When Was Analog Born?


I’ve been ruminating lately about when the idea of analog was born. It seems so pre-digital and of the “real world,” but it turns out is actually very much tied to the rise of computers as a way to describe their opposite. A quick NGram search shows this pretty clearly: around the late 1940s (birth of the modern digital computer era) we see both these terms explode, but basically zero uses of analog at all before this time.

We could also see analog as related to the literary term analogue, meaning an analogy. If the digital is a representation of something (discreet samples in digital audio, for example), then digital is an analogy of its physical, real-world counterpart.

Ordering Pizza By Computer (1974)

“This high-tech sociolinguistic experiment was conducted at the Lab on the evening of December 4, 1974. Donald Sherman, who has Moebius Syndrome and had never ordered a pizza over the phone before, used a system designed by John Eulenberg and J. J. Jackson incorporating a Votrax voice synthesizer…” While the original order was placed with Dominoes (who hung up), the final order was successful and 30-45 minutes later the lab received a 16″ pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, and sausage.

Via: Slice

Computers On Law & Order – Part 3

Early version of Windows (season 6, episode 6, 09:11″)

Program Manager (season 6, episode 6, 17:35″)

Checking a suspect’s email – actually just a text file in Notepad (season 6, episode 6, 17:37″)

Screensaver (season 6, episode 6, 09:10″)

Sending email to a biker (season 6, episode 6, 11:09″)