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

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air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, 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, 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: 744 words: 142,748

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

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air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, card file, Chance favours the prepared mind, cuban missile crisis, dumpster diving, Hush-A-Phone, index card, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, the scientific method, 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: 528 words: 146,459

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

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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, 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, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, 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

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Albert Einstein, 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, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, 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.


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

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Albert Einstein, 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.


pages: 230 words: 71,320

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

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affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, medical residency, 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.


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

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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, double helix, 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, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, 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

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: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

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Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, 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, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, 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 Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

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: 566 words: 122,184

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

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Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, 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 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: 464 words: 155,696

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

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Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, computer age, corporate governance, El Camino Real, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, 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

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Apple II, bounce rate, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, 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, 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.


pages: 278 words: 70,416

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

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3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, attribution theory, augmented reality, barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, deliberate practice, 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, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, popular electronics, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

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

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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, deliberate practice, 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, Richard Feynman, 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

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.


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

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

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: 398 words: 107,788

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

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Benjamin Mako Hill, crowdsourcing, Debian, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, 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 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: 382 words: 92,138

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

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Apple II, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, California gold rush, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, computer age, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demand response, deskilling, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, incomplete markets, information retrieval, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, natural language processing, new economy, offshore financial centre, 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: 394 words: 108,215

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

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, 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, 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: 362 words: 86,195

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

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Brian Krebs, dumpster diving, fault tolerance, Firefox, 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: 356 words: 105,533

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

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algorithmic trading, automated trading system, banking crisis, bash_history, Bernie Madoff, butterfly effect, buttonwood tree, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Donald Trump, 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!

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.


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

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Flynn Effect, meta analysis, meta-analysis, out of africa, popular electronics

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: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

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Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, Dynabook, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, 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

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: 310 words: 34,482

Makers at Work: Folks Reinventing the World One Object or Idea at a Time by Steven Osborn

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3D printing, A Pattern Language, additive manufacturing, air freight, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, c2.com, computer vision, crowdsourcing, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, future of work, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Hacker Ethic, Internet of things, Iridium satellite, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mason jar, means of production, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Network effects, Oculus Rift, patent troll, popular electronics, Rodney Brooks, Shenzhen was a fishing village, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, software as a service, special economic zone, speech recognition, subscription business, telerobotics, urban planning, web application, Y Combinator

Osborn: T   hat’s pretty cool.  I’m really interested to see what sort of applications people come up with for it. Thanks for your time, Eric. 5 http://selfstarter.us 261 CHAPTER 20 Ian Lesnet Slashdot Troll Dangerous Prototypes Ian Lesnet is an entrepreneur and electrical engineer who has lived and worked in cities all over the world. Ian has written about his open-hardware electronics projects on many popular electronics blogs, including DIY Live and Hack a Day. He is the owner and creator of Dangerous Prototypes (dangerousprototypes.com), an ­electronics blog with a focus on DIY electronic projects and tools. Ian’s most popular creation, the Bus Pirate, is the equivalent of an open-source electronics Swiss-army knife. The Bus Pirate is a go-to tool for beginners and experienced hardware hackers to communicate with and debug electronics components.


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, corporate governance, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, Long Term Capital Management, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, 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, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, 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

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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: 377 words: 115,122

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

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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, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, 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: 464 words: 127,283

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

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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, 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, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, patent troll, 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 Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, 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, 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

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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, Grace Hopper, inventory management, John von Neumann, linear programming, Menlo Park, 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.


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

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, 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, haute couture, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, late capitalism, 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, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, 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, 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 Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, urban decay, 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.


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Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall

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Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, 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 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.