The history of computers and evolution
Computers have been around a lot longer than many people might imagine. The word "computer" has changed meaning over decades, but the electronic computer that we think of in modern times developed throughout the second half of the 20th century. Its popularity as a household item surged in the 1980s following the arrival of operating systems by Apple and Microsoft that mixed graphics and text, replacing the text-only systems of the 1970s. By the 1990s, computers incorporated enhanced communication and multimedia applications and became an indispensable part of daily life for millions of people.
The original definition of the word "computer" was a person who made calculations. This definition goes back to the 1600s and extends midway through the 20th century, when the term "computer" began to refer to a machine. The computer is based on the same concept as the abacus, which goes back many centuries. Technology made a giant leap with punched cards, introduced by Joseph-Marie Masquard in 1801. It's interesting that an early use of this system involved music, in which piano rolls assigned actions to notes on a piano, leading to the "player piano" in the 1870s. In 1835 Charles Babbage combined punched cards with a steam engine to invent what he called an "analytical engine." Mechanical Information Processing
The company IBM grew out of the invention of the tabulator, crafted by Herman Hollerith in the late 1880s. This was the first use of punched cards representing data as opposed to punched cards automating a mechanical function like a player piano. The information processing world through the 1950s was based on a combination of punched cards, the tabulator and key punch machines. The first calculators appeared in the 1930s. Analog machines began to get replaced by the digital concept of zeroes and ones throughout the World War II era. The first computer made for the masses was UNIVAC, made by Remington Rand in 1951. IBM introduced its mainframe computer the following year. Computer Integration
Early Remington computers sold at over a million dollars per machine, but IBM made smaller, more affordable machines that became popular. In 1954 IBM developed Fortran, one of the original computer programming languages, based heavily on mathematics. During the same decade, the developments of the transistor, integrated circuits and microprogramming led the way for reducing computer size. Meanwhile, CPUs increased computer processing speed and memory improved data storage. The arrival of microprocessors introduced by Texas Instruments and Intel in the early 1970s paved the way for miniaturized yet more powerful computers. Rise of the PC
Up until the 1970s computers were mainly used by business, government and universities. Personal computers first appeared on the market in the late 1970s. Apple introduced the Apple I in 1976 and the Apple II the following year, ushering in an era for the masses using computers at home. From this point on, the software industry began to develop, with Microsoft and Apple as the primary companies. Microsoft became a software giant by marketing its Dos operating system with IBM computers beginning in 1984. Apple introduced the MacIntosh in 1984, marking the beginning of graphics and text, replacing systems that only displayed text. Ever since, Apple has called its computer system "Mac" to differentiate itself from the rest of the PC market. Multimedia Culture
In the 1990s the computer became common in almost every household, as compared with the previous decade. Part of the reason for this surge in computer popularity was that by the 1990s much of the population had already become familiar with computers from school or work since computers were considered a business necessity by then. Microsoft's Windows 95 operating system accelerated the mass use of computers while the growth of the World Wide Web throughout the 1990s also helped attract...
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