What Happened Today, July 21st
What Happened This Week
Completed in 1951, the Whirlwind could store 2,048 16-digit words with its 4,500 vacuum tubes taking up more than 3,000 square feet of space. Forrester called the computer a reliable operating system, as it was capable of running 35 hours per week at 90-percent utility.
ENIGMA was used extensively by the German military during World War II to transmit battle plans and other secret information. By December of 1941, however, British codebreakers managed to decipher the code, allowing them to routinely read most ENIGMA traffic.
An ENIGMA machine is on display at The Computer History Museum.
The background proved useful during a later turn at Harvard Business School, where Bricklin teamed with Robert Frankston to design the first business spreadsheet program. The result, in 1979, was a visible calculator that automated the recalculation of spreadsheets.
Bricklin and Frankston founded Software Arts Inc. and sold their program to Apple Computer and other companies, selling 100,000 copies in the first year.
At 2:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, a computer operator in Virginia ignored alarms on the computer that updated Internet address information, leading to problems at several other computers with similar responsibilities. The corruption meant most Internet addresses could not be accessed, resulting in millions of unsent e-mail messages.
Moore is famous for Moore's Law, which dictates that every 18 months microprocessors double in speed and decrease in size by half.