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Questions tagged [computers]

Questions regarding the history of devices that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically through programming.

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2 votes
0 answers
269 views

How did the Ancient Greeks forge and shape metal gears?

The closest to answer I've gotten is this video: Wikipedia: Making gears by hand without machines However, I don't really know if Archimedes and his contemporaries would have the above tools or not. I'...
James Newton's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
283 views

Why does the US have many top-level web domains? [closed]

Why does the US have top-level domains like .gov, .mil and others, while other nations can only use second level domains for their government agencies? It might seem an easy question, but I think it ...
J. Doe's user avatar
  • 53
2 votes
1 answer
451 views

When did the first electronic money transfer / digital transaction happen using computers?

I tried to find out when the first digital transaction using computers happened, but could not find a specific date. By digital transaction I mean a money transfer between two banks (I assume it was ...
Alexei's user avatar
  • 1,087
2 votes
4 answers
672 views

Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market?

If I recall correctly Android/droid got an exclusive contract with Verizon carrier. This would have made it near impossible for Windows to enter the US market. I understand Google's search engine ...
William's user avatar
  • 161
10 votes
1 answer
514 views

Which operating system were the hackers at the MIT AI Lab using in 1971?

From the interview of Richard M. Stallman, I learned that when Richard Stallman joined the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971, the community of programmers (...
Pandya's user avatar
  • 183
13 votes
2 answers
913 views

Was Donald Knuth the first person to typeset a book using a computer?

I came across this article, which recommends a few books. Below is a quote from the article from the part about Digital Typography by Donald Knuth: For another, the book is, well, charming. Donald's ...
Alice Ryhl's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
80 views

Given the direct involvement of tech companies has there been any strikes over tech companies’ participation in surveillance culture? [closed]

Google employees have staged a mass strike over sexual harassment. This obviously fits into a tradition of labour disputes and is a conflict over contemporary mores. However, the article does ...
Mozibur Ullah's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
454 views

What is this "d-mac" device?

The only current page I found for this device is this Chinese one, which didn't clarify anything. It looks like she's digitizing a blueprint.
Cees Timmerman's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
576 views

What is the origin of the term "Developer" in the context of software? [closed]

The term "software developer" is a popular term for those who create software. The processes of writing software is often called "software development". What is the origin of that term? How did the ...
davidpricedev's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
123 views

Origin of 'diff' tool [closed]

I can't seem to find any evidence that would place the origin of diff tool to the year 1972 (as stated on wikipedia). So where is any initial research paper on it, first release, source code?
francel's user avatar
  • 21
11 votes
2 answers
925 views

What was the other 99% that PARC didn't show to Apple?

I was reading this article and found this part: The irony was that when they left we still had shown the like only 1% of what PARC was doing but it was enough that they got really excited and ...
dgo.a's user avatar
  • 221
2 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

Most of desktop market belongs to Microsoft, which is surprising to an Apple user. What went wrong, what factors were against Apple, what decisions were made that prevented it from conquering the ...
R S's user avatar
  • 263
7 votes
2 answers
425 views

Computer business in 1969

Mad Men, season 7, episode 4, describes the computer business in 1969 as follows. IBM would lease computers to businesses, but would do so only for short leases, and would replace them with newer ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 761
1 vote
2 answers
371 views

Reasons for transfer of leadership in computing from Britain to US after WWII

Great advances were made in field of computing until end of WWII. Many of them happened in Britain. However, by about 1960 it can be safely said that US became home of computer science. Why didn't ...
bytefire's user avatar
  • 137
4 votes
1 answer
249 views

Other possible inventors of the Transistor?

From Wikipedia's Article on the History of the Transistor: The Bell Labs work on the transistor emerged from war-time efforts to produce extremely pure germanium "crystal" mixer diodes, ...
Malady's user avatar
  • 1,359
7 votes
0 answers
219 views

What was the first time the '@' at sign was used to address an user? [closed]

The first app I know to use "@" to address people is Twitter and then it caught on. I know that "@" was used in Usenet as a replacement for the word "at", but not to refer to specific users to my ...
RommelTJ's user avatar
  • 181
2 votes
1 answer
436 views

What computer was used in 1958 for handwriting recognition by Dimond?

I've just seen that the article Dimond, T. L. "Devices for Reading Handwritten Characters". Papers and Discussions. Presented at the December 9-13, 1957, Eastern Joint Computer Conference: ...
Martin Thoma's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
389 views

what city was unix invented in? [closed]

Unix operating system (and the C language) was developed at Bell Labs by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie in 1970. What city did they invent it in?
Collin Anderson's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
271 views

When did the <input> tag come about, and in what web browser? [closed]

I realize that the <isindex> tag came first, but which browser was the first to support the <input> tag and when?
Collin Anderson's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
288 views

Harvard Architecture: How did Harvard Mark I separate data and instruction?

How did Harvard Mark I separate data and instruction? I have read the article in Wikipedia but I didn't understand how data and instruction was separated using a punched paper tape. It said "The ...
Zik's user avatar
  • 137
8 votes
1 answer
337 views

Which floating-point representation did Konrad Zuse's Z1 use?

Wikipedia notes: "The Z1 was a 22-bit floating point value adder and subtracter". But the specific format used is nowhere to be seen.
Janus Troelsen's user avatar