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Day March 11, 2008

A Re-Updated Personal History of Personal Computing

Back in 2003 on my "previous" blog, and in early 2005 on this blog, I updated a long-standing essay I’d
called "A Personal History of Personal Computing." My first and second blogs are long
gone in the transition away from Radio Userland to Typepad, but I think
it’s time to reprint and update that essay (a second time). Moore’s law is one way to
look at the history of personal computing. Another is the history of
companies that have come and gone, making personal computers and
software. Still another is a personal view. This story is about my own
personal computing history — the machines, what I did with them, what
software I thought was important. I omit computers that I didn’t really
have control over, such as University mainframes and Unix servers, and
I also omit the vast array of servers and computers I administered at
RealNetworks, Internap, Network Clarity, and computers I used at Microsoft and now GridNetworks.

By my count, I’ve purchased 21 computers in my life, and of course used and worked with hundreds, if not thousands more (managing a Systems Engineering group will do that for you). 

The story starts in the late 1970’s, shortly after personal computers came about and before IBM changed things forever….