Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I share the view of Pythagoras that the world is number. The ultimate substrate of the universe is math. There's no way to test that - it's pure metaphysical speculation."
- Bart Kosko

Selector Card  
  Pneumatic delivery of book films by using a mechanical form of data storage; selector cards - probably punch cards.  

This story was written just at the dawn of computing. This very modern (for 1940!) library distributed books on microfilm based on punched cards turned in as requests. For those who don't recall, "punch cards" are a form of data storage. Each card has a set of areas for punched holes. Each area represents a bit of data.

I had a handful of selector cards. I handed them to the vestal virgin at the desk and waited while she fed them into the hopper.
From The Puppet Masters, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

It is interesting that computers were already seen as a mystical device in a holy place, which ordinary mortals could not approach - hence the "vestal virgin" at the front desk to mediate for the computer system.

Today, of course, we have a wide variety of options for data storage. But even today, there are glitches. Back in the day, the big disaster was dropping all your punch cards and mixing them up (you not only needed to keep them safe, they had to be in the right order!). These days, the biggest problems are incompatibility (this computer can't read that data storage unit) or static discharges wiping out your data.

Fans of retro computing should certainly check out the Punch Card Gallery. Other forms of data storage are shown in the Information Technology History - Data Storage and Elaboration page.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Puppet Masters
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Puppet Masters
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Computer
The Largest Virtual Universe!
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.