The Man who knew too much

Posted in My reading table

"The man who knew too much", Alan Turing and the invention of the computer, by David Leavitt.

A well-researched account of the life and accomplishments, and, alas, the pain and sorrow of one of the greatest practical thinkers of recent history.

It can be argued that Alan Turing was an aberration. Where others are reasonably balanced to cope with both the social and practical requirements of life, Alan Turing had little to no social abilities but on the other hand was a prodigious thinker cranking out solutions for problems. He is known as the man who cracked the German secret codes during WWII, a contribution to an early and victorious end of the war that can hardly be overestimated. He laid the foundation for modern computer theory - and practice, building vacuum-tube-based monsters that had the absolute novelty of a stored program, that could be altered for the task at hand. But he almost never saw his projects through; once the initial problems were solved, and the building well on the way, he was already losing interest and engaging in the next project.

He was a lonely man, who's work was brutally cut short when, as an openly gay man in a time when homosexuality was officially illegal in Britain, he was arrested and sentenced to a 'treatment' amounting to chemical castration, which ultimately drove him to suicide...

Want to build one of my designs?

I am flattered but would also like us to agree on a few rules.

My designs are the best I can make them, including reliability and safety. A lot of effort, time and money goes into them, and I enjoy doing it.

Nevertheless, I have obviously no control over how, where or when somebody would use a design of me. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that it will do as advertised in all cases and circumstances. I also have to decline any and all responsibility for any damages, direct or consequential, resulting from the use of my designs. Sorry about that, but that's how my lawyer wants it...

If you want to build one for your own use, go ahead. It would be nice if you would let me know how it all works out.

If you like to use one of my designs for a commercial product, we can discuss the terms of such use. If you plan to make money out of them, I would like to have some compensation for my work and effort as well. Or, if you are in need of a design consultant for a project, let me know. I’m sure we can work something out to mutual benefit.