Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stop Typing! Someone who makes your life better passed away this week...

It is a strange thing to me how some people who should be household names and in the history books before so many others, become a footnote and are never remembered by the general public...I NEVER knew who Ed Roberts was before today...So much of the "positive supply shock" that gave us unparalled economic growth, which started in the mid to late 80's, was due to the democratizaton of information technology.  The masses benefited from the technology revolution through the use of personal computers, like the one Dr. Roberts developed.  Perhaps as we type on our keyboards today we should ponder what he did to make it possible...
WSJ:The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics featured on its cover a box with switches and blinking lights called the Altair 8800, considered by many to be the first personal computer. Ed Roberts, who died Thursday at age 68, created the Altair, the computer that brought Microsoft Corp. founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen into desktop computing. His machine inspired a legion of hobbyists who became the foundation of a vibrant new industry...."Ed deserves to be called the father of the personal computer," says Bill Gates in an email...."He was a seed of this thought that computers would be affordable," says Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. Mr. Wozniak credits an Altair demonstration at the first meeting of the storied Palo Alto Homebrew Computer Club for convincing him that microprocessor-based computers, as opposed to mainframes, could be worthwhile....New companies soon opened to provide circuit boards and other peripherals that made the Altair more useful. The Altair helped inspire some of the first computer magazines and conventions, and also the first clones—copies built on the same design principles around the same Intel Corp. chip....Mr. Roberts in 1977 sold MITS to Pertec Computer Corp. of Los Angeles, a manufacturer of disk drives. He took up farming and later attended medical school. 
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