Unix ‘man’ for manual

All operating systems and personal computer software were born after creating the Unix operating system in 1969. But for the first two years of Unix, no documentation existed until the manager of Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson insisted that they create a digital guide for the operating system. This led to the “man” command (short… Continue reading Unix ‘man’ for manual

Punch Cards

Our communication with computers started with punch cards in 1800. Thanks to the loom’s invention, which led to the Hollerith Card and, later, the IBM Cards. Programmers and scientists would code, debug, and generate output using such cards. I managed to get a collection of such cards. A sample is shown below, along with the… Continue reading Punch Cards

Modern History of Computers

Computer History Museum has an excellent one-page scroller on the modern history of computers. It begins with Bell Labs’ George Stibitz Model K (K stands for kitchen) circuit relay-based boolean adder in 1937, followed by mainframes, home computers, and mobile phones after that. It then ends in the 2010s with the Raspberry Pi, Apple Watch, and… Continue reading Modern History of Computers

IBM Vacuum Tubes

Electronic computers were born out of IBM vacuum tubes like the Westinghouse 6211 electronic tube below, nearly identical to the one used in the Univac computer in the 50s. The Univac (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the first general-purpose electronic digital computer design for business applications produced in the United States by Eckert and Mauchly.… Continue reading IBM Vacuum Tubes

The Machine That Changed the World Full Series 1992

Check out the 1992 mini-series “The machine that changed the world” – a 5 episode documentary on the history of personal computers beginning with the ENIAC. Additional videos include early interviews with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Mitch Kapoor, Alan Kay, and more are available at OpenVault

VAX Terminals

While reading Tracy Kidder book “The Soul of a New Machine” which tells the entrepreneurship history of minicomputers, I remembered the VAX terminal machines we used at the American University of Beirut Computer Science department a long time ago. We were coding on green screens and getting mesmerized with code printouts from the matrix paper.… Continue reading VAX Terminals

Programmers at Work

Dr. Charles Simonyi, a famous developer of the first Microsoft Office software, said in Susan Lammers’s book Programmers at Work (1986 Microsoft Press) that he gives programmers on their first day of work the book How to Solve It” by George Polya (1st published in 1945). They would follow Polya’s four steps of problem-solving: 1-… Continue reading Programmers at Work

Steve Wozniak & Apple II

A great blog post by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak “Why the Apple II Didn’t Support Lowercase Letters” on vintage computing website. On why the early 70s highly successful Apple II did not support lower case letters, Steve tells a larger story that reveals his ingenuity and his openness to share. Even as one of the most influential computer… Continue reading Steve Wozniak & Apple II

Emupedia Emulator OS

Emupedia EmuOS is a browser-based emulator with the 90’s Windows theme for playing retro games online without installation. You can access it at “emupedia – emuos“. The emulation is shared for video game preservation purposes. It follows other nonprofit organizations’ archiving and preservation efforts, such as the Internet Archive, the Archive Team, Video Game History Foundation (https://gamehistory.org/), and… Continue reading Emupedia Emulator OS

Project Connected Home over IP

It is a step forward in increasing the compatibility between intelligent home IoT products through the Zigbee Alliance. They just announced the Project Connected Home over IP in partnership with Amazon, Google, and Apple. The top players in the home IoT consumer products and the members of the Zigbee Alliance, including Samsung, IKEA, Phillips, and other manufacturers, are working towards… Continue reading Project Connected Home over IP