine.

Computer Resurrection Issue 37: The Zuse Computers

It was about 2 meters by 2 meters, and was built inside the apartment of Zuse’s parents. After it was built nobody could get it out. That’s why it stayed in that apartment until 1943 or so when the machine was destroyed in the bombing. In a street in that part of Berlin there’s a plaque identifying where the machine was built.

But the Z3 was not reliable. Zuse could build a machine with relays to show some operations working, but the machine would never work for long: the mechanics would get stuck.

Zuse considered non-mechanical options and proposed a machine built using vacuum tubes; however he estimated he would need around 1,200 tubes which was dismissed as impossible. A few years later, the first general-purpose electronic computer was designed in the United States. ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes and around 5 million hand-soldered joints.

On the 12th of May in 2012, we had more Saturday Scenes than ever before! A total of 46 scenes of Saturdays around the world were submitted! And they are truly wonderful! See for yourself:

These are the spectacular people who took the photographs:

We’d love to see MORE photographs of more places! Simply tweet the location of your photograph (taken on a Saturday) to @SatScenes to be included.

Follow SatScenes for more details and you’ll never miss another edition.

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