Today, Wednesday, Professor Wagstaff showed us how to use WordPress. The instructor showed us what the dashboard is and how to submit a new post. It is recommended that we save the draft regularly and preview it. Also, if we want to post a link, we can go to the preview and make sure that it works.

Next, we shared the pictures for our first assignment. It is optional to post the first assignment to the blog. Most peoples’ first memory with a computer was playing games rather than using it as a tool for calculation as it was meant for.

After that, we were shown some of the machines leading up to the computer including the Napier’s Rods and the Slide Rule. Napier’s Rods were first invented in 1617. It was made up of a bunch of rods that were lined up to make the number to multiply. Then the numbers in the parallelograms were added up to find the answer. The Slide Rule, created in 1654, was a combination of logarithms and the Napier’s Rods concepts. Next we learned about the Calculating Clock, invented by Wilhelm Schickard in 1623. It included a bunch of Napier’s Rods which were vertically placed and some other bars horizontally placed. In order to multiply, the top bar had to be twisted and the horizontal bars slid or if you wanted to add, then dials on the bottom of the machine were twisted. The clock was destroyed in a fire and “was lost to history until someone discovered Schickard’s notes.” The Pascaline was next, invented in 1642 and it was thought of as the first computer until Schickard’s notes were discovered later on. Lastly, we learned about the Stepped Reckoner, which was invented around 1673. It was a little more mechanized and worked better than the Pascaline.

When this was done, we started discussing the assigned reading about the Jacquard Loom. The weaving was operated by punch cards which set the pattern. The most important aspect of the Jacquard Loom is that it sped up weaving and it can replicate works. It eliminated the need of a “draw boy.” Modern versions weave airbags and replacement valves for blood vessels in a sterile environment. It is now fully computerized. This is a video of the Jacquard Loom: