Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Secret Rise of Silicon Valley

Actually, I had other reasons for looking at the career of Steve Blank but stumbled across one of the most interesting lectures I have seen in a long time. It's actually six short stories connected together to explain the rise of Silicon Valley, Venture Capitalists, and Stanford University in particular. Grab a coffee and prepare yourself for a fascinating hour. The first two stories are particular interesting when connected with previous posts on this blog. Exactly a week ago I mentioned the Wartime Deception programmes again, telling the story of the Aspidistra transmitter in Crowborough. But Steve's presentation fills in a lot of holes in the stories I have heard before.

Steve has published a huge list of references on which the talk was based, plus the Powerpoint slides he used. I wonder if he has seen the footage from the BBC-1 documentary called the Secret War, now put out on the Interwebs thanks to archivists at the Alexandra Palace Television Society. They put it up in bits because of Youtube's length restriction in those days. I think I'll ask him.

You can find a whole gallery of the Secret War episodes here. Finally, as you watch Steve's second story about the Cold War, you might want to take a look at this video safari.

I thought I'd been to some interesting radio places, until Mike Barraclough pointed me in the direction of this video make in the Ukraine, the former home of the Russian over-the-horizon radar system that plagued shortwave reception in the 1980's. It was nicknamed the Woodpecker, which explains the jingle at the end of the video. The giant curtain is still there, although because it is so close to the old Chernobyl nuclear power station its within the exclusion zone.

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