SPAM

spam ori

I am going to Spam this blog and I won’t even apologize for it.

But wait before you delete the post.

On this day in 1937 the Hormel Foods Corporation,  head quartered in Austin- Minnesota, USA,  first introduced the product SPAM The square can of pork, salt, water, sugar, potato starch and sodium nitrite that first rolled off the assembly lines 82 years ago during the late depression era. it was invented .as a way to capitalize on  the then-unprofitable pork shoulder.

According to Hormel ,SPAM stands for ‘spiced ham’ and not “something posing as meat”

The product became very popular during WWII.

SPAM WWII

It is actually said that SPAM helped win the war. It went global during World War II, when the US shipped out over 100 million cans to the Pacific, where it made an inexpensive yet filling meal for U.S. troops Millions of cans of SPAM were also  sent to the Soviets and they loved it.

Khrushchev once said “SPAM was a godsend for another hungry group—Russian soldiers in World War II.”

SPAM SOVIET

But how did get SPAM such a bad name when it comes to IT?

We have Monty Python to thank for that. in the 1970s Monty Python’s Flying Circus had a sketch , which is the pop culture Spam reference most people will remember.

The sketch is about a  customer in a restaurant  who desperately tries to order something that doesn’t contain SPAM, only to find that  everything on the menu features it. In the course of his disastrous  dinner, a nearby party of Vikings( It is Monty Python)breaks into song: “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, lovely SPAM! Wonderful SPAM!”

 

spam spam

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When the world turned color.

tv

I remember one of my sons , when he was a toddler, asking when the world turned color. I had to laugh at the innocent question, for he thought that prior to color movies and TV, the world had been black and white.

To answer his question, well at least from a TV perspective, it was in September 1941, 2 years into WWII.

The Scottish engineer, innovator,and one of the inventors of the mechanical television,John Logie Baird, had been working to produce a two-color image.

He did this by by placing filters in front of  two tubes and  then project them onto a smaller screen to enhance the effective intensity.The subject he used to demonstrate his invention had had a very colorful life herself.

Paddy Naismith had been a race driver,chauffeur to Prime Minister Mr Ramsay Macdonald, air hostess and actress. In September 1941 John Logie Baird used a live image of Paddy Naismith used to demonstrate the first all-electronic color television system, The  picture had 600 lines of resolution, and used a monochromatic cathode-ray tube with a rotating transparent color wheel in front of it.

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It wasn’t until 1951 when the first color TV were sold, and initially they were taken of the market again a month after the sales. It was only until the 60s when first tv shows were broadcast in color.

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The Computer bug

Harvard Mark 2

Don’t worry I am not going to go into details what a computer bug is and what to do how to resolve it. Nor will I explain what the implications of a computer bug are.

That would be a long and tedious blog. In fact this blog will be short and sweet, it will be about the first ever bug being found.

on September 9, 1947, U.S. Navy officer Grace Hopper found a moth between the relays on the Harvard Mark II computer she was working on. In those days computers filled (large) rooms and the warmth of the internal components attracted moths, flies and other flying creatures. Those creatures then shortened circuits and caused the computer to malfunction. She  taped it to the operations logbook with the annotation “First actual case of bug being found”. I

Bug

So the first computer bug was just that, a bug.

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Osborne 1-First Portable Computer

800px-Osborne_1_open

 

Computers nowadays come in all shapes and sizes from a smartphone to the super computer Mira.

Capture

An essential requirement nowadays is that computers are portable. It may be hard to believe but the history of portable computers goes back 38 years, even when I write it ’38 years’ I can’t  believe it . i was barely a teenager then.

The Osborne 1 was the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on April 3, 1981, by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (24.5 lb), cost US$1,795, and ran the CP/M 2.2 operating system. Powered directly from a mains socket as it had no on-board battery, it was still classed as a portable device since it could be hand-carried when packed.

1024px-Osborne01

While the Osborne 1 was a good deal at $1,795, it also came bundled with about $1,500 of free software:

  • CP/M Utility
  • CP/M Operating System
  • SuperCalc spreadsheet application
  • WordStar word processing application with MailMerge
  • Microsoft MBASIC programming language (interpreted)
  • Digital Research CBASIC programming language (compiled)

You_are_standing

Lets just have a look at the dazzling specification of this marvel of high tech equipment.

  • Dual 5¼-inch, single-sided 40 track floppy disk drives (“dual density” upgrade available)
  • 4 MHz Z80 CPU
  • 64 KB main memory
  • Fold-down 69 key detachable keyboard doubling as the computer case’s lid
  • 5-inch, 52 character × 24 line monochrome CRT display, mapped as a window on 128 × 32 character display memory
  • Parallel printer port configurable as an IEEE-488 port
  • RS-232 compatible 1200 or 300 baud Serial port for use with external modems or serial printers.

And yes this complicated piece of machinery needed a 500+ pages instruction manual.

Osborne_1_user_manual_cover_640

 

The Osborne 1 was powered by a wall plug with a switched-mode power supply, and had no internal battery. An aftermarket battery pack offering 1-hour run-time was available, and connected to the system through a front panel socket. Early models (tan case) were wired for 120 V or 240 V only. Later models (blue case, shipping after May 1982) could be switched by the user to run on either 120 V or 230 V, 50 or 60 Hz. There was no internal fan; a hatch at the top of the (blue) case could be opened for ventilation.

Ah those were the days.

osborne-1-side

 

 

 

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History bytes-Apple Lisa

4.0.1

The Apple Lisa is a desktop computer developed by Apple, released on January 19, 1983. It was one of the first personal computers to offer a graphical user interface (GUI) in a machine aimed at individual business users. Development of the Lisa began in 1978, and it underwent many changes during the development period before shipping at the very high price of US$9,995 with a 5 MB hard drive. The high price, relatively low performance and unreliable “Twiggy” floppy disks led to poor sales, with only 100,000 units sold.
Officially, “Lisa” stood for “Local Integrated Software Architecture”, but it was also the name of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ daughter.

The Lisa is the first commercial computer with a GUI, or Graphical User Interface. Prior to the Lisa, all computers were text based – you typed commands on the keyboard to make the system respond. Now, with the Lisa, you just point-and-click at tiny pictures on the screen with a small rolling device called a ‘mouse’.

lisa2

Apple Lisa
Introduced: January 1983
Released: June 1983
Price: US $9,995
How many? 100,000 in two years
CPU: Motorola 68000, 5 MHz
RAM: 1 Meg
Display: 12″ monochrome monitor
720 X 364 graphics
Ports: 1 parallel, 2 serial ports
mouse port
Expansion: three internal slots
Storage: Two 5-1/4 inch floppy drives
external 5 Meg hard drive
OS: Apple Lisa GUI

lisa_macintosh

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