Computer Information - myOddPc
The history of computer
The early computers
The history of computer dates back a lot longer than the 1900s, in fact computers have been around for over 5000 years.
In ancient time a "computer", (or "computor") was a person who performed numerical calculations under the direction of a mathematician.
But it became soon obvious that many operations could be automated. This gave rise to many devices to help them "compute".
Some of the better known are the Abacus or the Antikythera mechanism.
The presence of such devices is recorded as far back as 2400BC, (although some scientist claim that they were used a lot earlier).
Toward the end of the middle ages devices were used, not for calculations, but rather for commercial reason. Those early computers used clockwork technology, but they could be "programmed" using punch cards.
Around 1725 Basile Bouchon used perforated paper in a loom to establish the pattern to be reproduced on cloth. This ensured that the pattern was always the same and hardly had any human errors. This idea inspired his co-worker Jean-Baptiste Falcon, in 1726, and he quickly improved on his design by using perforated paper cards attached to one another, this simple adaptation made it easier to change the program quickly.
Later, in 1801, Joseph Jacquard (1752 - 1834), used the punch card idea to automate more devices with great success.
As it turns out, punch cards would be used until the late 1970.
The First computers?
In the history of computers it is a bit difficult to pinpoint when the first computer was developed. But if one of the founding fathers would have to be Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage's. (1792-1871), was ahead of his time, and using the punch card idea he developed the first computing devices that would be used for scientific purposes. He invented the Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, which he begun in 1823 but never completed. Later he started work on the Analytical Engine. It was designed in 1842, but unfortunately it also was only partially completed by Babbage. Later those machines were proved to, not only work, but also be ahead of his own time. Babbage was also credited with inventing computing concepts such as conditional branches, iterative loops and index variables.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), was a colleague of Babbage and founder of scientific computing.
Many people improved on the Babbage inventions, George Scheutz along with his son, Edvard Scheutz, began work on a smaller version and by 1853 they had constructed a machine that could process 15-digit numbers and calculate fourth-order differences.
On of the first notable commercial use, (and success), of computers was the US Census Bureau, which used punch-card equipment designed by Herman Hollerith to tabulate data for the 1890 census.
To compensate for the cyclical nature of the Census Bureau's demand for his machines, Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896), which was one of three companies that merged to form IBM in 1911.
Later, Claude Shannon (1916- 2001) first suggested the use of digital electronics in computers and in 1937 and J.V.Atanasoff built the first electronic computer that could solve 29 simultaneous equations with 29 unknowns. But this device was not programmable
During those trouble times, computers evolved at a rapid rate. But because of restrictions many projects remained secret until much later and notable example is the British military "Colossus" developed in 1943 by Alan Turing and his team.
Stored program architecture
In the late 1940 the US army commissioned John V. Mauchly to develop a device to compute ballistics during World War II. As it turned out the machine was only ready in 1945, but the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, proved to be a turning point in computer history.
ENIAC proved to be a very efficient machine but not a very easy one to operate. Any changes would sometime require the device itself to be re-programmed. The engineers were all too aware of this obvious problem and they developed "stored program architecture".
In 1940, in Manchester, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine was the first developed using the new "stored program architecture", but it was not a commercial success.
John von Neumann, (a consultant to the ENIAC), Mauchly and his team developed EDVAC, this new project used stored program.
Eckert and Mauchly later developed what was arguably the first commercially successful computer, the UNIVAC.
Software technology during this period was very primitive. The first programs were written out in machine code, i.e. programmers directly wrote down the numbers that corresponded to the instructions they wanted to store in memory. By the 1950s programmers were using a symbolic notation, known as assembly language, then hand-translating the symbolic notation into machine code. Later programs known as assemblers performed the translation task.
Those programs would then be used by the machines without the need to re-configure the machine itself.
The Transistor era, the end of the inventor.
Late 1950 saw the end of valve driven computers. Transistor based computers were used because they were smaller, cheaper, faster and a lot more reliable.
Corporations, rather than inventors, were now producing the new computers.
- TRADIC at Bell Laboratories in 1954,
- TX-0 at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory
- IBM 704 and its successors, the 709 and 7094. The latter introduced I/O processors for better throughput between I/O devices and main memory
- First supper computers, The Livermore Atomic Research Computer (LARC) and the IBM 7030 (aka Stretch)
- The Texas Instrument Advanced Scientific Computer (TI-ASC)
Now the basis of computers was in place, with transistors the computers were faster and with Stored program architecture you could use the computer for almost anything.
New high level programs soon arrived, FORTRAN (1956), ALGOL (1958), and COBOL (1959), Cambridge and the University of London cooperated in the development of CPL (Combined Programming Language, 1963). Martin Richards of Cambridge developed a subset of CPL called BCPL (Basic Computer Programming Language, 1967).
In 1969, the CDC 7600 was released, it could perform 10 million floating point operations per second (10 Mflops).
In 1970 Ken Thompson of Bell Labs developed yet another simplification of CPL called simply B, in connection with an early implementation of the UNIX operating system. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie developed a new language "C".
C programming language and the UNIX, (written in C), operating system, both at Bell Labs. In 1972.
The network years.
From 1985 onward the race was on to put as many transistors as possible on one computer. Each one of them could do a simple operation. But apart from been faster and been able to perform more operations the computer has not evolved much.
The concept of parallel processing is more widely used from the 1990s.
In the area of computer networking, both wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN) technology developed at a rapid pace
FlipSide case for iPhone packs stealthy game controls, plays on solar power (video)
2012 - 12 - 23
The perpetual challenge of developing an iPhone-friendly gamepad (or any phone-oriented gamepad) is the bulk, either for a gargantuan case or else a separate controller. If Justice Frangipane's team and iDevices have their way, that clunkiness will be a distant memory. Their proposed FlipSide case for iPhones (we see a prototype here) centers on Bluetooth 4.0 gamepad controls that stay clipped to the back when just checking email, but attach to the front for playtime. They'll save us from hunting down a wall outlet, too; the combination of a sensitive solar cell and a thin film battery from Infinite Power Solutions should keep the case powered up through even indoor lighting. The only real challenge is getting the case produced, as Frangipane is looking for crowdfunding to make the FlipSide a reality. Provided his group makes its donation target, though, there's the prospect of an Android version -- so those who don't play the iOS way could still reap the rewards if they chip in at the source link.
Continue reading FlipSide case for iPhone packs stealthy game controls, plays on solar power (video)
Filed under: Cellphones, Gaming, Peripherals, Mobile, Apple
Source: Flipside (Kickstarter)
YouTube Player API for Android opens for all, brings seamless app integration (video)
2012 - 12 - 23
Adding a little dash of YouTube magic to your Android apps should be simple affair right? Well, historically, not entirely. That's all set to change though, now that the long-promised Android YouTube Player API has finally been set loose in the wild. This means developers can access some new tools that should bring the ubiquitous video service snuggly inside any app that wants to use it. This includes high-quality playback for devices running Android 2.2 and above, easier integration there-of due to a change in how to call the videos, full screen and orientation mode support, closed captions display, support for YouTube ads and the ability to program most elements of the playback experience natively within your app. The tools have already been put to use by some partners who got early access, including one of our favourite social feed-readers Flipboard. Full details and tools at the source, or slide past the break for Google developers video showing it in action.
Continue reading YouTube Player API for Android opens for all, brings seamless app integration (video)
Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, Google
Via: Android Central
Source: YouTube API blog
Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040
2012 - 12 - 23
dryriver writes with a report from CNN that the asteroid known as 2011 AG5 will not hit Earth in 2040 as early calculations had led some to fear when it was first spotted last year. "To narrow down the asteroid's future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October. 'An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,' NASA declared Friday."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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