Articles from 2013(41)

The Homebrew Computer Club 2013 Reunion

The Homebrew Computer Club 2013 Reunion

Before 1975, the computer was an exotic and expensive tool for engineers, scientists, and businesses. By 1985 the computer had been “democratized”, and anyone with the need, the interest, and a few thousand dollars could have one of their own. Read More
Computer Pioneers: Photos from the Field

Computer Pioneers: Photos from the Field

The vibrant social processes of science are dramatically visible at conferences, workshops, seminars, and other gatherings of researchers. The main events are typically presentations by invited senior speakers or aspiring young researchers who have won the approval of reviewers. The audience members listen and watch the slides, then respond with supportive applause or challenging questions. Breaks, meals, and receptions offer major social possibilities, enabling young scholars to meet prominent leaders, colleagues to reconnect, and advocates of new directions to confront those who stick to traditional paths. Read More
Who Invented the Transistor?

Who Invented the Transistor?

Elizabethan philosopher, statesman, and scientist Sir Francis Bacon observed that “once the right path is followed, discoveries in limitless number will arise from the growing stock of knowledge.” This pattern was readily apparent in the history of the diode, it was repeated in the development of the next great leap forward in semiconductor devices: the transistor. Read More
Restoring the IBM 1401

Restoring the IBM 1401

Is anyone willing to lead a project to restore an IBM 1401?” Mike Cheponis enthusiastically asked with a glint in his eye. I knew Mike after attending several of his DEC PDP-1 restoration sessions at the Computer History Museum. While most of my late night college hours were spent on DEC, UNIVAC, and SDS computers, I had little exposure to IBM in the day. After designing central processors and leading-edge workstations at Xerox (1979) and Sun (1984), with a new position at IBM Research and a curiosity about the history of early computers, I naively accepted the challenge. A few moments later, I asked: “What exactly is an IBM 1401? Read More
Apple II DOS Source Code

Apple II DOS Source Code

Unlike the Apple I, the Apple II was fully assembled and ready to use with any display monitor. The version with 4K of memory cost $1298. It had color, graphics, sound, expansion slots, game paddles, and a built-in BASIC programming language. Read More
Who Invented the Diode?

Who Invented the Diode?

The inventors of the transistor and the integrated circuit received Nobel Prizes. The engineering community marks anniversaries of their conception with conferences, banquets, and awards. Occasionally they are even celebrated in the popular media. So why has no one heard of the inventor of the diode? Read More
A Curator’s Wish: The SynthAxe

A Curator’s Wish: The SynthAxe

I’m often asked if there were one object in the entire world that the museum could acquire, what would it be? It’s a tough question, there are seminal machines that would be amazing to include in the collection. But in my heart, there’s one piece that I have searched for tirelessly which would be outstanding to have: The SynthAxe Read More
Volunteers, start your laptops!

Volunteers, start your laptops!

The race is on! The Computer History Museum was recently awarded a prestigious two-year federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to catalog 10,000 backlogged physical objects (hardware and ephemera). That’s a lot to accomplish in such a short time but we know we’ll cross the Finish Line with our collections volunteers. Read More
MediaView: The nearly forgotten NeXT program that helped save the Open Web

MediaView: The nearly forgotten NeXT program that helped save the Open Web

If Steve Jobs hadn’t gotten kicked out of Apple in 1985, the Web might look very different today. But not for the reasons most people might think.Angry and deeply hurt, the arrogant, hard-to-control young entrepreneur sent a pointed message with the name of his next company: NeXT, Inc. The matte black cube computers he launched in 1988 cost a staggering $10,000. But besides their fast processors and enormous displays these cutting-edge machines ran the innovative NeXTStep operating system – today better known in its second incarnation as Mac OS X. Read More
SRI ARC Journal: A Record of Engelbart and his Team

SRI ARC Journal: A Record of Engelbart and his Team

ARC was the laboratory started by Douglas Engelbart where the oNLine System (NLS), later Augment, was conceived. Read More
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