Snopes on Ken Olsen

From: Teo Zenios <>
Date: Tue Sep 21 19:57:37 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Vintage Computer Festival" <>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts"
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: Snopes on Ken Olsen

> On Tue, 21 Sep 2004, Teo Zenios wrote:
> > If you look back in the 70's exactly what would the average person need
> > expensive Apple II or equivalent machine at home for? The only reason
> Have you ever heard of a thing called video games?

Video games came out after thousands upon thousands of machines were sold
and people wanted something to do on them after the initial novelty wore
off. Did the advertisements for the first computers show people playing
games on them, or were they hyping the office apps? I wouldn't call the
Atari 2600's from the 1970's a computer.

> > Apple II took of was because of VisiCalc (spreadsheet) and what that
> > software offered to businesses. If you look at what most computer users
> > with their machines today (email, www, online shopping, eBay, news,
> > quicken, etc) none of this existed in the 70's and 80's. The prices for
> > machines back then also dwarfed what they cost now (rich tech toy
> > to a commodity today).
> This is silly and specious. There were PLENTY of uses for a computer in
> the home back in the 1970s: word processing is just one obvious
> application. You are over-looking the thousands of unique uses people
> found for computers at a personal level.

People didn't program word processors, others did and then sold those
packages. Just about everyone I knew had a typewriter in the 70's and not a
home computer. It wasnt untill the C64 in the 80's along with Atari 800s,
Sinclair and other 8 bit machines that personal computers were sold in the
millions and had enough memory and storage to be usefull word processors.

> > The content, pricepoint, and standardization needed for the PC to become
> > what it is today was not around in the 70's and most of the 80's. Having
> That may be, but it didn't stop millions of computers being sold to home
> users throughout the 1980s. Regardless of what the market was then
> compared to now (which is a useless comparison) the fact is that people
> bought computers for the home and used them, whether it was for games or
> not. And guess what? I'd guess that the same percentage of people who
> buy computers for their home today as did in the 1980s do so for playing
> games.

Why is that a useless comparison (80's to today)? The average user changes
alot from the kid who got a computer for gaming and some school papers to
now where the whole family (grandparents also) uses one for work, games,
multimedia, and communication. I was just trying to show how things evolved
beyond what somebody in the 70's thaught the personal computer would be.

> > To me some inventions were designed as solutions for problems (the light
> > bulb) while others are solutions in search of a problem ( early PC's).
It is
> > obvious that the people driving the PC market today didn't have a clue
> > the market today would look like 20+ years ago.
> That's just plain wrong. It was obvious from the moment the Altair 8800
> hit the pages of Popular Electronics that personal computers were going to
> be a huge thing. The problem is that the big companies were stuck in
> their bigness and just didn't get it. Hundreds of companies sprung up in
> the first years of the microcomputer revolution, all trying to cash in on
> the craze. These computers were primarily sold to businesses after the
> inital hobbyist boom, but home users steadily increased over the years and
> continue to increase to this day.

The user base has steadily increased because of the software makers and
their ability to come up with new uses for the home computer, along with
pricing and technology that makes the equipment more powerful and cheaper at
the same time. Was it obvious to IBM that their first PC would sell in the
millions? Even if some people had an idea the personal computer would be a
hit I don't think they ever dreamed of what they would look like in the
later 20th century.

> --
> Sellam Ismail Vintage Computer
Received on Tue Sep 21 2004 - 19:57:37 BST

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