Day 28: Bletchley Park/Museum of Computing and Globe

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Today was Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing… as well as the Globe Theatre (more on that down the page).

Group photo of 2015 LIS class at Bletchley Park (via Dr M. Griffis)
Group photo of 2015 LIS class at Bletchley Park (via Dr M. Griffis)

I’m going to be honest with you.

I’ve visited a LOT of places this month and I’m starting to get a little bit of information overload. This post isn’t going to have a lot of technical information, because, well… I don’t understand the technical information.

I use computers.
You do too! Look at you now!
Do I understand them? Veeerry minimally.

The National Museum of Computing has pretty much the full history of computing in their buildings. It all started in WWII when some very intelligent people wanted to beat the codes created by other very intelligent people. Every heard of The Imitation Game staring Benedict Cumberbatch?

The Imitation Game (via imdb.com)
The Imitation Game (via imdb.com)

That movie only touches on the (somewhat inaccurate) history of computers.

Now for some cool pictures of computer stuff of which I won’t tell you much…

The Colossus Computer is considered the first programmable, electronic, digital computer. It’s program is a paper tape with holes punched in it where the man on the right is. It was developed for British code breakers to help analyse the Lorenz cipher. (Read more on Wikipedia)

A working Colossus (via K. Emmons)
A working Colossus (via K. Emmons)
Colossus runs on paper ticker tape (via K. Emmons)
Colossus runs on paper ticker tape (via K. Emmons)
Colossus: all of the... transistors? (via K. Emmons)
Colossus: all of the… valves? (via K. Emmons)

The WITCH is next.
What does WITCH stand for you may ask?
It is the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell.

…say that five times fast…

It is the oldest functioning electronic stored program computer in the world… (Wikipedia is so helpful). It’s also very visual with lots of flashing lights which makes it perfect for school children and librarian students.

It's a WITCH! (via K. Emmons)
It’s a WITCH! (via K. Emmons)

This is just a picture of what computer memory used to look like…

That definitely won't hold 8GB (via K. Emmons)
That definitely won’t hold 8GB (via K. Emmons)

Later we casually passed by the entire evolution of personal computers. No big deal.

The evolution of personal computing (via K. Emmons)
The evolution of personal computing (via K. Emmons)

Coming back to Alan Turing, whom Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed above, there’s also a replica Bombe that Turing originally created.

Replica of Alan Turing's Bombe (via K. Emmons)
Replica of Alan Turing’s Bombe (via K. Emmons)

I also got to see my second Enigma machine of the trip… (see the first one in this post!)

Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park (via K. Emmons)
Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park (via K. Emmons)

The tour guide in Bletchley Park was fantastic. He walked us around the grounds and told us the story of what it was like here during WWII. He made it come alive. So many secrets have been revealed, but so many secrets I’m sure have been kept quiet.

Upon arrive back to London, I quickly scurried over to the Globe Theatre to watch Measure for Measure. It was a great time and I was just a groundling!

Striving for authenticity with some ale (via K. Emmons)
Striving for authenticity with some ale (via K. Emmons)
Right next to the stage (via K. Emmons)
Right next to the stage (via K. Emmons)

You get to stand right next to the stage and the actors even interact with you… if it’s a comedy. I’m sure there isn’t as much ribaldry during a tragedy play.

But seriously, groundling tickets are only £5 and you get to see a world-renowned play in a world-renowned theatre! It’s a no-brainer!

On to Day 29!

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