It is a little hard to determine what was the first portable or laptop computer, the first portable computers did not look like the book-sized and folding laptops that we are familiar with today, however, they were both portable and lapable, and lead to the development of notebook style laptops. I have outlined several potential firsts below and how each qualifies, many of the off-site links provide good photos of the computers that will let you see the progression in design. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Technology
The Universal Automatic Computer or UNIVAC was a computer milestone achieved by Dr. Presper Eckert and Dr. John Mauchly, the team that invented the ENIAC computer.
John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, after leaving the academic environment of The Moore School of Engineering to start their own computer business, found their first client was the United States Census Bureau. The Bureau needed a new computer to deal with the exploding U.S. population (the beginning of the famous baby boom). In April 1946, a $300,000 deposit was given to Eckert and Mauchly for the research into a new computer called the UNIVAC.
The ENIAC I
In 1946, John Mauchly and John Presper Eckert developed the ENIAC I (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator). The American military sponsored their research; the army needed a computer for calculating artillery-firing tables, the settings used for different weapons under varied conditions for target accuracy.
The Ballistics Research Laboratory, or BRL, the branch of the military responsible for calculating the tables, heard about John Mauchly’s research at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering. John Mauchly had previously created several calculating machines, some with small electric motors inside. He had begun designing (1942) a better calculating machine based on the work of John Atanasoff that would use vacuum tubes to speed up calculations. Read the rest of this entry »
The Harvard MARK I Computer – Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper
Howard Aiken and Grace Hopper designed the MARK series of computers at Harvard University. The MARK series of computers began with the Mark I in 1944. Imagine a giant roomful of noisy, clicking metal parts, 55 feet long and 8 feet high. The 5-ton device contained almost 760,000 separate pieces. Used by the US Navy for gunnery and ballistic calculations, the Mark I was in operation until 1959. Read the rest of this entry »
The Atanasoff-Berry Computer the First Electronic Computer – John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry
Professor John Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry built the world’s first electronic-digital computer at Iowa State University between 1939 and 1942. The Atanasoff-Berry Computer represented several innovations in computing, including a binary system of arithmetic, parallel processing, regenerative memory, and a separation of memory and computing functions. Read the rest of this entry »
The First Freely Pogrammable Computer invented by Konrad Zuse
Konrad Zuse biography and technical details on his computers.
Konrad Zuse (1910-1995) was a construction engineer for the Henschel Aircraft Company in Berlin, Germany at the beginning of WWII. Konrad Zuse earned the semiofficial title of “inventor of the modern computer” for his series of automatic calculators, which he invented to help him with his lengthy engineering calculations. Zuse has modestly dismissed the title while praising many of the inventions of his contemporaries and successors as being equally if not more important than his own.
One of the most difficult aspects of doing a large calculation with either a slide rule or a mechanical adding machine is keeping track of all intermediate results and using them, in their proper place, in later steps of the calculation. Konrad Zuse wanted to overcome that difficulty. He realized that an automatic-calculator device would require three basic elements: a control, a memory, and a calculator for the arithmetic. Read the rest of this entry »
Use Any Phone on Any Wireless Network
The reason most cell phones are so cheap is that wireless carriers subsidize them so you’ll sign a long-term contract. Open access could change the economics of the mobile phone (and mobile data) business dramatically as the walls preventing certain devices from working on certain networks come down. We could also see a rapid proliferation of cell phone models, with smaller companies becoming better able to make headway into formerly closed phone markets. Read the rest of this entry »