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athgarvan

Haven't we come a long way from the Abacus.

abacusI understand that on 14 February 1946 the first functional digital computer, the ENIAC, was completed by Eckert and Mauchly in Pennsylvania. It occupied about 1,800 square feet and used about 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighing almost 50 tons. Many previous efforts, of course, had been made by the military since the 1930s to produce such a machine.

The term "computer" was first recorded in 1613 and was originally used to describe a human who performed 'computations'.

How did we ever manage without computers?

Comments

I couldn't function as I do without computers. But when we incorporated computers in our lives, it opened up so much good things, and not so good things, it was said to make life easier.....it seems to me it made my life busier.
How true.
The ladies who did so much of the calculating at Bletchley Park were still called "computers". Computers are amazing things, but I think the Internet is the most amazing thing ever.
As I say, I don't know how we managed without the Internet.
Although when I see the teenagers deftly working on them and on their wee pocket models I feel like one still working on what we used to call the ball-frame.
Trust the Merkins to try and grab the credit! The first electronic, fully functional, fully progammable digital computer was 'Colossus' designed by Tommy Flowers at Bletchley Park some months earlier. The prototype was demonstrated in December '43 and it came online in february '44 It's the one that broke the German military codes using Alan Turing's theories. I posted about it a while back.
Like the computers themselves, their history is very complicated.
Actually, the first programmable digital computer (our host did not mention "electronic") was made by Konrad Zuse in Germany in the 1930s;* Zuse lost his lead when his machine was bombed during the war.

* I'm on a train and about to run out of my fifteen minutes' free wifi; I don't have time to look up the details!
Part of me really wishes we didn't have compters, but then again, I wouldn't have "met" so many great people. Some I have been lucky enough to actually meet in person. :)
Happy Valentine's Day. :)
Hugs, Jon
It has indeed been a long, strange trip.

I remember visiting my father's office, where he used computers that ran on punch cards. Each line of code was a single paper card with little rectangular holes punched in it.

There was a sorting machine like this which would sort the cards in order, in case you accidentally dropped a stack of cards. That is, if you'd remembered to number them properly.

I now have more computing power in my smartphone than the earliest Apollo rockets carried with them to the moon. So much change in one lifetime -- thrilling but a bit dizzying.
That last little reference makes one think and ask was it worth it and where do we go from here?
Badly.

Slowly.

Often fatally.

I turned 54 last week, and one reason I managed that was a CAT scan I had in 2012, which found where my right kidney was bleeding.
Sorry about your trouble. Hope all goes well with you now. Will remember you in my prayers - for what they're worth.
My impression is that they're worth quite a lot.

Thank you.
Computers are facilitators. They perform actions that were able to be performed before them, but in a much more efficient fashion. Thus, although we can communicate electronically in the flash of a cursor now, before we would actually take pen in hand, or even worse, grind the ink and sharpen the quill. Because computers have allowed us to do so much so quickly, we are freed to turn our thoughts into a more creative pathway.

I am constantly amazed by the continuing miniaturization of computers as well as the expansion of their programs. My phone can now do as much as my computer of ten years ago needed a large and heavy CPU to achieve.

- Erulisse (one L)
Happy V-day to you.