Plonker

History of Computing

  • Charles Babbage

    Charles Babbage
    Babbage's machines were among the first mechanical computers, although they were not actually completed, largely because of funding problems and personality issues. He directed the building of some steam-powered machines that achieved some success, suggesting that calculations could be mechanised. Although Babbage's machines were mechanical and unwieldy, their basic architecture was very similar to a modern computer.
  • Ada Lovelace

    Ada Lovelace
    In 1842 Charles Babbage was invited to give a seminar at the University of Turin about his analytical engine. Luigi Menabrea, a young Italian engineer, and future prime minister of Italy, wrote up Babbage's lecture in French, and this transcript was subsequently published in the Bibliothèque Universelle de Genève in October 1842.
  • Complex Number Calculator

    The Complex Number Calculator (CNC) is completed. In 1939, Bell Telephone Laboratories completed this calculator, designed by researcher George Stibitz. In 1940, Stibitz demonstrated the CNC at an American Mathematical Society conference held at Dartmouth College. Stibitz stunned the group by performing calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) using a Teletype connected via special telephone lines. This is considered to be the first demonstration of remote access computing.
  • Zuse Z3

    Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer. The Z3 was an early computer built by German engineer Konrad Zuse working in complete isolation from developments elsewhere. Using 2,300 relays, the Z3 used floating point binary arithmetic and had a 22-bit word length. The original Z3 was destroyed in a bombing raid of Berlin in late 1943. However, Zuse later supervised a reconstruction of the Z3 in the 1960s which is currently on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
  • Bombe

    The first Bombe is completed. Based partly on the design of the Polish “Bomba,” a mechanical means of decrypting Nazi military communications during WWII, the British Bombe design was greatly influenced by the work of computer pioneer Alan Turing and others. Many bombes were built. Together they dramatically improved the intelligence gathering and processing capabilities of Allied forces.
  • Enigma

    Enigma
    Adolf Hitler uses the Enigma encryption machine
  • COLOSSUS

    Alan Turing develops the the code-breaking machine Colossus
  • ENIAC

    John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly: John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly develop the ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
  • CRT

    F.C. Williams develops his cathode-ray tube (CRT) storing device the forerunner to random-access memory (RAM)
  • UNIVAC

    UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was introduced - the first commercial computer made in the United States and designed principally by John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly
  • Mice

    Mice
    A mouse is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with one or more buttons.
  • Hummingbird

    Hummingbird
    A ten minute computer animated film by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer. Awarded a prize at the 4th International Experimental Film Competition, Brussels, Belgium, 1967 and in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The subject was a line drawing of a hummingbird for which a sequence of movements appropriate to the bird were programmed. Over 30,000 images comprising some 25 motion sequences were generated by the computer.
  • INTERNET

    The U.S. Department of Defense sets up the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET ) this network was the first building blocks to what the internet is today but originally with the intention of creating a computer network that could withstand any type of disaster.
  • 8 inch Floppy introduced

    8 inch Floppy introduced
    A floppy disk is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles. They are read and written by a floppy disk drive (FDD).
    Floppy disks, initially as 8-inch (200 mm) media and later in 5.25-inch (133 mm) and 3.5-inch (89 mm) sizes, were an ubiquitous form of data storage and exchange from the mid-1970s well into the first decade of the 21st century.
  • First CD invented in US

    First CD invented in US
    A CD-ROM is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. The 1985 “Yellow Book” standard developed by Sony and Philips adapted the format to hold any form of binary data.
  • Pong

    First Video Game: Atari releases Pong, the first commercial video game
  • Microsoft

    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, United States that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions. Established on April 4, 1975 to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Mi
  • Cray 1

    Cray 1
    The Cray-1 was a supercomputer designed, manufactured, and marketed by Cray Research. The first Cray-1 system was installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1976, and it went on to become one of the best known and most successful supercomputers in history. The Cray-1's architect was Seymour Cray and the chief engineer was Cray Research co-founder Lester Davis.
  • Apple I

    The original Apple Computer, also known retroactively as the Apple I, or Apple-1, is a personal computer released by the Apple Computer Company (now Apple Inc.) in 1976. They were designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak's friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple's first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only means of transportation, a VW van and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500.
  • GPS

    The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites. It is maintained by the United States government and is freely accessible to anyone with a GPS receiver.
  • Sinclair ZX80

    Sinclair ZX80
    The Sinclair ZX80 is a home computer brought to market in 1980 by Science of Cambridge Ltd. (later to be better known as Sinclair Research). It is notable for being the first computer (unless you consider the MK14) available in the United Kingdom for less than a hundred pounds (£99.95). It was available in kit form, where purchasers had to assemble and solder it together, and as a ready-built version at a slightly higher cost for those without the skill or inclination to build their own unit.
  • IBM 5150

    IBM 5150
    The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida.
  • Commodore 64

    Commodore introduces the VIC-20, destined to be the first home computer model to sell more than one million units. Waiting in the wings is the more powerful Commodore 64, the first popularly priced machine to have 64K of memory built in.
  • Period: to

    "Classic" Mac OS (1984–2001)

    The "classic" Mac OS is characterized by its total lack of a command line; it is a completely graphical operating system. Versions of Mac OS up through System 4 only ran one application at a time.
  • Amstrad PCW

    Amstrad PCW
    The Amstrad PCW series was a range of personal computers produced by British company Amstrad from 1985 to 1998, and also sold under licence in Europe as the "Joyce" by the German electronics company Schneider in the early years of the series' life. When it was launched, the cost of a PCW system was under 25% of the cost of almost all IBM-compatible PC systems in the UK.
  • TIM BERNERS LEE

    Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau propose a 'hypertext' system starting the modern Internet
  • Windows 3.0 and 3.1

    Windows 3.0 (1990) and Windows 3.1 (1992) improved the design, mostly because of virtual memory and loadable virtual device drivers (VxDs) that allowed them to share arbitrary devices between multitasked DOS windows.[citation needed] Also, Windows applications could now run in protected mode (when Windows was running in Standard or 386 Enhanced Mode), which gave them access to several megabytes of memory and removed the obligation to participate in the software virtual memory scheme.
  • Web browser

    IE 28%
    CHROME 24%
    FIREFOX 22%
    SAFARI 14%
    OPERA 5%
    ANDROID 3%
    OTHER 4%
  • SNES

    The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as the Super NES, SNES or Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in North America, Europe, Australasia (Oceania), and South America between 1990 and 1993. In Japan and Southeast Asia, the system is called the Super Famicom officially adopting the abbreviated name of its predecessor, the Family Computer), or SFC for short.
  • Windows NT family

    The NT family of Windows systems was fashioned and marketed for higher reliability business use. The first release was NT 3.1 (1993), numbered "3.1" to match the consumer Windows version, which was followed by NT 3.5 (1994), NT 3.51 (1995), NT 4.0 (1996), and Windows 2000, which is the last NT-based Windows release that does not include Microsoft Product Activation. Windows NT 4.0 was the first in this line to implement the "Windows 95" user interface (and the first to include Windows 95's built
  • Playstation

    Playstation
    The PlayStation , officially abbreviated PS brand is a series of video game consoles created and developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Spanning the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth generations of video gaming, the brand was first introduced on December 3, 1994 in Japan. The brand consists of a total of three home consoles, a media center, an online service, a line of controllers, two handhelds and a phone, as well as multiple magazines.
  • DVD

    DVD
    DVD is an optical disc storage format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions.
    Pre-recorded DVDs are mass-produced using molding machines that physically stamp data onto the DVD. Such discs are known as DVD-ROM, because data can only be read and not written nor erased.
  • Windows 95, 98, and Me

    Windows 95 was released in August 1995, featuring a new user interface, support for long file names of up to 255 characters, and the ability to automatically detect and configure installed hardware (plug and play). It could natively run 32-bit applications, and featured several technological improvements that increased its stability over Windows 3.1. There were several OEM Service Releases (OSR) of Windows 95, each of which was roughly equivalent to a service pack.
  • TFT-LCD

    Thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) is a variant of liquid crystal display (LCD) which uses thin-film transistor (TFT) technology to improve image quality (e.g., addressability, contrast). TFT LCD is one type of Active matrix LCD, though all LCD-screens are based on TFT active matrix addressing. TFT LCDs are used in television sets, computer monitors, mobile phones, handheld video game systems, personal digital assistants, navigation systems, projectors, etc.
  • OS X

    OS X is the newest of Apple Inc.'s Mac OS line of operating systems. Although it is officially designated as simply "version 10" of the Mac OS, it has a history largely independent of the earlier Mac OS releases.
    The operating system is the successor to Mac OS 9 and the "classic" Mac OS.
  • iPod

    iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc.. The product line-up consists of the hard drive-based iPod classic, the touchscreen iPod touch, the compact iPod nano and the ultra-compact iPod shuffle. iPod classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive).
  • XBOX

    XBOX
  • 64-bit operating systems

    Windows NT included support for several different platforms before the x86-based personal computer became dominant in the professional world. Versions of NT from 3.1 to 4.0 variously supported PowerPC, DEC Alpha and MIPS R4000, some of which were 64-bit processors, although the operating system treated them as 32-bit processors.
  • WII

    WII
    The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others.
  • iPad

    The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, apps and web content. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. The iPad runs on iOS, the same operating system used on Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone, and can run its own applications as well as iPhone applications.
  • Windows 8

    Windows 8 features a much faster startup, an App Store, integrated web applications, improved digital media support (including AVC HD and 3D video), faster resumes from low-power states, and support for both USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0. It also includes facial recognition (due to the increasing use of webcams integrated into computers), which can log a user in automatically. There are major improvements for touch usage.
  • Windows CE

    Windows CE (officially known as Windows Embedded Compact), is an edition of Windows that runs on minimalistic computers, like satellite navigation systems and some mobile phones. Windows Embedded Compact is based on its own dedicated kernel, dubbed Windows CE kernel. Microsoft licenses Windows CE to OEMs and device makers. The OEMs and device makers can modify and create their own user interfaces and experiences, while Windows CE provides the technical foundation to do so.
  • Future of Windows

    Windows 8, the successor to Windows 7, is currently in development. Microsoft posted a blog entry in Dutch on October 22, 2010 hinting that Windows 8 would be released in roughly two years.[6] Also, during the pre-Consumer Electronics Show keynote, Microsoft's CEO announced that Windows 8 will also run on ARM CPUs. This Windows version will also be more suitable for tablets and netbooks, featuring a more touch-friendly interface.
  • BLACK OPS 2

    BBC PROOFBlack Ops 2 is set in 2025 and centres on "the enemy" taking control of the US army's unmanned weapon systems. The title is being developed by the firm's Treyarch studio and is due for release on 13 November.
  • Worlds first artificial kidney

    Kidneys perform a vital role in the human body: filtering blood, removing excess fluid and eliminating waste products. They are essential to the urinary system, the regulation of blood pressure (via salt and water balance) and the production of various hormones. Kidney diseases are diverse, but their primary causes over the long-term are diabetes and high blood pressure. Among the most serious clinical conditions is end-stage renal disease (ESRD), affecting 2 million people worldwide.
  • Mind Reading Cameras

    Twenty years on from 9/11, mind readers are now a common feature of airport security, as well as sports stadiums and other high profile events. This technology faced problems to begin with, as there were false positives recorded by the machines – but recent advances in neuroscience and computer analysing software have greatly improved their accuracy. The system uses "non-invasive" sensors and imagers.
  • SKYLON SPACE PLANE

    SKYLON is the successor to Britain's HOTOL spaceplane concept, being developed by Reaction Engines Ltd (REL).
  • A rapidly changing workforce

    Microsoft In order to cut real estate costs, become more eco-friendly, and attract the growing number of people seeking work-life balance, most companies by now have adopted a "work wherever you want, whenever you want" policy. An increasingly global talent pool is emerging, with firms aggressively pursuing the best available workers - regardless of where they reside.
  • Traditional microchips are reaching the limits of miniaturisation

    Microchip site
    Semiconductor companies are reaching the limits of miniaturisation for computer chips. The smallest transistors are now being built with a 4-nanometre manufacturing process. This is close to the size of individual atoms. Silicon is impossible to scale below this size, due to the effects of quantum tunnelling.
  • Brain-computer interfaces allowing the paralysed to walk again

    Brain-computer interfaces
    By this date, a prototype full-body exoskeleton has been devised which allows the paralysed to walk again - using their thoughts alone to control it.* This is achieved using a neuroprosthetic device with a highly advanced brain-computer interface (BCI) at its core, driven by neurochips implanted in the patient's skull.