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

No, Knuth was not the first person to typeset a book "with a computer". The TEX project was started in 1978 by Don­ald E. Knuth, while re­vis­ing the sec­ond vol­ume of his Art of Com­puter Pro­...
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15 votes
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Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market?

Apple beat Google to that same market, and Android is still (by brute numbers) crushing IOS mobile as well. So its really more a question of what Google Android did right (that MS and to a lesser ...
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  • 109k
13 votes

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

Even Steve Jobs himself mentioned that they had a whole lot of other stuff going on at PARC, but he got so excited about the GUI that he ignored everything else. I had three or four people (at ...
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  • 109k
12 votes

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

It wasn't just Apple. Commodore and Atari both had technically superior machines available for much of the early history of the PC platform, and both also got destroyed in the market. The best answer ...
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  • 109k
10 votes
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What is this "d-mac" device?

That is the D-Mac Cartographic Digitiser, seen here in the 1968 Design journal (Issue 234): It seems the D-Mac Cartographic Digitiser was developed from an earlier device called the D-Mac Pencil ...
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10 votes
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Why does the US have many top-level web domains?

The Internet started as a project of the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, under the name "ARPANET". The original five top-level domains (.com, .org, .edu, .gov, ...
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9 votes
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Which operating system were the hackers at the MIT AI Lab using in 1971?

On the About GNU page of the GNU project, Richard Stallman himself states that the operating sysytem in use when he joined the MIT Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab in 1971 was the Incompatible ...
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9 votes
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Reasons for transfer of leadership in computing from Britain to US after WWII

The Age of Austerity; from the end of the war in 1945-1951, the British Empire went through a period of depression, a loss of huge amounts of wealth. It is most probable that the British didn't have ...
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9 votes
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Computer business in 1969

IBM started offering the "lease" option in the late 1960s, when leasing became popular in other industries. It seemed like a way to segment the market, but in so doing, IBM opened a window into their ...
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8 votes
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Why was Apple not able to compete with Microsoft in the home PC market?

The Rise of the IBM PC was very quick. The Apple II had done well and blazed a path but many as a hobby computer more than a business machine, and it was tagged as cute rather than practical. IBM had ...
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  • 2,096
7 votes

Origin of 'diff' tool

The Unix Heritage Society shows that while diff's man page appeared in V6 (1975), its source code appeared in V5 (1974). The algorithm is described there as being "due to Harold Stone".
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7 votes

Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market?

This started as a comment on T.E.D.'s answer, and has turned into some insights into the smart phone market and why Microsoft failed. Full disclosure, I work on a Macs, game on Windows, and use ...
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  • 52.6k
6 votes

What is this "d-mac" device?

I was a design engineer with Dobbie McInnes ending up as Chief Engineer for Digitising Systems at Ferranti Infographics, so I can comment on these pictures. The centre picture is of a mid 1960s CF ...
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5 votes

Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market?

Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market? No. Microsoft have been producing phone operating systems since at least 2003 Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition Windows Mobile 2003 for ...
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5 votes

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

Here are more items from: "Alan Kay's tribute to Ted Nelson at "Intertwingled" Fest":
4 votes

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

Actually, I'm reading a book, "Turing's Cathedral" that discusses the development of computers. From my reading of the book it appears that the principal developments in computing, with respect to ...
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4 votes
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What computer was used in 1958 for handwriting recognition by Dimond?

Dimond did not use any computer, he was a researcher/theorist. His paper simply describes a technique that could be applicable for dedicated circuits typical of the time. He was not anticipating the ...
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3 votes

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

Take a look at this book: C. G. Bell, J. Grason, A. Newell, DESIGNING COMPUTERS AND DIGITAL SYSTEMS USING PDP-16 REGISTER TRANSFER MODULES, Digital Press, September 1972 I quote the penultimate ...
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3 votes
Accepted

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

It appears that the first electric fund transfers using a computer occurred in 1966. Third-generation or integrated-circuit-based computers were associated with electronic commerce technologies ...
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3 votes

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

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "developer" (in any context) dates back as far back as 1772: A late excellent developer of the human heart... Letters Several Eminent Persons ...
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3 votes
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What is the origin of the term "Developer" in the context of software?

The word "develop" has applied to projects longer than we've had computers. Merriam-Webster has the definition "to create or produce especially by deliberate effort over time". Computer programs ...
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2 votes

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

From your same link. The Mark I read its instructions from a 24-channel punched paper tape. It executed the current instruction and then read in the next one. A separate tape could contain numbers ...
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2 votes

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

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were genius businessmen, but Steve Jobs made two missteps, the Apple III and the Lisa, and was fired for it just as his newest effort, the Macintosh, was exploding in ...
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1 vote

Did Google simply beat Microsoft to market?

The situation isn't quite as simple as just being late to market. Let's review the situation leading up to the release of Windows Mobile phones. Microsoft had been after the portable device market ...
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1 vote

Computer business in 1969

Fascinating history! There was a first generation of computer lessors, Saul Steinberg's Leasco, Itel, OPM, most of which underpriced IBM by way too much and paid the price. Then a new generation, ...
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  • 51
1 vote
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Other possible inventors of the Transistor?

From following the references at Wikipedia, I found The Lost History of the Transistor. Which led me to How Europe Missed The Transistor, which, seems to suggest that France or Germany could have been ...
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