12.7.07

The story behind computing in brief

There were in fact computers in the 18th Century but at that time it meant a mathematician just a guy that was good at math and so a computer in those long ago days was simply somebody who did complicated calculations for other folk.

The idea of a computer in the techie sense seems to have been in the 19th Century; I read all this info in a history book I did not get the info from a site.

Simple calculating machines arrived at the start of the 20th Century in of all places Germany and not the USA.

A building engineer name of Konrad Zuse decided the decimal system would not do the job which is very practical for us mere humans but not for a computer and thus used the binary system.

It gets a tad complicated as 0 and 1 are already binary numbers, this was fixed by using electricity Zuse used relays to switch current on and off this 0 or 1 is called a bit.

Heavy going huh still by 1941 Zuse built the worlds first completely programming machine I think it was called the Z3 and used punched tape and those old fashioned radio valves.

It never saw the light of day luckily for us as it would most likely have been a secret weapon for Nazi Germany; and Americans still insisted they invented the computer.

This is not to say they were developing one as they most certainly were another awful thing I think is the mere fact that all these important inventions came from military needs.

America worked frantically to make a super brain which could calculate gunnery tables but it was not finished until 1946.

This machine was known as ENIAC it weighed in at 30 tons (don’t lol) had 18,000 valves; it needed its own power generator just to run the thing.

Still we should not laugh indeed I am grateful as we would never be where we are today. All the same today e-mail and web browsing can be done on a cell phone things certainly have changed.

The world’s first production computer was called UNIVAC and popped up in 1951; it created history by predicting the victory of Ike over Stevenson in the United States Presidential elections in 1952.

It ended up a film star in Hollywood.

There is a lot of activity re computers between then and now which I won’t go into IBM is or was a big name in computers I know.

The net also it seems was for the exclusive use of scientists from the USA and the Soviet Bloc.

The race between the two superpowers of the day speeded things up computer wise in the race to the Moon; the data or info passed between computers on the net were called packets and still are.

When it started to become available for the public and called a PC much work had to be done to eliminate the need for us to learn one of the computer languages COBOL was one FORTRAN was another; there were many more of course; today there are even more computer languages. And I don’t just mean Java.

The reader may find this site of interest; I did.

I did read somewhere that Vincent Cerf is or was considered the father of the internet but I just cannot see that at all; but then I could well be wrong.

In 1991 the World Wide Web was introduced; it is still growing at a fearsome rate, according to the site above the internet is almost impossible to destroy although I have heard folk say they would.

I certainly hope this never happens as the knowledge and things to do on this medium are immense and bring folk much pleasure.

I think most home computer users would be lost without a computer I know I would and that is just taking into account e-mail alone mail which is sent electronically and takes roughly 3 minutes to arrive.

Then of course are video clips, digital photography, slide shows the list is endless;

Schoolchildren use them at school they are in public libraries and then there is the internet cafe not the coffee drinking kind.

Games are played on them real time messaging happens quite regularly, one can even see the person thousands of kilometres away with a web cam or conduct telephone conversations with voice internet protocol (VOIP)

Today on my computers I can watch internet TV or listen to internet radio and frequently do in fact without a computer I would be lost.

The first home computer built by Adam Osbome which came out just before the IBM 5150 PC that most personal computers (PC’S) of today are based upon pictured below, notice how small the monitor is in relation to the rest of it.

If anybody finds errors in this blog post please comment and I will endeavour to rectify it.

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