If you think time flies, just take a look at this computing history poster that CIO Republic has created for members to download—just 21 years have passed since the IBM PC arrived on the scene.
There have been so many computing innovations that we had to curtail our poster to depict only the biggest highlights of the PC evolution. We’d have to do a poster series if we wanted to include OS advancements and peripheral developments, such as the mouse and keyboard—and as for chips and application development, we’d have to write a book.
Today's visionaries weren't always right
It’s hard to fathom that in 1943, Thomas Watson, then IBM chairman, said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” That can elicit a laugh, as today’s typical techie has at least five computers stashed around his home office and basement—which also blows away Ken Olson’s 1977 statement that “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” At the time, Olson was president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.
He wasn’t the only tech leader whose vision was a bit limited in the "early days." Remember when Bill Gates pontificated that “640K ought to be enough for anybody” back in 1981?
Investigating the history of computing, and developments in technology overall, puts a unique perspective on what’s being accomplished in today’s enterprises and businesses. The tech community has clearly answered the question posed in 1968 by an engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM: “But what is it [the computer] good for?”
Educate yourself on computing history
Download this computing poster (which TechRepublic is providing in two sizes: 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17) and decorate your cube, the office lunchroom, or wherever you think your IT crew might enjoy it. True techies could even laminate the poster and use it as a placemat!
If you’re eager to get more history and read more famous quotes, check out the IEEE Computer Society site’s computing history timeline. With nearly 100,000 members, the IEEE Computer Society, founded in 1946, is the world's leading organization of computer professionals.
Another good online historic resource site is UCS: The Ultimate Computer Source. The site not only offers a timeline but graphic insight on the guts of today’s computers.
UCS created its history section to encompass as much information as possible and to ensure that beginners and advanced users alike could benefit. The fact that the UCS site was built and designed by 14-year-old students in Pennsylvania illustrates how far technology really has advanced in such a short timeframe.