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2003/08/18 10:00
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Computer History Museum(コンピュータ歴史博物館)は、シリコンバレーの新しい新名所となることだろう。


「Dear Mochio:

I am hoping you can join me on a VIP tour of the Museum's new PERMANENT building on August 6 at 6:00 PM. It would be a chance to get an insider's tour, and I believe the visit will be both interesting and worthwhile. The evening will feature wine and hors d'oeuvres in addition to the private tour with Head Curator Mike Williams.

Last October The Computer History Museum purchased a wonderful building at 1401 Shoreline near Highway 101 in Mountain View. In June we initiated the “Alpha Phase”, including a 9,000 square-feet Visible Storage exhibit area (with about 500 artifacts on display) and the 400-seat Hahn Auditorium.

As you recall, the museum opened two decades ago with the Computer Museum in Boston. In 1996 the collection was moved to Moffett Field and has since doubled. I’m on the Board of Trustees and have been privileged to participate in its formation, growth and this final stage of maturity. The Museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting information-age artifacts and stories. The charter of the Museum remains intact, covering hardware, software, and networking. The collection includes artifacts of all types from hardware and software to T-shirts. The Museum has a great full-time staff, runs a lecture series, restores old machines, and has an active acquisition and curation program.」




これまでに集めた資金は、5400万ドル。大半はコンピュータ産業で成功した個人の寄付によるもの。元ネットスケープのEric Hahnは、個人として1000万ドル以上の寄付をして、400人収容のオーデトリアムに名前を冠した。ゴードンも個人で数億円規模の寄付をしたらしいし、クライナーのジョン・ドーアの名前も、大口寄付者(100万ドル以上)のリストに載っていた。

Join us for a tour」によれば、

「Public tours of our Visible Storage exhibit area are available on Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:00 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of the month at 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. Special tour times are also available by request.」



この倉庫の中には、コンピュータ史を彩ってきたマシンが一杯に詰め込まれている。第2次世界大戦のときのエニグマ暗号解読マシン、Eniacのラックの一部、Cray-1、IBM 360、PDP-1などなど。展示物の中でいちばん笑ったのが、1960年代半ばのハネウェルのキッチンコンピュータ。

このMuseumについて書かれた「Biggest Tech Marketing Mistakes of All Time」という記事のキッチンコンピュータの部分を引用してみよう。

「The Kitchen Computer was marketed for the wealthy and savvy housewife. It appeared on the cover of a Neiman-Marcus catalog in 1965. Basically, you could program and store recipes in the computer.

However, it cost $10,000 in 1965, and you needed about two weeks' worth of programming to operate it. So with the purchase, you received some built-in recipes, two weeks' worth of programming, a cookbook, and an apron.」

1万ドルもするキッチンコンピュータで何ができたかといえば、レシピの保存だけだったのだろうか。展示物には、キーボードもディスプレイもなかった。Googleで調べてみたところ、USA Todayの記事によれば、

「It started in the mid-1960s. Honeywell outrageously offered a $7,000 kitchen computer in the Neiman-Marcus catalog. The computer had a red-and-white plastic top, had to be programmed by sequentially pushing 16 buttons, came with its own cutting board and was the size of today's kitchen islands. The machines soon disappeared, as did Honeywell's strong position in the computer industry.」


さて、このComputer History Museumに興味のある方は、PDFファイルだが、IEEE Spectrum誌に掲載された「The Ghosts of Computers Past」をぜひご一読ください。


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