Week 2- from big to small

From all the readings so far as well as personal experience, people do not like to put much effort into stuff. Throughout history people have come up with new ways to make our lives easier. We built a wheel that we could attach to wagons in order to pull a lot of stuff at the same time and not have to carry it all. We built calculators to make counting easier. These are just examples that people have come up with over time to make our lives easier. I think the same goes with the shift from computers, looking like huge monstrosities, to being able to take almost no space away. We have had computers for some time but they were too big and too expensive for “regular” people to use. Even though they were big,  these types of computers have provided some usefulness such as the tabulating machine created by Herman Hollerith. This machine cut down the time it used the U.S. census bureau to count all the people living in the U.S.  Therefore one of the reason I believe had an effect on the intellectual leap was that people were continuously looking to improve and easing their lives and these computers have shown that they can do that.

I think the other big reason why there was such a shift was because of the time computers became known and usable by the general public. The demand for small personal computers started to occur during the 1970′s after the war. People  got “sick” of the government and hiding information from them that they wanted to be part of technology as well.  Campbell-Kelly and Aspray (1996) mentioned the rise of Computer Liberation. People that were part of this movement believed that computers should be affordable and accessible to the general public. In order for this to happen computers needed to become smaller and easier to handle for someone who does not know a lot about technology.

Lastly I think that one of the reasons computers advanced and became smaller was for capitalism. One company started a new product, such as the calculator and then other companies thought it was a good and brilliant idea so they decided to be part of this new era as well. This created competition between these companies and the demand to stand out. But the only ways to stand out was through the creation of new and better technology which in the end led to personal computers. This in turn also allowed for better technology since you had the ability to communicate with others, share  ideas and have more access to material that is needed to built and advance the technology.

3 thoughts on “Week 2- from big to small

  1. Logan Mancini

    I think you’re correct on your view about people always looking for an easier way to complete a task. I also think you can look at it as people are always looking to make improvements to themselves and their surroundings though. The desire to work less is a strong motivator for most people.
    I think you missed a large factor that played in advancing and creating the personal computer. Just like the creation of the radio industry, the personal computer industry gained momentum from early hobbyists. The first personal computers didn’t make anyone’s lives easier. They really didn’t do much of anything, except blink some lights that the hobbyist programmed into it. From the hobbyists demand and creation of the personal computer, the real potential was realized. Hobbyists like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were key characters in the creation of the personal computer. Without the early hobbyists, there was no demand for computers and their parts.

  2. muzzeyme Post author

    Logan
    I think you make a great point and I tried to touch on that with the computer liberation which was led by the hobbiest but I could have expanded more on that. I definitely agree with you, the hobbiest did have a great influence on the personal computer and without them there might not have been a personal computer or it would have taken us a lot longer to come to the point we are today. Overall I think that it is probably like a cake and each piece alone does not give us a cake but combining all the pieces we are able to create a complete cake. Same goes with this, I think that they are all just small pieces and each one had an influence.

  3. heggins2

    I enjoyed reading the idea that normal people felt the need to be involved with the increase in technology. I think that that’s a very important aspect in technology. Hobbyists or computer geniuses realized this and suggested the use of computers by your average person. When thinking back on dangerous inventions like bombs and such and even watching movies about the confidential work of the government it can make you feel disconnected. The gov’t makes those types of decisions without hardly any involvement from the people. The shift in computers to accommodate your average business man, stay at home mother or 80 year old grandfather was absolutely amazing. I’m sure it altered many people’s perspective of the government. Of course once the personal computers were introduced people fell in love with them. They made life much easier for everyone. They saved time tremendously. In America you know what they say “Time is Money.”

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