Buzz Byte – November.

The term “Computing” actually originates from the ancient past, when it was used as a job description to describe those, mostly women, who were required to perform repetitive calculations for the production of things such as navigational charts or astrology tables. The term was also used to describe other forms of primitive counting or measuring devices from a simple abacus to an elaborately detailed mechanical machine with buttons and levers.

Since the beginning of the ‘modern’ computer era the computers have continued to get quicker and smaller. You would need a wheelbarrow to transport your first PC round, now you can carry it around under your arm!

The first electrical computer was built way back in 1936 by Konrad Zuse, a German construction engineer. He was the pioneer of the freely programmable computer. This system would have taken up the majority of your living room unlike the laptops of today which you can keep hidden away in a cupboard!

There was a steady increase in the technological advancements and competitors over the next 18 years but it wasn’t until 1953 that the first of the ‘big boys,’ that are still industry leaders today, enters into the chronicles of computing history – IBM had been created, the International Business Machine company started life producing punch card machines for employers in 1911. Computing was aimed at business users with the banking industry joining in 1959. It wouldn’t be long before the platform was recognised as a way to provide the young generation with entertainment. Computing celebrated its next major milestone in 1962 when the first multi-player computer game was invented. It was called Spacewar! and was created by Steve Russell & Co. It is a two-player game where you fire photon torpedoes at each other, a revolutionary breakthrough at the time!!!

For the next decade, the industry continued to produce new additions that we take as standard in today’s market – the mouse came in 1964, followed by processors and networking and then the floppy disc (now almost extinct itself) in 1971. It was in 1975 that the first computer specifically designed for the home user went on sale. 1977 saw Apple and Commodore come onto the scene and dominate the industry for nearly a decade.

Though Apple had been in computer production since the 70’s it wasn’t until 1985 that the on-going battle of Windows Vs Apple started. Apple launched the Apple Mac in ’84 but in November ’85 Microsoft arrived on the scene with the newly released Microsoft Windows. Each released better, faster and smarter machines and even today there is a divide between Mac/Windows users.

The first travel into cyber space was in 1969 by ARPAnet and was dubbed the ‘original internet’. The World Wide Web (www) was launched in 1990 after 10 years of development by Tim Berners-Lee and a team at CERN. It wasn’t until the dot-com boom in 1999 that the internet developed into the integral part of society that it has become today.

Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing.)

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