Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

The beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth seems to talk about ‘Wednesday’

Whilst looking up Solresol - the synthetic language based on the 7 notes of the musical scale - http://www.forteantimes.com/articles/145_solresol.shtml - I came across this book http://www.amazon.com/Banvards-Folly-Thirteen-People-Change/dp/0312300336 '13 tales of people who didn't change the world'.
Now, this is the book I wish I had thought of and had written. I have ordered a copy. Clearly the concept is not just a book of heroic failures but something more sympathetic. As you may know I have an arguably slightly unhealthy interest in buying books about obsolete technologies and/or technologies that didn't really take off. There is something rather dull about success and who would want a book about C++ when they could have one about BCPL, Prolog or Erlang? I also have three books about Prestel - the one by Samuel Felida, the creator of Prestel is the best and the one by James 'Institute' 'I may be fucking rich but I can't write for toffee' Martin the worst.
But there are some tricky judgement calls. I think Baird is in because his mechanical TV was essentially a dead end, but you could argue that he paved the way for TV as we know it. And what about Edwin Armstrong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Armstrong ? I think he is probably out, because although he was shafted by the FCC and killed himself by jumping from his 13th floor apartment, his inventions are essentially used today. It is all very complex.

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