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Created on April 22 , 2014 @ 07:11 PM GMT

The Evolution of the Modern Digital Computer Based off Kirby Ferguson's Everything is a Remix

The evolution of the computer with a graphical interface between Xerox and Apple (if the gifs do not load I am sorry but that is on your side)

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    • The modern computer that we all know and love was not something that was made in a couple of months and not even a few years. The development of the computer was a long process going through multiple generations to finally make what the computer is today. So lets travel back to the dawn of the personal computer revolution and look at the company that started it all.

    • Xerox, Xerox made the first modern computer in the early 1970s. This was known as the Alto, which was a mouse driven system with a graphical interface, Keep in mind at the time most computers during this era were operated with switches and if you flipped them in the correct order you got to see blinking lights. the Alto was way ahead of its time, and  eventually, apple saw the Alto and later released two computers with graphical interfaces, the Lisa and its more successful follow-up the Macintosh.

    • The Alto was never a commercial product but they did release a system based on it in 1981, the Star 8010. It was released two years before the Lisa and three years before the Mac but it was the Alto that served as the foundation of the Macintosh. The Star used a desktop metaphor with icons for documents, folders, a pointer, scrollbars, and pop-up  menus. These were huge innovations and the Mac copied every one of them but improved upon the design. This is what set the Mac on a path towards long term success.

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • Apple set to merge the computer with the household appliance; the Mac was to be a simple device like the TV.  This was different from the Star, which was for professional work and the office. The Mac made changes to make the computer more intuitive,  firstly Apple removed one of the mouse buttons to make its pointing device less confusing then they added the doubleclick for opening files. the Star had a separate key to open files,

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • The mac also let you drag icons around and move and resize windows.

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • The Star didn’t have drag and drop you moved and copied files by selecting an icon pressing a key then clicking a location and you resized windows with a menu.

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • The Star and the Alto both had pop up menus but because the location of these would move around the screen the user had to continually reorient.

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • The Mac introduced the Menu bar which stayed in the same place no matter what.

    • Drafts | Tumblr

      Drafts | Tumblr

    • With clever engineering Apple was able to lower the price to 2,500$. Still pretty expensive but much cheaper than the 10,000$ dollar Lisa or the 17,000$ Star.

    • nhvsaj.gif (400×220)

      nhvsaj.gif (400×220)

    • The Alto and the Star still contained the work of others, with evolutionary branches leading back to 1822 where a mathematician outlined the computing method using steam, pipes and gears to calculate large numbers.

    • Fast forward a hundred years, another contributor to the modern computer could be found at Iowa State University, where   a professor of physics and mathematics built the first computer without gears, cams, belts or shafts. This work was greatly expanded by Grace Hopper who made the first computer language known as cobol and Robert Noyce when he released the the integrated circuit or the microchip as it is more commonly known.

    • But what started it all was the graphical interface merged with the idea that the computer as a household appliance. the Mac demonstrated the explosive potential of combinations the Star and the Alto on the other hand were the products of elite research and development and is a testament to technological advancement.

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