Timeline of Computer History
 

1973  
Companies
IMSAI 8080 System
IMSAI is founded. In 1973, Bill Millard left his regular job in management to found the consulting firm Information Management Services or IMS. The following year, while he was working on a client’s project, he developed a small computing system using the then-new Intel 8080 microprocessor. He realized this computer might attract other buyers and so placed an advertisement in the hobbyist magazine “Popular Electronics,” offering it in kit form. The IMSAI 8080, as it was known, sold briskly and eventually about 20,000 units were shipped. The company was eventually purchased by one of its dealers and is today a division of the Fischer-Freitas Company, which still offers reproductions of the original for sale to hobbyists.
Computers
TV Typewriter
The TV Typewriter, designed by Don Lancaster, provided the first display of alphanumeric information on an ordinary television set. It used $120 worth of electronics components, as outlined in the September 1973 issue of Radio Electronics. The original design included two memory boards and could generate and store 512 characters as 16 lines of 32 characters. A 90-minute cassette tape provided supplementary storage for about 100 pages of text.
Micral
The Micral was the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a micro-processor, the Intel 8008. Thi Truong developed the computer and Philippe Kahn the software. Truong, founder and president of the French company R2E, created the Micral as a replacement for minicomputers in situations that didn´t require high performance. Selling for $1,750, the Micral never penetrated the U.S. market. In 1979, Truong sold Micral to Bull.
Networking
Ethernet
Robert Metcalfe devised the Ethernet method of network connection at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. He wrote: "On May 22, 1973, using my Selectric typewriter ... I wrote ... "Ether Acquisition" ... heavy with handwritten annotations — one of which was "ETHER!" — and with hand-drawn diagrams — one of which showed `boosters´ interconnecting branched cable, telephone, and ratio ethers in what we now call an internet.... If Ethernet was invented in any one memo, by any one person, or on any one day, this was it."

Robert M. Metcalfe, "How Ethernet Was Invented", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Volume 16, No. 4, Winter 1994, p. 84.

 


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