Have you ever owned a computer that made you want to pull your hair out? Wondering if your computer would be on the top 10 list of worst computers of all time? You might be in luck. Chassis Plans, a rugged computer manufacturer, has created this interesting infographic outlining some of the worst computers of all time. From the Commodore VIC 20 to the Netbook, this visual takes you through some of the most loathed computers and the features that drove their owners mad. Name a computer problem and one of these computers probably had it. From slow processor speeds to computers that would turn on in the middle of the night to computers that would melt discs, the problems go on and on. Surprisingly some of these computers, despite their problems set records like “the first commercial computer to be used in space” or “the first personal computer to sell more than one million units.”
Archive for the ‘IBM’ Category
Posted in Computer Memory, High Tech History, IBM, Internet, tagged Apple, Apple computer, Commodore, computer, computer history, Gateway, Netbook, Sharp, technology on April 8, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
55 years ago today, Jay Forrester of MIT was awarded a patent for his magnetic core memory. It became the standard for computer memory until it was supplanted by solid state RAM in the mid-seventies. (It has continued to be used, however, in special environments, e.g., on the space shuttle, because its content was not lost when the power was shut off). Forrester’s was not the only patent granted to magnetic core memory inventions and the patent dispute continued until February 1964 when IBM (which has acquired the patent rights from other inventors, including An Wang) agreed to pay MIT $13 million—$4 more than had ever been paid to secure a patent—of which Forrester received $1.5 million. Forrester succinctly described the experience many years afterwards: “It took about seven years to convince people in the industry that magnetic core memory would work. And it took the next seven years to convince them that they had not all thought of it first.” [quoted in Memory and Storage, Time-Life Books, 1990]
This year, IBM is celebrating their 100th anniversary. It’s pretty amazing to watch an information technology company with a history dating back to the 19th century continue to innovate and remain successful today.
IBM was actually founded in 1896 as the Tabulating Machine Company by Herman Hollerith. It was incorporated as Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR) on June 16, 1911 after a merger of the Computer Scale Company of America and the International Time Recording Company with the Tabulating Machine Company. CTR became International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924 when Thomas J. Watson took control of it.
As you saw in the video, IBM was known for technology that used punch cards, typewriters, and other business machines. Today, IBM is known for manufacturing and selling computer hardware, software and services for products ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. IBM has over 388,000 employees and is one of the largest and most profitable information technology employers in the world. They hold more patents than any other U.S. based technology company. Over the last 100 years, IBM employees have earned five Nobel Prizes, four Turing Awards, five National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
With every industry, comes its trade publications. And with the IBM personal computer industry came many publications like PC Magazine. ”PC” was originally published in January, 1982. It was created by David Bunnell and financed by Tony Gold.
Originally, a monthly magazine, “PC Mag” moved to biweekly publication in 1983 when one monthly issue grew to over 800 pages! In January, 1986, the magazine had a major redesign and the word “magazine” was added to the logo.
Due to popularity, the magazine outgrew its financing and was sold to Ziff-Davis around 1982. At this time, the staff left to form PC World magazine. The online edition of the magazine started in 1994, and as of 2009, it is only available online. That decision was made due to declining print ad sales.
The magazine provides reviews and previews of the latest hardware and software. Regular departments include:
- First Looks (a collection of reviews of newly released products)
- Pipeline (a collection of short articles and snippets on computer-industry developments)
- Solutions (which includes various how-to articles)
- User-to-User (a section in which the magazine’s experts answer user-submitted questions)
- After Hours (a section about various computer entertainment products)
We did read with interest, but a little sadness, about the demise of SiCortex, a supercomputer company based in Maynard, Mass. that was enjoying success and profitability of 100% in Q1 2009 until its venture capital was yanked.
Based in Clock Tower Place, the same building where Digital Equipment Corporation was established, it’s heartening to know the high-tech industry endures in the very place that it was established. But the VC expectations are totally different.
But the winds won’t be howling through the abandoned offices in those brick buildings for too long.
– Leigh Montgomery
On April 3, 1986, IBM introduced the 5140 “Convertible.” It weighed 12 lbs., listed at $1,995, and had a grand total of 256K Random Access Memory, or “RAM.” It was considered a big improvement over its predecessor, the giant IBM Portable PC 5155, which was introduced in 1984. That model, which was much bulkier, had a handle on it, giving it “portability.”
The ”Convertible” had a detachable miniature monitor, which theoretically allowed the user, with a monitor adapter, to hook up the unit to a larger, external monitor.
It was notable for its capacity to run on batteries, and from its being the first computer to utilize 3.5″ floppy disks.
One of several drawbacks was that with its smaller screen, typical letters were compressed to half their normal size (at this time, IBMs did not utilize a graphic interface).
In addition to the criticism of its screen and keyboard, there were a number of other problems which resulted in poor sales. The Convertible was heavier and no faster than its predecessor the 5155 (despite the innovations of a CMOS processor and static RAM), and didn’t include traditional PC expansion ports.
It also had to compete against faster portable computers based on the Intel 80286 processor made by Toshiba and Zenith – that were lighter and offered similar specifications, sometimes at half the price.
– Christopher Hartman