Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are both names that are synonymous with computers. Well, at least they’re with modern computers, but they were just building up an idea that came along in the 1800s and continued to grow over time. What used huge machines that took all kinds of room and did only rudimentary (our standards) work, we now hold in our hands, and of course technology only further advancing all the time.
So, we go back in time, to an Englishman named Charles Babbage, who was the most just say premature for his ideas. He developed the idea of a programmable computer and thus is known as the father of the art. He invented the first mechanical computer back in 1833 which was an analytical engine. The input of data and programs was through punched cards to be distributed to the machine. The output was a printer, a curve plotter and a bell and it could store numbers on cards that can be read at a later time. His idea even had an arithmetic logic unit, control flow and integrated memory controller, which would have been, it was done, the first ever design for general use.
All parts for the machine Babbage had to be handmade and unfortunately his idea never reached fruition as the government cut its subsidies and he ran out of money. His son, Henry Babbage was a simplified version of the idea of his father already, in 1888, he successfully demonstrated that it worked in 1906.
All these ideas gave way to the analog computers used direct mechanical or electric models a problem as a basis for the calculation. But, they were not programmable, they were not accurate and they were not very versatile. Something had to change.
The first programmable electronic computer was the ENIAC which was quick and flexible and was completed in 1946. The program was designed by the states of the patch cables and switches. Someone should write a program and then mechanically put it in the machine with a manual reset of the patch cables and wires. It was a far cry from what we have today in the way of computers as it took up 1,800 square feet and weighed a hefty 50 tons. Imagine carrying around in your pocket!
Technology progresses held and today we can almost everything from a small device that we do carry with us. Unbelievable. What is the next step?