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Sunday, 22 June 2014



For centuries, “Computer” was a job title for a person who did math problems all day.

The earliest evidence of human computation consists of notches on a wolf bone found in France dating back to around 30,000BC.

In 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer. The Antikythera mechanism was used to predict astrological events such as orbits and eclipses. Its complexity wouldn't be matched until more than 1,500 years later with astronomical clocks.

Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin on May 11, 1941. Program code and constant data were stored on punched film. The German Aircraft Research Institute used it to perform statistical analyses of wing flutter.

Zuse Z3 replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich

ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose digital computer, was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on February 15, 1946. It had a speed on the order of one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines and was heralded as a "Giant Brain" by the press.

Although ENIAC was designed and primarily used to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, its first programs included a study of the feasibility of the thermonuclear weapon.

The first actual case of a computer bug was found in 1947 when a moth lodged in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.

The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, the world's first stored-program computer, ran its first computer program on June 21, 1948. Nicknamed Baby, it was built at the Victoria University of Manchester, England, by Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill.

Replica of the Small-Scale Experimental Machine 

EDSAC, the first practical electronic digital stored-program computer, run its first operation on May 6, 1949.

The world’s first office computer was built in 1951 in the UK by Lyon’s chain of tea shops in 1951.

On June 14, 1951 "Univac I" was unveiled. It was a computer designed for the U.S. Census Bureau and billed as the world's first commercial computer. That same computer is housed at the University of Pennsylvania.

UNIVAC I at Franklin Life Insurance Company

The concept for the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published in 1952 by Geoffrey Dummer.

IBM introduced the first computer disk storage unit, the RAMAC 305 on September 13, 1956. It had a capacity of 4.4 MB.

An IBM RAMAC 305 computer was used during the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley USA. It was the first time an electronic data processing system was provided for the Games.

Photo below shows an IBM 305 at the U.S. Army Red River Arsenal foreground: two 350 disk drives background: 380 console and 305 processing unit

The IBM 610 Auto-Point Computer is considered the first ever personal computer. It went on sale for $55,000 in 1957.

The first computer mouse was constructed in 1964 and was made of wood.

The Icelandic word for “computer” is “tölva”, which is formed from tala (number) and “völva” (prophetess). So it means “prophetess of number”. The word was coined in 1964 to mark the arrival of the first computer at the University of Iceland.

The NLS, a computer collaboration system that was the first to employ the practical use of hypertext, the computer mouse, and other modern computing concepts, was publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco on December 9, 1968. Engineer and inventor Douglas Engelbart's 90-minute 'Mother of All Demos' essentially demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor.

The computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon had only 2 MHz of processing power, 4 KB of RAM, and 72 KB of ROM, less than that of a modern calculator. Minutes before landing, the processor became overloaded due to extra tasks performed by the landing radar.

The first mouse received its patent in 1970. In the patent application it was described as an "X-Y position indicator for a display system".

The Ethernet,  a method of connecting computers together in a local area network or LAN, was developed by Robert Metcalfe at Xerox PARC between 1973 and 1974. It has been the most widely used method of linking computers together in LANs since the 1990s.

The first mass market personal computer, the Apple II, went on sale on June 10, 1977.

Apple II computer. On display at the Musée Bolo, EPFL, Lausanne.

The first Apple II, computers on sale had a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1.023 MHz, two game paddles, 4 kB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs.

The first gigabyte-capacity disc drive, the IBM 3380 debuted in 1980. It was the size of a fridge and cost today's equivalent of $113,000 dollars.

The IBM 5120 from 1980 may well have been the heaviest ever desktop computer, clocking in at 105 pounds.

The Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, was released on April 3, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (23.5 lb) and cost $1,795.00

The ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, was launched by Sinclair Research in 1981 and went on to sell over 1.5 million units around the world.

Xerox PARC introduced the Xerox 8010 Star Information System, the first commercial system utilizing a computer mouse on April 27, 1981.

The IBM Personal Computer, the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform, was introduced on August 12, 1981.

Mt. Lebanon High School student Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code in 1982.  400 lines long it was disguised as an Apple boot program called "Elk Cloner" and infected Apple II computers via floppy disk.

The Commodore 64, an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International is sometimes compared to the Ford Model T automobile for its role in bringing a new technology to middle-class households.

Time magazine chose the personal computer as its Person Of The Year on December 26, 1982, the first non-human ever.

In 1983, after five years of development, Apple released the Lisa, the first personal computer with a graphical user interface and a computer mouse. Although the Lisa was a commercial failure—due in part to its initial price tag of $9,995—it had a significant impact on the computer industry.

The Lisa is often rumored to have been named after the first daughter of Apple's Steve Jobs, though several acronyms have been ascribed to the name.

The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous "1984" television commercial.

The first hard drive available for the Apple II had a capacity of only 5 megabytes.

The first computer virus was released into the wild on January 19, 1986. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter piracy of the software they had written.

Hex dump of the Blaster worm, showing a message left for Microsoft CEO Bill Gates by the worm's programmer
Early computers were usually beige because Germany initiated workplace standards that required 'light-value' colors on office computing equipment, causing other European countries to follow suit. This made it financially attractive to solely produce beige computers.

The early Macintosh models were a beige color. Although Apple switched to a desaturated gray they called “Platinum” in 1987, users began to refer to them as "beige" following the introduction of the brightly colored iMac and Blue and White G3.

The Intel Corporation shipped in 1993 the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64 bit data path. It sold for $878 apiece.

IBM supercomputer Deep Blue became the first computer to defeat a world chess champion in a classical game, when it bested Garry Kasparov on February 10, 1996. Kasparov won the six game match 4-2, but Deep Blue got its revenge in the re-match the following year, winning 3.5 - 2.5.

Deep Blue IBM chess computer. By James the photographer - Wikipedia Commons

Ayan Qureshi took and passed Microsoft's IT Technician Exam on September 27, 2014, at the age of 5 years and 11 months, making him the youngest computer specialist in the world.

More than 190,000,000 computers were sold worldwide in 2012.


The plural of “computer mouse” has long been disputed. Some say “mice”, some say “mouses”.

The average computer user only blinks seven times a minute when in front of their screen.

The word 'byte' is a contraction of 'by eight.'

A USB memory stick is more powerful than the computer system that guided the Apollo spacecraft to the moon.

Out of the TOP500 super computers, none of them run on Windows. 498 of them use the Linux kernel. The remaining 2 use AIX, a variant of Unix.

Hackers stole about $81 million from Bangladesh Bank due to the bank’s use of $10 computer network switches and no firewalls.

The raw materials needed to make a desktop computer, including 530 lb of fossil fuels, 50 lb of chemicals and 3,330 lb of water, weigh two tons: about the same as a rhinoceros.

Source Daily Express

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