Since the world's first ever electronic digital computers were created within the UK and US during the 1940's times have changed massively, and the exact same can be said for the technology that powers them.
Unlike the 1940's where computers were the size of a small room (and sometimes a large room) with gigantic internal components and fans which would shame a NASA space craft cooling system, computers now are extremely ergonomic with some examples quite literally fitting in to the palm of your hand and desktop computers being the size of a hard back book.
Way back when computers were first designed these machines were available only to governments and the scientists that created them, a far cry from where we are today with billions of people being connected online through a desktop computer and even more people owning a portable internet connected device such as a smartphone, tablet pc or portable gaming console.
But how did we get to the computing stage which we are today, and at what turning point in computing history did computing become a consumer indulgence?
A brief computer history timeline
- In 1936 Konrad Zuse created the world's first ever programmable computer named the Z1.
- In 1962 the first ever video game was invented by Steve Russell at MIT, named 'Space War'.
- In 1969 the world's first ever internet was invented by ARPAnet
- In 1974 the world's first ever consumer focused consumers were born, the Scelbi & Mark-8 Altair & the IBM 5100 computer.
- In 1981 IBM created their first ever consumer computer, the IBM PC - Home Computer.
- In 1983 - 1984, Apple created the first home computer with a GUI (graphical user interface).
- In 1985 Microsoft releases Windows, which would soon become the domineering software on all consumer based computers.
The above brief computer timeline misses out a fair few developments within the computing industry, however the most important ones by far to me were the invention of the Z1 by Konrad Zuse and the first ever computer with a graphical user interface by Apple. You do have to say with that analysis though that without Zuse the computer may have never been developed so quickly if at all and without Apple the first ever solid consumer computers would have been awful to use for the average consumer.
Comparing 1985 computing when the first version of Windows was introduced to now brings up some key night and day differences.
For starters computers of the past were not as well designed as they are today, they were in no way as powerful as they are today, and they in no way sold as well as they do today. In part, everybody in the computer history timeline had their own part to play in the success of the computing industry.
It is the advancement of software, hardware and design which has brought our computing needs to what they are today, and without all three of these contributing factors the history of computing may have taken a very different shape to what it looks like today.