Computers by xiaoyounan


									                                A Brief History of Computers

Computers have changed greatly since they were        available to the individuals and the small
first invented in the 1940s. The first computers      businesses that needed them. This do-it-yourself
were the size of buildings, very big buildings!       kit required $400 for the base unit and about
Today, we carry more powerful computers in            $2,000 of add-on components before it could do
our pockets. Read on to learn more about early        much.
                                                      Desktop Computers
Early Computers
                                                      It was Apple® that took the next big step with
The Electronic Numerical Integrator and               the development of the Apple computer (1976).
Computer, or ENIAC (1947), weighed 30 tons            Apple built full-fledged computers that could
and had to be hauled around in pieces by trucks,      run simple word processing, spreadsheet, and
big trucks. The ENIAC was far less powerful           other programs. Eyeing this success, IBM
than today's handheld Pocket PCs. Later the           jumped into the market with the IBM PC, or
UNIVersal Automatic Computer or UNIVAC                Personal Computer, in 1981. This computer
was created. Another huge computer, each one          used an obscure operating system called DOS by
cost $1 million.      About the same time,            Microsoft. Microsoft, the same company that
International Business Machines (IBM) created         later created the Windows OS, was created by
the Model 701 (1952), which was the first             Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The wheels of the
production-line computer. This computer came          digital communication tools revolution were
in 11 pieces, on trucks, and cost $16,000 each        now in full motion.
month to rent. This computer stored data on
                                                      The 1980s gave birth to the big beige box
magnetic tape. These big computers were called
                                                      desktop PCs. Why manufacturers chose beige in
mainframes. They were so expensive that only
                                                      those early days is a mystery. These early
6,000 computers were in use in the United States
                                                      computers required a rather large and sturdy
by 1960.
                                                      desk to hold them. About the time the personal
Talking to, or "inputting data" into, these early     computer turned 25 years old, the one billionth
computers required using switches, tubes, or          PC was sold. By this time, customers began to
punch cards to send the zeros and ones that           demand portable and mobile computers.
instructed the computers to do something.
Punch cards look like long index file cards with      Portable Computers
holes punched in them. The cards were passed
                                                      The first portable computers were created by
through a special card reader. Based upon the
                                                      Commodore and Compaq in the 1980s. IBM
location of the holes in the cards, the card reader
                                                      also made an early “portable” weighing over 33
sent messages to the computer. Today we look
                                                      pounds! During the '90s, portables became
back nostalgically on punch cards and ask,
                                                      much lighter, very powerful, and very popular.
"What was that all about?"
                                                      In the current decade, a new generation of sleek
Before the 1960s, big "mainframe" computers
                                                      Tablet PCs and ultra-light portables weighing
dominated.      Only companies and large
                                                      less than three pounds are commonplace. A
government agencies could afford them. In
                                                      wide variety of lightweight, handheld computer
1975, the Altair 8080 computer introduced the
                                                      devices are also popular.
possibility of making these powerful devices

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