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Computers are a part of our everyday lives, but about two decades ago, computers were just beginning to enter homes. Many people dont realize what the computer evolved from, and the speed at which computer technology has taken to arrive to what it is today. The earliest know computer is the abacus, invented by the Chinese in 2600 B. C. Not many people consider this to be a computer, but by definition, it is. One of the more recent early computers was built by Herman Hollerith, who invented a machine that used a system of cards with holes in them.
By using these cards he was able to calculate the United State Census. Holleriths Computer Tabulating-Recording Company changed its name in 1924 to International Business Machines, IBM for short. This is the same IBM that is known today to many computer users. During the 1980 s and 1990 s, IBM was a large player in the personal computer market. It was as important as Microsoft is the to the world of computing today. The main term that was used was, IBM-Compatible.
A large movement in computer technology was the use of vacuum tubes. In 1904 John Ambrose Fleming invented the first commercial diode vacuum tube. Thomas Edison already discovered this, but discarded the discovery as useless. Before the vacuum tube was discovered, computers were made of gears and switches. Now with the vacuum tube, it acted as a switch turning on and off much faster than standard switches. This also caused less wear and tear on the machine, prolonging the life of the computer, lessening the frequency of repairs.
In 1943 ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer) was built. It was the first all electronic computer, and required so much electricity that when the power was turned on, the lights around Philadelphia dimmed. The ENIAC was used by the United States Military to produce trajectory tables. The ENIAC was able to compute 5, 000 additions a second, but it took 2 days to set up these equations. The cost of the ENIAC was $ 500, 000, weighed 30 tons, 100 feet long, and 8 feet high.
Inside the ENIAC were 1, 500 relays, and 17, 468 vacuum tubes. These vacuum tubes consumed 200 kilowatts of electricity, thus causing its own circuits to fry. The ENIAC broke down frequently. The problem was that the tubes within the ENIAC produced heat, and turned the ENIAC into an over, causing frequent self-destruction.
In July of 1980, IBM met with Bill Gates to discuss creating an operating system for IBMs new secret project, a personal computer. IBM almost scrapped the personal computer project in hopes of purchasing Atari, and take over production. But they stuck with their personal computer, and their operating system. On August 12, 1981, IBM released their personal computer, named the IBM PC (this is where the term PC originated from).
The first IBM PC ran on a 4. 77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor. As for memory, the computer came with 16 kilobytes, which could be expanded to 256 k. The computer came with one or two 160 k floppy disk drives (5. 25 inch). An optional feature was a color monitor.
The price tag for this luxurious item was (starting at) $ 1, 565. Today though, it would be the equivalent of $ 4, 000. For months after the introduction of the IBM PC, Time Magazine named the computer Man of the Year. However, IBM wasnt the only computer on the market. In December of 1983, Apple Computers ran its famous 1984 MacIntosh TV commercial. The purpose was to make the commercial eligible for awards during 1984.
The commercial itself cost 1. 5 million, and ran only once in 1983. It was replayed by new and talk shows, and it made TV history. The next month, Apple Computer ran the same ad, but this time during the NFL Super Bowl, and millions saw their first view of the MacIntosh computer. The commercial showed the IBM world being destroyed by a new machine, the MacIntosh.
And the last big piece of computer history is something that everyone knows, Microsoft Windows operating system. On November 10, 1983, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft Windows, a new operating system that would provide a graphical user interface (GUI) and multitasking environment for IBM computers. Windows was (summed up) a visual version of DOS. Microsoft promised that the new program would be on the shelf by April 1984. Windows was almost named Interface Manager, but Rowland Hanson (marketing), convinced Microsoft founder Bill Gates that Windows was a better name. Microsoft finally shipped Windows on November 20, 1985, two years after they had initially promised release.
Now you know where computers originated from, and where such companies as Apple, IBM, and Microsoft got their start. As you can see, it wasnt easy, but they got through it. What would the world be like if Windows was called Interface Manager instead?
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