Friday, July 25, 2008


When British Waterways ask for feedback from us the information has a habit of going against us boaters with rising costs and lack of resources. They are there to maintain the waterways for us and all the other users but are now losing money because they invested in property. That is not our fault but we will have to pay for it.
Perhaps it would be better to ‘feedback’ to the various boating user groups like NABO, IWA, SOW and RBOA. Then they can ‘feedback’ your views collectively all in one go at the various meeting held with BW. So join up with one of the user groups and get your voice and opinions considered. Let them know what you need and where the problems are.

Bletchley Park, code breakers
Now for something completely different. The secret is out. We now know what it was all about, there was so much to know but I suspect that there is a lot we will never be told.
Thanks go to our friend John who took us there to see the ‘hardware’. Not only the German Enigma machine, but also Lorenz and Bombe. Mechanical computers which encode and decode messages. What an effort during the 2nd world war to decode and translate to English all those messages which saved so many lives. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Polish for they had already started to decode the signals and gave us the ‘know how’ before Germany invaded Poland.
It was taking weeks to find the ‘key’ and unlock the code so the code breakers invented a computer. The first electronic computer ever! It found the ‘key’ in 2 hours! The encoded messages were transcribed from radio signals to paper tape used by teletype machines. The tape was made into a continuous loop and read at high speed by the COLOSSUS computer. Several were made at the time but to maintain complete secrecy they were all but destroyed.
Despite this some photos were taken and circuit drawings kept by engineers, as they do even now I suspect. British Telecom were converting the phone system to digital and much of the old equipment was ‘recycled’ to remake that first computer. Much of it built by voluntary effort by the members of the Bletchley Park Trust. There is no government funding to keep this valuable National asset which includes the National Museum of Computing.

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