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The Machine That Changed the World: Episode 3 - The Paperback Computer

Personaje: ALLEN, Paul Gardner.
Personaje: ENGELBART, Douglas Carl.
Personaje: GATES, Bill.
Personaje: HOFF, Ted.
Personaje: JOBS, Steven Paul.
Personaje: TESLER, Lawrence Gordon.
Personaje: WOZNIAK, Steve.

The Machine That Changed the World is a 1992 documentary series on the history of electronic digital computers, from the dawn of the computer in the 1800s to the early 1990s. It was produced by WGBH Television in Boston MA, in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC), with support from ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), NSF (National Sciencie Foundation) and UNISYS. The series consists of five episodes.

Episode 3 - The Paperback Computer.

This episode looks at the development of the personal computer and user interfaces, from Doug Engelbart and Xerox PARC to the Apple and IBM PCs.

Like the books of the Middle Ages, early computers were large, extremely expensive, and maintained by a select few. It seemed unlikely they’d be commonplace, partly because they were so difficult to use. Developing software was extremely tedious, the interface limited to writing instructions on punched cards. Ivan Sutherland’s revolutionary Sketchpad was the first graphical user interface, pioneering the fields of interactive computing, computer-aided drawing, and object-oriented programming. Douglas Engelbart’s NLS ("oN-Line System"), demonstrated in the Mother of All Demos from 1968, demonstrated for the first time several concepts that would become commonplace: the mouse, CRT display, windowing systems, hypertext, videoconferencing, collaborative editing, screen sharing, word processing, and a search engine ordering by relevance. Xerox, realizing computers might lead to paperless communication, created the PARC research laboratory to make computers easy to use. They unified several concepts into a usable computer environment, the Xerox Alto, inventing the modern GUI paradigm of folders, files, and documents, along with Ethernet, Smalltalk, WYSIWIG editing, and the laser printer. Xerox marketed the Xerox Star, but it was expensive and a commercial failure.

In 1971, the invention of the microprocessor led to affordable computer kits like the Altair 8800. Groups of computer hobbyists like the Homebrew Computer Club led to a cottage industry of hardware and software startups, including the founders of Apple Computer. Their Apple I in 1976 and the Apple II in 1977 were huge hits. The success of the personal computer, including the Commodore PET, Atari 400/800, and TRS-80, inspired IBM to enter the market with the PC in 1981. They soon dominated the industry. Inspired by the work at Xerox PARC, Apple responded with the Macintosh, the first successful mass-produced computer with a mouse and GUI.

Software enabled computers to become diverse machines, able to be used for business use, flight simulators, music, illustration, or anything else that could be imagined. Pure software companies like Lotus and Microsoft became tremendously successful, making their founders and early employees very rich. Those using computers required no knowledge of how it worked, including an entire generation raised on computers as familiar objects. The episode concludes with some excellent conceptual designs of future computers from Apple, and a discussion of the potential uses of virtual reality in future computing.

Canon John Tiller (Library Master, Hereford Cathedral),
Mitch Kapor (Founder, Lotus),
Robert Taylor (Xerox PARC, died 2017),
Ted Nelson (Creator, Project Xanadu),
Douglas Engelbart (died 2013),
Larry Tesler (Xerox PARC),
Alan Kay (Xerox PARC),
Ted Hoff (Co-inventor, microprocessor),
Steve Jobs (Cofounder, Apple, died 2011),
Steve Wozniak (Cofounder, Apple),
Mike Markkula (Investor, Apple),
Lee Felsenstein (Designer, Osborne 1),
Bill Gates (Chairman, Microsoft),
Chris Peters (Manager, Office),
Anne Meyer (Center for Applied Special Tech.),
Dr. Henry Fuchs (UNC, Chapel Hill),
Dr. Jane Richards (UNC, Chapel Hill),
Dr. Frederick P. Brooks, Jr (UNC, Chapel Hill).

In this episode:
Books in a Library.
Commentary by Mitch Kapor and Robert Taylor.
Sketchpad - Ivan Sutherland.
Commentary by Ted Nelson.
Doug Engelbart - The Mouse.
Xerox PARC- Alan Kay.
Children - Jean Piaget.
Games- Illusions.
The Alto Computer.
Chips - Microprocessors.
Ted Hoff.
Altair 8800.
Homebrew Computer Club.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Blue Boxes - Personal Computers.
Lee Felsenstein - IBM 5100.
IBM PC - 1981.
Macintosh - 1984.
Macintosh computer interface.
The first spreadsheet by Dan Bricklin Lotus 1,2,3 - Mitch Kapor.
Microsoft - Bill Gates.
Sesame Street.
Handicapped - Assistive Technology.
Chained computers.
New Projections.
Virtual Reality.
Henry Fuchs - UNC.
Fred Brooks, Jr.

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