(before I get stuck in too far, it is already obvious from comments and messages that not everyone agrees with my take, that’s fine, everything I say is always of necessity and personal viewpoint, but that does not necessarily make it invalid, just because it is not your viewpoint, just because it differs from yours… these things are / were true at the time, both to me, and those who I met)
So, in part one we hopefully got the point across that the PC as we know it today, and the OS, is really an iterative function that survived 25+ years of marketing and sales, rather than an iterative function that evolved through 25+ years of refinement and development and natural selection.
If you watched The Pirates of Silicon Valley (itself a retelling rather than a fly on the wall CCTV compilation) hopefully you came away with the idea that Gates and Microsoft won simply because Gates and Microsoft excelled at “business”.
Don’t forget you could just go out and buy a personal computer in 1975, the Altair 8800, this was already out there in the environment that Woz and Jobs and Gates et al found themselves in.
But stories like these are incomplete, in ways that you won’t understand without also having watched things like James Burke’s “Connections” series from the seventies.
You also have to follow stories like BBC Horizon “Now the Chips are Down” from 1977, talking about the “Fairchildren” and Intel and so on, and stories about the development of spinning rust, hard disk technology. And none of the above are sufficient unless you also watched the 8 part series BBS, The Documentary, from 2001, particularly part 8, compression, the true story of PKZip… so many shades of Q-DOS and Microsoft.
And out of this frothing sea of pre-biotic stew, life crept and crawled ashore.
I’m in my fifties, and that is as young as you can be and remember the introduction of consumer devices featuring the electronic transistor in the commercial marketplace…. so in many ways it is also as young as you can be and also remember the silicon chip, and computing, and then personal computing, all coming in for the first time.
So, hell, I have a dial up modem ring-tone on my Samsung Note2, you’d be amazed how few actually know what that noise is….
It’s a bit like meeting some chick in her late thirties, you only have her word on how many cocks she has ridden, how many three/ four / moresomes, how many porn flicks, whereas I grew up with her, I know ALL that shit.
You get some more data points, for example you watch all those films I mention above, which will take you 10 or 12 hours, and now you think you know everything, you don’t, you are just more informed and less ignorant.
You will never get the perspective I have, unless you also went to school, and they taught you about ASCII 5 hole punched tape and matrices, because this was the shit you were going to need to know, in this new world of computers… probably barely 6 years after those schoolroom lessons I had my own 8 bit personal computer, and you typed shit into it on an alphanumeric keyboard to make it work…. to this day I have never either actually PERSONALLY used a punched tape or matrix to program or input data into a computer.
And don’t get me started on hacker vs cracker, in fact, nobody puts it much better than dick osband… http://cheshirecatalyst.com/identity.html
SO, we are talking about Personal Computers, and in many ways this Socket 2011 i7 X79 SSD Win7 job I am typing this on is doing EXACTLY the same job as my first 8 bit monstrosity and acoustic coupler giving me 300 cps and 4/500 quid a month phone bills into various BBS’s etc.
It is allowing and facilitating me communicating with other individuals, too dispersed around the planet to simply walk out my door and 10 minutes down the road to meet.
As Personal Computers advanced, again, my early ones did remarkably similar things, I played games, I played with editing graphics, I played with music, I played with I/O… in many ways it was the same device you’d find at work, was that a work computer or a personal computer, good question.
Because although “personal computer” has one meaning, which is a computer in your home that is not your work computer on your desk at work that your employer owns, it is your personal car, not your company car, it originally had another meaning entirely.
The original meaning of “personal computer” meant “not a thin client or dumb terminal“, eg processing etc was done locally, not remotely on the mainframe.
My mobile phone works this way, it is just a thin client / dumb terminal for the telco “mainframe” network of towers and switching and routing centres etc.
If we are stood 400 yards away from each other on the opposite sides of a river, and the telco “mainframe” goes down, what we now call “no signal”, then we cannot talk to each other or send SMS to each other, these are not “personal” voice and SMS communication devices in the way that two walkie talkies would be.
This is a vital point that you really need to think about and absorb, before we can move on to part 3.
The modern analogy to the personal computing revolution that my generation lived through, is if you could go out and buy a mobile phone, no sim, no telco contract, no nothing, and talk DIRECTLY to any other person on the planet.
DIRECTLY in this case means the call goes directly to them, it doesn’t depend on or route through the telco system at all.
IN THEORY mesh networking could ultimately do this.
In practice the middle ground is no voice calling of any kind, nor 2g, or 3g, or anything else, just wireless network data comms and VOIP, as far as the network is concerned your VOIP call is routed the same way your email is, over the same circuits, with possibly some QOS to differentiate the two, but that is about it.
Once you can grasp this, the universal personal communications device that requires no sim and no telco and no contract and no usage billing or allowances, and nobody else’s permission to use, but makes direct calls to whoever you wish, wherever they are, then you are ready for part three.
…. to be continued….