HUGE thanks to... http://www.slideshare.net/mrettig/interaction-design-historymarc rettigmarcrettig.com interactionpresented at design history in a teenycarnegiemellonuniversity2 april firstname.lastname@example.org little nutshell version 1.5
wiring the ENIAC with a new programENIAC1946Mauchly and Eckertstats:3,000 cubic feet30 tons18,000 vacuum tubes70,000 resistors170 kilowatt power req.~1 kilobit memoryapproximate processing power of today’ssinging birthday cardbut not a stored-program device Great description here: www.computinghistorymuseum.org/teaching/lectures/pptlectures/7b-eniac.ppt
front panel switchesDEC PDP-8TI 9801960’sThe internal architecture of themachine is exposed in thecontrols. You can see that thePDP-8 is an octal computer,with its switches in three-bitconfigurations (it takes threebits to count from 0 to 7, for atotal of 8 numbers. Base 8.Octal. Get it?). The TI 980 is ahexadecimal machine, withswitches in groups of four. Usingthe switches, you program themachine one word at a time (aword being, say, twohexadecimal bytes for the TI).
batch processing: feed it cards, wait while it runsWhat you used to dopunch a deck of cards; takethe cards to a little window,hand them to the operator; sheputs them in line with everyoneelse’s jobs; when it’s your turnshe puts your cards in thehopper and pushes “RUN”; yourprogram works or it doesn’t; anhour or twelve later, you pick upyour cards and (hopefully)printout at the same littlewindow.What you do nowdouble-click an icon, see whathappens immediately.
preparing punch cardsAn important by-product:confetti . Allthe chaff from all those cardswas just great to throw aroundthe dorm.
preparing punch cardsEach key press punches holes,so there’s no “erase.” Fixing amistake almost always requiredejecting the card and starting itover.In a pinch – say you reallyneeded to fix a card and thepunch was down – a cleveroperator might know enoughabout the card encoding toclose some holes with tape andopen others with a knife. weSo on the one hand,were adaptingto the machines.On the other hand, theworkings of the machines wereexposed, right out where wecould get to them.
at home, it’s still the switches – but what to do with it?MITS Altair 88001975One of the first commerciallyavailable home computers.You ordered it. You built it. Youoperated it through frontpanel switches.
a tool for home and small business calculationsvisicalcDan Bricklin1979Finally people had a reason tobuy a home computer(specifically, an Apple II): sothey could use VisiCalc, the firstspreadsheet. THE place to learn about Visicalc: www.bricklin.com/visicalc.htm Download a working version!