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Lilienfeld's transistor

Happy birthday, Transistor

The transistor, the ubiquitous building block of all electronic circuits, will be 65 years old on Sunday. The device is jointly credited to William Shockley (1910-1989), John Bardeen (1908-1991) and Walter Brattain (1902-1987), and it was Bardeen and Brattain who operated the first working point-contact transistor during an …
Tony Smith, 14 Dec 2012
Apple II with monitor and floppy-disk drives

The 30-year-old prank that became the first computer virus

To the author of ‪Elk Cloner‬, the first computer virus to be released outside of the lab, it’s sad that, 30 years after the self-replicating code's appearance, the industry has yet to come up with a secure operating system. When Rich Skrenta, created Elk Cloner as a prank in February 1982, he was a 15-year-old high school …
John Leyden, 14 Dec 2012
Thorn EMI Liberator

Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 3

Archaeologic In the early 1980s, civil servant Bernard Terry devised a 'portable text processor' to make his fellow civil servants more productive in the office and out. Electronics giant Thorn EMI designed the machine with help of a team of former Dragon Data engineers. As the Liberator, it launched in September 1985 to become the first …
Tony Smith, 16 Nov 2012
Thorn EMI Liberator

Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 2

Archaeologic It is 1984 and Bernard Terry, a civil servant, has devised a 'portable text processor' to make his fellow civil servants more productive in the office and out. Electronics giant Thorn EMI has agreed to manufacturer the machine, which will eventually be called the Liberator and become Britain's first laptop computer. Thorn has …
Tony Smith, 14 Nov 2012
Thorn EMI Liberator

Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 1

Archaeologic In 1985, the UK home computer boom was over. Those computer manufacturers who had survived the sales wasteland that was Christmas 1984 quickly began to turn their attention away from the home users they had courted through the first half of the 1980s to the growing and potentially much more lucrative business market. The IBM PC …
Tony Smith, 12 Nov 2012
ZX80

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 2

Archaeologic Personal computing may have originally been more ‘computing’ than ‘personal, but that changed in the late 1970s in the US and, in the UK, during the early 1980s. In the first part of ‘A History of Personal Computing on 20 Objects’, we saw how computing went from maths gadgets to first mechanical, then electromechanical and …
Tony Smith, 2 Nov 2012
Babbage Difference Engine No. 1

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 1

Archaeologic Personal computing. Personal. Computing. We take both aspects so completely for granted these days, it's almost impossible to think of a time when computing wasn't personal - or when there was no electronic or mechanical computing. To get from there to here, we've gone from a time when 'computers' were people able to do perform …
Tony Smith, 1 Nov 2012
Ada Lovelace, credit 2D Goggles

Quite contrary Somerville: Behind the Ada Lovelace legend

Lovelace Day Ada Lovelace is a compellingly romantic figure, irresistible in today’s age of equal geeky opportunities. The daughter of "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Lord Byron, her mathematics-loving mother Annabella Milibanke purportedly beat the poet out of her with relentless studies in science, maths and logic. A beauty enthralled by …
Dave Wilby, 16 Oct 2012
IBM ThinkPad 700C

Happy 20th Birthday, IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad

The ThinkPad is 20 today. Sort of. Launched by IBM and now made by Lenovo, the familiar black-clad, red-nippled laptop family quickly established itself as an icon, in many ways re-establishing Big Blue's reputation as a PC maker after years in the shadow of the clone manufacturers. The first three clamshell-styled ThinkPads, …
Tony Smith, 5 Oct 2012
Dragon 32. Source: Wikimedia

The Dragon 32 is 30

Archaeologic The Dragon 32, arguably the best-known and most-successful of the UK's early 1980s home computer also-rans, was introduced 30 years ago this month. The micro's story goes back more than a year before its launch. Tony Clarke, a senior manager at Swansea-based toy company Mettoy - best known for its Corgi die-cast metal car brand …
Tony Smith, 1 Aug 2012
Newbury Labs/Grundy NewBrain

The Grundy NewBrain is 30

Archaeologic The NewBrain was launched 30 years ago this month, but its arrival, in July 1982, was a long time coming. The genesis of the computer that might have been the BBC Micro - that might, even, have been Sinclair's first home computer - goes back more than four years to 1978. The company that became known as Sinclair Radionics was …
Tony Smith, 2 Jul 2012
Acorn promotes Archimedes 300 series

Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

Archaeologic The Acorn Archimedes is 25 years old this month. The first machines based on the company's ARM (Acorn Risc Machine) processor were announced in June 1987, the year after the 32-bit chip itself was launched. Four versions of the Archimedes were released in 1987: the A305, A310, A410 and A440. The first two had 512KB and 1MB of …
Tony Smith, 1 Jun 2012
Commodore 64 home computer

The Commodore 64 is 30

Archaeologic Commodore took the wraps off the Commodore 64, one of two immediate follow-ups to its popular Vic-20 home computer, 30 years ago this week. The 64 made its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), though it wouldn't go into production until later in the year before going on sale in the US market in August. It didn't …
Tony Smith, 2 Jan 2012
BBC Micro

The BBC Micro turns 30

Archaeologic The BBC Micro – the machine which, along with the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, epitomised the British home computer boom of the early 1980s – was launched 30 years ago tomorrow. Unveiled on 1 December 1981 as the Model A and Model B, the BBC Micro would go on to sell over 1.5 million units before the last of the line was discontinued …
Tony Smith, 30 Nov 2011