MARKS OF ESTEEM
History Of The Microcomputer Revolution
History Of The Microcomputer
Revolution "Raw Bytes Computer News" Frank Delaney,
Producer Transcript of The Radio Series (C) 1995 MTA Micro
Technology Associates Broadcast on KPBX FM 91.1 Spokane Public
Radio National Public Radio Network Dedication To Gary Kildall
And to All the People Who Contributed to And Created The Microcomputer
Revolution And To KPBX and Public Radio "The Theater
of The Mind" Support Public Radio Foreword.
Pullman, Washington. I was working as a Sales Executive for
the Xerox Corporation. One of the Xerox Service Technicians
and I were walking down one of the main streets after work
- headed for a local watering hole - when we passed a Radio
Shack store that had one of the new TRS-80 Microcomputers on display in the window.
He said "I’ve been reading about these - let’s go inside
and look at it." I wasn’t sure why he would want to look
at a computer - we were working for the world’s largest copier
company and I had absolutely no interest in computers. He
walked up to this computer and began typing on the keyboard.
In less than a minute he had a message appearing on the computer
screen that kept repeating his name and "Xerox Corporation."
I was both astounded and fascinated. Here was an ordinary
human being - a regular guy - who walks up to a computer and
gets it follow his commands! This was a moment that changed my life.
I’ve been fascinated with microcomputers ever since. I started
talking to people and found out that no one knew much about
them - they were so new. I went back to Radio Shack and bought
2 books. One was on Digital Computers which was very technical
and hard to read. The other was on learning BASIC for the
TRS-80 which I found to be interesting and logical. Not having
a TRS-80, I just worked through the lessons in the book mentally.
I left Xerox to become the Marketing
Director of one of Spokane’s first Microcomputer companies.
We sold Apples, Commodores, and CP/M systems with names like
Polymorphic, IMSAI, and Cromemco. I also worked with an Apple
II, learning Apple Basic to write small programs for myself.
Later I worked for Univac selling mainframe computers, and
for a time with IBM in their VAR program. By 1984 my desire
to work with and program computers - not sell them - caused
me to make a career change to become a programmer.
I worked at KPBX as Business Manager/Programmer; writing their
Membership Program, Classical Library, creating many spreadsheet
models, and bringing the accounting in-house onto PC’s. I
did this using CP/M and MSDOS (Not IBM compatible) PC’s. Later
we got a "modern" IBM AT.
I started my own programming and support
company. Over the years now I have heard an incredible amount
of misinformation about how "IBM created the first PC,"
or "Microsoft first wrote BASIC," or "Isn’t
great that Windows finally gives PC users a choice of operating systems."
On the 20th anniversary of the personal computer, I wanted to
write a chronology of what actually happened, and how the
industry evolved. I began with a general idea for several
segments, which evolved to these 16. I think it could have
easily gone 20, as I have had to do a lot of editing. This
series reflects a lot of my own perspectives and biases, but
I hope it gives you a clearer understanding of The Microcomputer
History of the Microcomputer Revolution
The Historic Background.
The Revolution Begins.
The Washington State Connection.
High School Kid’s Computer Company.
The World’s First Commercially Available PC.
What good is a computer without Software?.
Send in the Clones.
The First Operating System Standard.
Home Brewing and Computers Named Apple.
The Killer Application.
The Deal of The Century.
A Walk in the PARC.
Send in the Clones again - Freud would have said GUI-Envy.
The PC Industry at Age 11 in 1986.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?.