Archive
Computers
The Computer Society: Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 (Feb, 1978)

Here are some articles from a 1979 Time magazine special issue focusing on computers called “The Computer Society”

The Age of Miracle Chips
– Explores possible the possible effect of computers upon society including possible economic and social upheaval.
Science: The Numbers Game – Covers the history of computers as well as the science and technology behind designing and producing them.
Business: Thinking Small - Discusses the computer industry, markets and the potential effects of computers the upon business world.
Living: Pushbutton Power – Explores computer uses in the home, school and hospital.
Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 – Short piece by the editor of Time about the features of their new PDP-11 including it’s spell-checker, hyphenator, fonts and graphics capability.

A Letter from the Publisher

This week Time welcomes its newest staff member: PDP-11/34. Programmed according to Time’s design, PDP-11 /34 will speed the handling of the hundreds of queries and reports that flow between the home office in New York City and our 28 bureaus, scattered around the world.

PDP etc. could hardly have arrived at a more propitious moment, for in this issue Time presents a special 15-page section entitled “The Computer Society.” The report explains just’ how the world of electronic sorcery works, and examines its impact on our daily lives. To make such a complicated technical phenomenon understandable, a team of six correspondents, five writers, four reporter-researchers and three photographers spent a month interviewing scientists, visiting manufacturing plants and trying out the newest and most exciting computerized products.

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The Computer Society: Pushbutton Power (Feb, 1978)

Here are some articles from a 1979 Time magazine special issue focusing on computers called “The Computer Society”

The Age of Miracle Chips
– Explores possible the possible effect of computers upon society including possible economic and social upheaval.
Science: The Numbers Game – Covers the history of computers as well as the science and technology behind designing and producing them.
Business: Thinking Small - Discusses the computer industry, markets and the potential effects of computers the upon business world.
Living: Pushbutton Power – Explores computer uses in the home, school and hospital.
Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 – Short piece by the editor of Time about the features of their new PDP-11 including it’s spell-checker, hyphenator, fonts and graphics capability.

Living: Pushbutton Power

The computer revolution may make us wiser, healthier and even happier

It is 7:30 a.m. As the alarm clock burrs, the bedroom curtains swing silently apart, the Venetian blinds snap up and the thermostat boosts the heat to a cozy 70. The percolator in the kitchen starts burbling; the back door opens to let out the dog. The TV set blinks on with the day’s first newscast: not your Today show humph-humph, but a selective rundown (ordered up the night before) of all the latest worldwide events affecting the economy—legislative, political, monetary. After the news on TV comes the morning mail, from correspondents who have dictated their messages into the computer network. The latter-day Aladdin, still snugly abed, then presses a button on a bedside box and issues a string of business and personal memos, which appear instantly on the genie screen. After his shower, which has turned itself on at exactly the right temperature at the right minute, Mr. A. is alerted by a buzzer and a blue light on the screen. His boss, the company president, is on his way to the office. A. dresses and saunters out to the car. The engine, of course, is running…

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The Computer Society: Thinking Small (Feb, 1978)

Here are some articles from a 1979 Time magazine special issue focusing on computers called “The Computer Society”

The Age of Miracle Chips
– Explores possible the possible effect of computers upon society including possible economic and social upheaval.
Science: The Numbers Game – Covers the history of computers as well as the science and technology behind designing and producing them.
Business: Thinking Small - Discusses the computer industry, markets and the potential effects of computers the upon business world.
Living: Pushbutton Power – Explores computer uses in the home, school and hospital.
Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 – Short piece by the editor of Time about the features of their new PDP-11 including it’s spell-checker, hyphenator, fonts and graphics capability.

Business: Thinking Small

Little whizzes raise the specter of buggy whips

No one took to the computer more eagerly or saw its usefulness more quickly than the businessman. Now, 24 years after General Electric became the first company to acquire a computer, these versatile machines have become the galley slaves of capitalism. Without them, the nation’s banks would be buried under the blizzard of 35 billion checks that rain down on them annually, and economists trying to project the growth of the nation’s $2 trillion economy might as well use Ouija boards. In the airline industry, computers make it possible to reserve a seat on a jumbo jet, pay for it by credit card, and enable the plane itself to fly. In many industries, computers design the products the companies sell. Automakers, for example, use computers to view a prospective new car from any angle; then the computers analyze the market to see if the design will sell.

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The Computer Society: Science, The Numbers Game (Feb, 1978)

Here are some articles from a 1979 Time magazine special issue focusing on computers called “The Computer Society”

The Age of Miracle Chips
– Explores possible the possible effect of computers upon society including possible economic and social upheaval.
Science: The Numbers Game – Covers the history of computers as well as the science and technology behind designing and producing them.
Business: Thinking Small - Discusses the computer industry, markets and the potential effects of computers the upon business world.
Living: Pushbutton Power – Explores computer uses in the home, school and hospital.
Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 – Short piece by the editor of Time about the features of their new PDP-11 including it’s spell-checker, hyphenator, fonts and graphics capability.

Science: The Numbers Game

From a roomful of knitting ladies to a superchilled “brain”

For the young electronics engineer at the newly formed Intel Corp., it was a challenging assignment. Fresh out of Stanford University, where he had been a research associate, M.E. (“Ted”) Hoff in 1969 was placed in charge of producing a set of miniature components for programmable desktop calculators that a Japanese firm planned to market. After studying the circuitry proposed by the Japanese designers, the shy, self-effacing Hoff knew that he had a problem. As he recalls: “The calculators required a large number of chips, all of them quite expensive, and it looked, quite frankly, as if it would tax all our design capability.”

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The Computer Society: The Age of Miracle Chips (Feb, 1978)

Here are some articles from a 1979 Time magazine special issue focusing on computers called “The Computer Society”

The Age of Miracle Chips
– Explores possible the possible effect of computers upon society including possible economic and social upheaval.
Science: The Numbers Game – Covers the history of computers as well as the science and technology behind designing and producing them.
Business: Thinking Small - Discusses the computer industry, markets and the potential effects of computers the upon business world.
Living: Pushbutton Power – Explores computer uses in the home, school and hospital.
Time Magazine Gets a PDP-11 – Short piece by the editor of Time about the features of their new PDP-11 including it’s spell-checker, hyphenator, fonts and graphics capability.

The Age of Miracle Chips

New microtechnology will transform society

It is tiny, only about a quarter of an inch square, and quite flat. Under a microscope, it resembles a stylized Navaho rug or the aerial view of a railroad switching yard. Like the grains of sand on a beach, it is made mostly of silicon, next to oxygen the most abundant element on the surface of the earth.

Yet this inert fleck—still unfamiliar to the vast majority of Americans—has astonishing powers that are already transforming society. For the so-called miracle chip has a calculating capability equal to that of a room-size computer of only 25 years ago. Unlike the hulking Calibans of vacuum tubes and tangled wires from which it evolved, it is cheap, easy to mass produce, fast, infinitely versatile and convenient.

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Inside the Biggest Man-made Brain (Apr, 1947)

This computer contains 13,000 relays, each rated to perform for at least 100 million operations. If the transistors in your CPU were this reliable it would last less than 100 milliseconds.

Inside the Biggest Man-made Brain

Navy’s new calculator has steel bones, silver nerves, paper impulses, and can make mistakes.

By Stephen L. Freeland

THE LARGEST brain in the world today is a mammoth electrical mathematician being built at Harvard’s Computation Laboratory for the U. S. Navy Proving Grounds at Dahlgren, Va. But its reign as king of the robots will be brief.

Work already has begun on faster, better calculators based on the lessons learned in creating this machine, known as the Dahlgren Calculator, or Mark II, just as this one was designed to be the big, tough brother of Mark I, which was built for Harvard during the war by the International Business Machines Corp. (PSM, Oct. ’44, p. 86). Mark II, however, will not be retired. Even Mark I has many years of useful labor ahead. There is plenty of work waiting for all the big calculators now in existence and on the drawing boards. Mark I is still churning out answers to abstruse mathematical problems 24 hours a day, and Mark II will be taken to Virginia next month to begin an equally strenuous career.

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The 1950 U.S. Census (Feb, 1950)

The census department had some serious technical chops in 1950. Census workers were given maps and aerial photos of their districts so they could find all of the residences. The punch card counting machines seem pretty advanced as well with data validation circuits that would reject, for example, a two year old with six kids. I wonder how many kids they considered it alright for a two year old to have?

COUNT OFF, AMERICANS…

By Richard F. Dempewolff

For A house-to-house canvass that will make all the brush salesmen in the world look like an army of pikers, wait until you see the one that gets under way April first. Yup, it’s time for the 1950 decennial census, Uncle Sam’s national inventory of noses—the biggest quiz show, most mammoth tabulating phenomenon and most accurate poll in history.

It’s a job that has taxed the ingenuity of a harried Census Bureau every zero year since 1790. At that time 17 U. S. marshals and 600 assistants knocked on colonial doors, asked five questions of whoever answered, then tacked their lists on the walls of local taverns, so that people who’d been skipped could add their names or Xs when they dropped by for a flagon of ale. Results were mailed to the President.

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PM Compares 6 Top Computers (Jan, 1982)

Popular Mechanics was definitely ahead of the curve when it came recognizing the fact that copy protection can stifle innovation:
It used to be that programs were easy to copy and change. But manufacturers began to lose money as many people made copies of software and gave them to their friends.

Now, many manufacturers have figured out how to “copy-protect” discs. A copy-protected disc—like a cartridge—can’t be copied or changed.

To our mind this is a disaster: Most people learn programming by changing programs to fit their own needs. This capability of customization is what makes computers so attractive. New ways of copy protection will probably be found soon. Until then, a computer owner may have to put up with being “locked out” of his own machine.

PM Compares 6 Top Computers

Here are the six best buys in home computers; one is the perfect machine for you.

by Neil Shapiro electronics editor

Now that you’ve discovered what computers can do for you— from word processing to database management, from better-than-arcade games to educational programs—you may also find that choosing which machine to buy can seem hopeless. If you’re thinking of joining the computer revolution, consider these six best buys that we chose out of the dozens in the computer world.

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The Chip (Oct, 1982)

This is an excellent, very long, 1982 National Geographic overview of all aspects of the microchip. It covers advances in silicon tech, how chips are produced, their uses and their effect on society. Topics include robots, hackers, digital watches, computers in the classroom, AI, early navigation systems, online news and shopping, telecommuting and more. Plus a ton of great pictures. Check out this rather prescient quote about online privacy:

“With personal computers and two-way TV,” he said, “we’ll create a wealth of personal information and scarcely notice it leaving the house. We’ll bank at home, hook up to electronic security systems, and connect to automatic climate controllers. The TV will know what X-rated movies we watch. There will be tremendous incentive to record this information for market research or sale.”

ELECTRONIC MINI-MARVEL THAT IS CHANGING YOUR LIFE

The Chip

By ALLEN A. BORAIKO, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EDITORIAL STAFF
Photographs by CHARLES O’REAR

IT SEEMS TRIFLING, barely the size of a newborn’s thumbnail and little thicker. The puff of air that extinguishes a candle would send it flying. In bright light it shimmers, but only with the fleeting iridescence of a soap bubble. It has a backbone of silicon, an ingredient of common beach sand, yet is less durable than a fragile glass sea sponge, largely made of the same material.

Still, less tangible things have given their names to an age, and the silver-gray fleck of silicon called the chip has ample power to create a new one. At its simplest the chip is electronic circuitry: Patterned in and on its silicon base are minuscule switches, joined by “wires” etched from exquisitely thin films of metal. Under a microscope the chip’s intricate terrain often looks uncannily like the streets, plazas, and buildings of a great metropolis, viewed from miles up.

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INFORMATION: TO SEND AND USE IT (Jan, 1958)

This is a chapter about information from a really cool text book called The World of Science, published by Golden Books in 1954.
Also check out another chapter I posted called “COMPUTERS THE ELECTRONIC BRAINS”

INFORMATION: TO SEND AND USE IT

CUTTING A DISK

In the sound studio a singer is performing a popular number. The microphone suspended from overhead wires picks up the sound. If a whole group of musicians were being used, more microphones would be spaced about. In the control room at the back stands the sound engineer listening through earphones and turning dials on the crowded panels before him.

Soon, as a result of this recording session, tens or hundreds of thousands of people will be able to flick on a phonograph and, wherever they are, hear this same singer with her guitar performing this same popular tune, as often as the hearer chooses to repeat it.

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