Computing Milestones: Running list

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by patrick0brien, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Over the years I've been nursing a spreadsheet that keeps track of what I consider to be milestones in computing that turn out to be revolutionary, and I tried to stay away from "minutiae".

    I understand that this is subjective to a point, but I've really tried to keep it as factual as possible. Natural, it's latest entry is a few years out because it takes a while to see what truly is revolutionary, and of course, it's fluid, because some that may appear to be revolutionary, may not turn out to be so.

    I also know that it has holes, and inaccuracies, namely on Linux and some others. That is why I'm posting the link to it here.

    Can you guys DL the spreadsheet (it's in excel) and post here your opinions on it's contents for editing? I'll update it as often as I can with what we discuss here. Look for updates embedded in this thread as we go.

    Note: the cells in yellow represent areas that I'm still actively looking for information.

    Just "Save Target" on:

    I really appreciate your opinions and look forward to banging out up with a really solid list, and I hope I don't insult anybody by not including everything :D
  2. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    Maby I missed these on your chart.

    If you are going to include the Transistor as a major development, you might as well include 2 or 3 big predecessors.

    The Vacuum Tube- Geissler, Heinrich 1855.
    With out it the first non-mechanical computers would not of existed.

    The Cathode Ray Tube- Plucker, Julius 1859.
    Aside from later becoming the CRT Monitor, was also used certain kinds of gates. (from memory)

    “First” Diode- Ambrose, John 1904.
    Mono directional electron flows allow for logical switching.
    (Yes, there are AC switches, but this is history)

    Scanning Ray Cathode Tube, Braun, 1897-
    Just a historical blip, but predecessor to the “modern” monitor. Arguably, the most important, if not used, output device

    Any chemistry book would have some important early milestones that you may consider minutia.

    Mechanical computers, the kind with rods, gears, and pulleys were very important to the creation of later computers. Their history is nearly lost, but still very important. At least note the date.

    Boolean logic and binary logic might be important milestones.
    What about AI and Fuzzy logic? (Arguments aside as to their validity as a science.)

    Heck, if I were going to write a history for our predecessors, I would defiantly put “Birth of Humans, god creators of the thinking machines” on the list. Perhaps that is heresy. ;)

    James Burke, science historian, put the birth of the computer with the advent of cross-referencing, which showed up because of glossing, which came about because of poor title choice, which was a product of printing and copying of texts, which really took off with indulgences, which wouldn’t of been around had it not been for organized religion, which said that man was created, …

    If you want links, give me some time.
  3. patrick0brien thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop
    Aww, that's f***ing excellent! :cool:

    Precisely the type of additions we need. I'll put' em in.

    Well, minutiae is in the eye of the beholder. In my "eye" minutiae is a component of that which became revolutionary, but wasn't all by itself. Like the use of the element carbon. Or, putting microphones into laptops.

    Let's also draw a line here between Revolutionary and Evolutionary. This could be a major point of contention as that line is blurry at best.

    Let me try to illustrate:

    -The introduction of 802.11 as a built-in option - Revolutionary as WiFi is becoming a major playing force.

    -The elimination of floppies - was it really revolutionary, or just the next step in evolution?

    These discussions could be tough. This is also the area where things'll pop onto the list and drop off of it as they waver on either side of the "line".

    Yeah, I abbreviated this one because, as you say, history is iffy. I did tip a hat to the era with the "Calculating Machine" by Blaise Pascal though.

    Damn good one. Frames the difference between Computing and Calculating - most assuredly revolutionary. Can you help me nail this one down? Who and when?

    Great start!

    Any ideas on the first DVD-ROM? Can't nail it down.

    Bueller? Bueller?
  4. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    Using your criteria, the DVD-ROM may not be that important. Perhaps the fist laser disk, which beget the CD, which then became the DVD. (I can ask some engineers I know about dates. Supposedly the first Laser disk was created and patented here in the U.S. in Santa Barbara, but the idea was rethought and redesigned for the CD and video laser disk.

    By the way, for humor, with the introduction the Apple ][, the first WOM chip was introduced. A drawing can be found in the old Apple ][ manual. It consisted of chip with resistors between adjacent pins. WOM, Write Only Memory- a joke that most missed.

    And since this looks Apple slanted, don’t forget the Dog Cow , Moof.

    I don't have time for all of this, but static ram(sram), data ram (d ram), flash etc.- types of memory are important also. Ask people to get the dates. You listed RISC, but don't froget long and very long L,VLISC processors- another breed that are on the increase. DSPs I would also say are as important as ICs, but I could be wrong.

  5. patrick0brien thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop
    Yeah, I'm beginning to agree, but I'm keeping it on for a while longer.

    Perfect! Can you do as you say and get those dates, people and entities?

    Ha! That's new on me!

    Interesting you say that. That wasn't the intent or even the purpose, but I guess it adds impetus to this effort. It's interesting though, how many entries are Apple. They do innovate a lot, and certainly aren't quiet about it. We'll see what happens with the illuminated keyboards ;)

    Good point. I'm watching that, but I don't think we're there yet.

    Thanks so far guys! We'll all reap the fruit from this.
  6. alset macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2002
    East Bay, CA
    The first portable computer. For certain.

    Also, the first calculator, maybe? The first machine to play/record sound? First computer animated film? First color display? First radar controlled flight? (I may have stats on this one)

    Very nice start!

    Happy to track anything down that I mentioned.

  7. patrick0brien thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

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