Love ItLove It

Per request a modern history of computers…

A little update to my post of the other day. An “introductory computer” lesson per a couple of questions.

First, a Mainframe. Once upon a time, starting during the 1940s, the original computers were built on Frames. They were huge, and the majority of the computer sat on the Main, Frame that comprised the unit. By the way, those original computers were good at straight line computation (say find Pi to the 100000000000000th digit). They were not good at a lot of the things we do now, as in those original mainframes, couldn’t do any of those things.

A mainframe computer was the primary computer system used by the government and companies from 1940-1980.  During that period the majority of computer users connected to the remote mainframe and using what was called punch cards (literally a piece of cardboard you punched a hole into) the machine would read your program run it, and then give you a result. In 1980 IBM released the product that changed the world (the PCJr). Apple also, a year before that, released the product that would change the computer hobby (the Apple II). The initial change of computer (hobby) to the computer (not hobby) was the explosion of Apple II computers in schools. The Apple II computer had more power than the original Enianc. Enianc was the original Mainframe built during World War II by IBM. The initial competition between IBM and Apple seemed poised to take over the computer world. Microsoft was a tiny company at that time building what was called a Disk Operating System (DOS).  The original computers had two forms the IBM PCJr (a less open computer using commodity parts) and the more open Apple II.

The market changed with the rise of Microsoft Office.

Suddenly cheap computers that were expandable began to appear. Hewlett Packard and Compaq were the original computer companies building PCs. Or Personal computers.  Apple released the LISA and announced the future product the Macintosh. By 1984 when the Macintosh finally arrived, the market had shifted anHP BM, and Compaq was dominant, Apple was in the 3rd, then 5th place. The Apple II, Apple IIe and the Apple IIc faded from memory. Apple went from a market share of more than 40% of all computers sold to less than 12% of all computers sold.

It is critical to note that in the 1980s creative (artists, writers, and musicians) favored Apple Macintosh machines over the IBM/HP/Compaq personal computer running the DOS system. It wasn’t until the release of the first DOS-based graphical user system (GUI or graphical user interface) known as Windows that there was even a platform that artists could consider on the PC.

More to come, on the history of computers.

  • Do you remember Compaq?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Did you ever use one of the Apple II products?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you remember DOS?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Did you know Lenovo used to be part of IBM?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

7 points

Written by DocAndersen

I am a long time blogger and technology poster.I focus on what is possible, but I also try to see what is coming. In recent years I have been focused on sharing the memories of my family, as part of my Family History Project.


Leave a Reply
  1. I remember the history of this computer in general, both from books and movies, but I was weak in personal experience because, in the beginning, I wasn’t a fan of technology.

    I remember Compaq, not even realizing “his loss” until a few years later. In various training on change management, I often ask “if in the past people could be accepted to work by having a DOS course certificate, is that still true now?”

    • I remember the struggle accounts had 30 years ago! we used to have an AS/400 (a form of mainframe computer from IBM) and the accountants used to have to pull all the current sales into an excel sheet.

      The sheet was 8 meg in size. Nothing by today’s cell phone standards. Back then. it took as much as 5 minutes to load.

  2. This is a very interesting topic for reading just me, it’s all unknown … I have a computer for 3 years and I always avoid it … I learned a lot but I do not know how much it will remain in my memory

  3. This is all interesting to read. Like I said before I just remember going on service calls with my Dad when he worked for IBM. But I was only like 9 or 10 y/o and didn’t ask questions. Just remember the huge towers of computers. I do remember using Dos.

    • I remember you sharing some of those memories before. It is amazing what we remember when we first hang out with our parents.

      Sounds like your dad had a technician job, Or possibly an IBM system architect job. Back in the day, people in those jobs were the glue that kept things moving!!!!

Leave a Reply