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*Vol. 1, No. 11,
December 15, 1999


CCNA Now Owns Its Server

The CCNA Office received an early Christmas present December 1 in the form of a letter from IBM:

    This letter is to inform you that effective July 1, 1999, IBM will transfer title on the following leased RS/6000 system equipment to the Calgary Community Network Association.
The CCNA now officially owns its server. A very special thank you to Alan Macdonald, for all the time and effort spent making this happen. Many thanks, as well, to IBM for this generous donation.

More Good News...

The CCNA's grant application to the Calgary Community Lotteries Board has been approved. Faster modems are in our future.


Spirit of Giving

All it takes is a mouse click to help someone...

  • CCNA: Calgary Non-Profit Organizations
  • Calgary Herald Christmas Fund
  • Globally...
  • The Hunger Site
  • Epicurious: Hunger Relief Organizations
  • * Christmas Stuff *

  • Christmas Cards:
  • Christmas Electronic Cards from Blue Mountain Arts
  • Music:
  • Netstrider -- Christmas Music
  • An Online Christmas Songbook

  • *****

    **Have a safe, healthy and happy festive season from the Calgary Community Network Association Board.


    History and Computers

    As we approach the new millennium, many wonder about the future. We can look at the computer's future by taking a brief look at its history. Ironically, history is why computers exist. History is a record of human events and it is recording information which created a need that the computer would fill. The calendar also filled this need when the Egyptians invented it in the 43rd century B.C. and when other civilizations used them, including the Aztecs, Mayans, Chinese, and some even think the monument of Stonehenge served a recording purpose. Today record keeping is still needed, we're just using a different tool - the computer.

    When examining computer history, Charles Babbage is a good place to start because he is considered the father of the computer. He created it on paper but never actually finished building it because the gearing systems were too intricate to construct using the crude technology available.

      When the British writer L. J. Comrie described the world's first practical automatic computer - the ASCC machine designed by Professor Howard Aiken of Harvard and constructed by IBM in 1944 - he titled his article, "Babbage's Dream Come True." For it was Charles Babbage who conceived, designed, and began building a calculating machine that could solve any mathematical problem given to it, automatically and without error.(3)

    The development of punch cards started with the Jacquard's Loom. With the Jacquard Loom it was possible to store and "program" patterns into textiles by using as many as 20,000 cards. Babbage got the idea of punch cards to program math calculators from Jacquard. Punch cards would be used by the weaving industry, self-playing pianos, and eventually by computer programmers.

    The following is an account about how self-playing pianos used punch cards to record music:

      As the pianist played so the punches cut the master roll and made a permanent recording... This method of recording thus secured accuracy of replaying, the length of the perforation being determined by the duration that the recording pianist held down the particular keys. The punch in the machine repeated at the rate of 4,000 cycles per minute, so making possible the accurate recording of the most rapid staccato notes struck by the pianist. The resultant punched hole for the briefest note would be just 1/32 inch in diameter.(4)
    It is an unfortunate truth that technology advances during wartime. This advance occurred during World War II with the computer "Colossus." Its objective was to decipher German Enigma code. The project was code-named Ultra and at the peak of the war, ten Colossus machines operated night and day, deciphering as many as 2,000 messages per day. The deciphered messages were hand-carried back to London for use by the British high command.

    In 1942, the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps commissioned a team of scientists to design a top-secret electronic machine that could compute trajectory tables quickly. This computer would be called the ENIAC. In 1946, the ENIAC computer was considered the largest and most complex electronic device ever built. It was also heralded as being the first all-electronic computer, even though Colossus beat it by three years. The British government kept Colossus an official state secret until 1974.

    Today, it is no secret that computer use is growing and with it a demand in energy and the greenhouse gases and nuclear waste that comes with it. In Babbage's day technological problems had to be overcome to get the first mainframe computer built. Similarly, today's computers will have to overcome energy shortages due to battery capacities and environmental concerns. Solutions will include technological innovations and improved efficiencies. Any improvement will have to solve these problems plus the original problem, recording history and the ideas that come with it.



    There are tons of "freebie" pages out there. What we will attempt to do in this five part series is bring you the good stuff. Part 1 focused on freebies related to computer performance software. In Part 2 we covered Internet communication freebies. For Part 3 we viewed sites offering educational freebies. In Part 4 we get artistic with free web graphics and free music sites. For our grand finale, Part 5, we bring you the Internet Flea Market (a freebie free for all); pages that collect freebies from around the web.

    Freebies Part 5:
    Internet Flea Market

    In the process of looking for free stuff we came across some sites that didn't really fit any particular topic. Here they are. A smorgasbord of goodies for you to peruse.


    Computers and the Environment

    Today the computer has evolved from the desktop computer, laptop, to the palm top. Computer usage is increasing rapidly. There are several major problems to overcome that will indicate how a computer will look like and how they are going to be used. These problems include:
    1. The capacity limits of batteries.
    2. The exponential demand for electric power created by the demand for computers.
    3. The greenhouse gases and nuclear waste produced to generate the electricity these computers will need.
    4. The increase pollution created by not knowing how to reuse older computers.
    Reusing old computers requires knowledge on how to make newer components work with older components. If you've added a large hard drive to an older system you will understand this idea. It's an idea that will not go away so long as there is a demand for computers and energy and a concern for the environment.

    Energy and pollution are major considerations that have to effect computer design. Laptops are already 90% more efficient than desktops. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already set energy saving standards that have been implemented in hardware of new computers. Buildings are already implementing ISO 14001 environmental management systems to shut off any electrical equipment not being used at night and weekends.

      Electricity use to office equipment is growing faster than any other category of electricity use in commercial buildings in the United States. Office equipment directly consumed 26 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 1991 or approximately 3% of total commercial energy consumption; this translates into $2.1 billion in electricity costs to businesses. This figure increases to approximately 34 billion kWh if the cost of space conditioning to offset the waste heat generated by office equipment is considered. Energy consumption due to office equipment and related energy systems is expected to increase as much as fivefold during the next decade. (1)

    Generating one kWh of electricity produces two pounds of C02. Currently, computers are becoming smaller as they are incorporated into cellular phones. These phones have built in web browsers, calendar and address books, notebook, e-mailing, GPS navigation tools, and connections to 128 countries. (6)

    Tomorrow's computers will have to use less electricity due to energy shortages, limited battery capacities, and environmental concerns. Plan and bring the future here now by turning off your computer. Computers do take energy which adds up. Remember, it's cheaper to save energy than it is to create it.


    Calgary Community-Net Membership Discounts Page!!

    Check it out!

    ? ? ? ? ?

    Did You Know?

    You can speed up your boot process by telling Windows 98 not to search for your floppy drive. (You'll still be able to use the drive, but Win98 will search for it only when you click on its icon in My Computer.) Go to My Computer File/Properties/Performance. Click on File System and the Floppy Disk tab. Deselect "Search for new floppy disk drives each time your computer starts."

    Thank you Robert Chong for this issue's Did You Know? tip. This tip will also extend the battery life in laptops and make any computer more energy efficient.

    * * * Input

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    In the next issue

    Read the next issue -- January 15, 2000!

    *Happy Holidays from all of us on the Newsletter Committee.*

    The CCNA Newsletter Committee is:
    Heather Richards, Peter Williams and Wanda Martin
    Join us!
    Email us at:



    (1) American Council For An Energy-Efficient Economy. Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Equipment. Washington, DC.: Electric Power Research Institute, (1993): 1- 14.
    (2) Faug, Irving. The Computer Story. St. Paul, Minnesota: Rada Press, Inc., (1988): 3-4, 13-15, 19-21.
    (3) Freed, Les. The History of Computers. Emeryville, California: Ziff-Dan's Press Books, (1995): 41-43.
    (4) Halacy, Dan. Charles Babbage - Father of the Computer. New York: Crowell-Collier Press, (1970): 1.
    (5) Ord-Hume, Arthur. Pianola - the history of the self-playing piano. London: The Alden Press, Oxford, (1984): 34-35.
    (6) Popular Science. (November 1999): 28, 90.

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