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Month: January 2018

Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III, better known as Bill Gates, is the co-founder and Technology Advisor of Microsoft, the largest software and programming company in the world with annual sales in excess of $85 billion. Gates, along with Paul Allen, launched Microsoft in 1975 and it became the world’s largest PC software company. During his time with the company, Gates has held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect and was, until May 2014, the company’s largest individual shareholder. Gates’ personal fortune stood at a staggering $91.7 billion as of February 2018. It was when gates was 13 that his interest in computers piqued. After his school received a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal, Gates created a his first computer program, an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting during his second year of university as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems. His solution held the record of being the fastest for more than 30 years and the solution was formalised in a published paper with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou. In 1975, Gates and Allen approached Micro Instrumental and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and told them they were developing a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 computer. The MITS president agreed to meet Gates and Allen and over the course of a...

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The Amiga 1000 Revolutionary PC

When you think of personal computers and how they shape our lives you probably think about Apple products or “Windows PCs.” They are, after all, the two main PCs that consumers purchase today. While some of these machines are nothing short of amazing, it was a computer released on July 23, 1985 that paved the way for personal computers in households. The Amiga 1000 may have been at the more expensive end of the scale when it was released in 1985 as it cost $1,295, or $2,900 in today’s money, yet it is a machine that shaped the personal computing world. PC World, a popular computing magazine, rated the Amiga 1000 as the seventh greatest PC of all time in 2006 and a year later voted it as the 37th best tech product of all time. So what was it that made the Amiga 1000 so good and and why did Byte magazine say about the Amiga 1000 that it was “so far ahead of its time that almost nobody, including Commodore’s marketing department, could full articulate what it was all about.” When Commodore released the Amiga 1000 in 1985, there were few people who could believe how powerful the computer was. It combined the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU, one of the most powerful CPUs for the time, with a multitasking operating system that fit into 256KB of read-only...

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History of the Personal Computer

Computers are part of our everyday lives. It is difficult to imagine life without a computer, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone that can all but do the job of a personal computer. Yet computers have not actually being around for that long in the grand scheme of things. “PC” is an initialism for “personal computer” and in its broadest definition it means a computer that can be operated by one person. Using this term, the first persona computer arrived in 1946 and was called the ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. It was heralded as a “Great Brain” when it was unveiled to the public in 1946. The ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory, but it never made it into the mainstream because of its $487,000 cost, which is the equivalent to $6,887,000 in today’s money. The LPG-30 was another personal computer that was spoken highly off, yet it was another that saw its costs preventing it being affordable for all but major institutions. Stan Frankel’s machine cost $46,000 or $423,000 today. Another prohibitive feature of the early personal computers were their sheer size. For example, some machines in the late 1960s weighed approximately half a ton and were as large as two desks. In 1973, Hewlett Packard created a fully BASIC programmable microcomputer that fit onto...

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