Berkeley Enterprises 1956 Report

From: cswiger <>
Date: Mon Jan 11 16:32:45 1999

>OK, next time somebody tells you that the Altair was the first personal
>or home computer, give them this URL:

First - that's very interesting research and glad to read about
it (esp. remember some switch/relay/light versions of the
FoxHenCorn puzzle as well as Nim, and they remind me of the Claude
Shannon maze solving mouse in SciAM. I almost had that schematic
memorized but never built one. It had a 3 bit memory so it could
'learn' a 3 fork maze, and a rotating 'randomizer' for the one's
the mouse didn't know. My 'first' personal computer then was made
out of a piece of fence, 24 or so nails, a 'D'cell, 3 or 4 lamps
and a lot of hookup wire)


Berkeley Ent. didn't really market it as a personal *home*
computer, looks like the target audience they hope to sell into
is advertising gimmicks, 'show stoppers'. Also, unlike other
machines sold to academia or business uses, the Altair was
 marketed to people who buy or build their own HI-FI/Stereos,
CB/Ham radios - i.e., the HOME hobbyist. For $60/ month. I can
own my OWN computer, free and clear to do whatever I want with,
not limited by the funding strings that dictate what I can do
with one at work or at school.
Free at last!!
Again, without any further defining guidelines, other than the
default Intel ('PC') lineage, and a tip of the hat to the
unsuccessful Mark-8, I posit that the 'first PC's' are the abacus,
knots on string, pushing stones around on tables, Napiers bones,
slide rules - or does it have to include an 'active' element
(relay, tube, transistor, IC)? I'm lost as far as what your
qualifying criteria is. Of course, one can always custom tailor
their list of criteria so that the machine you've already chosen
as 'first' comes out as such, post facto, hehe.

Received on Mon Jan 11 1999 - 16:32:45 GMT

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