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History Of The Personal Computer Essay

931 words - 4 pages

Computers have been an indispensable aspect of life for what seems forever. But, this was not always the case. All of the things that seem like they are natural components to a computers interface like a mouse, keyboard, and the internet were just toys for tinkering about 30 years ago. The man who made the first computer controlled it with just a series of switches and displayed data on a few labeled LED lights. Since the invention of the electronic computer inventors have constantly been pushing forwards on every front making them faster, smaller, and less expensive. But, more importantly then how we have changed computers is how computers have changed us. Computers have changed almost every aspect of life as we know it today including communication, war, and how we work.
One of the first practical, and one of the best known, electronic computer was called ENIAC or Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator. The first computers were designed to function more like calculators than like the advanced technology of today. ENIAC was announced in 1946 and was funded the American military because the army needed a computer for calculating artillery-firing tables. It was by no means a personal computer but it marked the beginning of a new age in which information would eventually be as easily accessible as water. The company IBM soon caught on to the idea of electronic devices to do arithmetic and the same year released the first commercial product to incorporate electronic arithmetic circuits. It was called the 603 Electronic Multiplier and could be considered the first personal computer.
In 1960 there were still only two thousand computers in use throughout the U.S. Advances in technology made computers faster and smaller quickly. The microchip was quickly replacing the transistor. The microchip was a unit the was smaller and could hold multiple mini-transistors on it. This led to another jump in the size of a computer and in 1965 HP invented the first Desktop Computer. This computer was wildly popular and over only five year the amount of computers had computers in the U.S. had grown by eighteen thousand units. The 1970’s were the years when the computer really took off and reached the basic model that people know today. The microprocessor replaced the microchip. The microprocessor had ten times the power of a microchip but it was about a tenth of the price. Computers were still only used by hobbyists but they becoming easier to use by the month. The two biggest event for the personal computers would happen in the last five years of the decade. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac would start Apple Computers and create the first computer that anyone could use, the Apple II....

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