Category Archives: History


Windows 1.0

Happy Anniversary Microsoft Windows 1.0

November 20th 1985 marks the 28th Anniversary of the release of Windows 1.0, Microsoft’s first version of an operating system which supported multi-tasking together with a graphic interface for PC’s.  Microsoft’s working name for this new operating system was Interface Manager, but they replaced the name to reflect the new multiple computing windows which the system featured.

 

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Events in Computing History – November

November 1st

 

Year: 1979

Event: Seagate Technology (then known as Shugart Technology) incorporated

Interesting Facts:

  • Seagate may have its principle executive office in California, but it is actually incorporated in Ireland.
  • Seagate invented the 5mb ST-506 hard drive in 1980, which was the first 5.25” hard drive to hit the market and this launched them into being a major hardware supplier for the microcomputer market during the 80s.
  • Seagate changed their name from Shugart Technology in 1979 to avoid a lawsuit with Shugart Associates, a subsidiary of Xerox and also founded by Al Shugart, one of Seagate’s original founders (confusing? Yeah, we thought so too!)

 

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George Boole

The Life & Times of George Boole

With November proving a significant month for events in computing history, we reflect on the life of George Boole, a remarkable philosopher, mathematician and logician whose pioneering work would see him credited as being the founder of computer science.

 

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Bill Gates – 58 Years of Success

With Bill Gates celebrating his 58th birthday this month, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on some of the biggest creations offered by Gates, which have formed part of the Microsoft portfolio.

Windows 95

Following its initial launch of Windows in November 1995, one of Microsoft’s biggest commercial successes would be with Windows 95. Now dating back some 18 years following its release in August 1995, the advancements made by Microsoft with this operating system allowed for the successful integration of both Windows and MS-DOS, with the graphical user interface providing for ease of use and the inclusion of new features such as the taskbar, start menu and the ability to close, minimize and maximize each window. Windows 95 quickly became the market leader, having sold over 7 million copies in its first five weeks of sales, helped in part by the extensive advertising campaign which launched the product including the Rolling Stones song Start Me Up featuring in commercials, with the Empire State Building also lit up with the colours which feature in the Windows logo.

Microsoft Office

With the first version of Microsoft Office featuring only Word, Excel and PowerPoint and dating back to November 1990, it would be Microsoft Office 3.0 which would allow the application to be installed from CD-ROMS for the first time, with the addition of features such as Microsoft Mail to the offering. Microsoft Office 4.3 would also see the first inclusion of Access to the Pro Edition. Microsoft Office 97 would contain a vast number of additional improvements and would see the first appearance of the Office Assistant. Office has come a long way with today’s packages offering the user a wealth of applications, as well as SharePoint workspace in its latest version, Microsoft Office 2013.

Xbox

Microsoft’s game console Xbox hit the shelves in the USA in November 2001, with Europe having to wait until March the following year to try it out.  Launched to rival the PlayStation 2, the Xbox would achieve phenomenal success going on to sell over 24 million consoles.  With Xbox Live available from Microsoft bringing a new dimension to game play following its release in November 2002, Microsoft continued to grow the Xbox brand with Xbox 360 appearing in November 2005 taking on the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3.  With the Xbox 360 again proving a massive success with over 78 million units sold, we are left eagerly awaiting the launch of Xbox One on November 22nd this year.

Internet Explorer

Following Bill Gates’ famous memo The Internet Tidal Wave, which acknowledged the significance and importance that the development of the internet posed, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer in August 1995, it took the form of an adapted version of Mosaic which was on license by Microsoft from Spyglass Inc. at the time. Microsoft’s web browser would prove to be hugely popular with the majority of the market share.  With direct competition from the likes of Google Chrome and Firefox which joined the market later, Internet Explorer still maintains a significant market share, with Internet Explorer 11 having been released in October 2013.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Founded in 1997 and one of Gates’ biggest personal creations, is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which focusses on ways to globally support and improve in areas such as extreme poverty and healthcare.  The Foundation offers significant support in the fight against Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS and well as working to eradicate Polio.   The Foundation’s work also includes a Global Development Programme, and a United States Programme, the latter of which covers support for Schools and Universities including the funding of buildings and also offers scholarships.  Bill Gates has donated in the region of $28billion of his personal fortune to the Foundation, as stated in a recent Bloomberg report, and the amazing work carried out by the Foundation on a worldwide basis, has helped countless individuals to achieve a better life.

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Allen Coombs – Project Leader Colossus Mark 2

 

Allen William Mark Coombs was born on 23rd October 1911, in Bristol. Coombs obtained both a BSc and PhD following his studies at Glasgow University and Strathclyde, and progressed to work at the Post Office Research Station as an Electronics Engineer, based at Dollis Hill in London. Continue reading


Events in Computing History – October

 

 

1st October

Year: 1847

Event: Siemens, the multinational engineering and electronics corporation, was founded in Berlin

Interesting Facts:

  • Werner von Siemens founded Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske (Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company) together with Johann Georg Halske, with the Pointer Telegraph being their first offering, an alternative solution to using Morse code.

 

  • In 1866, Werner von Siemens made a revolutionary discovery with the dynamo-electric principle, recognising the potential power source that electricity could provide.

 

  • In 1881, electric street lighting appeared for the first time ever, with a watermill together with a Siemens AC alternator providing the power to light the streets of Godalming in the UK.

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The CDC 6600 Supercomputer

Seymour Cray – Pioneer of the Supercomputer

 

Known as the father of supercomputing, Seymour Cray was born in Wisconsin, USA on 28th September 1925.   Following in his father’s footsteps, Cray had a keen interest in engineering and after completing his service during the Second World War, he went on to study both electrical engineering and applied mathematics.

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One Hit Wonders

one time Inventors in Computing Technology

 

Today is “One Hit Wonder Day”, although we at Iceni don’t work in the music industry, doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy the days event, so we have created a different alternative to the day, by thinking of a few inventors in the computing industry who have created a world changing invention but never created anything after the success of their first product.

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Mark Davis born 1952 – Inventor of Unicode

 

Mark Davis was born on the 13th of September 1952, and is the president of the Unicode Consortium (non-profit organization that coordinates the development of the Unicode standard) since it was founded, in 1991. Mark Davis is a specialist in software text processing and internationalisation, but most famous for his contribution to the specifications of Unicode, being the principal author of bi-directional algorithm, collation, text segmentation, normalisation, identifiers, scripts, compression, security, regular expressions and character conversion.

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Dennis Richie, the man behind the UNIX Mask

 

Today, September 9th, marks 72nd birthday of Dennis Richie, the man behind not only UNIX, but also the C programming language alongside colleague Ken Thomson. Sadly, Richie died in October 2011 after suffering ill health for several years, but his legacy and reputation as he who “helped shape the digital era” lives on in the majority of computing equipment and technology that we use today in our everyday lives.

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