Fridaygram: Austrian computer pioneer, jellyfish blockage, Web Designer

OCT 04, 2013
Author PhotoBy +Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

Since last year, we’ve been celebrating the history of computing with a series of computing heritage videos on YouTube. These videos commemorate the contributions of computing pioneers from all around the world. This week, a new video featuring Heinz Zemanek and his team from the Vienna University of Technology was added to the series. Zemanek was interested in studying computers, but didn’t have financial support from the university. So he and his students relied on donated materials from companies to do their work.

When Zemanek started in 1956, it was fashionable to name computers after powerful winds. Zemanek playfully followed this trend by nicknaming his computer after a Vienna spring breeze, writing “Even if it cannot match the rapid calculation speed of American models called ‘Whirlwind’ or ‘Typhoon’, it will be enough for a "Wiener Mailüfterl" In 1958 the Mailüfterl was completed, one of the first fully transistorized computers in the world. It still exists today at the Technical Museum in Vienna, and you can learn more about it and its creation by watching the new video.

Because you’re reading this blog, we’ll assume you like technology, and we do too. But on Fridaygram we like to point out occasionally that the power of nature sometimes wins. That was the case recently in Sweden, when the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant was shut down because a large number of common moon jellyfish clogged the plant’s cooling water intake pipes. Most interestingly, this isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it probably won’t be the last, according the plant spokesman. So not only do jellyfish sting, they can knock your lights out, too.

Finally, if you’re interested in designing cool web graphics and ads that move, check out Google Web Designer. This new tool lets you create animated graphics and automatically generates the HTML5 and CSS for you. Of course, there’s also a code view so you can hand-tweak the code if you want. The stuff you make with Google Web Designer works across various devices, including desktops, phones, and tablets. The price is right (free), so give it a try this weekend.

If you don’t have time for a Fridaygram vacation in Vienna to feel the fall breeze, you can experience the Mailüfterl from wherever you are by visiting the Mailüfterl emulator. For best results, eat some sausage or schnitzel while you compute.