Category Archives: History

Events in Computing History – September

September 2nd


Event: The first initial release of Google chrome web browser.

Interesting Facts:

  • Although it was released after Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, Chrome is the most used web browser in the world, taking 39% of the market for usage.
  • Google Chrome is the only web browser with a built in language translator and able to convert up to 53 different languages.

Before chrome was released the chairman of Google (Eric Schmidt) was against the idea of a web browser as he considered the company too small to compete with the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox and the idea was suspended for 6 years.

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Windows XP

Retro Memories: Windows XP


Believe it or not, August 25th marks 12 years since Microsoft released Windows XP to worldwide sale, not knowing at that time that the then latest version of their global OS would be overall a great hit, and the backlash that would occur when XP succeeded by Windows Vista 5 years later.


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Programma 101

Programma 101

A Blast From The Past – The Programma 101


August, 1868, in the town of Ivrea, Piedmont, a future cyber hero was born by the name of Camillo Olivetti. The Italian electrical engineer went on to form the IT company Olivetti S.p.A, and produced both Italy’s first electronic computer in 1959, the transistorised Elea 9003, and the world’s first commercial desktop computer in 1964, the Programma 101.
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Peter J Weinberger

AWK co-author Peter Weinberger

The Awesome Language of AWK (happy birthday, Peter Weinberger)


This month we celebrate the birthday of one of the computing coding industry’s most notable authors – Peter J Weinberger. Peter, who turned 71 last week on the 6th, is one of the co-authors of the programming language AWK, and it is for him the W is named after. Introduced in 1977, it was one of the earliest tools to appear in Version 7 of Unix and was the only scripting language at that time to be available in a standard Unix environment (apart from the Bourne shell). AWK is Turing-complete (it can be used to simulate any single-taped Turning machine) and is a cross-platform language, making it very versatile.

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The famous Mozilla dino head logo

Happy Anniversary, MoCo


Today, August 3rd, marks the 8th anniversary of the Mozilla Corporation’s (MoCo) founding in California. Headed up by Gary Kovacs (CEO), MoCo is a wholly owned subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation and exists the handle the revenue-related aspects that the Foundation cannot, due to its non-profit status. It may not be the anniversary for Mozilla itself (that was back in February), but we thought we’d have a look back at Mozilla’s top 5 achievements to celebrate anyway….


Firefox Browser


Firefox is widely acclaimed throughout the Internet world, its open source code and free download status giving it instant gain, but it has yet to take the top spot in the browser wars in terms of worldwide usage; Google’s Chrome browser currently holds the top spot and has done for a while.


One of Firefox’s main attractions is the amount of Add Ons that have been developed for integral use; unlike Chrome, Add Ons appear within the browser and don’t load separate windows when open. Additionally, Firefox is easy to customise with a range of skins and appearance tweaks, not only for aesthetics but also for functionality.


Firefox for mobile is also now available, which is an application suitable for smaller, non-PC devices and mobile phones.


Thunderbird Email Client
A direct contender to Microsoft’s Outlook, Thunderbird is free and open source and well loved by many around the world. Initially released in 2003, Thunderbird has actually been classed as low priority for development at the moment by the Mozilla team, as they are aware that the continuous extending of the functions already inbuilt was becoming pointless; Thunderbird already caters for the majority of user needs.


It is possible to add extensions and themes to Thunderbird and CSS/image files can be downloaded as Add Ons. It runs on a wide range of platforms, including Linux, OS X and Windows.


SeaMonkey is Mozilla’s set of Internet programs, including ChaZilla, Composer (HTML editor), Mail & Newsgroups and Calendar. Originating from the former Mozilla Application Suit, SeaMonkey operates on a community-driven development basis, led by the SeaMonkey Council.


SeaMonkey has its own browser away from Firefox, SeaMonkey Navigator and its own Mail client simply called SeaMonkey Mail & Newsgroups. It supports customisation through a variety of skins and has a WYSIWYG HTML editor.


Bugzilla is Mozilla’s bugtracker from their development tools range, licenced under the Mozilla Public License. It is used worldwide by a wide range of well-known names, including the Wikimedia Foundation, Yahoo!, Apache and Red Hat, as well as obviously Mozilla themselves.


The latest version of Bugzilla is v4.4 and was released in May 2013.


Sunbird is a cross-platform, open source calendar program that is based on Mozilla’s XUL language. A standalone version of the Mozilla Calendar Project, Sunbird works on a variety of operation systems and is currently working stable release 1.0 Beta 1 released in 2010.


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Events in Computing History – August

August 1st

Year: 1969
Event: “Pioneer of the World Wide Web” Henrik Frystyk Nielson is born in Denmark
Interesting Facts:
• Henrik was Tim Berners-Lee’s first graduate student at CERN, and also shared desk space with Håkon Wium Lie, who later went on the invent CSS with Bert Bos.
• Nielson currently works at Microsoft and is the Principal Architect of the Windows Communication Foundation team.

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7 Fun Uses for an Obsolete Floppy Disc Drive

Yesterday, July 16th, marked the 107th birthday of Reynold B. Johnson, known worldwide in most circles as “the Father of the disk drive”.


Born in America in 1906, Johnson was a pioneer in the computing world; during his long career with IBM, he invented not disk drive storage technology, but also gained over 90 patents for inventions such as automatic test scoring equipment, micro phonograph technology and the videocassette tape.


The work Reynold put in on the disk drive hit the computing world by storm, and from this a variety of drives were developed and used, including hard disks, floppy discs and various optical disc drives. The times have moved on since these early models came out, and replacements such as USB sticks and CDs are now more widely used (although modern laptops and mainframes still use hard disc drives, albeit a lot more technically advanced), but in honour of Johnson’s birthday, we’ve had a look at how we can still aim to integrate floppy disc drives into our world today.



What better than a floppy disc to protect your desk or table from mug stains? A typical floppy disc with casing measures 3mm thick, so more than adequate to take the heat from a mug without transferring it through to the surface underneath. Additionally, the casings on these discs can easily be decorated to add a bit of colour, especially the standard grey versions, although these might fit into a corporate environment quite well.


Art Deco
Why not buy a selection of coloured floppies and arrange them in an artistic manner to lend a splash of flair to an office or study. Later floppy discs were made to appeal to all generations, so you can get a range including neon orange, green and pink.


On a warm Summer’s day, a game of Floppy-Frisbee might be just the thing to wake you up after lunch. If you have an outdoor area, throwing a floppy around is good fun, and the loser definitely has to make the tea round for the office afterwards.
NB Iceni accept no responsibility for any accidents caused during the game of Floppy-Frisbee


Posh Pen Holder

A floppy disc with the centre removed leaves a fair sized hole to help stand your pens upright, perfect especially for any posh ones in your collection. You’ll have to tape a few discs together to make it tall enough though, but the end result will look great on your desk.


Compact Mirror
A must for any ladies out there, why not remove the centre of the disc and replace with a small mirror to keep in your handbag as a handy compact. This way, you can check your appearance on the go and still keep the retro love alive.


Sticky Note Holder

Ever had too many sticky notes and nothing to stick them on? Why not use an old floppy disc to stick them onto, and keep it on your desk to see easily. Perfect storage and memo in one!


Plant Pots
We all like having a plant on our desk, but need a pot to put the container into, for decoration and also to stop mud going everywhere. Here’s where floppy discs come in – arrange 5 in a square with a bottom but no top, and sellotape together; you could even use coloured ones for an extra effect. Place plant in and job done :)!

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Happy Birthday, Marc Andreessen!


Today 9th July marks the 42nd birthday of Marc Andreessen, co-author of the Mosaic browser. Born in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1971, Marc received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois in December 1993, effectively kick starting his career in the world of computer coding and the WWW!

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Events in Computing History – July

Another month, another set of significant events in the history of computing and web browsing.

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Events in Computing History – June

Events in Computing History – June

The month of June also had significant events that changed the world of computing and technology, here is a look at both the old and recent history the month of June brought us

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