popular electronics

44 results back to index


pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

In the end, Roberts promised to meet the price and to deliver the first machine to Popular Electronics as soon as it was built, and Popular Electronics promised to publish a series of articles on it, including a cover story. When Salsberg agreed to go with Roberts’s machine, he was taking a risk. This was to be the cover story for the issue. If they promoted this computer and it turned out to be a bomb, the magazine would look bad. No one at MITS had ever built a computer before. Roberts had only two engineers on his staff, and one of them had his degree in aeronautical engineering. Roberts had no prototype and no detailed proposal. But Uncle Sol kept assuring Salsberg that Roberts could deliver the goods. Salsberg hoped he was right. Roberts was just as edgy about Popular Electronics’s promises. However much he liked and respected Les Solomon, he was wary of Solomon’s cheerful assurances.

He took his $65,000 and, with Yates and Bybe, worked feverishly to complete the prototype to send to Popular Electronics. It was going to appear on the cover, so they made sure it looked especially attractive. * * * Figure 17. The MITS Altair 8800, assembled The default input and output for the Altair computer were the switches and lights on the front panel. (Courtesy of Intel Corp.) Because Bill Yates was doing most of the design, he worked with Roberts on the article. While Roberts and Yates were scrambling to finish both the computer and the article, they realized they still didn’t have a name for their machine. They figured Solomon would put a Popular Electronics name on it if they didn’t, so they beat him to the punch by calling it the PE-8. It was Roberts’s last small hedge against Popular Electronics’s scuttling the project. But that wasn’t the name by which the machine became famous.

And the 8080 chip was a far better “brain” than the 8008. The Altair had the potential, at least in miniature, of doing everything a large mainframe computer could do. Solomon was convinced of it and told Roberts as much. But he didn’t voice his concern that the message might not get across to the Popular Electronics readers. Art Salsberg told him that Popular Electronics had to offer its readers more than just instructions for building the device. To prove that the Altair was a serious computer, Popular Electronics had to also offer one solid application, a practical purpose for the Altair that could be demonstrated right away. What that application might be, Solomon had no idea. Delivering the Goods The deadline arrived for Roberts to deliver the prototype computer to Solomon. Roberts told him that it was coming by Railway Express, a troubled parcel-shipping service that would cease operations later that year, and to watch for it.


pages: 598 words: 183,531

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, Donald Knuth, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Also, Ed Roberts had previously licensed a project that Melen and Garland had written about in Popular Electronics and had never gotten around to paying them royalties. So there were two things that Melen wanted to talk to Roberts about. The Altair computer was the more important by far—the right toy at the right time, Melen thought—and he was so excited about the prospect of owning one that he couldn’t sleep that night. When he finally got to MITS’ modest headquarters, he was disappointed to find that there was no Altair ready to take home. But Ed Roberts was a fascinating fellow, a dyed-in-the-wool engineer with a blazing vision. They talked until five in the morning about the technical aspects of this vision. This was before the Popular Electronics article was out, though, and Roberts was concerned at what the response might be.

The brightness dimmed on that cold February morning: Marsh and Felsenstein’s terminal didn’t work. After a quick day-trip to New Hampshire to meet the folks at the new hobbyist magazine Byte, Lee was able to get to a workbench and find the problem—a small wire had come loose. They went back to the offices of Popular Electronics and turned it on. “It looked like a house on fire,” Solomon later said. He had immediately grasped that he was looking at a complete computer. The resulting Popular Electronics article spoke of an intelligent computer terminal. But it was clearly a computer, a computer that, when Processor Technology packaged it in its pretty blue case with walnut sides, looked more like a fancy typewriter without a platen. There were new schematics for the revised kit (under one thousand dollars), which of course were provided to anyone who wanted to see how the thing worked.

Left school at fourteen to be mascot of AI lab; maker of illicit keys and builder of a tiny robot that did the impossible. Dan Sokol. Long-haired prankster who reveled in revealing technological secrets at Homebrew Club. Helped “liberate” Altair BASIC program on paper tape. Sol Computer. Lee Felsenstein’s terminal-and-computer, built in two frantic months, almost the computer that turned things around. Almost wasn’t enough. Les Solomon. Editor of Popular Electronics, the puller of strings who set the computer revolution into motion. Marty Spergel. The Junk Man, the Homebrew member who supplied circuits and cables and could make you a deal for anything. Richard Stallman. The Last of the Hackers, he vowed to defend the principles of hackerism to the bitter end. Remained at MIT until there was no one to eat Chinese food with. Jeff Stephenson. Thirty-year-old martial arts veteran and hacker who was astounded that joining Sierra On-Line meant enrolling in Summer Camp.


pages: 720 words: 197,129

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The MITS machine might have languished with the unsold calculators in Albuquerque, if Roberts had not previously befriended Les Solomon of Popular Electronics, which was to the Heathkit set what Rolling Stone was for rock fans. Solomon, a Brooklyn-born adventurer who as a young man had fought alongside Menachem Begin and the Zionists in Palestine, was eager to find a personal computer to feature on the cover of his magazine. A competitor had done a cover on a computer kit called the Mark-8, which was a barely workable box using the anemic Intel 8008. Solomon knew he had to top that story quickly. Roberts sent him the only workable prototype of his MITS machine via Railway Express Agency, which lost it. (The venerable shipping service went out of business a few months later.) So the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics featured a fake version. As they were rushing the article into print, Roberts still hadn’t picked a name for it.

According to Solomon, his daughter, a Star Trek junkie, suggested it be named after the star that the spaceship Enterprise was visiting that night, Altair. And so the first real, working personal computer for home consumers was named the Altair 8800.113 “The era of the computer in every home—a favorite topic among science-fiction writers—has arrived!” the lede of the Popular Electronics story exclaimed.114 For the first time, a workable and affordable computer was being marketed to the general public. “To my mind,” Bill Gates would later declare, “the Altair is the first thing that deserves to be called a personal computer.”115 The day that issue of Popular Electronics hit the newsstands, orders started pouring in. Roberts had to hire extra people in Albuquerque to answer the phones. In just one day they got four hundred orders, and within months five thousand kits had been sold (though not shipped, since MITS could not make them nearly that fast).

“Hardware,” he admitted, “was not our area of expertise.”3 What Gates and Allen set out to do on that December day in 1974 when they first saw the Popular Electronics cover was to create the software for personal computers. More than that, they wanted to shift the balance in the emerging industry so that the hardware would become an interchangeable commodity, while those who created the operating system and application software would capture most of the profits. “When Paul showed me that magazine, there was no such thing as a software industry,” Gates recalled. “We had the insight that you could create one. And we did.” Years later, reflecting on his innovations, he said, “That was the most important idea that I ever had.”4 BILL GATES The rocking motion that Gates exhibited when reading the Popular Electronics article had been a sign of his intensity since childhood. “As a baby, he used to rock back and forth in his cradle himself,” recalled his father, a successful and gentle lawyer.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

It was called the Altair, manufactured by a little company down in Albuquerque called MITS, and it took the hobbyist world by storm after being unveiled in Popular Electronics at the start of 1975. Here was a construction project like no other. There was the usual board, components, and bus, with the addition of a nice blue metal box in which to encase it all. But unlike any other kit, the Altair featured an Intel 8080 microprocessor for its computing power and memory. Ed Roberts, the entrepreneur and designer behind MITS, had struck a deal with Intel to buy some slightly blemished chips at volume for $75 apiece, a fraction of their retail price. In the hands of an experienced hacker with patience and a soldering iron, the Altair kit became a zippy desktop computer that cost little more than $400 to make. After the prototype made its debut on Popular Electronics’ January cover—“Project Breakthrough!”

Many started by selling Altairs and peripherals, but often moved into the business of building whole new microcomputers altogether.2 With the blessing of Popular Electronics editor Les Solomon, who promised a cover story, Felsenstein joined with the Proc Tech team to commercialize the Tom Swift Terminal. Despite the pains they took not to tread on Altair’s toes—the unit was designed as an “intelligent terminal” rather than a computer—the effort ultimately produced an important Altair competitor, the Sol. In another first, the Sol included BASIC software as well as hardware. The user base had grown beyond people who could simply consult Dr. Dobb’s to program their machine. As an indication of how large Popular Electronics still loomed on the early personal-computer scene, they named it in honor of Les Solomon.3 Across America, start-ups bubbled up nearly anyplace where there were lots of engineers and active hobbyist chatter.

Socially awkward and finding real-life interpersonal connection difficult (later in life, he received a diagnosis of mild autism), Felsenstein decided to devote his life to creating technology that helped people powerfully and efficiently share information—but that was so simple anyone could use it.1 Born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Lee Felsenstein was less than a decade younger than captains of the semiconductor industry like Andy Grove and Jerry Sanders. Yet his generation’s experience was so different that it might as well have been a century. Like so many boys of his postwar generation, he’d plop down a carefully saved quarter each month to buy the latest edition of Popular Electronics, poring over the glorious multipage spreads within that described how to make your own electronic gadgets. At age eleven, he built a crystal radio out of a kit discarded by his older brother. When he was twelve, Sputnik rocketed into space, and he built a small satellite that won third place in the regional science fair. When he was in high school, he’d hop on his bike to pedal down the three miles to the city’s great temple of science and engineering, the Franklin Institute, to see the Philadelphia-built UNIVAC that the museum had proudly enclosed in a glass display.


pages: 744 words: 142,748

Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell by Phil Lapsley

air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, card file, cuban missile crisis, dumpster diving, Hush-A-Phone, index card, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, John Markoff, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the new new thing, the scientific method, undersea cable, urban renewal, wikimedia commons

If it were just a handful of clever people figuring this stuff out, that might be one thing. But the contagion was threatening to spread more widely via ads, like one that appeared in 1963. Slash Communication Costs with TELA-TONE You’ve been reading about it. Now you can build it yourself. No license required to operate. 5,000 mile range. Complete details, $5 or money back. Tela-tone, Box 4304, Pasadena, Calif. Or the following gem from the January 1964 hobbyist magazine Popular Electronics: TOLL Free Distance Dialing. By-passes operators and billing equipment. Build for $15.00. Ideal for Telephone Company Executives. Plans $4.75. Seaway Electronics, 6311 Yucca St., Hollywood 28, California. “Ideal for Telephone Company Executives.” Whoever got mail at 6311 Yucca Street in Hollywood seemed to have a sense of humor. Formerly the offices of Variety, Hollywood’s leading newspaper, 6311 Yucca by the early sixties had become the mail-order headquarters of dozens and dozens of questionable enterprises, such as Seaway Electronics (blue box plans), Preview Records (vanity recording studio), Man International (false beards and mustaches), C.

By 1974 Intel had released a new and greatly improved successor, the Intel 8080, a tiny rectangle of silicon some 3/16 of an inch on a side that contained about six thousand transistors. It was a computer on a chip that executed a few hundred thousand instructions per second. Engineers called it the “first truly useable microprocessor.” Intel didn’t know it yet but that chip would be the thing that started the home computer revolution and would lead to Intel’s eventual domination of the microprocessor market. In January 1975 Popular Electronics, a geeky electronic hobbyist magazine, offered its readers an unbelievable chance to own their own slice of high-tech heaven. “Project Breakthrough!” the cover fairly shouted. “World’s First Minicomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models . . . ‘Altair 8800.’” The cover’s photo showed a large metal box—blue, as it happened—about the size of three toasters, its nerd-sexy front panel festooned with dozens of tiny toggle switches and red LEDs.

But before you could program it you had to build it. It came as a kit, consisting of empty circuit boards and bags full of electronic components you had to solder together. The price? A mere $397, mail-ordered from a company no one had ever heard of: MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico. MITS’s phone began ringing off the hook. Within weeks thousands of orders were called in for the Altair 8800, more than four hundred in a single day. The Popular Electronics editor Les Solomon said later, “The only word which could come into mind was ‘magic.’ You buy the Altair, you have to build it, then you have to build other things to plug into it to make it work. You are a weird-type person. Because only weird-type people sit in kitchens and basements and places all hours of the night, soldering things to boards to make machines go flickety-flock.” Weird-type people who sit in kitchens and basements, soldering things to make machines go flickety-flock.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

We got no takers. By December, we were pretty discouraged. I was planning to fly home to Seattle for the holidays, and Paul was staying in Boston. On an achingly cold Massachusetts morning a few days before I left, Paul and I were hanging out at the Harvard Square newsstand, and Paul picked up the January issue of Popular Electronics. This is the moment I described at the beginning of the Foreword. This gave reality to our dreams about the future. January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics On the magazine's cover was a photograph of a very small computer, not much larger than a toaster oven. It had a name only slightly more dignified than Traf-O-Data: the Altair 8800 ("Altair" was a destination in a Star Trek episode). It was being sold for $397 as a kit. When it was assembled, it had no keyboard or display.

In particular, I'd like to thank Peter Mayer, Marvin Brown, Barbara Grossman, Pamela Dorman, Cindy Achar, Kate Griggs, Theodora Rosenbaum, Susan Hans O'Connor, and Michael Hardart. Thanks, too, for editorial help, go to Nancy Nicholas and Nan Graham. My special gratitude to my collaborators, Peter Rinearson and Nathan Myhrvold. FOREWORD The past twenty years have been an incredible adventure for me. It started on a day when, as a college sophomore, I stood in Harvard Square with my friend Paul Allen and pored over the description of a kit computer in Popular Electronics magazine. As we read excitedly about the first truly personal computer, Paul and I didn't know exactly how it would be used, but we were sure it would change us and the world of computing. We were right. The personal-computer revolution happened and it has affected millions of lives. It has led us to places we had barely imagined. We are all beginning another great journey. We aren't sure where this one will lead us either, but again I am certain this revolution will touch even more lives and take us all farther.

I can still feel how painful being late on some of those projects got to be. We improved and mended our ways. We're still late with projects sometimes but a lot less often than we would have been if we hadn't had those scary baby-sitters. Microsoft started out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975 because that's where MITS was located. MITS was the tiny company whose Altair 8800 personal-computer kit had been on the cover of Popular Electronics. We worked with it because it had been the first company to sell an inexpensive personal computer to the general public. By 1977, Apple, Commodore, and Radio Shack had also entered the business. We provided BASIC for most of the early personal computers. This was the crucial software ingredient at that time, because users wrote their own applications in BASIC rather than buying packaged applications.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

If not working with computers directly, they were often employed as technicians or engineers in the electronics industry. The typical hobbyist had cut his teeth in his early teens on electronics construction kits, bought through mail-order advertisements in one of the popular electronics magazines. Many of the hobbyists were active radio amateurs. But even those who were not radio amateurs owed much to the “ham” culture, which descended in an unbroken line from the early days of radio. After World War II, radio amateurs and electronics hobbyists moved on to building television sets and hi-fi kits advertised in magazines such as Popular Electronics and Radio Electronics. In the 1970s, the hobbyists lighted on the computer as the next electronics bandwagon. Their enthusiasm for computing had often been produced by the hands-on experience of using a minicomputer at work or in college.

What brought together these two groups, with such different perspectives, was the arrival of the first hobby computer, the Altair 8800. THE ALTAIR 8800 In January 1975 the first microprocessor-based computer, the Altair 8800, was announced on the front cover of Popular Electronics. The Altair 8800 is often described as the first personal computer. This was true only in the sense that its price was so low that it could be realistically bought by an individual. In every other sense the Altair 8800 was a traditional minicomputer. Indeed, the blurb on the front cover of Popular Electronics described it as exactly that: “Exclusive! Altair 8800. The most powerful minicomputer project ever presented—can be built for under $400.” The Altair 8800 closely followed the electronics hobbyist marketing model: it was inexpensive ($397) and was sold by mail order as a kit that the enthusiast had to assemble himself.

Page 232“Announcing a new era of integrated electronics”: The ad is reproduced in Augarten 1984, p. 264. Page 232“fad” that “seemed to come from nowhere”: Douglas 1987, p. 303. Page 234“New Communalists”: Turner 2006, p. 4. Page 234“transform the individual into a capable, creative person”: Turner 2006, p. 84. Page 234“was one of the bibles”: Jobs 2005, p. 1. Page 235“Exclusive! Altair 8800”: Popular Electronics, January 1975, p. 33; reproduced in Langlois 1992, p. 10. Page 240“nit-picking technical debates”: Moritz 1984, p. 136. Page 241three leading manufacturers: See Langlois 1992 for an excellent economic analysis of the personal-computer industry. Page 242“The home computer that’s ready to work, play and grow with you . . . ”: Quoted in Moritz 1984, p. 224. Page 243There were three main markets for applications software: For a discussion of the personal-computer software industry, see Campbell-Kelly 2003, chap. 7.


pages: 336 words: 92,056

The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, British Empire, Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Hawking, Thales of Miletus, the scientific method, Thomas Davenport, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Yogi Berra

Those who had only been able to read about Marconi and other scientists finally had a reasonably priced opportunity to roll up their sleeves and explore the technology themselves in home workshops, though some of Gernsback’s product line, such as the do-it-yourself x-ray unit, is actually frightening by today’s standards. It’s worth noting that a variation of the Gernsback story was reprised in 1975 when a small Albuquerque, New Mexico, company, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) introduced the Altair 8800 for $395 (about $1,500 in constant dollars) through the mail. Considered the first “microcomputer,” the unit appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics in January 1975. The Altair (named after the brightest star in the Aquila constellation) offered no keyboard, monitor, or tape reader, and boasted a whopping 256 bytes of memory. Enthusiasts programmed it in binary machine language with toggle switches and little lights on the front panel. Thousands of the units were sold, and a Harvard student, William Henry Gates III (“Bill” to his friends), contacted the company with an offer to write code for the machine.

And even then, it wasn’t the lead item, following an announcement that Eve Arden would be starring in a new show called Our Miss Brooks, “…playing the role of a school teacher who encounters a variety of adventures.” Eve Arden had somehow upstaged one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the twentieth century. Transistors fared only somewhat better in the now-defunct Herald Tribune and mainstream science and technology magazines like Popular Science and Popular Electronics. To be fair, the New York Times wasn’t alone in its seeming indifference. Aside from the professional technical journals and a few hobbyist publications, which hailed the announcement with varying degrees of geeky enthusiasm, the overall response was one of muted, earnest, and perfunctory reporting. What the scientists at Bell unveiled at their press conference was not a product like stereophonic sound or CinemaScope images on the big screen that the general public could immediately appreciate, if not fully understand.

., 78, 97–112, 150, 200, 281 telegraph, 103–109, 109, 110–12, 120, 130, 206, 248–49 Morse code, 97, 106–107, 112, 191, 195, 196, 206, 209 motor, electric, 21, 75, 85–96, 151, 170, 171–72 Davenport, 92–94 Faraday, 75, 75, 76–77, 92 Henry, 85–88, 92 Motorola, 230–31, 251 music, 218, 256, 257 Musschenbroek, Pieter van, 10, 24–27 myth, 4–9, 10, 259 name, battery, 142 Napoleon Bonaparte, 48, 58, 59–60, 65, 72, 99, 129 NASA, 264, 272, 276, 281 National Carbon Company, 179, 182, 183, 220, 228, 241 Nativist movement, 102–103 natural philosophy, 37–38, 60, 69 Nazism, 226, 234, 260 nerve impulses, electrical basis of, 40–41, 45 Netherlands, 82 newspaper trade, and telegraph, 132 Newton, Isaac, 14–15, 17, 18, 36, 39, 72, 75, 78 New York City, 29, 102, 111, 132, 134–39, 153–55, 182 Radio Row, 244 New York Sun, 148 New York Times, 141, 154, 196, 241, 246, 254 Nicholson, William, 44–45, 47, 63 nickel cadmium (NiCd) battery, 270, 271 nickel hydrogen rechargeable battery, 276, 276 nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery, 270, 271 Nike Ajax, 248 9-volt battery, 259 nitric acid battery, 67, 87, 95, 96, 110, 113, 139, 146 No. 6 battery, 213, 214, 215 Nokia, 278 Nollet, Jean-Antoine, 27–29, 33–34, 42 Norman, Robert, Newe Attractive, 11 observation, 2–4, 5 O’Neill, Eugene, Long Day’s Journey into Night, 156 optical telegraph systems, 98–99, 100, 103, 112, 123 Ørsted, Hans Christian, 73–74, 84 pad shovers, 135, 136, 138 Page, Charles, 95 Panic of 1837, 106 parallel circuit, 81 Paris, 132, 147, 148 patents, 49–50, 57, 88, 152, 187, 188, 207 battery, 49–50, 179 electric light, 147, 151 flashlight, 183 integrated circuit, 264 “7777 Patent,” 188 telegraph, 104, 105 telephone, 151, 157–60 transistor, 247 walkie-talkie, 232 wireless telegraph, 191 pee battery, 282 Pegasus, 5, 5 pen, electric, 170, 170, 171 Penfield Iron Works, 84, 91 Peregrinus, Petrus, 8–9, 12 Letter of, 9 Perikon-Perfect Pickard Contact, 207 Peripatetics, 14 Philadelphia, 29 Philco, 220 phonograph, 171, 172, 173, 175 amplifiers, 243–44 physics, 19, 43 Pickard, Greenleaf Whittier, 207 Pixie radio, 251 Pixii, Hyppolyte, 76 plague, 11–12 Planté, Gaston, 144–46 Planté cell, 144–46, 250 platinum, 67, 87, 96, 113, 147 Plato, 2 Pliny the Elder, 4–5, 12 Historia Naturalis, 4 pocket radio, 240 Regency, 251–57, 257, 258–61 Poe, Edgar Allan, “Some Words with a Mummy,” 63 Poggendorff, Johann Christian, 124–25 point-contact detectors, 207 polarization, 141, 144–45, 172, 173 Polish Detector, 233 pony express, 115 Pope, Alexander, 16–17 Pope, Frank L., Modern Practice of the Electric Telegraph, 140 Popov, Alexander, 187 popular culture, 242 transistor radio and, 256–58 Popular Electronics, 202, 246 Popular Mechanics, 211, 212 Popular Science, 212, 246 portability, 211, 215–16, 269, 275 LCDs, 266–69 radio, 216, 230, 230, 231–36, 240, 247, 251–61 rechargeable batteries, 268–73 twenty-first century, 274–78 power grid, 169, 224 primary battery, 144, 174 Princeton University, 88, 136 printing press, 10 Project Tinkertoy, 263 proximity fuse, 227–29, 229, 230, 238, 253 Ptolemy, 12 Pulsar digital watch, 268–69 Pulvermacher, J.


Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, Elon Musk, industrial robot, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, life extension, Menlo Park, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, popular electronics, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, theory of mind, Turing test

The ancient image of Talos’s solitary conduit of mysterious ichor fluid may reflect something akin to what cognitive scientists call “intuitive theories” of children and adults about physics and biology. Even among people today who understand that an electrical circuit requires two wires, a mental picture persists of an empowering “juice” flowing through a single cable. Our “prescientific” intuitive vision coexists with modern scientific knowledge.43 In 1958, the author of a brief history of robots in Popular Electronics remarked on Talos’s “single ‘vein’ running from his neck to his ankle, stoppered somewhere in his foot by a large bronze pin.” Viewed in “modern terms,” the author mused, this conduit “could have been his main power cable and the pin his fuse.” Writing at the height of the Cold War, the author went on to declare that Talos was an ancient “Weapons Alert System and Guided Missile in one package!”

“Procedural Content Generation via Machine Learning (PCGML).” arXiv preprint arXiv:1702.00539, 1–15. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1702.00539.pdf. Tanz, Jason. 2016. “The End of Code.” Wired, June, 72–79. Tassinari, Gabriella. 1992. “La raffigurazione de Prometeo creatore nella glittica romana.” Xenia Antiqua 1:61–116. ———. 1996. “Un bassorilievo del Thorvaldsen: Minerva e Prometeo.” Analecta Romana Instituti Danici 23:147–76. Tenn, William. 1958. “There Are Robots among Us.” Popular Electronics, December, 45–46. Truitt, E. R. 2015a. Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ———. 2015b. “Mysticism and Machines.” History Today 65, 7 (July). Tyagi, Arjun. 2018. “Augmented Soldier: Ethical, Social and Legal Perspective.” Indian Defence Review, February 1. http://www.indiandefencereview.com/spotlights/augmented-soldier-ethical-social-legal-perspective/.

See bulls Paipetis, Stepfanos, 131 Palaephatus, 34, 66, 70, 72, 75 Pan, 162, 200 Panathenaia, 124 Pandareus, 142 Pandora, 156–78; Athenian popularity of, 170–72; beauty of, 156, 158; fabricated nature and characteristics of, 160; gifts given to, 156, 158–59; Hephaestus’s creation of, 1, 2, 23, 123, 155, 156–64, 157, 170–72, 215; images of, 157, 159, 161, 163–65, 167, 171; jar of, 156, 158, 160–61, 172–76; legacy of, 169–70; philosophical questions raised by, 123; as punishment for humankind, 156–58, 160–61, 172; reproductive capability of, 143, 242n10; smile of, 166 Panofka, Theodor, 162–63 Pan Painter, lekythos with Argus, 137 Paphos, 108 Parrhasius, 98, 111 Parthenon, Athens, 124, 170 Pasiphae, 67, 70–72, 73, 74, 142, 181, 185 Pataliputta, India, 203–5, 207 Paterculus, Arruntius, 184 patriarchy, 157 Pausanias, 13, 19, 48, 69, 75, 90, 106, 121, 128, 149, 171, 191 Pecse, 139 Pegasus, 139 Peitho, 159 Pelias, 33, 35–40, 37, 38, 40, 41, 53, 89 Pelops, 68 Penelope, 46, 57 Penthesilea Painter, 162; red-figure cup with Eos and Tithonus, 54 Peplos Kore, 168 Perilaus, 182–87, 185 Phaeacian ships, 151 Phalaris, 182–87, 185 phantasias (paintings with special effects), 98, 131 pharmaka, drugs, 9, 11, 13, 17, 33–38, 41, 62–64, 144 Phidias, 92, 170, 191 Philip II of Macedonia, 195 Philippus, 91, 93 Philo of Byzantium, 145–46, 190, 199–200, 202 Philostephanus of Alexandria, 108 Philostratus, 70, 95, 145, 149 Photius, 121 Pindar, 20, 21, 23, 47, 48, 94, 149, 176, 183, 186 plaster casts, 98 Plato, 48, 58, 61, 92, 122–23, 124, 190, 192, 244n41; Republic, 153, 190 Pliny the Elder, 48–49, 86, 97–98, 100, 109, 111, 121, 171, 183, 187, 199 Plutarch, 19, 28, 95, 183 Poliorcetes, Demetrius, 195 Pollux (hero). See Castor and Pollux Pollux (writer), 121 Polybius, 184, 192–94 Polybus, 27 Polydora, 109 Polyeidus, 48 Polygnotus, 13 Pomeroy, Sarah, 194 Pompeii, mural of Daedalus and Icarus, 79 Poniatowski, Stanislas, Prince, gems commissioned by, 157, 159 Popular Electronics (magazine), 31 pornography, 71. See also sexual activity Porus, King, 66–67 Poseidon, 144 Posidonius, 193 Praxiteles, 110; Aphrodite at Knidos, 109 Prester John, 49 Proclus, 199 Procris, 142 “programmed” devices, early, 7, 200, 247n41 Prometheus: in ancient literature, 105; as artificer, 2; Athenians’ veneration of, 124; bleeding ichor on the ground, 64; as creator of human race, Plate 10, Plate 11, 105–6, 112, 113, 114–27, 115, 117, 119, 120, 156; Daedalus confused/compared with, 103–4; on Etruscan gems (Prumathe), 115; immortality of, 43, 51, 228n4; legacy of, 124–25; and Pandora, 215; Parrhasius’s painting of, 98; punishment of, 43, 51, 63, 98, 126–27, 156, 228n4; technology and fire provided to humans by, 1, 9, 57, 61–63, 105, 124, 176 prosthetic body parts, 68–69 Protesilaus, 43, 109 Prumathe.


pages: 230 words: 71,320

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate raider, crew resource management, medical residency, old-boy network, Pearl River Delta, popular electronics, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, union organizing, upwardly mobile, why are manhole covers round?

But they also were given an extraordinary opportu nity, in the same way that hockey and soccer players born in January, February, and March are given an extraordinary opportunity.'1" Now let's do the same kind of analysis for people like Bill Joy and Bill Gates. If you talk to veterans of Silicon Valley, they'll tell you that the most important date in the history of the personal computer revolution was January 1975. That was when the magazine Popular Electronics ran a cover story on an extraordinary machine called the Altair 8800. The Altair cost $397. It was a do-it-yourself contraption that you could assemble at home. The headline on the story read: “PROJECT BREAKTHROUGH! World's First Minicomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models.” To the readers of Popular Electronics, in those days the bible of the fledgling software and computer world, that headline was a revelation. Computers up to that point had * The sociologist C . Wright Mills made an additional observation about that special cohort from the 1830s.


Microchip: An Idea, Its Genesis, and the Revolution It Created by Jeffrey Zygmont

Albert Einstein, Bob Noyce, business intelligence, computer age, El Camino Real, invisible hand, popular electronics, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Hobbyists and other electro-enthusiasts were already in thrall of the idea that they could own their own private computer when Koplow started putting personal machines to work in offices in the mid- 1970s. Mail-order computer kits from the likes of Altair and Osborn are commonly considered the predecessors of today's ubiquitous personal computer. The accepted genealogy is frequently recited: A coupon ad for the Altair 8800 appeared in the January 1975 edition of Popular Electronics; the Apple I arrived in 1976; Radio Shack and Commodore topped Apple with more manageable machines; IBM introduced its personal computer in 1981, called the PC in an appropriation of the entire category's title for IBM's particular brand. But those presumed progenitors of popular computing did not feint toward popularity. They were not accommodating or accessible. They were still fit only for specialists and slavering enthusiasts.

See also Computers Phase-shift oscillator, 21 PHI. See Philip Hankins Inc. Philadelphia Storage Battery Company, 29 Philco, 29, 43, 53 Philip Hankins Inc. (PHI), 180, 184, 190 Phipps, Charlie, 70 Planar transistors, 38-39, 40, 51-57 and patents, 41-48 See also Transistors Plaza Suite, 178 Pocket calculators, 76-80, 83-99, 99-103. See also Calculators Police radios, 157 Pontiac Grand Am, 212 Popular Electronics, 198 Portable calculators, 83-87, 101, 104, 110, 134 cost of, 102-103 See also Calculators Portable phones, 161 Pravda, 169 Presley, Elvis, 79 Probst, Gary, 138 Proceedings of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), 82 Product Engineering magazine, 174 Project Mercury, 10 Pulsar watch, 148-149 Radarange, 144-145, 147, 152 Radio Engineering (Terman), 87 Radio phones, 162-164 Radios, 62, 78-79, 147, 149 car, 204 mobile, 159 multichannel, 157-158 police, 157 two-way, 156-165 walk-and-talk, 157-158 Index 243 Radio Shack, 198 Radio waves, 161 Ralls, John, 42 RAM.


The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game

So in early 1974, with some twenty-five employees now on his payroll and a company that was suddenly facing bankruptcy, Roberts elected to try a computer kit. He'd always been interested in digital electronics, he later ex- plained, and he'd been wanting to try his hand at building a minicomputer any- way. He proceeded to rough out a design using the Intel 8080, which he'd decided was by far the best chip available. And by midyear he was ready to ap- proach the editors of Popular Electronics, where he'd been an occasional contribu- tor, to ask if they'd like to feature his kit as a construction project. They would. The magazine was Radio-Electronics's arch rival, and technical ed- itor Les Solomon just loved the idea of an 8080-based computer project that would top the Mark-8 story. The only ground rules were that the end result had LICK'S KIDS 431 to be a real computer, not a toy like the Mark-8, and the kit had to cost less than four hundred dollars.

So he and his codesigners at MITS went into overdrive to get the Altair ready in time. Solomon, mean- while, came up with the perfect name for the machine. (Looking for ideas, he asked his daughter, Lauren, what they called the computer on Star Trek. "Com- puter," she replied. But she added that the starship Enterprise was headed for the star Altair that night, so why not call it that?) The now-famous January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics hit the newsstands in early December-ironically, just a month before George Heilmeier arrived at ARPA to make J. C. R. Licklider's life miserable. Since the only real, working Al- tair had gotten lost in transit before reaching the photographers in New York (it would turn up a year later), the cover showed the best mockup that MITS could manage on short notice: a pale-blue Altair shell with an impressive array of switches and diodes across the front that did absolutely nothing.

The minicomputer heritage was equally ob- vious on the inside, where the design was identical in spirit to the "Unibus" ar- chitecture of DEC's PDP-11. Basically, it was just one big array of slots for add-on cards: everything in the Altair was modular and replaceable. Even Roberts's later choice for an official programming language was reminis- cent of the minis. Created in the spring of 1975 by two young men who had been inspired by the Popular Electronics article-Bill Gates, now a Harvard under- grad, and his high school buddy Paul Allen, a programmer working outside Boston-Altair BASIC took a number of key features from DEC's BASIC for the PDP-11. (The language also owed its existence to the Harvard PDP-10, interest- ingly enough. Since Gates and Allen didn't have access to an Intel 8080 at the time, they used Gates's student account on the big machine to create a simula- 432 THE DREAM MACHINE tion of the microprocessor-in the process burning up some forty thousand dol- lars' worth of computer time that was not supposed to be used for commercial purposes.


pages: 519 words: 142,646

Track Changes by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

active measures, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, David Brooks, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, forensic accounting, future of work, Google Earth, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, HyperCard, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Joan Didion, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, mail merge, Marshall McLuhan, Mother of all demos, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, text mining, thinkpad, Turing complete, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, Year of Magical Thinking

Disks themselves were literally floppy—5¼- or 8-inch black squares that actually waggled up and down; the smaller 3½-inch floppies (which were not floppy but rigid) did not yet exist. Hard drives existed, but were seen only rarely on the sorts of machines most consumers would buy. Time magazine was still more than a year away from declaring the personal computer its “Machine of the Year.” Popular Electronics had featured the Altair 8800—usually considered the world’s first microcomputer—on its cover in January 1975, but in 1981 was still a year away from renaming itself Computers and Electronics. Tron and War Games had not yet made it to movie theaters, and William Gibson had not yet coined the term “cyberspace” in his fiction. Wired magazine and the World Wide Web, meanwhile, were both a decade away, give or take.

While the story about Xerox’s failure to effectively commercialize those ideas is well known, the sequence of events behind the actual systems and their development is complex, involving multiple generations of hardware and software.15 The computer that Jobs famously saw demonstrated at PARC in 1979 (by none other than Larry Tesler, who had by then been working there for the past six years) was called the Alto, which had been prototyped as early as 1973.16 The Xerox Alto is not to be confused with the Altair 8800, the machine that famously graced the cover of Popular Electronics in January 1975 and (so the story goes) motivated Bill Gates to leave Harvard. (The Altair communicated its output to users, not on a screen or even on paper, but through gnomic blinking LED lights, the epitome of the “digital black-magic box” mentioned by the Homebrew Computer Club.)17 Unlike the Altair, then, the Alto was a fully functioning graphical computer system, years ahead of its time.

., 79, 158 Optek, 72 Orwell, George, xiv, 137, 232 Osborne, Adam, 63 Osborne 1, 25, 50, 63, 73, 118, 217, 222, 273n84, 277n54 OULIPO, 38 Oz, Amos, 20 Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), 122, 123, 125–130, 195, 235, 276n41, 292n15 Parfit, Michael, 207 Paris Review, xiv, 23, 27, 72, 114, 138, 159, 191 Patterson, James, 42–44, 270n50 Paul, Barbara, 94 Perfect Software, 63, 65 Perfect Writer, 33, 63, 64, 65, 113, 142 Perfectionism, 35–41, 43, 49, 59, 67, 180, 274n88 Perfectly Simple, 142 Peterson, W. E. Pete, 266n2 Philips “Carry Corder,” 179 Phillips, Tom, 191 Pietsch, Michael, 222 Pinsky, Robert, 7 Plant, Sadie, 298n33 PLATO, 159 Playboy, 77, 167, 279n9 Plimpton, George, 27 Pohl, Frederick, 3, 265n88 Polt, Richard, 18, 327n39 Polymorphic, 117 Popular Electronics (magazine), 51, 123 Poster, Mark, 5, 6 Post-structuralism, 5, 189 Pound, Ezra, 28, 227 Pournelle, Jerry, 95–103, 107, 109–110, 129, 137, 141, 188, 195, 216–218, 228, 284n18, 284n26, 285n28, 285n33, 286n45, 301n75 Powers, Richard, 158–159 Pratchett, Terry, 111 Price, Ken, 209, 210 Price, Leah, 167, 182 Printing, 50, 67, 106, 129, 161, 212 Processed World, 154, 300n59 Profiles (magazine), 65, 66, 219, 277n58 PROGRAMAP, 106–107, 128 Proulx, Annie, 22 Pynchon, Thomas, xv, 86, 253n14 Quark (application), 30, 203 Queneau, Raymond, 268n29 Radio Shack, 56, 78, 92, 207, 241, 287n52 Rainey, Lawrence, 26, 233, 322n94 RAND editor, 134 Ray, Karen, 37 Reagan, Ronald, 41, 52 Redactron Corporation, 149–155, 180, 240; Data Secretary, 150–152, 236 Reed, Courtney, 281n42 Remington, ix, 160, 164, 201, 282n2 Research in Word Processing Newsletter, 25 Reside, Doug, 26 Rice, Anne, 3, 50, 161, 185, 208, 273n84, 274n88, 316n11 Rinearson, Peter, 236 Roberts, Robin, 288n85 Robinson, Frank M., 117 Rogers, Samuel, 14 Rose, Joel, 196 Rose, Jonathan, xii Ross-MacDonald, Malcolm, 117, 291n118 Roth, Henry, 187–188, 309n15 Roth, Philip, 226, 229 Rothman, David H., 278n77 Rowling, J.


pages: 566 words: 122,184

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, millennium bug, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Microsoft, MS-DOS, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Images of Charles Babbage, George Boole, Louis Braille, Herman Hollerith, Samuel Morse, and John von Neumann appear courtesy of Corbis Images and were modified for this book by Joel Panchot. The January 1975 cover of Popular Electronics is reprinted by permission of Ziff-Davis and the Ziff family. All other illustrations in the book were produced by Joel Panchot. Unless otherwise noted, the example companies, organizations, products, people, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, person, or event is intended or should be inferred. * * * SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly Click here for more information on this offer!

Despite neither method being intrinsically "right," the difference does create an additional incompatibility problem when sharing information between systems based on little-endian and big-endian machines. What became of these two microprocessors? The 8080 was used in what some people have called the first personal computer but which is probably more accurately the first home computer. This is the Altair 8800, which appeared on the cover of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics. When you look at the Altair 8800, the lights and switches on the front panel should seem familiar. This is the same type of primitive "control panel" interface that I proposed for the 64-KB RAM array in Chapter 16. The 8080 was followed by the Intel 8085 and, more significantly, by the Z-80 chip made by Zilog, a rival of Intel founded by former Intel employee Federico Faggin, who had done important work on the 4004.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

In 1988, it could be estimated that “venture capital accounted for about one-half of the new product and service investment associated with the information and communication industry.”68 A similar process took place in the development of the microcomputer, which introduced an historical divide in the uses of information technology.69 By the mid-1970s Silicon Valley had attracted tens of thousands of bright young minds from around the world, coming to the excitement of the new technological Mecca in a quest for the talisman of invention and money. They gathered in loose groups, to exchange ideas and information on the latest developments. One such gathering was the Home Brew Computer Club, whose young visionaries (including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak) would go on to create in the following years up to 22 companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Comenco, and North Star. It was the club’s reading, in Popular Electronics, of an article reporting Ed Roberts’s Altair machine which inspired Wozniak to design a microcomputer, Apple I, in his Menlo Park garage in the summer of 1976. Steve Jobs saw the potential, and together they founded Apple, with a $91,000 loan from an Intel executive, Mike Markkula, who came in as a partner. At about the same time Bill Gates founded Microsoft to provide the operating system for microcomputers, although he located his company in 1978 in Seattle to take advantage of the social contacts of his family.

New rules, aimed at encouraging electronic trading in the 1990s, allowed ECNs to post orders from their clients on Nasdaq’s system, and receive a commission when the order was filled. A large number of individual investors entered the stock market on their own, using the power of technology. The so-called day-traders, whose favorite investment targets were stocks of Internet companies, were the ones who really popularized electronic trading. They are called day-traders because they usually cash out at the end of the day, since they operate on small margins of change in the valuation of securities, and do not have financial reserves. Thus, they stay until they make a sufficient profit, by buying and selling on very short-term transactions – or until they have had enough losses for the day.128 According to the Securities Exchange Commission, on-line trading grew from less than 100,000 trades a day in mid-1996 to over half a million a day by the end of 1999.

Picciotto, Sol Piller, Charles Piore, Michael J. place: interactivity; space of planar process Platonov, Andrey PNUD Poirer, Mark polarization; see also marginalization Policy Studies Institute politics; Asian Pacific; computer-mediated communication; corruption; global economy; globalization; media; Mexico; multimedia; personal interest; third way Polyakov, L. V. Pool, Ithiel de Sola Popular Electronics Porat, Marc Porter, Michael Portes, Alejandro Portnoff, Andre-Yves Postel, Jon post-Fordism post-industrialism Postman, Neil postmodernism Poulantzas, Nicos poverty Powell, Walter W. power Powers, Bruce R. Preston, Holly H. Preston, Pascal Prigogine, Ilya printing, China privatization Prodi, Romano producer networks producer services production; assembly line; capitalist; cross-border; flexibility; globalization; lean; networking; offshore; organization transformed; social relations; technology productivity; competitiveness; computer manufacturing; electronics; employment; globalization; G-7 countries; industrialism; innovation; knowledgebased; labor costs; Mexico; North/South; OECD countries; profitability; services; Solow; technology; time professionals profit-maximizing profitability: crisis; information technologies; productivity; US property rights property slump Pursell, Carroll Putnam, Robert Pyo, H.


pages: 464 words: 155,696

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Charles Lindbergh, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, market design, McMansion, Menlo Park, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

Living there, a curious child interested in math and science could easily develop a much deeper sense of the leading edge of technology than those growing up elsewhere in the country. Electronics were just beginning to replace hot rods as the passion of young tinkerers. Geeks lived and breathed the fumes emanating from their soldering irons, and traded dog-eared copies of Popular Science and Popular Electronics magazines. They built their own transistor radios, hi-fi stereo systems, ham radios, oscilloscopes, rockets, lasers, and Tesla coils from kits offered by mail order companies like Edmund Scientific, Heathkit, Estes Industries, and Radio Shack. In Silicon Valley, electronics wasn’t just a hobby. It was a fast-growing new industry and just as exciting as rock and roll. For precocious kids like Steve, the implicit promise in all this was that anything could be figured out—and since anything could be figured out, anything could be built.

Its universe of potential customers could be counted in the hundreds, and these were companies with deep pockets whose demands focused more on performance and reliability than on price. No surprise, then, that the industry had become cloistered and a little complacent. Out in California a significant number of the people who would have a hand in flipping that industry on its head started meeting regularly as a hobbyist group called the Homebrew Computer Club. Their first get-together occurred shortly after the publication of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, which featured a cover story about the Altair 8800 “microcomputer.” Gordon French, a Silicon Valley engineer, hosted the gathering in his garage to show off an Altair unit that French and a buddy had assembled from the $495 kit sold by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). It was an inscrutable-looking device, about the size of a stereo component amplifier, its face sporting two horizontal arrays of toggle switches and a lot of blinking red lights.


pages: 197 words: 60,477

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Apple II, bounce rate, business cycle, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, information asymmetry, job satisfaction, job-hopping, knowledge worker, Mason jar, medical residency, new economy, passive income, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, renewable energy credits, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Bolles, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, winner-take-all economy

In other words, in the months leading up to the start of his visionary company, Steve Jobs was something of a conflicted young man, seeking spiritual enlightenment and dabbling in electronics only when it promised to earn him quick cash. It was with this mindset that later that same year, Jobs stumbled into his big break. He noticed that the local “wireheads” were excited by the introduction of model-kit computers that enthusiasts could assemble at home. (He wasn’t alone in noticing the potential of this excitement. When an ambitious young Harvard student saw the first kit computer grace the cover of Popular Electronics magazine, he formed a company to develop a version of the BASIC programming language for the new machine, eventually dropping out of school to grow the business. He called the new firm Microsoft.) Jobs pitched Wozniak the idea of designing one of these kit computer circuit boards so they could sell them to local hobbyists. The initial plan was to make the boards for $25 apiece and sell them for $50.


AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War by Tom McNichol

computer age, experimental subject, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Thales of Miletus

Detroit Electric was selling close to two thousand electric cars a year, most of them powered by Edison batteries. Flushed with success, Edison looked forward to the day when DC would power not only electric cars but also the engines of heavy industry. AC power plants would eventually become something akin to filling stations, used to recharge Edison’s DC batteries. In the AC/DC war, the victor would become the vanquished, and Edison would be proven right after all. In a 1910 article for Popular Electronics, Edison wrote, “For years past I have been trying to perfect a storage battery, and have now rendered it entirely suitable to automobile and other work. Many people now charge their own batteries because of lack of facilities, but I believe central stations will find in this work very soon the largest part of their load. The New York Edison Company or the Chicago Edison Company should have as much current going out for storage batteries as for power motors, and it will be so some near day.”


pages: 278 words: 70,416

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filter Bubble, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, index card, index fund, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, superconnector

They take note of the direction the waves break, the angle at which they peel, and where along the horizon the good ones first form. On the other hand, sometimes the biggest waves form out of seemingly nowhere. A superwave can show up on a regular surf day when random smaller waves align. When that happens, the only people who can possibly ride it are the ones who actually went to the beach that day. The ones who actually got in the water. BY THE END OF 2012 Google’s Gmail service had become the most popular electronic mail provider in the world. That same year, Google’s AdSense product accounted for more than $12 billion in revenue, about a quarter of the search giant’s total revenues. Each of those products—smart electronic mail and context-based advertising—caught an enormous wave when it launched. Like Twitter, as we learned in chapter 4, both Gmail and AdSense started off as side projects. Google was in the water when the waves of Internet traffic came because it was tinkering with new ideas under the umbrella of Google’s famous “20% Time


Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

The approach suggested here responds aggressively to both issues—you send fewer e-mails and ignore those that aren’t easy to process—and by doing so will significantly weaken the grip your inbox maintains over your time and attention. Conclusion The story of Microsoft’s founding has been told so many times that it’s entered the realm of legend. In the winter of 1974, a young Harvard student named Bill Gates sees the Altair, the world’s first personal computer, on the cover of Popular Electronics. Gates realizes that there’s an opportunity to design software for the machine, so he drops everything and with the help of Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff spends the next eight weeks hacking together a version of the BASIC programming language for the Altair. This story is often cited as an example of Gates’s insight and boldness, but recent interviews have revealed another trait that played a crucial role in the tale’s happy ending: Gates’s preternatural deep work ability.


pages: 362 words: 86,195

Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Menn

Brian Krebs, dumpster diving, fault tolerance, Firefox, John Markoff, Menlo Park, offshore financial centre, pirate software, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular electronics, profit motive, RFID, Silicon Valley, zero day

The company didn’t do much to hide that, stating on its website: “whether you are in business, politics, professional sports, or the movie industry, it is our professional obligation to keep the details of our client’s financial and personal affairs strictly private.” Once an insider wagered, the bookies knew how to bet themselves. As Darren Rennick explained it to Barrett, sports stars often bet against themselves. Then Mickey would adjust the line on the odds and secretly bet the same way as the athlete at other, unsuspecting sportsbooks. In the increasingly popular electronic poker and casino games, much of the play seemed harmless for non-addicts. The new games were wonderful for the sportsbooks, though, because they could be played at any time, while betting on sporting events built toward a specific date and hour. BetCRIS and others urged winning sports bettors to try their luck at the poker tables, where they often lost everything back. “It’s a playground for degenerates,” Mickey said approvingly of the newfangled games.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

• • • IN THE SUMMER of 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, unit 114 in the Portals apartment complex was becoming increasingly crowded. The formation of this makeshift operation could be traced back a few months earlier to a newsstand on the East Coast. It was early winter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when two old high school friends from Seattle excitedly pored over the January edition of Popular Electronics magazine. The magazine had partnered with a small builder of electronic components to offer a build-it-yourself computer kit called the Altair, named for a fictional destination from an episode of Star Trek. One of the young men, Bill Gates, was in his freshman year at Harvard, and Paul Allen was visiting. For years the duo had talked excitedly about opportunities in the burgeoning world of computers.

The pair quickly hired several of their programmer friends to move into Allen’s apartment for the summer, with Gates joining when spring classes ended at Harvard. When September came around, Gates decided to stay. The Altair, at the time, was causing significant excitement among early adopters—enthusiasts known as hobbyists—including some in Silicon Valley. At the Homebrew Computer Club, formed just weeks after the Popular Electronics issue premiered the Altair, Steve Wozniak made it to the first meeting, which he would later call “one of the most important nights” of his life. There he saw the Altair demonstrated, beginning to understand the implications and flexibility of low-cost microprocessors. Wozniak spent the next few months hacking together the functions of a keyboard and a microprocessor that could show keystrokes on a television screen—which, in Wozniak’s telling, was an achievement that had never been accomplished outside large corporate mainframes costing tens or often hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century by James R. Flynn

Flynn Effect, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, popular electronics, twin studies

In other words, WISC arithmetic tests for the kind of mind that is comfortable with mathematics and therefore, likely to ind advanced mathematics congenial. No progress on this subtest signals why by the 12th grade, American schoolchildren cannot do algebra and geometry any better than the previous generation. We turn to the worlds of leisure and popular entertainment. Greenield (1998) argues that video games, popular electronic games, and computer applications require enhanced problem solving in visual and symbolic contexts. If that is so, that kind of enhanced problem solving is necessary if we are fully to enjoy our leisure. Johnson (2005) points to the cognitive demands of video games, for example, the spatial geometry of Tetris, the engineering riddles of Myst, and the mapping of Grand Theft Auto. Johnson analyzes television.


pages: 382 words: 92,138

The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

"Robert Solow", Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, business cycle, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, endogenous growth, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, G4S, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, intangible asset, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, Philip Mirowski, popular electronics, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, renewable energy credits, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Why is the State eagerly blamed for failed investments in ventures like the American Supersonic Transport (SST) project (when it ‘picks losers’), and not praised for successful early stage investments in companies like Apple (when it ‘picks winners’)? And why is the State not rewarded for its direct investments in basic and applied research that lead to successful technologies that underpin revolutionary commercial products such as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad? The ‘State’ of Apple Innovation Apple has been at the forefront of introducing the world’s most popular electronic products as it continues to navigate the seemingly infinite frontiers of the digital revolution and the consumer electronics industry. The popularity and success of Apple products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad have altered the competitive landscape in mobile computing and communication technologies. In less than a decade the company’s consumer electronic products have helped secure its place among the most valuable companies in the world, making record profits of $26 billion in 2011 for its owners.


pages: 316 words: 90,165

You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves by Hiawatha Bray

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, digital map, don't be evil, Edmond Halley, Edward Snowden, Firefox, game design, Google Earth, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, license plate recognition, lone genius, openstreetmap, polynesian navigation, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFID, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Thales of Miletus, trade route, turn-by-turn navigation, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Zipcar

Effects of Nuclear Earth-Penetrator and Other Weapons (Washington, DC: National Research Council, 2005), 5. 20. MacKenzie, Inventing Accuracy, 67. 21. Ibid., 76–78. 22. Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1989), 24. 23. Ibid., 335. 24. Ibid., 378–406. 25. Michael S. Nolan, Fundamentals of Air Traffic Control (Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning, 2010), 75–77. See also Art Zuckerman, “Doppler Radar Charts the Airlanes,” Popular Electronics, May 1959, 41. 26. “Inertial for the 747,” Flight International, September 4, 1969. 27. MacKenzie, Inventing Accuracy, 180–182. Chapter 4 1. Matthew Brzezinski, Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age (New York: Macmillan, 2007), 161–187. 2. William H. Guier and George C. Weiffenbach, “Genesis of Satellite Navigation,” Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest 19, no. 1 (1998): 14–17. 3.


pages: 356 words: 105,533

Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market by Scott Patterson

algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, creative destruction, Donald Trump, fixed income, Flash crash, Francisco Pizarro, Gordon Gekko, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, High speed trading, Joseph Schumpeter, latency arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, market microstructure, pattern recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, popular electronics, prediction markets, quantitative hedge fund, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, South China Sea, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stealth mode startup, stochastic process, transaction costs, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

Coils of wires, Ethernet cables, and power cords snaked in all directions, finding egress into weird openings in the floors, walls, and ceiling—or just disappearing into mounds of trash. Trash was everywhere—on the racks, the tables, perched atop PCs. Mostly, of course, it was on the floor. The floor was trash. Chunks of ancient candy bars, apple cores, blackened orange peel, coffee grounds. Stacks of Popular Electronics and Investors Business Daily. An oscilloscope. Milk cartons. Mostly empty plastic Coke bottles. Computer keyboards, several broken. An eighteen-inch lizard named Greg sat in a giant climate-controlled terrarium. The door often couldn’t be closed because of the creeping clutter. With space so tight, Levine usually stood, furiously typing on several keyboards hooked to Dell computer towers.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman

activist lawyer, Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, GnuPG, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

Unix was growing increasingly popular among geeks all over the world, and as Kelty (2008) has shown, was already binding geeks together in what he identifies as a recursive public—a public formed by discussion, debate, and the ability to modify the conditions of its formation, which in this case entailed creating and modifying software. Stallman (1985, 30) formulated and presented his politics of resistance along with his philosophical vision in “The GNU Manifesto,” originally published in the then-popular electronics magazine Dr. Dobb’s Journal: I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

In the Whole Earth Catalog spirit, Tesler’s activist neighbor argued with him that people were eventually going to build their own computers. Tesler wasn’t so sure about that, but when he saw an advertisement in the local paper announcing the visit of a van to Palo Alto to show off the new MITS Altair 8800 computer kit, he thought he would go take a look. It had been only six months since Popular Electronics magazine had published a cover story on the Altair, a blue-edged metal box with lights and switches and not much else. Now the Albuquerque, New Mexico, company that manufactured it was sending a bus on tour around the country to demonstrate it. Tesler went over to Rickey’s Hyatt House Hotel on El Camino Real in Palo Alto to attend the presentation, and though he hadn’t been very impressed with the machine, he went straight back to Xerox and said, “I just saw something really important.”


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, twin studies, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

The garage is drafty, but the engineers leave the doors open to the damp night air so people can wander inside. In walks an uncertain young man of twenty-four, a calculator designer for Hewlett-Packard. Serious and bespectacled, he has shoulder-length hair and a brown beard. He takes a chair and listens quietly as the others marvel over a new build-it-yourself computer called the Altair 8800, which recently made the cover of Popular Electronics. The Altair isn’t a true personal computer; it’s hard to use, and appeals only to the type of person who shows up at a garage on a rainy Wednesday night to talk about microchips. But it’s an important first step. The young man, whose name is Stephen Wozniak, is thrilled to hear of the Altair. He’s been obsessed with electronics since the age of three. When he was eleven he came across a magazine article about the first computer, the ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, and ever since, his dream has been to build a machine so small and easy to use that you could keep it at home.


pages: 352 words: 120,202

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology by Howard Rheingold

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, card file, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, popular electronics, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

It had an "instruction set" of "firmware" primitive commands built into it, an arithmetic and logic unit, a clock, temporary storage registers, but no external memory, no input or output devices, no circuitry to connect the components together into a working computer. Roberts decided to provide the other components and a method for interconnecting them and sell the kits to hobbyists. In January of 1975, Popular Electronics magazine did a cover story on "a computer you can build yourself for $420." It was called the Altair (after a planet in a Star Trek episode). Roberts was hoping for 200 orders in 1975, to keep the enterprise alive, and he received more than that with the first mail after the issue hit the stands. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were nineteen and twenty-two years old when they wrote a version of BASIC for the Altair.


pages: 436 words: 76

Culture and Prosperity: The Truth About Markets - Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor by John Kay

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, business cycle, California gold rush, complexity theory, computer age, constrained optimization, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, equity premium, Ernest Rutherford, European colonialism, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, failed state, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, George Gilder, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, pets.com, popular electronics, price discrimination, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, rent-seeking, Right to Buy, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve, yield management

In 1973, scientists at Xerox Pare built the first functioning personal computer, the Alto. It was eight years before they unveiled a commercial version. The new product impressed the trade press with its sophistication. But it was by then too idiosyncratic and expensive for the market. While Xerox was perfecting the Alto, personal computers were developed by hobbyists. The Altair minicomputer was advertised in Popular Electronics magazine in December 1974, a self-assembly kit with a price of$400. Two young Harvard students, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, devised a version of the programming language BASIC for the Altair. Toy computers followed, manufactured by companies such as Commodore, with memory provided by cassette tape recorders. By now, some large companies recognized the potential of small computers for small businesses.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, Donald Davies, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

See also Subrata Dasgupta, Design Theory and Computer Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 4Nicholas Carson, “15 Google Interview Questions That Will Make You Feel Stupid,” BusinessInsider, last modified November 4, 2009, http://www.businessinsider.com/15-google-interview-questions-that-will-make-you-feel-stupid-2009-11. 5Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, “Foursquare Gets 3 Million Check-Ins Per Day, Signed Up 500,000 Merchants,” BusinessInsider, last modified August 2, 2011, http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-02/tech/30097137_1_foursquare-users-merchants-ins. 6Kori Schulman, “Take A Tip From the White House on Foursquare,” The White House, blog, last modified August 15, 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/08/15/take-tip-white-house-foursquare. 7Dennis Crowley, interview by author, May 13, 2011. 8Crowley, interview, May 13, 2011. 9Liz Gannes, “Foursquare’s Version of the Talent Acquisition: Summer Interns,” All Things D, blog, last modified July 1, 2011, http://allthingsd.com/20110701/foursquares-version-of-the-talent-acquisition-summer-interns/. 10Ingrid Lunden, “Foursquare’s Inflection Point: People Using The App, But Not Checking In,” Tech Crunch, last modified March 2, 2012, http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/02/foursquares-inflection-point-people-using-the-app-but-not-checking-in/. 11Matthew Flamm, “Foursquare Doesn’t Quite Check Out,” Crain’s New York Business, January 20, 2013, http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20130120/TECHNOLOGY/301209972. 12H. Edward Roberts and William Yates, “ALTAIR 8800: The most powerful minicomputer project ever presented—can be built for under $400,” Popular Electronics, January 1975, 33. 13Steve Ditlea, ed., Digital Deli: The Comprehensive, User-lovable Menu of Computer Lore, Culture, Lifestyles and Fancy (New York: Workman, 1984), 74–75. 14People’s Computer Network, “Newsletter #1,” October 1972, http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/peoples-computer/peoples-1972-oct/index.html. 15Ian Keldoulis, “Where Good Wi-Fi Makes Good Neighbors,” New York Times, last modified October 21, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/21/technology/circuits/21spot.html?


From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry by Martin Campbell-Kelly

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business process, card file, computer age, computer vision, continuous integration, deskilling, Donald Knuth, Grace Hopper, information asymmetry, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, linear programming, longitudinal study, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, popular electronics, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, software patent, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Although some professional software development practices diffused into microprocessor programming, much of the software technology was cobbled together or re-invented, an amateurish legacy that the personal computer software industry took several years to shake off. The first microprocessor-based computer (or certainly the first influential one) was the Altair 8800, manufactured by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems (MITS). This machine was sold in kit form for assembly by computer hobbyists, and its appearance on the cover of Popular Electronics in January 1975 is perhaps the best-known event in the folk history of the personal computer. The cover reads: “Exclusive! Altair 8800. The most powerful minicomputer project ever presented—can be built for under $400.”3 The Altair computer was positioned in the market as a minicomputer. Costing one-tenth as much as the cheapest commercially available model, and targeted at the electronics hobbyist, the Altair 8800 was successful in its niche.


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, PageRank, Peter Singer: altruism, pez dispenser, popular electronics, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, school vouchers, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, wealth creators, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

A number of companies that later propelled their founders to great riches were, in fact, born in a dorm room. Even though Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen both dropped out of college, the seed for what became Microsoft was planted while Gates was still at Harvard. Allen had already dropped out of Washington State University to take a programming job in Boston. The story goes that while visiting Gates, Allen saw a Popular Electronics story describing the MITS Altair 8800, the “World’s First Minicomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models,” which prompted the duo to talk themselves into dropping everything and starting a company. “Paul saw that the technology17 was there,” Gates later recalled. “He kept saying, ‘It’s gonna be too late. We’ll miss it.’” They teamed up to write a version of BASIC (short for Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), a compact computer language for the MITS machine, and Microsoft was born.


pages: 336 words: 163,867

How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic by Michael Geier

p-value, popular electronics, remote working

My progression from such intuitive tinkering to the understanding required for serious technician work at the employable level involved many years of hands-on learning, poking around and deducing which components did what, and tracing signals through radio stages by touching solder joints with a screwdriver while listening for the crackling it caused in the speaker. Later came meters, signal tracers and, finally, the eye-opening magic window of the oscilloscope. Ah, how I treasure all the hours spent building useful devices like intercoms and fanciful ones like the Electroquadrostatic Litholator (don’t ask), fixing every broken gadget I could get my hands on, and devouring Popular Electronics, Electronics Illustrated and Radio-Electronics—great magazines crammed with construction articles and repair advice columns. Only one issue a month? What were they waiting for?? 1 2 How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic C’mon, guys, I just have to see the last part of that series on building your own color TV camera, even though I’ll never attempt it. But now I know how a vidicon tube works!


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, computer age, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

The two programs together represent the world’s first user-friendly computer word processing system. January 1: Xerox establishes the System Development Division, its most comprehensive attempt to commercialize PARC technology. More than five years later, SDD will launch its masterwork, the Xerox Star. January: The Altair 8800, a hobbyist’s personal computer sold as a mail-order kit, is featured on the cover of Popular Electronics, enthralling a generation of youthful technology buffs—among them, Bill Gates—with the possibilities of personal computing. February: PARC engineers demonstrate for their colleagues a graphical user interface for a personal computer, including icons and the first use of pop-up menus, that will develop into the Windows and Macintosh interfaces of today. March 1: PARC’s permanent headquarters at 3333 Coyote Hill Road are formally opened.


pages: 524 words: 155,947

More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy by Philip Coggan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, Columbine, Corn Laws, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency peg, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, Kula ring, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Blériot, low cost airline, low skilled workers, lump of labour, M-Pesa, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, moral hazard, Murano, Venice glass, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, popular electronics, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Policy was fairly stable, since, while the average tenure of a Japanese prime minister since the war has only been about two years, the Liberal Democratic party has been in office for the vast majority of the post-war period. Success came on many fronts. Between 1950 and 1965, Japanese steel production increased more than eightfold. In the 1950s, Sony developed the transistor radio, the first in what would be a long series of popular electronic innovations. In the course of 1967 and 1968, Japan overtook France, Britain and West Germany to become the second-largest economy in the free world.37 For a while, “made in Japan” was a synonym for cheaply made, shoddy goods in Western markets. But the Japanese were influenced by a management guru called W. Edwards Deming, who emphasised that manufacturing was vulnerable to a loss of quality through statistical variation.


The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations by Thomas Morris

3D printing, Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, experimental subject, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, placebo effect, popular electronics, randomized controlled trial, stem cell

Bakken accepted the challenge, and went home to do some tinkering in his garage. These unassuming premises were the headquarters of Medtronic, a two-man company he had founded with his brother-in-law a few years earlier. Business was slow, and as well as mending broken medical equipment Bakken often found himself moonlighting as a TV repair man. Rooting around in the messy workshop, he unearthed an old issue of Popular Electronics magazine. He remembered an article giving instructions for constructing an electronic metronome, a simple circuit using only a few basic components which when attached to a loudspeaker would produce regular clicks at an adjustable rate. Bakken realised this was just what he needed, made a few tweaks to the original circuit and put it in a small box with a battery.fn3 A few weeks after being given the commission he delivered the first portable pacemaker to a delighted Lillehei.53 Bakken assumed that the new device would require months of animal testing, so when he returned to the hospital the following day he was shocked to see a young patient already wearing his prototype on a strap around her neck, with wires poking through an incision in her chest.


pages: 807 words: 154,435

Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making for an Unknowable Future by Mervyn King, John Kay

"Robert Solow", Airbus A320, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, battle of ideas, Benoit Mandelbrot, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, business cycle, business process, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Edward Thorp, Elon Musk, Ethereum, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Hans Rosling, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income per capita, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Snow's cholera map, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, popular electronics, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Socratic dialogue, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Chicago School, the map is not the territory, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Davenport, Thomas Malthus, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, value at risk, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Lampson’s team added many of the features we take for granted today. But it was years before the Xerox Corporation attempted to market a commercial version, and the company never succeeded in establishing a foothold in the computer business. While Xerox was perfecting the Alto, personal computers were developed by hobbyists. The Altair desktop, a self-assembly kit with a price of $400, was first advertised in Popular Electronics magazine in December 1974. Two young high-school friends in Seattle, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, adapted a simple programming language, BASIC, for the Altair. Some large companies outside the conventional computer industry recognised the potential of small computers. Home computers used tape cassettes for storage and television sets as monitors. AT&T and Sony sold desktop machines. All these initiatives failed.


Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM by Paul Carroll

accounting loophole / creative accounting, full employment, John Markoff, Mitch Kapor, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, thinkpad, traveling salesman

BIG BLUES II W hen Gates w ent off to Harvard in 1973, he had the attitude of many of the brightest students of the time: Anybody could do well in school; the trick was to do well without appearing to try. So Gates spent much of his tim e playing poker and hanging out in his room, being what he has called “a philosophically depressed kind of guy.” Then, one cold day in D ecem ber 1974, childhood friend Paul Allen came to visit. Stopping at a newsstand in Harvard Yard on his way to see Gates, Allen bought the latest issue of Popular Electronics and found an early personal com puter called the Altair was on the cover. Allen, a painfully quiet sort whose bulk and beard make him look like a Northwest lum ­ berjack, was worked up by the time he got to Gates’s room. “H ere’s our opportunity!’’ Allen said. “If we don’t do something now, we'll be too late!” As a result, in 1975, even before IBM began putting together task forces to study how IBM could apply its mainframe technology and fabled processes to producing a personal com puter, Gates began ap­ proaching the PC from precisely the opposite vantage point.


pages: 733 words: 184,118

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, en.wikipedia.org, Henri Poincaré, invention of radio, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, packet switching, popular electronics, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, undersea cable, yellow journalism

Dalton, The Story of Radio, 79–80; to see a standing wave created in a string, consult http://www1.union.edu/newmanj/lasers/Light%20as%20a%20Wave/light_as_a_wave.htm. 19. 1904 Essay, 429. 20. NT, CSN, 4 July 1899, 69. 21. Tesla met Popov at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and so he may have read Popov’s description of this detector in The Electrician in 1897. On Popov, see Fleming, Principles of Electric Wave Telegraphy, 362–63, 425 and James P. Rybak, “Alexander Popov: Russia’s Radio Pioneer,” Popular Electronics, August 1982, available at http://www.ptti.ru/eng/forum/article2.html. For his 1895 lightning detector, see R. Victor Jones, “The Branly-Lodge ‘Coherer’ Detector: A Truly Crazy Device That Worked!” available at http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~jones/cscie129/nu_lectures/lecture6/ coherers/coherer.html. 22. NT, CSN, 4 July 1899, 69. 23. Ibid., 70. 24. Leland Anderson suggested that Tesla detected these periodic signals as a result of the waves being reflected by the mountains west of Colorado Springs; see Seifer, Wizard, 471. 25.


pages: 611 words: 188,732

Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Byte Shop, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Elon Musk, frictionless, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, popular electronics, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

It’s not a sine wave, but I know how televisions work: They are going to interpret the signal as red. And if I put the ones and zeros in at a slightly different point in time they are going to call it blue! Oh my God, I have sixteen different colors! Would it work? There had never been a book that ever talked about creating color digitally. It wasn’t allowed. It wasn’t done. Dan Kottke: Color television was new and expensive then. And it wasn’t like you could read Popular Electronics explaining how it worked. Steve Wozniak: I knew the analog world of color televisions well, but I had crossed over to the digital world. Andy Hertzfeld: Woz just kind of tuned the Apple II to the frequencies that the television worked on, such that it was synchronous with the color burst signal, the signal that tells the TV what color to display. Lee Felsenstein: You are supposed to look at color as a two-dimensional vector of the same frequency with a phase relationship.


pages: 781 words: 226,928

Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall

Apple II, belly landing, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson

Some writers felt there was no distinction between the more expensive minicomputers from DEC and IBM, so they used the term minicomputer to describe the PET. Byte contributor Dan Fylstra tried the term television-typewriters, which he used to differentiate between computers with a picture tube and computers with simple lights. Another name was appliance computer, which gained some early acceptance due to a Popular Electronics cover of a PET 2001 sitting on a kitchen counter. Byte began using the term personal systems, which came close to describing the new computers. All these terms referred to the same thing, and eventually the term personal computer became accepted. Writers were also unsure what to call people who used these computers. Byte magazine frequently used the word computerist, a clunky word that never caught on.


pages: 1,799 words: 532,462

The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication From Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn

anti-communist, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cuban missile crisis, Fellow of the Royal Society, Honoré de Balzac, index card, interchangeable parts, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Louis Daguerre, Maui Hawaii, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, pattern recognition, place-making, popular electronics, positional goods, Republic of Letters, Searching for Interstellar Communications, stochastic process, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, union organizing, yellow journalism, zero-sum game

Perhaps the only other place in the country that broadcasts scrambled television is New York City’s Channel 31, which televises pictures of criminal line-ups to half a dozen police precinct houses, saving detectives and witnesses from having to go down to headquarters to view suspects; the pictures are scrambled to protect the rights of suspects (“20 Police Stations Get Television Sets in Test of U.H.F.,” The New York Times [March 22, 1962]; Ira Kamen, “Scrambled Line-Up,” Popular Electronics, XVII [August, 1962], 57; Walter Arm, deputy commissioner, New York City Police Department, letter, April 17, 1963). New York City enacted Local Law No. 271 on March 18, 1963, making it a misdemeanor for unauthorized individuals to unscramble the telecasts; this became §434a-38.0 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York. 836 Chappe: “Chappe, Claude” and “Télégraphe” in La Grande Encyclopédic, Jean Laffay, Les télécommunications, Que sais-je?