Computers

A is for Apple

Original Apple LogoApril 1, 1976

The Apple Computer company is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in order to sell their personal computer kits, later known as the Apple I computer, launching the personal computer revolution. From this point on, the word “Apple” is associated as much for computers as it is for fruit.

UNIVAC Unveiled

UNIVACMarch 30, 1951

The first commercial computer, UNIVAC, is received by the US Census Bureau. Interestingly enough, the Census Bureau had driven the development of devices that eventually led to computers since the 1890’s and Herman Hollerith’s Punch Card Calculator.

TRS-80 Model 100 Introduced

TRS-80 Model 100March 29, 1983

Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Model 100, one of the first portable computers in a notebook-style form factor. The portability, simplicity, and built-in modem of the Model 100 made it very popular with journalists who could write stories in the field and transmit them back to their offices. Incidentally, in the early 90’s I acquired a Model 100 that had been used by a newspaper. I was able to use it to code simple programs, write papers, and use the modem to connect to bulletin board systems of the time. I recently found that I have 2 of these models among my tech junk – still in good working order! Good times, good times.

First Newsletter of the Homebrew Computer Club

homebrew_V1_01_p1March 15, 1975

Issue number one of the Homebrew Computer Club’s newsletter is published. Only 21 issues are published through December 1977, but the newsletter is considered influential in the early culture of the personal computer industry.

Bell Labs Announces TRADIC

TRADICMarch 14, 1955

AT&T Bell Laboratories announces the completion of the first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC. TRADIC, which stood for TRAnsistor DIgital Computer, contained nearly 800 transistors, which replaced the standard vacuum tube and allowed the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts which was one-twentieth the power required by a comparable vacuum tube computer.

 

IBM Introduces PC-XT

IBM PC-XTMarch 8, 1983

IBM introduces the IBM Personal Computer XT, which stands for eXtended Technology. For a price of $4,995, it features a Intel 8088 processor, a 10MB hard drive, eight expansion slots, serial port, 128 kB RAM, 40Kb ROM, a keyboard, and one double-sided 360kB floppy drive.

Michelangelo Strikes

Michelangelo VirusMarch 6, 1992

The Michelangelo virus, so-named because it activates on March 6, the birthday of Michelangelo, begins infecting computers. The virus will also make news in 1993. It was one of the earliest viruses to receive widespread media attention and also one of the first to prompt widespread hysteria. The irony of the name of the virus was that nothing in the virus’ code referenced Michelangelo. It is possible the virus author, who was never identified, did not know March 6th was Michelangelo’s birthday!

Homebrew Computer Club Holds First Meeting

"Invitation to First Homebrew Computer Club meeting" by Gotanero - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Invitation_to_First_Homebrew_Computer_Club_meeting.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Invitation_to_First_Homebrew_Computer_Club_meeting.jpg

The invitation to the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

March 5, 1975

The Homebrew Computer Club holds its first meeting. Many people who played an important part in the early years of personal computing attended meetings of  the Homebrew Computer Club during its history. Perhaps no meeting was more important than the one that took place almost exactly one year after the first: Steve Wozniak brought his design for what eventually becomes the Apple I computer.

First Cray Supercomputer Shipped

Cray-1March 4, 1977

The first Cray-1 supercomputer is shipped to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. This supercomputer, which costs nineteen million dollars, will be used to design sophisticated weapons systems. The system is a cylindrical tower seven feet tall, nine feet in diameter, and weighs about 5.5 tons. The machine produced so much heat that it required a built-in freon-based refrigeration system. It requires its own electrical substation to power it, at a cost of about US$35,000 a month.

 

Michael Dell Steps Down as CEO

Michael DellMarch 3, 2004

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computers, announces that he will step down from his his CEO role while retaining his position as Chairman of the Board. Dell president and COO, Kevin Rollins will assume his role. On January 31, 2007, (about 1 year after Dell fell behind Apple in market capitalization) Rollins will resign and Dell will resume his role as CEO due to the poor performance of the company.