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Sunday, July 25, 2010



Computers were initially large machines that could fill entire rooms. Some were operated using large vacuum tubes that formed the basis of today's transistors. In order to operate such machines, punch cards were used. One of the first such examples of this was the Jacquard Loom. In 1833 Charles Babbage invented his difference engine, an early calculator. Together with the punch card design, he created the analytical engine. Regrettably the engine never saw completion due to political issues.Over time computers became more and more powerful, with the introduction of the ubiquitous microprocessor driving forward development. Gordon Moore, one of the co-founders of Intel, invented Moores law, which predicted that the number of transistors that could be placed on an integrated circuit inexpensively doubled every 2 years. This law has held true to a certain degree, and it can be seen in motion every day with the introduction of more and more powerful microprocessors and larger hard drives and memory modules.Here are some computers that came and went in the history of computing. Some modern examples are also shown here.


An image of the ENIAC in useA behemoth of a machine weighing 27 tonnes, ENIAC stood for Electrical Numerical Integrator and Computer. The ENIAC used thousands of vacuum tubes and a punch card mechanism. It was originally used to perform calculations for the hydrogen bomb, and later saw use in calculating artillery firing tables. Working out the programming on paper took weeks, and performing the necessary wiring took days. The ENIAC saw service until October 2, 1955.Altair 8800 A microcomputer design from 1975, the Altair is the computer that is believed to have started the personal computer revolution. It also formed the basis of Microsoft's first product: a programming language called Altair Basic. The computer was sold as a kit requiring assembly by the user, although pre-assembled kits could be bought for a higher price. The Altair defied sales forecasts by selling thousands instead of hundreds to computer hobbyists, accelerating a growing hacker culture.

Commodore 64
Commodore 64C system with 1541-II floppy drive and 1084S RGB monitor.An 8 bit computer introduced in January 1982, the Commodore rose to become the best selling personal computer of all time. Utilising the Commodore BASIC programming language licensed from Microsoft, the Commodore was able to host over 10,000 commercial programs. Aside from office productivity tools such as word processors and spreadsheets, the Commodore was also host to a number of games and even game development environments such as the Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit.Due to its advanced graphics and audio systems, along with the inclusion of a cartridge slot, the Commodore was seen more as a gaming device than a productivity tool. Over 20,000 games were released for the Commodore, up to the video game crash of 1983. The sheer popularity of the Commodore 64 also saw the rise in prominence of software piracy.Macintosh First introduced by Apple in 1984, the Macintosh was the first computer to use a mouse and graphical user interface (GUI) rather than a command line interface. Until the dominance of the IBM PC, the Macintosh saw use primarily as a desktop publishing tool. However due to the immense cost of porting command line interface programs to the GUI, software development was initially slow.In this computer maintained as the basis level of the computer.

The Macintosh is famous for its 1984 advertisement, which can be viewed here.IBM PC The granddaddy of all current personal computers, the IBM PC was introduced in 1981. It was capable of running 3 different operating systems at launch, the most popular being PC DOS. The IBM PC introduced the concept of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), which was proprietary at the time, although it now has been reverse-engineered and is considered the de facto standard in firmware interfacing. Because of its success, many manufacturers were encouraged to create clones with the same feature set as the PC, which we use today as our computers.

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