Circuit Board Screwed onto a Piece of Plywood
It all started with the invention of the transistor in 1949 by Bell Labs the research arm of the phone company. The transistor was nothing more than a solid state electronic switch. The transistor or integrated circuit replaced the much larger vacuum tubes of the day. Vacuum tubes were large, hot and unreliable. Transistors performed essentially the same functions as tubes but were smaller , lighter , cooler and more reliable All said and done they were better ,smaller and more efficient than the vacuum tubes they replaced. . And transistors did not burn out like a vacuum tubeIt all Started with a simple integrated circuit board screwed onto a piece of plywood.
You owe your laptop or PC to a kit for flashing lights.
How was it that in our time the Personal Computer P.C and the laptop computer came about to be
It all started with the invention of the transistor in 1949 by Bell Labs the research arm of the phone company. The transistor was nothing more than a solid state electronic switch. The transistor or integrated circuit replaced the much larger vacuum tubes of the day. Vacuum tubes were large, hot and unreliable. Transistors performed essentially the same functions as tubes but were smaller , lighter , cooler and more reliable All said and done they were better ,smaller and more efficient than the vacuum tubes they replaced. . And transistors did not burn out like a vacuum tube.
Transistors allowed a trend of miniaturization that has led all the way to our present portable small laptop notebook computers which can run on batteries. It is hard to visualize for us today that computers used to house large office buildings themselves along with maintenance backup support staff and even their own air conditioners to remove the great amounts of heat the early, primitive computers produced.
In 1959 engineers at Texas Instruments figured out how to put more than one transistor on the same base and connect these transistors without wires. Thus the next step was born the integrated circuit. The first integrated circuit consisted of only six transistors. Current computers have in the range of 100 million transistor equivalents.
In 1969 Intel introduced the 1 k memory chip. This was much larger than anything else produced at the time. Through coordination of Intel with a Japanese calculator manufacturer named Busicomp the next step was made where a generic multipurpose chip was devised. What made this step important was that no one chip could do a number of tasks. Previously each chip had a purpose that was burnt in. Now one integrated chip could do a number of different functions. One single integrated circuit chip was almost an entire computing device. The successor to this multi purpose integrated circuit or CPU was what went on to the basis of our whole generation and concept of personal computers
In 1973 some of these microcomputer kits based on the initial 8080 Intel integrated chip were developed. In the hands of hobbyists these kits were put together and were nothing more than blinking lights. However the impetus was on. Many of these early hobbyists went on to become computer industry giants. With Intel introducing an even much more powerful microprocessor chip the computer industry was on its way.
A company MITS introduced the Altair Computer Kit. The Altair was the impetus for fledgling software companies, such as Microsoft and Lotus, to write software programs for these early computers. Among the early innovators and producers of software in this field was Microsoft with its first version of Microsoft Basic.
Along came the computer industry leader and stodgy monolith IBM to introduce the first personal computer in 1975. The model 1500 was beyond piddly compared to todays dollar store calculators and cost only 9,000.
Next came a smaller upstart Computer Company which came to be called Apple Computer. Apple computer introduced the Apple I computer in 1976 for the princely sum 695. Believe it or not original Apple 1 computer consisted of a main circuit board screwed into a piece of plywood. Talk about IBM having to hold its laughter The Apple I appeared to be such a home garage made amateur none professionally made product that the case and power supply were not even included. The buyer of the Apple I had to scrounge or source this himself. IBM thought the Apple I was nothing more than a foolish fad. A minor inconvenience that would soon go away and disappear. Yet department heads started buying these simple computers for uses in business departments. This was in spite of serious advice from IBM experts to corporations about the perils and shortcomings of these toy computers and outright threats by IBM salespeople to IT staff and heads.
The Apple I was followed in 1977 by the Apple II. The Apple II because of its enormous success set the standards for nearly all the important microcomputers to follow, including the IBM PC.
The very core of the early computer world IBM International Business Machines the master of the profitable mainframe computer industry had been awoken from its deep profitable slumber by a small upstart computer maker with a simple computer system that began its product cycle as an integrated circuit board screwed onto a piece of plywood.
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