Timeline of Computer History

Amiga 1000 with Seiko Music Keyboard
The Amiga 1000 is released. Commodore’s Amiga 1000 sold for $1,295 dollars (without monitor) and had audio and video capabilities beyond those found in most other personal computers. It developed a very loyal following and add-on components allowed it to be upgraded easily. The inside of the case is engraved with the signatures of the Amiga designers, including Jay Miner as well as the paw print of his dog Mitchy.
   The modern Internet gained support when the National Science foundation formed the NSFNET, linking five supercomputer centers at Princeton University, Pittsburgh, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Cornell University. Soon, several regional networks developed; eventually, the government reassigned pieces of the ARPANET to the NSFNET. The NSF allowed commercial use of the Internet for the first time in 1991, and in 1995, it decommissioned the backbone, leaving the Internet a self-supporting industry.

The NSFNET initially transferred data at 56 kilobits per second, an improvement on the overloaded ARPANET. Traffic continued to increase, though, and in 1987, ARPA awarded Merit Network Inc., IBM, and MCI a contract to expand the Internet by providing access points around the country to a network with a bandwidth of 1.5 megabits per second. In 1992, the network upgraded to T-3 lines, which transmit information at about 45 megabits per second.
Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant lecturing on the Well, 1999
The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (WELL) is founded. Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant started an on-line Bulletin Board System (BBS) to build a “virtual community” of computer users at low cost. Journalists were given free memberships in the early days, leading to many articles about it and helping it grow to thousands of members around the world.
Software & Languages
Aldus PageMaker
Aldus announced its PageMaker program for use on Macintosh computers, launching an interest in desktop publishing. Two years later, Aldus released a version for IBMs and IBM-compatible computers. Developed by Paul Brainerd, who founded Aldus Corp., PageMaker allowed users to combine graphics and text easily enough to make desktop publishing practical.

Chuck Geschke of Adobe Systems Inc., a company formed in 1994 by the merger of Adobe and Aldus, remembered: "John Sculley, a young fellow at Apple, got three groups together — Aldus, Adobe, and Apple — and out of that came the concept of desktop publishing. Paul Brainerd of Aldus is probably the person who first uttered the phrase. All three companies then took everybody who could tie a tie and speak two sentences in a row and put them on the road, meeting with people in the printing and publishing industry and selling them on this concept. The net result was that it turned around not only the laser printer but, candidly, Apple Computer. It really turned around that whole business.
   The C++ programming language emerged as the dominant object-oriented language in the computer industry when Bjarne Stroustrup published "The C++ Programming Language." Stroustrup, at AT&T Bell Laboratories, said his motivation stemmed from a desire to write event-driven simulations that needed a language faster than Simula. He developed a preprocessor that allowed Simula style programs to be implemented efficiently in C.

Stroustrup wrote in the preface to "The C++ Programming Language": "C++ is a general purpose programming language designed to make programming more enjoyable for the serious programmer. Except for minor details, C++ is a superset of the C programming language. In addition to the facilities provided by C, C++ provides flexible and efficient facilities for defining new types.... The key concept in C++ is class. A class is a user-defined type. Classes provide data hiding, guaranteed initialization of data, implicit type conversion for user-defined types, dynamic typing, user-controlled memory management, and mechanisms for overloading operators.... C++ retains C's ability to deal efficiently with the fundamental objects of the hardware (bits, bytes, words, addresses, etc.). This allows the user-defined types to be implemented with a pleasing degree of efficiency."


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