Microsoft’s low-octane swan song was nothing if not symbolic of more than a decade littered with errors, missed opportunities, and the devolution of one of the industry’s innovators into a “me too” purveyor of other companies’ consumer products. ... How did this jaw-dropping role reversal happen? How could a company that stands among the most cash-rich in the world, the onetime icon of cool that broke IBM’s iron grip on the computer industry, have stumbled so badly in a race it was winning? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen
on Jul 26, 2012 -
How Computers Work.
Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
posted by scalefree
on Dec 22, 2011 -
In 1985, Apple started the "Apple University Consortium Europe" collaboration program, and one of the first universities to enroll was that of Lund, Sweden. To celebrate the collaboration, Apple CEO Steve Jobs came to Lund - and a 16 minute film of his visit has now been found and been made available by the University of Lund. You can see the clip here (.mov).
posted by mr.marx
on Dec 16, 2011 -
Leisure Suit Larry is a series of adventure games written by Al Lowe and published by Sierra from 1987 to 2009. The main character, whose full name is Larry Laffer, is a balding, dorky, double entendre-speaking, leisure suit-wearing (but still somewhat lovable) "loser" in his 40s. The games follow him as he spends much of his life trying (usually unsuccessfully) to seduce attractive women. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Dec 7, 2011 -
To meet this need for high speed data processing, the scientists and technicians of the Eckert-Mauchly division of Remington Rand have created a miracle of electronic development: UNIVAC! [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Oct 7, 2011 -
This is a short history and background of the Macintosh research project on the eve of its becoming a product.
posted by Joe Beese
on Feb 14, 2011 -
Afraid that Jobs' wild spending and Woz's recurrent "flights of fancy" would cause Apple to flop, Wayne decided to abdicate his role as adult-in-chief and bailed out after 12 days. Terrified to be the only one of the three founders with assets that creditors could seize, he sold back his shares for $800.
An interview with Apple Computer co-founder Ron Wayne
(he also designed Apple's first logo
). Had he held out, his shares today would be worth $22 billion.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot
on Jun 4, 2010 -
(or Synco, in Spanish) was computer network constructed in 1970 by an English/Chilean team headed by cyberneticist Stafford Beer
). Cybersyn was an electronic nervous system for the Chilean economy, linking together mines, factories and so on, to better manage production and give workers a clear idea of what was in demand and where. The network was destroyed by the army after the 1973 coup. Later that year Stafford Beer drew upon the lessons of Cybersyn to write Fanfare for Effective Freedom
, a eulogy for Allende and Cybersyn, and Designing Freedom
, a series of six lectures he gave for CBC, outlining his ideas. Besides the first link in this post, the best place to start is this Guardian article from 2003
. If you want to go more in-depth, read Eden Medina's Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile
. And if nothing else, just take a look at the amazing Cybersyn control room
posted by Kattullus
on Mar 21, 2010 -
Mefi's own Jason Scott
) wants to raise $25,000
using waxy's Kickstarter
to work full-time on computer history. He made BBS documentary
), founded the Archive Team
, and owns textfiles.com
) and, yes, sockington
. So far, 237 people have pledged $20,340. On Nov. 4, Jason did a 5-hours, non-stop Scottathon
. Apparently, fundraising ain't easy
posted by Monday, stony Monday
on Nov 8, 2009 -
Triumph of the Nerds
is a 1996 three-part documentary recounting the rise of the personal computer, including interviews with Gates, Wozniak and Jobs, among others. It was originally produced for British television, and aired on PBS in the USA. Part One
. Part Two
. Part Three
. Transcripts here
. After you watch, you can play the "Guess the Computer"
posted by amyms
on Sep 29, 2007 -
Before RSS and personalized aggregators such as Personalized Google
, there was CRAYON
, a service that allowed you to "CReAte Your Own Newspaper" by providing a page with links to chosen sources. [mi]
posted by divabat
on Mar 28, 2007 -
The Red Hill Guide
is an amazingly detailed and well-written compendium of desktop hardware old and new, with a focus on PC and x86 compatibles. Look for your first CPU, hard drive or mainboard.
posted by loquacious
on Jan 6, 2007 -
California Dreaming: A True Story of Computers, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll (Reg. req'd)
Engineers can be so cute. In the early 1960's, Myron Stolaroff, an employee of the tape recorder manufacturer Ampex, decided to prove the value of consuming LSD. So he set up the International Foundation for Advanced Study and went about his project in classic methodical fashion.
But John Markoff, a senior writer for The New York Times who covers technology, makes a convincing case that for the swarming ubergeeks assembling in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960's, approaching drugs as they might any other potentially helpful tool or device - from a soldering iron to a computer chip - was only natural. The goals were broad in the 60's: the world would be remade, the natural order of things reconfigured, human potential amplified to infinity. Anything that could help was to be cherished, studied and improved.
Judging by the record presented in What the Dormouse Said,
it is indisputable that many of the engineers and programmers who contributed to the birth of personal computing were fans of LSD, draft resisters, commune sympathizers and, to put it bluntly, long-haired hippie freaks.
posted by gleenyc
on May 7, 2005 -
A clickable genealogy
charting the lineage of visual interactive computing systems and user interfaces, by Bruce Damer. Some quirky/broken links, but plenty of interesting stuff there, too.
posted by carter
on Mar 2, 2005 -
is an electronic anthology of sorts. Due to the technological advancement of these things we call "computers", it's a subject ripe for nostalgia. As seen here by bloggers writing about their first . . .
posted by jeremias
on Jun 2, 2003 -
is the virtual incarnation of computer historian and collector Michael Williams' phat-ass computer museum. My favourite, BTW, is the timeline
, searchable by year or topic. What technological milestones occured in the year of your
posted by stuporJIX
on Feb 15, 2002 -
NYT celebrates 40 (or so) years of FORTRAN
The computer language that started it all is remembered in this breezy Times article (reg. req.'d.). [I think it has to do with some recent reunion of original team-members, but any contemporary event to rationalize printing this is buried in the copy.] Do something high-level with your computer today to commemorate. Here's an ibiblio.org
text with more information.
posted by rschram
on Jun 13, 2001 -
The Story of Mel
- Almost everyone's seen the Story of Mel on USENET or via email... the story of the guy who wrote programs for a particular ancient drum computer by using the characteristics of the drum to handle memory allocation and time delays. In a footnote on the Jargon File, it seems that his last name is known... An interesting footnote to an interesting and probably true story.
posted by SpecialK
on Apr 7, 2001 -