Computers

The Last Apple II

Apple IIgsSeptember 15, 1986

Apple introduces the Apple IIgs, the last major product release in the Apple II series of personal computers. Blending the older Apple II series computers with aspects from the Macintosh computer, the advanced “graphics and sound” capabilities of the IIgs (hence the name) was ahead of other contemporary computers such as the Macintosh and IBM PC. However, as Apple chose to focus on the Macintosh line of computers, Apple eventually ceased development of the Apple II series. The last IIgs was produced in December of 1992.

Osborne Declares Bankruptcy

Osborne ISeptember 13, 1983

The Osborne Computer Corporation declares bankruptcy only two years after producing the first portable computer, the Osborne I. Computer industry lore has it that the “Osborne Effect” killed the company, but it was also due to competitive pressure and mismanagement.

The First Computer “Bug”

First Computer BugSeptember 9, 1945

Operators of the Harvard Mark II find a moth trapped in relay #70 in panel F. The bug is taped to their troubleshooting log where it was written, “First actual case of bug being found”. This was not the first use of the term “bug” for computer problems, but this was the first time the term “debug” was used.

Last IBM “Stretch” Computer Shut Down

IBM 7030 "Stretch"September 5, 1980

The last IBM 7030 “Stretch” mainframe in active use is decommissioned at Brigham Young University. The first Stretch was was delivered to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1961, giving the model almost 20 years of operational service. The Stretch was famous for many things, but perhaps most notably it was the first IBM computer to use transistors instead of vacuum tubes, it was the first computer to be designed with the help of an earlier computer, and it was the world’s fastest computer from 1961 to 1964.

First Commercial Hard Drive

IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit Model 1 September 4, 1956

The IBM 350 Disk Storage Unit Model 1 was announced, which was the first commercial storage unit to use magnetic disk storage, the technology behind hard disk drives. About the size of two refrigerators and weighing in at one ton, the 350 could store about 4 – 5 megabytes, depending on how it was calculated.

The 350 would be an integral part of the IBM RAMAC 305 computer, which would be introduced 9 days later on September 13th. The RAMAC 305 and 350 Disk Storage Unit were designed to replace the punch card “tub file” system that was the primary means of storing repeatedly accessed data.

Aldus – Adobe Merger Finalized

Adobe and Aldus LogosAugust 31, 2004

Aldus, the company that created PageMaker – considered the world’s first desktop publishing application – merges with Adobe, the company that created PostScript – which was the page description language powering many early laser printers. The combination of Pagemaker running on Apple’s Macintosh and printing to the Apple’s PostScript-powered LaserWriter sparked the desktop publishing revolution in the 1980’s.

The Birth of Linux

Tux the Linux MascotAugust 25, 1991

Linus Torvalds posts a message to the Internet newsgroup comp.os.minix with the subject line “What would you like to see most in minix?” This is the first announcement that he is working on an operating system that will one day become Linux.

 

 

HP Incorporated

Original HP LogoAugust 18, 1947

Hewlett-Packard is incorporated by William Hewlett and David Packard, nine years after they sold their first products from their garage in Palo Alto. Hewlett and Packard got their start in 1938 by producing oscillators used to test audio equipment. Since selling eight of their first oscillators to Disney for use in preparing movie theaters for the movie Fantasia, HP has grown to one of the largest technology companies in the world.

The Original iMac Goes on Sale

Bondi Blue iMacAugust 15, 1998

After three months of anticipation, the original iMac G3 goes on sale. The “Bondi Blue” iMac became well-known for its colorful case, which bucked the industry norm beige. However, it is also known for being the first commercially successful computer to eliminate the use of legacy ports and the floppy drive. Widely criticized at the time for not including the older technologies, by only featuring USB ports for peripheral connectivity, the iMac helped popularize the emerging standard, even on Windows PCs. And when was the last time anyone saw a beige PC?

I recall helping my uncle purchase one of the first iMacs at a CompUSA store on that first day. There were only 15 available and we were there early enough to grab one before they quickly sold out. Yes, I was totally jealous, but at least I got to help set it up 🙂

Dell Laptops Catch Fire!

Dell Laptop FireAugust 14, 2006

Dell and Sony admit that flaws in Sony-manufactured batteries used in certain Dell laptops could result in the batteries overheating, catching fire, or exploding. They recall over 4.1 million batteries, the largest computer-related recall in history. This came after several widely publicized reports in the preceding months where Dell laptops did catch fire. Still to this day, Dell’s reputation has never fully recovered from the incident.