1. Charles Babbage ko gussa kyo atha hain? (Why does Charles get angry?)

by anyarchitectanyarchitect on 1220342538|%e %B %Y
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Charles Babbage was famous for his fiery temper and was known to take offense for the slightest slight. (He once wanted to ban the street musicians outside his house.) In this piece, I would like to explore some anecdotal reasons for part of his frustrations: Charles Babbage had this idea of a computing machine. He had embarked on constructing two such machines using mechanical parts. First the "difference engine" and later on the "analytical engine". He was a perfectionist and wanted his workers to follow his instructions exactly. So, I can imagine him hovering around the machine as it is being made with the detailed drawing in his hands and his workers attempting to work the way he had instructed.

But every once in a while, there might have been a murmur among the workers… and occasionally a murmur may have even reached Babbage's ears. "Pssst… what is the purpose of this machine?"

Note that this is only an anecdotal conjecture. But if you reflect on it: Such a question is one that is asked by workers all over the world when they do not fully understand the importance of the enterprise they are asked to undertake. A counter-intuitive product such as the "difference engine" or the "analytical engine" can often baffle people. Now, when a person like Babbage hears such a preposterous comment on his commendable enterprise, it must have enraged him.

The actual reason being that it is not very easy to explain to some simple workers that he was trying to invent a machine; the very first one in the history of machines, which never really had a direct purpose. Moreover, the indirect purpose can only be achieved after a concept called programming, something which was not even fully defined then. (Though Ada Lovelace did theorize on that possibility during those times) Charles Babbage was in fact inventing the first truly abstract machine, the first machine which was one step removed from the real world around those simple workers. In Chinese there is a saying "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". Prior to Babbage's attempts, machines were like the fishes that were served out to those who were hungry. A computer on the other hand is a tool of tools — people taught themselves how to do their end task (catch a fish) using the computer.

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