|Project by rdlaurance||posted 11-08-2010 10:27 PM||2639 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
I was just looking through some old jpegs when I found this one. It was a fun little project that I did about 8 year ago, thought I would post it, though the humor is just a bit out of sync with the times, or maybe not.
Shortly after moving here (to Sweden from Tampa Bay) I was enrolled in a Swedish Language course for Immigrants. One of the other students was a Chinese woman that coincidentally worked in an Art Museum in Guangzhou, where I had one of my glass sculptures on exhibit (she actually helped to install the work in the exhibition….small world). One day while we were talking in our new language, I asked her if she knew how to use an abacus. Since high school I had always had a curiosity to see how they worked and how fast they could be in computational work. It turns out that she was very good with the abacus, telling me that all Chinese students are still trained to use them in school. And no batteries required….ha ha!
I asked if she would be willing to give the class (about 12 Vietnamese, 1 German, 2 Czechs, 2 Persians, 1 South African, 1 Peruvian, 1 Honduran, this American gringo and the Swedish Teacher) a demonstration on how the abacus works. She was thrilled, but replied that she hadn’t moved her abacus with her to Sweden. I told her I would make one and bring it to class the next Monday. So she gave me the configuration of wires and beads and then I allowed my creativity to run rampant in the workshop.
I had just bought one of the first models of iMac shortly after Apple® had released them. I had noticed by then that so many things were being labeled as “i-”this and “i-”that and so using the (then) iMacs color scheme I set upon making an “i-Abacus” (calculator) to jump in on the “i-” marketing fanfare.
When I brought the abacus to school, I and all others were astounded by the speed in which she could multiply and divide with. Seven and eight digit numbers by other seven and eight digit numbers were calculated about as fast as it took to say the numbers. Literally as fast as any nimble fingered keypuncher using a ten digit key-padded calculator. And she added, quite bashfully in a typical Asian manner of humility, that she was really rusty because she hadn’t used one in a few years…...
She was a real sweatheart, so I gave her the iAbacus as a gift, which I had also made a cardboard box for, complete with pictures and product description as if it was an item purchased off the shelf from a vendor.
It was definitely a fun project.
-- Rick, south Sweden