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Quotes of the Day for 26 December 2003 – Computers

Charles Babbage was born at London on this day in 1791. He was educated in private schools and by tutors at home before entering Trinity College, Cambridge in 1810. Here he found that he had already moved to in mathematics beyond what was being taught in England, and formed the Analytical Society with other students to translate texts from the continent and discuss these more advanced forms. In 1816 he was elected to the Royal Society of London, first of many honors. In 1827 he became a professor at Cambridge, but never taught, having come up with the idea for a mechanical computer for calculations. He spent most of the rest of his life on the project, but though his design was excellent the technology did not exist at the time to actually build it. His "Difference Engine" and the later design of the "Analytical Engine" are solidly the basis of modern computing, he was, perhaps, the first person to not build a computer.

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The quotes:

Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
     - Andrew A. Rooney

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
     - Charles Babbage, 1792 - 1871

Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog.
     - Doug Larson

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
     - Joseph Campbell

Computers can now keep a man's every transgression recorded in a permanent memory bank, duplicating with complex programming and intricate wiring a feat his wife handles quite well without fuss or fanfare.
     - Lane Olinghouse

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
     - Pablo Picasso, 1881 - 1973


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