The Lure of Slide Rules

Over at “Davos Newbies”: Lance Knobel is writing about “the lure of the slide rule”:

bq. “Those of us who love slide rules are by definition not Luddites. It’s the tactile nature of the technology that excites, rather than a revulsion against the technologies that replaced it. There were gains provided by electronic calculators. Our work, lives and society are being dramatically transformed – and I believe generally improved – through near-ubiquitous computing. But there are losses from the slide rule age that are more than nostalgia. It’s better to be a tool user than a tool manager.”

I too was one of the last generation at school not only to learn about this device but to use it on a daily basis. Lance touches (!) on the tactile nature of the tool yet this goes beyond pure pleasure – I don’t think it is too far-fetched to say that using a slide rule gives you a real _feel_ for numbers… After all how else can you easily demonstrate that to multiply two numbers you can add the logarithms? (yes, we used log tables too!).

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My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change