Dec 07 2017

The Computer Chronicles – Mainframes to Minis to Micros (1983)

Let’s take a trip back. All the way back, in this case, to the original episode of “The Computer Chronicles” back in 1983. The idea behind the computer chronicles was to cover the then-new field of personal computers. Just what could you do with these little machines, and what was their future?

These machines, some of which are certainly bulky and obviously primitive by today’s standards are still tiny and quite powerful when compared to their predecessors – massive mainframes requiring dedicated buildings in some cases and  kilowatts of power to operate were the norm in the very early days – soon “minicomputer” systems, refrigerator sized systems which still required decent power but at least could fit into a single room came of age and began to infiltrate businesses.

Then, in the 70’s when the microprocessor revolution got into full swing came the microcomputer. Data storage and input methods had improved alongside the hardware to the point where now the machines could be operated, with data loaded and saved to them with relative ease by anyone who could buy a machine read a manual could do something meaningful (although let’s face it, many people just played games and little else on their computers, but as always, that’s another story for another time.)

This first episode of the Computer Chronicles deals with just this subject – it takes a quick, touch-and-go look at mainframe machines, mini and microcomputers, and touches on just a few of the “up and coming” technologies in computing. Hell, seeing a touch screen being demonstrated and being told it’s “old” tech is somewhat hilarious given how people today think they are some kind of wonderful new invention.

Enough of me though, let’s check out the episode. Enjoy!

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