History of Computing

This timeline records important milestones in computing. Where possible release dates are entirely accurate. Where no information is available the first day of the year has been chosen.

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1939-09-04 00:00:00

Bletchley Park

Alan Turing reports to Bletchley park

1940-01-01 00:00:00

Bombe

The Bombe was an electromechanical device used by British cryptologists to help decipher German Enigma-machine-encrypted secret messages during World War II. The US Navy and US Army later produced their own machines to the same functional specification, but engineered differently from each other and from the British Bombe. The initial design of the bombe was produced in 1939 at the UK Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park by Alan Turing, with an important refinement devised in 1940 by Gordon Welchman. The engineering design and construction was the work of Harold Keen of the British Tabulating Machine Company. It was a substantial development from a device that had been designed in 1938 in Poland at the Biuro Szyfrów (Cipher Bureau) by cryptologist Marian Rejewski, and known as the "cryptologic bomb". The bombe was designed to discover some of the daily settings of the Enigma machines on the various German military networks: specifically, the set of rotors in use and their positions in the machine; the rotor core start positions for the message—the message key—and one of the wirings of the plugboard.y info here

1940-02-23 20:37:54

Discovery of PN junction

In the mid-1930s Russell Ohl, an electrochemist at Bell Telephone Labs in Holmdel, NJ, began investigating the use of silicon rectifiers as radar detectors. He found that increasing the silicon purity helped improve their detection ability. On 23 February 1940, he tested a small silicon slab that yielded strange, surprising results. When exposed to bright light, the current flowing through the slab jumped appreciably. He also noticed that different parts of the crystal yielded opposite electrical effects when tested with a "cat's whisker" style probe.

1944-02-05 00:00:00

Colossus

Colossus was the name of a series of computers developed by British codebreakers in 1943-1945 to help in the cryptanalysis of the Lorenz cipher. Colossus used thermionic valves (vacuum tubes) and thyratrons to perform Boolean and counting operations. Colossus is thus regarded as the world's first programmable, electronic, digital computer, although it was programmed by plugs and switches and not by a stored program. Colossus was designed by the engineer Tommy Flowers to solve a problem posed by mathematician Max Newman at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park. Alan Turing's use of probability in cryptanalysis contributed to its design. It has sometimes been erroneously stated that Turing designed Colossus to aid the cryptanalysis of the Enigma. Turing's machine that helped decode Enigma was the electromechanical Bombe, not Colossus.

1945-05-08 00:00:00

World War II VE day

World War II ends in Europe

1946-02-14 00:01:51

ENIAC

ENIAC; (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was the first electronic general-purpose computer. It was Turing-complete, digital, and capable of being reprogrammed to solve "a large class of numerical problems". ENIAC was initially designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory. When ENIAC was announced in 1946 it was heralded in the press as a "Giant Brain". It had a speed of one thousand times that of electro-mechanical machines. This computational power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists.

1949-08-01 02:16:59

EDVAC

EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) was one of the earliest electronic computers. Unlike its predecessor the ENIAC, it was binary rather than decimal, and was a stored program computer.

1950-01-01 00:46:47

Turing Test

"Computing Machinery and Intelligence", written by Alan Turing and published in 1950 in Mind, is a seminal paper on the topic of artificial intelligence in which the concept of what is now known as the Turing test was introduced to a wide audience. Turing's paper considers the question "Can machines think?" Since the words "think" and "machine" cannot be defined in a clear way that satisfies everyone, Turing suggests we "replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." To do this, he must first find a simple and unambiguous idea to replace the word "think", second he must explain exactly which "machines" he is considering, and finally, armed with these tools, he formulates a new question, related to the first, that he believes he can answer in the affirmative. Rather than trying to determine if a machine is thinking, Turing suggests we should ask if the machine can win a game, called the "Imitation Game". It involves three participants in isolated rooms: a computer (which is being tested), a human, and a (human) judge. The human judge can converse with both the human and the computer by typing into a terminal. Both the computer and human try to convince the judge that they are the human. If the judge cannot consistently tell which is which, then the computer wins the game. Turing writes 'What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?' Will the interrogator decide wrongly as often when the game is played like this as he does when the game is played between a man and a woman? These questions replace our original, 'Can machines think?'" As Stevan Harnad notes, the question has become "Can machines do what we (as thinking entities) can do?" In other words, Turing is no longer asking whether a machine can "think"; he is asking whether a machine can act indistinguishably from the way a thinker acts. This question avoids the difficult philosophical problem of pre-defining the verb "to think" and focuses instead on the performance capacities that being able to think makes possible, and how a causal system can generate them. Some have taken Turing's question to have been "Can a computer, communicating over a teleprinter, fool a person into believing it is human?" but it seems clear that Turing was not talking about fooling people but about generating human cognitive capacity.

1951-03-31 07:28:11

UNIVAC

The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the second commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was started by their company, Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand (which later became part of Sperry, now Unisys). In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC". The first UNIVAC was accepted by the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951, and was dedicated on June 14 that year. The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 presidential election. With a sample of just 1% of the voting population it famously predicted an Eisenhower landslide while the conventional wisdom favored Stevenson.

1951-11-17 23:17:24

Lyons LEO

The LEO I (Lyons Electronic Office I) was the first computer used for commercial business applications. Overseen by Oliver Standingford and Raymond Thompson of J. Lyons and Co., and modelled closely on the Cambridge EDSAC, LEO I ran its first business application in 1951. In 1954 Lyons formed LEO Computers Ltd to market LEO I and its successors LEO II and LEO III to other companies. LEO Computers eventually became part of English Electric Company (EELM) and then International Computers Limited (ICL) and ultimately Fujitsu. LEO series computers were still in use until 1981

1957-01-01 07:35:43

FORTRAN developed

Fortran (previously FORTRAN, derived from Formula Translating System) is a general-purpose, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continuous use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry. It is one of the most popular languages in the area of high-performance computing and is the language used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers. Fortran encompasses a lineage of versions, each of which evolved to add extensions to the language while usually retaining compatibility with previous versions. Successive versions have added support for structured programming and processing of character-based data (FORTRAN 77), array programming, modular programming and generic programming (Fortran 90), high performance Fortran (Fortran 95), object-oriented programming (Fortran 2003) and concurrent programming (Fortran 2008).

1958-01-01 00:00:00

ALGOL

ALGOL (short for ALGOrithmic Language)[1] is a family of imperative computer programming languages originally developed in the mid-1950s which greatly influenced many other languages.

1958-01-01 07:35:43

LISP language developed

Lisp (historically, LISP) is a family of computer programming languages with a long history and a distinctive, fully parenthesized Polish prefix notation. Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today; only Fortran is older (by one year). Like Fortran, Lisp has changed a great deal since its early days, and a number of dialects have existed over its history. Today, the most widely known general-purpose Lisp dialects are Common Lisp and Scheme. Lisp was originally created as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs, influenced by the notation of Alonzo Church's lambda calculus. It quickly became the favored programming language for artificial intelligence (AI) research. As one of the earliest programming languages, Lisp pioneered many ideas in computer science, including tree data structures, automatic storage management, dynamic typing, conditionals, higher-order functions, recursion, and the self-hosting compiler. The name LISP derives from "LISt Processing". Linked lists are one of Lisp language's major data structures, and Lisp source code is itself made up of lists. As a result, Lisp programs can manipulate source code as a data structure, giving rise to the macro systems that allow programmers to create new syntax or new domain-specific languages embedded in Lisp. The interchangeability of code and data also gives Lisp its instantly recognizable syntax. All program code is written as s-expressions, or parenthesized lists. A function call or syntactic form is written as a list with the function or operator's name first, and the arguments following; for instance, a function f that takes three arguments might be called using (f arg1 arg2 arg3).

1958-09-12 00:00:00

First integrated circuit.

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small plate ("chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon. This can be made much smaller than a discrete circuit made from independent components. ICs can be made very compact, having up to several billion transistors and other electronic components in an area the size of a fingernail. The width of each conducting line in a circuit can be made smaller and smaller as the technology advances; in 2008 it dropped below 100 nanometer, and now it is tens of nanometers.

1959-01-01 04:47:34

COBOL developed

COBOL ( an acronym for common business-oriented language) is a compiled computer programming language designed for business use. It is imperative, procedural and, since 2002, object-oriented. It was designed in 1959 by the Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL) and was largely based on previous programming language design work by Grace Hopper, commonly referred to as "the mother of COBOL". COBOL is primarily used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments. In 1997, Gartner Group estimated that there were a total of 200 billion lines of COBOL in existence which ran 80% of all business programs. COBOL was one of the first programming languages to be standardised: the first COBOL standard was issued by ANSI in 1968. The standard has been revised four times since then, with ISO publishing the latest standard as ISO/IEC 1989:2014.

1962-01-01 04:06:29

Spacewar!

Spacewar! is one of the earliest digital computer games. It is a two-player game, with each player taking control of a starship and attempting to destroy the other. A star in the center of the screen pulls on both ships and requires maneuvering to avoid falling into it. In an emergency, a player can enter hyperspace to return at a random location on the screen, but only at the risk of exploding if it is used too often. Steve "Slug" Russell, Martin "Shag" Graetz, and Wayne Wiitanen of the fictitious "Hingham Institute" conceived of the game in 1961, with the intent of implementing it on a DEC PDP-1 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After Alan Kotok obtained some sine and cosine routines from DEC, Russell began coding, and, by February 1962, had produced his first version. It took approximately 200 hours of work to create the initial version. Additional features were developed by Dan Edwards, Peter Samson, and Graetz.

1963-11-23 08:01:55

Doctor Who first airs

Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC from 1963 to the present day. The programme depicts the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord—a time-travelling humanoid alien. He explores the universe in his TARDIS, a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.

1964-01-01 19:39:54

BASIC developed

BASIC (an acronym for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, or Bending Acronyms So the Initials look Cute) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use. In 1964, John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. They wanted to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn. Versions of BASIC became widespread on microcomputers in the mid-1970s and 1980s. Microcomputers usually shipped with BASIC, often in the machine's firmware. Having an easy-to-learn language on these early personal computers allowed small business owners, professionals, hobbyists, and consultants to develop custom software on computers they could afford. BASIC remains popular in many dialects and in new languages influenced by BASIC, such as Microsoft's Visual Basic. In 2006, 59% of developers for the .NET Framework used Visual Basic .NET as their only programming language.

1969-01-01 22:37:04

Unix

Unix (all-caps UNIX for the trademark) is a multitasking, multiuser computer operating system that exists in many variants. The original Unix was developed at AT&T's Bell Labs research center by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others. From the power user's or programmer's perspective, Unix systems are characterized by a modular design that is sometimes called the "Unix philosophy," meaning the OS provides a set of simple tools that each perform a limited, well-defined function, with a unified filesystem as the main means of communication and a shell scripting and command language to combine the tools to perform complex workflows.

1969-10-29 00:00:00

ARPANET

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was one of the world's first operational packet switching networks, the first network to implement TCP/IP, and the progenitor of what was to become the global Internet.

1971-09-01 00:00:00

First email

Raymond Samuel Tomlinson is a US programmer who implemented an email system in 1971 on the ARPANET. It was the first system able to send mail between users on different hosts connected to the ARPAnet. (Previously, mail could be sent only to others who used the same computer.) To achieve this, he used the @ sign to separate the user from their machine, which has been used in email addresses ever since. The first email Ray Tomlinson sent was a test e-mail. It was not preserved and Tomlinson describes it as insignificant, something like "QWERTYUIOP". This is commonly misquoted as "The first e-mail was QWERTYUIOP". Tomlinson later commented that these "test messages were entirely forgettable and I have, therefore, forgotten them."

1971-11-01 03:29:37

Computer Space

Computer Space is a video arcade game released in 1971 by Nutting Associates. Created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who would both later found Atari, Inc., it is generally accepted that it was the world's first commercially sold coin-operated video game.

1972-01-01 17:41:30

C

C is a general-purpose programming language initially developed by Dennis Ritchie between 1969 and 1973 at AT&T Bell Labs. Like most imperative languages in the ALGOL tradition, C has facilities for structured programming and allows lexical variable scope and recursion, while a static type system prevents many unintended operations. Its design provides constructs that map efficiently to typical machine instructions, and therefore it has found lasting use in applications that had formerly been coded in assembly language, most notably system software like the Unix computer operating system. C is one of the most widely used programming languages of all time, and C compilers are available for the majority of available computer architectures and operating systems.

1972-08-01 14:44:00

PONG

Pong is one of the earliest arcade video games; it is a tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. While other arcade video games such as Computer Space came before it, Pong was one of the first video games to reach mainstream popularity. The aim is to defeat an opponent in a simulated table-tennis game by earning a higher score. The game was originally manufactured by Atari Incorporated (Atari), who released it in 1972. Allan Alcorn created Pong as a training exercise assigned to him by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell based the idea on an electronic ping-pong game included in the Magnavox Odyssey, which later resulted in a lawsuit against Atari. Surprised by the quality of Alcorn's work, Bushnell and Atari co-founder Ted Dabney decided to manufacture the game. Pong quickly became a success and is the first commercially successful arcade video game machine, which helped to establish the video game industry along with the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that copied Pong '​s gameplay, and eventually released new types of games. As a result, Atari encouraged its staff to produce more innovative games. The company released several sequels that built upon the original's gameplay by adding new features. During the 1975 Christmas season, Atari released a home version of Pong exclusively through Sears retail stores. It was also a commercial success and led to numerous copies. The game has been remade on numerous home and portable platforms following its release. Pong has been referenced and parodied in multiple television shows and video games, and has been a part of several video game and cultural exhibitions.

1972-09-16 07:35:43

PROLOG language developed

Prolog is a general purpose logic programming language associated with artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Prolog has its roots in first-order logic, a formal logic, and unlike many other programming languages, Prolog is declarative: the program logic is expressed in terms of relations, represented as facts and rules. A computation is initiated by running a query over these relations. The language was first conceived by a group around Alain Colmerauer in Marseille, France, in the early 1970s and the first Prolog system was developed in 1972 by Colmerauer with Philippe Roussel. Prolog was one of the first logic programming languages, and remains the most popular among such languages today, with many free and commercial implementations available. The language has been used for theorem proving, expert systems, as well as its original intended field of use, natural language processing. Modern Prolog environments support creating graphical user interfaces, as well as administrative and networked applications.

1973-06-01 15:41:40

Hunt the Wumpus

Hunt the Wumpus is an early video game, based on a simple hide and seek format featuring a mysterious monster (the Wumpus) that lurks deep inside a network of rooms. It was originally a text-based game written in BASIC. It has since been ported to various programming languages and platforms including graphical versions.

1974-01-01 09:11:07

CP/M

CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) was a mass-market operating system created for Intel 8080/85-based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc (originally incorporated as "Intergalactic Digital Research"). Initially confined to single-tasking on 8-bit processors and no more than 64 kilobytes of memory, later versions of CP/M added multi-user variations and were migrated to 16-bit processors.

1976-01-01 04:06:29

Colossal Cave

Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENT, Colossal Cave, or Adventure) gave its name to the computer adventure game genre. It was originally designed by Will Crowther, a programmer and caving enthusiast who based the layout on part of the Mammoth Cave system in Kentucky. The Colossal Cave subnetwork has many entrances, one of which is known as Bedquilt. Crowther reproduced portions of the real cave so faithfully that one caver who had played the game could easily navigate through familiar sections in the Bedquilt region on her first visit.

1976-04-11 07:36:14

Apple I

The original Apple Computer, also known retroactively as the Apple I, or Apple-1, was released by the Apple Computer Company (now Apple Inc.) in 1976. They were designed and hand-built by Steve Wozniak. Wozniak's friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling the computer. The Apple I was Apple's first product, and to finance its creation, Jobs sold his only means of transportation, a VW Microbus. and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator for $500. It was demonstrated in July 1976 at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.

1977-06-10 07:36:14

Apple II

The Apple II is an 8-bit home computer, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products,designed primarily by Steve Wozniak, manufactured by Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and introduced in 1977. It is the first model in a series of computers which were produced until Apple IIe production ceased in November 1993.

1977-10-01 00:00:00

Commodore PET

The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) is a home/personal computer produced in 1977 by Commodore International. A top-seller in the Canadian and United States educational markets, it was Commodore's first full-featured computer, and formed the basis for their entire 8-bit product line.

1978-06-01 09:27:01

Space Invaders

Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released in 1978. It was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan, and was later licensed for production in the United States by the Midway division of Bally. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible. In designing the game, Nishikado drew inspiration from popular media: Breakout, The War of the Worlds, and Star Wars. To complete it, he had to design custom hardware and development tools. It was one of the forerunners of modern video gaming and helped expand the video game industry from a novelty to a global industry (see golden age of video arcade games). When first released, Space Invaders was very successful. The game has been the inspiration for other video games, re-released on numerous platforms, and led to several sequels. The 1980 Atari 2600 version quadrupled the system's sales and became the first "killer app" for video game consoles. Space Invaders has been referenced and parodied in multiple television shows, and been a part of several video game and cultural exhibitions. The pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often used as a synecdoche representing video games as a whole.

1979-05-11 07:36:14

VisiCalc

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet computer program, originally released for the Apple II. It is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool, and is considered the Apple II's killer app. VisiCalc sold over 700,000 copies in six years, and as many as 1 million copies over its history. VisiCalc was ported to numerous platforms, both 8-bit and some of the early 16-bit systems. In order to do this, the company developed porting platforms that produced bug compatible versions. The company took the same approach when the IBM PC was launched, producing a product that was essentially identical to the original 8-bit Apple II version. Sales were initially brisk, with about 300,000 copies sold.

1980-01-01 00:00:00

Ada

Ada is a structured, statically typed, imperative, wide-spectrum, and object-oriented high-level computer programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages. It has built-in language support for explicit concurrency, offering tasks, synchronous message passing, protected objects, and non-determinism.

1981-08-01 09:11:07

MS-DOS

MS-DOS; short for Microsoft Disk Operating System) is an operating system for x86-based personal computers mostly developed by Microsoft. It was the most commonly used member of the DOS family of operating systems, and was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s to the mid-1990s, when it was gradually superseded by operating systems offering a graphical user interface (GUI), in various generations of the Microsoft Windows operating system. MS-DOS resulted from a request in 1981 by IBM for an operating system to use in its IBM PC range of personal computers. Microsoft quickly bought the rights to 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, and began work on modifying it to meet IBM's specification. IBM licensed and released it in August 1981 as PC DOS 1.0 for use in their PCs. Although MS-DOS and PC DOS were initially developed in parallel by Microsoft and IBM, in subsequent years the two products went their separate ways. During its life, several competing products were released for the x86 platform, and MS-DOS went through eight versions, until development ceased in 2000. Initially MS-DOS was targeted at Intel 8086 processors running on computer hardware using floppy disks to store and access not only the operating system, but application software and user data as well. Progressive version releases delivered support for other mass storage media in ever greater sizes and formats, along with added feature support for newer processors and rapidly evolving computer architectures. Ultimately it was the key product in Microsoft's growth from a programming languages company to a diverse software development firm, providing the company with essential revenue and marketing resources. It was also the underlying basic operating system on which early versions of Windows ran as a GUI. It is a flexible operating system, and consumes negligible installation space.

1981-12-01 00:00:00

BBC Micro released

The BBC Microcomputer System, or BBC Micro, was a series of microcomputers and associated peripherals designed and built by the Acorn Computer company for the BBC Computer Literacy Project, operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Designed with an emphasis on education, it was notable for its ruggedness, expandability and the quality of its operating system.

1982-01-01 19:26:46

First Internet Coke Machine

First Coke machine on the Internet, located in (then) Science Hall at Carnegie-Mellon University, and interfaced to the PDP-10 known as CMUA (later A.CS.CMU.EDU). From the Internet one could query the status of the Coke machine by typing "finger coke@CMUA".

1982-04-21 10:57:30

Spectrum 48K released

The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82, the machine was launched as the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black-and-white of its predecessor, the ZX81. The Spectrum was ultimately released as eight different models, ranging from the entry level model with 16 KB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 KB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987; together they sold in excess of 5 million units worldwide (not counting numerous clones). The Spectrum was among the first mainstream audience home computers in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the USA. The introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine, the effects of which are still seen; some credit it as the machine which launched the UK IT industry. Licensing deals and clones followed, and earned Clive Sinclair a knighthood for "services to British industry". The Commodore 64, Oric-1 and Atmos, BBC Microcomputer and later the Amstrad CPC range were rivals to the Spectrum in the UK market during the early 1980s. Over 24,000 software titles have been released since the Spectrum's launch and new titles continue to be released, with over 100 new ones in 2012. In 2014, a bluetooth keyboard modeled on the Spectrum was announced.

1982-08-01 00:00:00

Commodore 64

The Commodore 64, also known as the C64, is an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International. It is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time, with independent estimates placing the number sold between 10 and 17 million units.

1982-09-19 00:00:00

First emoticon created

:-)

1983-01-01 01:01:30

Lotus 1-2-3

Lotus 1-2-3 is a spreadsheet program from Lotus Software (now part of IBM). It was the IBM PC's first "killer application"; its huge popularity in the mid-1980s contributed significantly to the success of the IBM PC in the corporate environment. The first spreadsheet, Visicalc, had helped launch the Apple II as one of the earliest personal computers in business use. With IBM's entry into the market, VisiCalc was slow to respond, and when they did, they launched what was essentially a straight port of their existing system in spite of the greatly expanded hardware capabilities. Lotus' solution was marketed as a three-in-one, integrated solution, which handled spreadsheet calculations, database functionality, and graphical charts - thus the name "1-2-3". 1-2-3 quickly overtook VisiCalc, as well as MultiPlan and SuperCalc, two VisiCalc competitors. 1-2-3 was the de facto standard throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, part of a triumvirate of products that included dBASE and Word Perfect to build a complete small business platform. It was not until the acceptance of Windows 3.0 started to grow that the market began to change. None of these companies had seriously considered the graphical user interface in the DOS era, and responded slowly to Microsoft's own products, Excel and Word. As the early 1990s ended, 1-2-3 was in the number three position, and never recovered. IBM purchased Lotus and continued sales, only officially ending sales in 2013.

1983-01-01 17:41:30

C++

C++ (pronounced cee plus plus) is a general purpose programming language. It has imperative, object-oriented and generic programming features, while also providing the facilities for low level memory manipulation. It is designed with a bias for systems programming (e.g. embedded systems, operating system kernels), with performance, efficiency and flexibility of use as its design requirements. C++ has also been found useful in many other contexts, including desktop applications, servers (e.g. e-commerce, web search, SQL), performance critical applications (e.g. telephone switches, space probes) and entertainment software, such as video games. It is a compiled language, with implementations of it available on many platforms. Various organizations provide them, including the FSF, LLVM, Microsoft and Intel.

1983-07-14 00:00:00

Mario Bros.

Mario Bros. is a platform game published and developed for arcades by Nintendo in 1983. It was created by Shigeru Miyamoto. It has been featured as a minigame in the Super Mario Advance series and numerous other games. Mario Bros. has been re-released for the Wii's, Nintendo 3DS's, and Wii U's Virtual Console services in Japan, North America, Europe and Australia. In the game, Mario is portrayed as an Italian-American plumber who, along with his younger brother Luigi, has to defeat creatures that have been coming from the sewers below New York City. The gameplay focuses on Mario's extermination of them by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away. The original versions of Mario Bros.—the arcade version and the Family Computer/Nintendo Entertainment System (FC/NES) version—were received positively by critics.

1984-01-24 21:55:28

Macintosh

The Macintosh, or Mac, is a series of personal computers (PCs) designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh computer on January 24, 1984. This was the first mass-market personal computer featuring an integral graphical user interface and mouse. This first model was later renamed to "Macintosh 128k" for uniqueness amongst a populous family of subsequently updated models which are also based on Apple's same proprietary architecture. The Macintosh product family has been collectively and singularly nicknamed "Mac" or "the Mac" since the development of the first model. The Macintosh, however, was expensive, which caused it to be overtaken in sales by the aggressively priced IBM Personal Computer and its accompanying clone market. Macintosh systems still found success in education and desktop publishing and kept Apple as the second-largest PC manufacturer for the next decade. In the 1990s, improvements in the rival Wintel platform, notably with the introduction of Windows 3.0, gradually took market share from the more expensive Macintosh systems. The performance advantage of 68000-based Macintosh systems was eroded by Intel's Pentium, and in 1994 Apple was relegated to third place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Despite a transition to the PowerPC-based Power Macintosh line in 1994, the falling prices of PC components and the release of Windows 95 saw the Macintosh user base decline.

1984-07-01 01:01:30

Neuromancer

Neuromancer is a 1984 novel by William Gibson, a seminal work in the cyberpunk genre and the first winner of the science-fiction "triple crown" — the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award. It was Gibson's debut novel and the beginning of the Sprawl trilogy. The novel tells the story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to pull off the ultimate hack. Coins the first term "cyperspace".

1984-09-20 01:54:42

Elite

Elite is a seminal space trading video game, written and developed by David Braben and Ian Bell and originally published by Acornsoft for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron computers in 1984. Elite's open-ended game model, advanced game engine and revolutionary 3D graphics led to it being ported to virtually every contemporary home computer system, and earned it a place as a classic and a genre maker in gaming history. The game's title derives from one of the player's goals of raising their combat rating to the exalted heights of "Elite". Elite was one of the first home computer games to use wire-frame 3D graphics with hidden line removal. Another novelty was the inclusion of The Dark Wheel, a novella by Robert Holdstock which gave players insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.

1985-09-13 00:00:00

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. is a 1985 platform video game internally developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo as a pseudo-sequel to the 1983 game Mario Bros. It was originally released in Japan for the Family Computer on 13 September 1985, and later that year for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America, Europe on 15 May 1987 and Australia in 1987. It is the first of the Super Mario series of games. In Super Mario Bros., the player controls Mario and in a two-player game, a second player controls Mario's brother Luigi as he travels through the Mushroom Kingdom in order to rescue Princess Toadstool from the antagonist Bowser.

1985-10-20 00:00:00

Windows 1.0 released

Windows 1.0 is a graphical personal computer operating environment developed by Microsoft. First released on 20 November 1985 as the first version of the Microsoft Windows line, Windows 1.0 runs as a graphical, 16-bit multi-tasking shell on top of an existing MS-DOS installation, providing an environment which can run graphical programs designed for Windows, as well as existing MS-DOS software. Its development was spearheaded by the company founder, Bill Gates, after seeing a demo of a similar software suite known as Visi On at COMDEX. Despite positive responses to its early presentations and support from a number of hardware and software makers, Windows 1.0 was received poorly by critics, who felt it did not meet their expectations. In particular, they felt that Windows 1.0 put too much emphasis on mouse input at a time when mouse use was not yet widespread; not providing enough resources for new users; and for suffering from performance issues, especially on systems with lower hardware specifications. Despite this criticism, Windows 1.0 proved to be an important milestone for Microsoft, and in computer history in general. Windows 1.0 was officially declared obsolete and unsupported by Microsoft on 31 December 2001.

1986-01-01 10:57:30

BBC Master 128

The BBC Master was a home computer released by Acorn Computers in early 1986. It was designed and built for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was the successor to the BBC Micro Model B. The Master 128 remained in production until 1993

1986-01-01 16:20:55

Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128

Sinclair developed the ZX Spectrum 128 (code-named Derby) in conjunction with their Spanish distributor Investrónica. Investrónica had helped adapt the ZX Spectrum+ to the Spanish market after the Spanish government introduced a special tax on all computers with 64 KB RAM or less, and a law which obliged all computers sold in Spain to support the Spanish alphabet and show messages in Spanish. The appearance of the ZX Spectrum 128 was similar to the ZX Spectrum+, with the exception of a large external heatsink for the internal 7805 voltage regulator added to the right hand end of the case, replacing the internal heatsink in previous versions. New features included 128 KB RAM, three-channel audio via the AY-3-8912 chip, MIDI compatibility, an RS-232 serial port, an RGB monitor port, 32 KB of ROM including an improved BASIC editor, and an external keypad. The machine was simultaneously presented for the first time and launched in September 1985 at the SIMO '85 trade show in Spain, with a price of 44,250 pesetas. Because of the large number of unsold Spectrum+ models, Sinclair decided not to start selling in the UK until January 1986 at a price of £179.95. No external keypad was available for the UK release, although the ROM routines to use it and the port itself remained. The Z80 processor used in the Spectrum has a 16-bit address bus, which means only 64 KB of memory can be directly addressed. To facilitate the extra 80 KB of RAM the designers used bank switching so that the new memory would be available as eight pages of 16 KB at the top of the address space. The same technique was also used to page between the new 16 KB editor ROM and the original 16 KB BASIC ROM at the bottom of the address space. The new sound chip and MIDI out abilities were exposed to the BASIC programming language with the command PLAY and a new command SPECTRUM was added to switch the machine into 48K mode, keeping the current BASIC program intact (although there is no way to switch back to 128K mode). To enable BASIC programmers to access the additional memory, a RAM disk was created where files could be stored in the additional 80 KB of RAM. The new commands took the place of two existing user-defined-character spaces causing compatibility problems with some BASIC programs. The ZX Spectrum 128 had no internal speaker like its predecessors. The sound was produced from the television speaker instead.

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