About Us

The IT History Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of knowledge about the people, products, and companies that together comprise the field of computing.

Since 1978 our organization, and its hundreds of members, have worked toward this goal, and we invite you to contribute your own knowledge and memories on this website! (read more)

Happy Birthdays IBM

James W. Cortada IBM Corporation Happy Birthdays?! Yes, the company has potentially three birthdays, so which one is the “real” birthday? In 2011 IBM is celebrating its 100th birthday, a remarkable achievement for any company, but especially one in such a volatile high-tech industry as ours. But three birthdays?! Isn’t that a bit much? The birth and early histories of...

Historic Computing Calendar

In March 2009 I interviewed Roland Bryan , one of the original Arpanet team and now CEO of MachineTalker , a Santa Barbara based company developing intelligent wireless networks. I was in pursuit of some drawings I found a few years ago on Martin Dodge's great Atlas of Cyberspaces - namely the 'scroll' to be found some way down this...

Ken Olsen and his once-great company

Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, died Feb. 6. While most millennials would say “who?” those with a little more perspective will remember him as one of the most significant business leaders and entrepreneurs of 20th century computer history. DEC invented the minicomputer, which provide the greatest access to computing and the greatest challenge to IBM’s System/360 hegemony until...

Sue Thomas: Introduction

Hello everyone. I'm honoured to have been invited to be an occasional contributor to this stimulating and important blog. I hope you enjoy my contributions and find them relevant to your interests. A bit about me. I'm a writer and Research Professor of New Media in the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. My first novel...

I'm not ready to give up yet

In a couple of months a book entitled Science Fiction and Computing , edited by David Ferro and Eric Swedin will appear. I contribute an essay about the relationship between Artificial Intelligence research and AI's portrayal in science fiction, especially "HAL" in the Kubrick film 2001: a Space Odyssey . In my paper I argue that the reality of AI...

"Go away kid you bother me..."

Today, January 25th 2011, marks the first anniversary of Herb Grosch's death . I was fortunate to have many chances to meet and talk with Herb Grosch over the course of my Graduate work. When I first met him Herb had just arrived at Toronto from Nevada and various other places. One of his first pieces of advice upon meeting...

Greatest computing inventions of all time?

The 25th anniversary of Invention & Technology (from American Heritage) is marked by a list of the “top twenty five revolutionary inventions in the United States.” At least that is how it’s reported by IT economist (and sometime historian) Shane Greenstein in his blog, Virulent Word of Mouse. (I was unable to find the article for free on the website.)...

Simplicity Revisited

A while ago I mentioned a book I was reading called The Laws of Simplicity , by John Maeda. Forgive me if I return to this topic, but it seems too important to ignore. With all the fuss about the products coming from Apple, and the Amazon Kindle, it is time to revisit the topic. I have resisted getting any...

The Latest from the Large Hadron Collider

As of this morning, the LHC is shut down again. By now you've probably heard the reason being floated: the LHC is so powerful it reaches into the future. There, some entity recognizes that generating such energies by Earthlings is dangerous , given our level of expertise. So he or she or it travels back in time periodically to shut...

The Latest from Gordon Bell

A recent news item from the Computer History Museum in Mountain View informs us of the latest that Gordon Bell is up to. It's a project called "MyLifeBits," and is the subject of a new book, Total Recall , by Bell and Jim Gemmell. For a description, I quote from an e-mail sent to me by Alan Weissberger, who has...

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