: The eighties "you say you want a revolution !".

:
:Sinclair: First 3.5 Floppy: Apple III :IBM : MS Dos : WIMPS : Commodore 64 : Lotus 123Hercules : Laptops : Apple LisaAmstrad PCW 9600 Modem : Adobe Postscript : SuperCalc : Voyetra sequencerApple Mac IBM 286 : Excel : First Virus : Windows 1 : Tandy TRS-80: CRT Monitor : CD Rom : Aldus PageMaker : Amiga 1000 :Psion Organiser : HP Inkjet : Amstrad 1512 :  SCSI : SQL : Atari ST :HST ModemsAmiga 2000JPEG : Windows 2 : VGA : PC Audio : Apple True Type : World Wide Web : Internet Porn : Open GL : MS Win-Word 1 : Lotus Notes : Wireless LAN :

1980 Sinclair

Producing everything from electric cars to home computers, Clive Sinclair was the 19805 embodiment of English eccentric genius. While America's kids wiled away their time on Atari and Commodore boxes, a whole generation of future programmers proudly turned to England's alternative -the Sinclair.
   It all kicked off with the ZX80, designed for hobbyists in kit form, or ready-built for just £99 a groundbreaking price point for the time. This bought you a paltry 1Kb of RAM, a 3.25MHz NEC processor and a 24 x 32 line mono character display - that's right, not even any graphics. This was followed up a year later with the similar ZX81, which was expandable to up to 64Kb of RAM, but the best was yet to come.
1982 saw the arrival of the UK's most influential computer, the ZX Spectrum. It had 48Kb of RAM, a sleek black shell with grey rubber keys and up to eight glorious colours at a resolution of 256 x 192. A whole generation of home gammers and programmers was born, and is possibly the reason we have so many programmers in the UK. It didn't have the Commodore 64's accurate graphics, coloured sprites or complex sound, but we loved it all the same.
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1980 the first 3.5" floppy disk

Modern floppy drives and diskettes have evolved to a much smaller size with larger capacities as well. In 1980, the 3.5 inch floppy drive and diskette was introduced by Sony. During the early 1980's many competing formats were tried to compete with the 3.5 inch drives. From various companies there were 2.0, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 3.25, and 4.0 inch formats! Fortunately for us, over time the industry settled on the 3.5 inch format which is now standardized and manufactured by many companies. Today's standard 3.5 inch diskettes hold a formatted capacity of about 1.5 megabytes while still using the same basic technology of the second generation 8 inch drives
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1980 SuperCalc Spreadsheet

The first spreadsheet program was developed in 1978 (See above) by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston to run on the Apple II computer. They called the program VisiCalc because it was a "visible calculator." It required 64K of RAM memory to run. Later versions would be produced to run on the Radio Shack TR-80 and the IBM PC. For each computer model, the developers had to recreate the programs because each had a different language, processor and other hardware.
The next spreadsheet to appear was called SuperCalc because it was felt superior to VisiCalc. It was developed by a company called Sorcim (which is "micros" spelled backwards). Rather than designing it to work on a particular model of computer, SuperCalc was designed to work with any computer running the most popular operating system of the time, CP/M. The most popular CP/M computer - the Osborne I owes a large part of its popularity to the fact that it included a free copy of SuperCalc with every computer. After CP/M declined in popularity, versions of Supercalc for MS-DOS and Apple-DOS appeared on the market. Sorcim was one of several software companies that merged to form Computer Associates
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1980 Apple III

The Apple III was announced in June 1980. It contained a Synertek 8-bit 6502A processor which could run at speeds up to 2 MHz. It contained 128K of RAM and a 4K ROM. It could run most Apple II programs through emulation, and came with a sophisticated new operating system. It was the first Apple to include a built-in 5.25" disk drive, and hi-res graphics built-in to the motherboard. It was designed to be Apple's business offering, but sold very poorly. It sold initially for between $4,340 and $7,800, depending on the configuration. The original Apple III had many problems, and was replaced by a revised model in mid 1981, which featured 256K RAM, updated system software, and a lower price ($3495). A 5 MB external hard disk was also made available. The Apple III sold very poorly and was replaced by the Apple IIIplus ($2995) in Late 1983. The Apple IIIplus was discontinued in 1985

1981 IBM PC

In July of 1980, IBM representatives met for the first time with Microsoft's Bill Gates to talk about writing an operating system for IBM's new hush-hush "personal" computer. IBM had been observing the growing personal computer market for some time. They had already made one dismal attempt to crack the market with their IBM 5100. At one point, IBM considered buying the fledgling game company Atari to commandeer Atari's early line of personal computers. However, IBM decided to stick with making their own personal computer line and developed a brand new operating system to go with. The secret plans were referred to as "Project Chess". The code name for the new computer was "Acorn". Twelve engineers, led by William C. Lowe, assembled in Boca Raton, Florida, to design and build the "Acorn". On August 12, 1981, IBM released their new computer, re-named the IBM PC. The "PC" stood for "personal computer" making IBM responsible for popularizing the term "PC". By Mary Bellis. More IBM history can be found here>> and here>>
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1981 MS DOS

On August 12, 1981, IBM introduced its new revolution in a box, the "Personal Computer" complete with a brand new operating system from Microsoft and a 16-bit computer operating system called MS-DOS 1.0.
The "Microsoft Disk Operating System" or MS-DOS was based on QDOS, the "Quick and Dirty Operating System" written by Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products, for their prototype Intel 8086 based computer. QDOS was based on Gary Kildall's CP/M, Paterson had bought a CP/M manual and used it as the basis to write his operating system in six weeks, QDOS was different enough from CP/M to be considered legal. Microsoft bought the rights to QDOS for $50,000, keeping the IBM deal a secret from Seattle Computer Products.
Gates then talked IBM into letting Microsoft retain the rights, to market MS DOS separate from the IBM PC project, Gates proceeded to make a fortune from the licensing of MS-DOS.
In 1981, Tim Paterson quit Seattle Computer Products and found employment at Microsoft. Again this article and many more excellent ones by Mary Bellis to be found here>> Also a history of DOS list can be found here on this site.

1981 Xerox invents WIMPS

The first concept of a windowing (or WIMP - windows, icons, menus and pointers) system appeared in the Xerox 8010 ('Star') system in 1981. This idea was then used by Apple in 1984 as they developed the MacOS operating system for use on their Apple Macintosh, and later by Microsoft who wrote the first version of Windows in 1985. Windows was a GUI (graphic user interface) for their own operating system (MS-DOS) that had been shipped with IBM PC and compatible computers since 1981. Windows was designed to look a bit like MacOS but unfortunately it was so similar that Apple decided to take Microsoft to court over it .. a court case that was to run for many years.

1981 ctrl+alt+del

Every time a software program locks up and you want to start over, every time you need to change your password or log on or off your computer, you can thank David J. Bradley.
"It was not a memorable event," said Bradley, a long-time IBM employee, speaking of that day in 1980 or '81 when he discovered control-alt-delete. "It wasn't intended as something we were going to tell the customers about," he says. "Then it turned out that this reset was a problem-solver for people who were writing the programs and writing the instruction manuals."
The original idea was simply to reset early PCs without turning them off. Microsoft adopted control-alt-delete to help ensure people powered down correctly, then to handle "administrative functions" such as the vital "end task" feature for computer software that crashes or otherwise gets stuck. Bradley chose the control and alt keys because he needed two shift keys to make the operation work, and he chose the delete key because it was on the opposite side of the keyboard. He didn't want people to hit control-alt-delete by accident.
This simple combination of keystrokes has been the life saver for literally millions of computer users around the world.  "Hats off to David Bradley"

1982 Commodore 64

In 1982, the new Commodore 64 became the best selling computer of all time. Like its predecessor the Vic 20, the 64 came without a monitor, but had 64K RAM, and featured a sound synthesizer chip. Commodore in a price war with Texas Instruments, reduced the prices of the C-64 as low as $260. outselling any other computer in history.

1982 Lotus is formed giving 1-2-3

The market for electronic spreadsheet software was growing rapidly in the early 1980s and VisiCalc stakeholders were slow to respond to the introduction of the IBM PC that used an Intel computer chip.
Mitch Kapor developed Lotus and his spreadsheet program quickly became the new industry spreadsheet standard.
Lotus 1-2-3 made it easier to use spreadsheets and it added integrated charting, plotting and database capabilities. Lotus 1-2-3 established spreadsheet software as a major data presentation package as well as a complex calculation tool. Lotus was also the first spreadsheet vendor to introduce naming cells, cell ranges and spreadsheet macros.

Kapor was the VisiCalc product manager at Personal Software for about six months in 1980; he also designed and programmed Visiplot / Visitrend which he sold to Personal Software (VisiCorp) for $1 million.
Part of that money along with funds from venture capitalist Ben Rosen were used to start Lotus Development Corporation in 1982. Kapor cofounded Lotus Development Corporation with Jonathan Sachs. Before he confounded Lotus, Kapor disclosed and offered Personal Software (VisiCorp) his initial Lotus program. Supposedly VisiCorp executives declined the offer because Lotus 1-2-3's functionality was "too limited". Lotus 1-2-3 is still one of the all-time best selling application software packages in the world (see email from Mitch Kapor, 04/15/1999).
In 1984, Lotus tripled in revenue to $156 Million. The number of employees at Lotus grew to over a thousand by 1985. This rapid growth led to a shakeout in the spreadsheet segment of the personal computer software industry. In 1985, Lotus Development acquired Software Arts and discontinued the VisiCalc program. A Lotus spokeperson indicated at that time that "1-2-3 and Symphony are much better products so Visicalc is no longer necessary."
Thank you to the DSS Resources history pages for this excellent article.
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1982 Hercules Graphics

A graphics display system for PCs developed by Van Suwannukul, founder of Hercules Computer Technology. Suwannukul developed the system so that he could produce his doctoral thesis on PC equipment using his native Thai alphabet. First offered in 1982, the original Hercules system filled a void left by IBM's MDA ( monochrome display adapter ) system. MDA produces high-resolution monochrome text but cannot generate graphics. Hercules systems generate both high-resolution text and graphics for monochrome monitors. The resolution is 720 by 348. Hercules has been supplanted by other standards, such as VGA, and is now obsolete.
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1983 LCD and laptops

The development of the LCD can be tracked back to 1888, when Austrian botanist Friedrich Reinitzer discovered the liquid crystal, but it wasn't until 1968 that scientists at the RCA group developed the first display using the technology. Billions of pounds in investment over the next 30 years aided advances in brightness, contrast, colour, viewing angle, response time and cost. However, after years of use in watches and calculators, one implementation in particular captured the minds of computing enthusiasts. A history of the floppy disk can be found here>>
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1983 Apple Lisa 1

Named for one of its designer's daughters, the Lisa was supposed to be the Next Big Thing. It was the first personal computer to use a Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Aimed mainly at large businesses, Apple said the Lisa would increase productivity by making computers easier to work with. The Lisa had a Motorola 68000 Processor running at 5 Mhz., 1 MB of RAM two 5.25" 871k floppy drives, an external 5 MB hard drive, and a built in 12" 720 x 360 monochrome monitor.
When the Macintosh came out in 1984 it eroded the Lisa's credibility further. Realizing this, Apple released the Lisa 2 at the same time as the Mac. The Lisa 2 cost half as much as the original, replaced the two 5.25" drives with a single 400k 3.5" drive, and offered configurations with up to 2 MB of RAM, and a 10 MB hard drive. In January 1985, the Lisa 2/10 was renamed the Macintosh XL, and outfitted with MacWorks, an emulator that allowed the Lisa to run the Mac OS. The XL was discontinued later that year.

1984 Amstrad PCW

The first model was the PCW8256, and this was succeeded by the 8512, the 9256 and the 9512. Information on these machines can be found by searching through these links. In 1994, there was a massive demand for the PCW, but because the machine was a decade old, components were scarce and hard to buy.
They all operated round the same processor, the good old Z80. The original PCWs operate under CP/M while programs such as LocoSript, MicroDesign and Protext have become famous. Amstrad decided to make a new machine, which would not only feature new hardware but a new word-processor as well. This was because the older PCWs' word-processors were looking out of date, and Amstrad wanted one that printed out exactly what was seen on screen. And so the PCW 16 was born!
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1984 The 9600 modem

The introduction of the 9.6 Bd modem made it possible to send and receive data from one computer to another over voice-grade analogue telephone lines. The telephone modem enabled the PC to become a powerful communication device that was just as essential as the telephone. For several years the transmission speed, called baud rate, of the telephone modem was far less than the maximum capacity of the telephone lines (2400 baud).
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1984 Adobe Post Script

Although Adobe was ignored by most of the PC industry, it did attract the attention of Apple Computers.
Adobe launched PostScript in 1984, it supported two different types of fonts: so-called PostScript type 1 and PostScript type 3 fonts. Of these two, Type 1 was the more sophisticated format. It supported hinting, a technique to improve the output quality on lower resolution devices or at smaller font sizes and it also supported a more efficient compression algorithm of font data. The Type 3 specs offered some functionality that was not present in Type 1 but it was clearly a less sophisticated format.
Apple was in the process of developing a new laser printer for its Macintosh PC. This $7,000 laser printer came with Adobe PostScript, a PDL that gave the user more flexibility than ever before. Together, Apple and Adobe had created desktop publishing.
see here for more detail
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1984 Voyetra Sequencer

Voyetra realized that the Personal Computer would revolutionise the music industry. The company developed Sequencer Plus—the world's first professional-grade MIDI software for the PC platform. With this new tool, musicians could compose and edit music with great detail and hear their compositions played by an array of MIDI synthesizers. With over one million copies shipped worldwide, Sequencer Plus remains one of the most popular music programs of all time.

1984 Psion organiser

The Psion Organiser may seem limited by today's standards but was revolutionary when it was launched at £99 in 1984. A 14cm by 9cm brick-like unit with an alphabetic keyboard and sliding cover, it boasted 2K of RAM, 4K of applications in ROM and a free 8K datapak which had to be specially reformatted using ultraviolet light when the time came to erase it. It claimed a battery life of six months on a single 9 Volt PP3 battery - impressive by any standards.
The most striking thing about the Organiser, when compared to modern day palmtops, is its incredible robustness. With almost no moving parts, many of the units are still working 15 years later, and the only worry you might have when dropping the solid Organiser was whether the thing you were dropping it onto might be damaged.

1984 HP Inkjet launch

Although inkjet printers have become widespread only in the past few years, the technology had been under development for decades. Inkjet recorders appeared as early as 1950 and inkjet typewriters as early as the 1960’s. But the big research started in the 1970’s when virtually every major printer manufacturer invested in lengthy and mostly unsuccessful inkjet development programs, driven by the vision that inkjet was destined to replace impact (matrix) technology.
The Achilles Heel of inkjet technology has always been twofold: reliability and print quality. It is very difficult to control the ink flow, and to prevent the ink from drying and clogging the print head. The print quality depends heavily on the complex relationship between ink, print head and receiver material (paper, film). By the end of the 1980’s, Canon and Hewlett-Packard mastered both the ink chemistry and the hydrodynamics required to produce a reliable, good quality inkjet printer.
In 1998 the total narrow format coated inkjet media market was good for approximately 360 million square meters. The estimates for the future are that this market will still continue to grow heavily in the coming years.

1984 Apple Mac

Released with much fanfare in January of 1984, the Macintosh 128 was the first affordable computer to include a Graphical User Interface. It was built around the new Motorola 68000 chip, which was significantly faster than previous processors, running at 8 MHz. The Mac came in a small beige case with a black and white monitor built in. It came with a keyboard and mouse, and had a floppy drive that took 400k 3.5" disks--the first personal computer to do so.
Introduced in September of 1984, The Mac 512k was a Mac 128k with 384k more RAM. It was replaced in April 1986 with the 512ke, which included an 800k floppy drive, and a 128k ROM. It was discontinued later that year.

1984 IBM AT-286

The IBM 5170 PC/AT was the third generation in the PC series released in 1984 and introduced a new processor to the market -- the 286. Offered in 6 and 8mhz speeds, it still doesn't make them much of a scorcher, but with a 16/24 bit processor, 16-bit ISA bus, Power-supply and HDD lights mounted on the front console and 1.2mb Floppy drive it sure as hell sounds alot more modern. This was the first generation of the PS/2 models had specifications similar to the AT and used alot of the same hardware.

1984 Microsoft Excel

The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was originally written for the 512K Apple Macintosh in 1984-1985. Excel was one of the first spreadsheets to use a graphical interface with pull down menus and a point and click capability using a mouse pointing device. The Excel spreadsheet with a graphical user interface was easier for most people to use than the command line interface of PC-DOS spreadsheet products. Many people bought Apple Macintoshes so that they could use Bill Gates' Excel spreadsheet program.
There is some controversy about whether a graphical version of Microsoft Excel was released in a DOS version. Microsoft documents show the launch of Excel 2.0 for MS-DOS version 3.0 on 10/31/87.
When Microsoft launched the Windows 2 operating system in 1987, Excel was one of the first application products released for it. When Windows finally gained wide acceptance with Version 3.0 in late 1989 Excel was Microsoft's flagship product.
For nearly 3 years, Excel remained the only Windows spreadsheet program and it has only received competition from other spreadsheet products since the summer of 1992.
By the late 1980s many companies had introduced spreadsheet products. Spreadsheet products and the spreadsheet software industry were maturing. Microsoft and Bill Gates had joined the fray with the innovative Excel spreadsheet.
Thank you to the DSS Resources history pages for this excellent article.
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1985 The first virus

The first PC virus was created. Known as the brain Brain virus  which was written in Pakistan. The Brain virus was a boot-sector virus, which means it only infected the boot records of 360K floppy disks, but not hard drives. It would occupy unused space on the disk so that it could not be used. It was also the first "stealth" virus, meaning it tried to hide itself from detection. If a computer user tried to view the infected space on the disk, Brain would display the original, uninfected boot sector. Also try these two excellent sites. Robert M Slade's History and Viru-Scan's history

1985 Windows 1

Promised an easy-to-use graphical interface, device-independent graphics and multitasking support.
 The development was delayed several times, however, and the Windows 1.0 hit the store shelves in November 1985. The selection of applications was sparse, however, and Windows sales were modest.
Also see Windows Special here>>
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 1985 Tandy TRS-80

In 1985 Tandy launched the TRS-80 (nicknamed the Trash-80) Model 100, a portable computer which featured an eight-row by 40-column reflective LCD screen and is regarded by many as the first mainstream notebook.
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1985 NEC JC-1401PJA CRT monitor

The CRT was invented way back in 1897 and provided the obvious -and probably only -display technology to accommodate the computer revolution. Early tubes were monochrome and low resolution, with slow but sure improvements in colour, brightness and focus allowing the CRT to become the visual tool it is today.
   However, it was a breakthrough in the mechanics of the monitor that can be viewed as the landmark that enabled computer displays to contribute to modern-day computing.
   In 1985, NEC released the JC- 1401P3A, a 14in monitor that was aesthetically unremarkable but remembered as the first computer display to support multiple frequencies from the computer. Until then monitors only accepted one frequency, therefore operating at a single resolution and refresh rate. It also meant that displays had to be matched with a graphics card that provided the correct frequency.
   Most monitor makers followed NEC's lead, producing displays that support the selection of resolutions and refresh rates offered by modern graphics cards.
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1985 CD-ROM

is launched by Sony and Phillips combined. See the CD-ROM and DVD timeline here>>

1985 Aldus Pagemaker

Desktop publishing or (DTP) has one main function page layout, the creation of attractive pages of text and graphics, for print magazines, posters, newsletters etc. all created on a computer.
In 1984, the "Apple Macintosh" was introduced, a personal computer which used a GUI or graphical user interface, so anyone could use a computer by pointing and clicking a computer mouse on pictures (icons) or menus. The next year in 1985, "Microsoft Windows" was introduced, a graphical user interface created for IBM computers.
The first desktop publishing program was created by Paul Brainard and a company called Aldus, the program called "Aldus Pagemaker 1.0" was released in July, 1985 for the "Macintosh" and in December, 1986, for the "IBM".
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1985 Atari ST

Atari introduced an all new line of computers called the Atari ST line.     These new computers would use the Motorola 68000 processor, come with 512K of memory, use 3.5" disk drives, RGB monitors and a graphics user environment based on CP/M 68K and Digital Research GEM.    Originally the processor for this new line of computers was to be the National 32032, however its availability was in doubt, so the MC68000 was chosen.
Atari would, over the course of 8 years improve upon its ST line of computers with such lines as the Mega ST, STe, Mega STe, TT030 and Falcon030 line of computers.   Atari also introduced a laptop called the STacy and had in the works an under 5 lb. laptop called the STBook as its replacement.    A pen based touch tablet version of the ST had been shown in prototype form but was never sold.    Atari introduced an assortment of peripherals from disk drives to laser printers for its line of ST computers.

1986 US Robotics HST Modems.

U.S. Robotics introduce HST (High Speed Technology) modems. Until the recent surge of V.32 modems, the U.S. Robotics HST was the de facto standard in the PC-based BBS community. U.S. Robotics introduced the Courier HST modem in 1986 and pioneered the market for high-speed modems in the IBM PC environment. The immense popularity of the HST modems was partly due to the generous discount program U.S. Robotics offered to the BBS Sysops (SYStem OPerators). Many modem manufacturers have implemented similar Sysop discount programs, but most BBS sysops remain loyal to the U.S. Robotics modems. 
The original Courier HST modem ran at 9600 bps. U.S. Robotics later improved the speed of the Courier HST to 14400 bps. Although U.S. Robotics remains committed to the HST modems, there are now three different high-speed Courier modems available: the Courier HST (which only supports the HST protocol), the Courier V.32bis (which only supports V.32bis) and the Courier HST Dual Standard (which supports both the HST and the V.32bis protocols).
See also the Modem tutorial for all you need to know about modems here>>.
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1986 Amiga 1000 UK launch

The Commodore Amiga 1000 was the first computer to use more than 16 colour output as a standard feature (4096 colours / HAM6 [Hold And Modify]). It was also the first computer with pre-emptive multitasking OS. It already had 4 channel digital stereo sound and the first computer to ship with a mouse as a standard. The kick-start was loaded from floppy. It only had one external expansion slot because Commodore wanted to keep costs down.
The Amiga 1000 was launched in the USA in 1985 and finally launched in the UK. in 1986. At the same time the team began working on a new amiga model. They wanted it to be more expandable, with a lot of slots and they wanted the slots to be Auto-Configurable. Two prototypes of the new model were developed. One in the Los Gatos (USA) and one in Braunschweig (Germany). Commodore also wanted IBM compatibility, so both teams tried to do the best to emulate an IBM 8088. Jay Miner didn't like the idea.
Finally, the emulator came out from Germany. The emulator was a $1000 product, basically an IBM XT without a keyboard that was plugged into the side of an Amiga 1000. The product that Los Gatos was producing it was a $200 accelerator, for an IBM PC software emulator. Los Gatos helped the German team a lot with the emulator's software.
The Los Gatos began working on a new "dream machine", but no one knew exactly what at that point.

1986 Amstrad PC1512

Amstrad may only be remembered for misfired innovations like the Em@iler and home computers like the CPC464, but if it wasn't for Amstrad we might not have the widespread PC industry we've got now.
The PC roost was previously ruled by IBM's XT, and definitions of IBM or PC-compatible fluctuated to say the least. You bought an IBM for business, and a home computer like the Spectrum for leisure.
But by 1986, Amstrad saw the gap for an affordable PC that was IBM- compatible and could be used at home - the PCI512 was born. It may be basic by today's specifications, but it was way ahead of IBM machines at the time. The PCI512 had an 8MHz 8086 processor compared to IBM's 4.77MHz 8088, and with most of the ports integrated as standard, you were left with three eight. bit ISA slots for upgrading.
There was 512Kb of RAM, which you could upgrade to 640Kb using chips on the motherboard, and you got a joystick port and even a games bundle on some machines. Up to four colours at 320 x 200 could be displayed with the CGA graphics adaptor, which usually consisted of cyan, magenta, black and white, making games look primitive next to the Amiga, but it was a start.
Affordability was the key here, and still a standard today. All new versions 1990 just £399 bought you the basic mono versio, with 512k ram, 10 megabyte hard disk and a 360k 5.25 inch flooppy drive.
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1986 SCSI Interface

What we currently know of as the SCSI interface had its beginnings back in 1979. Shugart Associates, led by storage industry pioneer Alan Shugart (who was a leader in the development of the floppy disk, and later founded Seagate Technology) created the Shugart Associates Systems Interface (SASI).
This very early predecessor of SCSI was very rudimentary in terms of its capabilities, supporting only a limited set of commands compared to even fairly early "true" SCSI, and rather slow signaling speeds of 1.5 Mbytes/second. For its time, SASI was a great idea, since it was the first attempt to define an intelligent storage interface for small computers. The limitations must be considered in light of the era: we are talking about a time when 8" floppy drives were still being commonly used.
Shugart wanted to get SASI made into an ANSI standard, presumably to make it more widely-accepted in the industry. In 1981, Shugart Associates teamed up with NCR Corporation, and convinced ANSI to set up a committee to standardize the interface. In 1982, the X3T9.2 technical committee was formed to work on standardizing SASI. A number of changes were made to the interface to widen the command set and improve performance. The name was also changed to SCSI; I don't know the official reason for this, but I suspect that having Shugart Associates' name on the interface would have implied that it was proprietary and not an industry standard. The first "true" SCSI interface standard was published in 1986, and evolutionary changes to the interface have been occurring since that time. The full story is here

1986 IBM SQL standard set

The father of relational databases, and thus SQL, is Dr. E.F. "Ted" Codd who worked for IBM. After Codd described a relational model for databases in 1970, IBM spent a lot of time and money researching how to implement his ideas. IBM came to market with a product named System/R in 1978.
Other companies had formed and created relational database products before IBM was ready to release System/R. The first to market was Relational Software's product named Oracle and the second was Relational Technology's Ingres.
IBM then released improved products in 1982 named SQL/DS and DB2. Oracle (now from Oracle Inc.) and DB2 are still available today in nth generation forms while the Ingres technology was bought by Computer Associates.

SQL is a standard, open language without corporate ownership. The commercial acceptance of SQL was precipitated by the formation of SQL Standards committees by the American National Standards Institute and the International Standards Organization in 1986 and 1987. Two years later they published a specification known as SQL-89. An improvement and expansion (to some 600 pages) to the standard gave the world SQL-92. We now have the third generation standard, SQL 99. The existence of standards is important for the general portability of SQL statements.

1986 JPEG invented

JPEG stands for the Joint Photographic Experts group but is more widely known as the JPEG compression of photographs. JPEG is designed for compressing either full-colour or grey-scale images of natural, real-world scenes. It works well on photographs, naturalistic artwork, and similar material; not so well on lettering, simple cartoons, or line drawings. JPEG handles only still images, but there is a related standard called MPEG for motion pictures.

1987 Amiga 2000 launch

The Amiga 2000 was launched in the UK for £3200 pounds (later £3150 pounds). The boot up was finally in ROM. The Amiga 2000 was a base for other Amiga's, being released on various world markets, as the A1500 [A2000 with two 3 1/2" drives], A2000HD, A2500/20, A2500/30, A2000HDA/100, A1500 plus and A2000Plus.
Later the same year, the Amiga 500 was launched (£359.90 pounds in the UK). It was the same as the Amiga 2000, with a compact design (keyboard and CPU in the same box) and no internal slots. Both the machines had a new graphics mode, the EHB (Extra Half Bright), that gives 64 colours on screen. The operating system was 1.2. The Amiga 500 was the first really affordable machine. For more information on the Amiga story visit Amiga University here>>

1987 Windows 2

This first version of Windows wasn't very powerful and so not incredibly popular. Microsoft Windows 2 came out in 1987, and was a bit more popular that the original version. The first really popular version of Windows was version 3.0, released in 1990. This benefited from the improved graphics available on PCs by this time, and also from the 80386 processor which allowed 'true' multitasking of the Windows applications. This made it more efficient and more reliable when running more than one piece of software at a time. It would even allow you to run and multitask older MS-DOS based software. Windows 3 made the IBM PC a serious piece of competition for the Apple Mac. Various improvements - Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 were released, although they didn't really provide many significant improvements to the way windows looked or worked.
Also available at a similar time to Windows 3 was IBM's OS/2 (which was actually written in partnership with Microsoft). OS/2 Warp was also released which was a full 32 bit operating system - it came out long before Windows 95, and boasted many similar features. Unfortunately IBM failed to market it successfully enough and it didn't catch on.
Also see Windows Special here>>

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1987 VGA

It may not seem like much now, but the ability to display 256 colours at up to 640 x 480 was big news back in the late 1980's.
VGA (video graphics array) meant you could realistically look at photos on screen, have the latest games with the right colours. It also made windows look pretty.
The PC had been lagging behind on the graphics front for quite a while, mainly because it was viewed as a business machine. Many early PCs were monochrome and text-only, and CGA {Colour Graphics Adaptor) was a disappointment.
   By 1985, EGA {Enhanced Graphics Adaptor) had addressed the colour and resolution issues and, with up to 16 colours at 640 x 350 and 64 colours at 320 x 200, it was a big step forward, but you only had to take one look at the Amiga, with its maximum of 4,096 colours, to see that the PC still had a long way to go.
   It wasn't until 1987 that IBM introduced us to VGA with its PS/2 range of PCs.
Amstrad was soon to follow with the 2086. The PC suddenly looked serious to business and home users alike.
   Anyone who had a CGA PC at home in the Amiga and Atari ST heyday will remember the frustration of all their games coming out in purple and black, while their friends' computers had luxuries like blue sky and green grass. VGA was the final bridge needed to make PC graphics respectable and is still a standard today. All new versions of Windows will still run at 640X480, and you could even run it on a ten year old VGA monitor if you wanted
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1987 PC Audio

PC users had to endure the frustrating noise of the PC speaker bleep for years before it was addressed. Even the Spectrum had a more sophisticated sound system, and, with often no way to disable it or turn it down, the PC speaker ruined the atmosphere of games (unless you liked your gun sounding like a telephone). You could forget music packages.
The first step forward was the original Adlib card, introduced by the Canadian company of the same name in 1987. It was a basic FM MIDI Synthesizer that, unless programmed properly, sounded like a cheap keyboard, but it was leagues ahead of the PC speaker. The drum sounds were awful and a lot of the voices sounded remarkably similar, but PC sequencing was now possible.

The first Sound Blaster was released in 1989 and offered Adlib compatibility, putting a stop to the Adlib monopoly, and by 1991 the Sound Blaster Pro was out. This was a major leap forward, offering simultaneous FM MIDI and audio wave playback. Digitised speech and effects were possible in games at the same time as music -fantastic for X-Wing -and you could even do your own eight-bit sampling if your hard disk was up to it.
Despite coming on a 16-bit ISA card, the Sound Blaster Pro could only sample at up to eight-bit, so another advance was needed to bring the PC up to 16-bit CD quality. Enter the Sound Blaster 16 in June 1992, which is still available in PCI format.
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1987 True Type introduced

Apple had been developing what was to become TrueType from late 1987. At that time there were many competing font scaling technologies, and several would have been suitable for the Macintosh. It was by no means certain, according to lead engineer Sampo Kaasila, that Apple would adopt TrueType. In the end though, it proved itself on performance and rendering quality (at high and low resolution) against the others. Kaasila completed his work on TrueType, though it didn't yet have that name, in August 1989. The following month Apple and Microsoft announced their strategic alliance against Adobe, where Apple would do the font system, Microsoft the printing engine. Apple released TrueType to the world in March 1991 - the core engine in much the same form that Kaasila left it back in 1989.
Microsoft introduced TrueType into Windows with version 3.1 in early 1992. Working with Monotype, they had created the superb core set of fonts - TrueType versions of Times New Roman, Arial and Courier. These fonts showed, just as Apple's TrueTypes had, that scalable fonts could generate bitmaps virtually as though each size had been designed by hand.
Thanks to "true type typography" for this segment. More information here>>
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1989 The World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee having a background of system design in real-time communications and text processing software development, in 1989 he invented the World Wide Web, an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing. while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory.
He wrote the first web client (browser-editor) and server in 1990. The first web browser - or browser-editor rather - was called WorldWideWeb as, after all, when it was written in 1990 it was the only way to see the web.
Much later it was renamed Nexus in order to save confusion between the program and the abstract information space (which is now spelled World Wide Web with spaces).
Tim wrote the program using a NeXT computer. This had the advantage that there were some great tools available -it was a great computing environment in general. In fact, what could be done in a couple of months would take more like a year on other platforms, because on the NeXT, a lot of it was done already. There was an application builder to make all the menus as quickly as you could dream them up. there were all the software parts to make a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) in other words direct manipulation of text on screen as on the printed - or browsed page. All that needed adding was hypertext.
An in-depth history of the internet is here>> courtesy of About-The-Web.com. An in depth special on Tim Berners-Lee is here>>

1989 Internet Porn!

A quick search (risking, of course, immediate sacking for breach of contract) for the first Internet porn site reveals dozens claming to be the original XXX site, so to put a date on the medium is tricky. Suffice to say that pornography is perhaps the oldest profession on the Net.
While the chief execs of the Internet blue chips would deny it, porn sold the Web in a way that no marketing campaign possibly could have. All the moral outrage did little more than publicise the fact that anyone with a computer and a modem could see pictures of naked women (or men) on the Net. The Web propagated a sub- generation of computer users that are cross-eyed as well as square-eyed.
Porn sites also boosted the uptake and acceptability of e-commerce. By extension, the porn movement also boosted sales of peripherals, particularly the Web cam.
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1989 Open GL

OpenGL has been proposed as a graphics standard to bring 3D graphics programming into the mainstream of applications programming. The OpenGL graphics system is a powerful software interface for graphics hardware that allows graphics programmers to produce high-quality colour images of 2D and 3D objects. The technology was developed by Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) and is the result of ten years of experience designing production software interfaces for a full spectrum of graphics hardware.

1989 Microsoft Word for Windows 1

Microsoft launch Word for Windows 1.0. This was in direct competition to Wordperfect 5.1 which was at its peak and at that time dominating the word processing market.

1989 Lotus Notes

Near the endof 1984 Ray Ozzie founded Iris Associates Inc., under contract and funded by Lotus. This was in order to develop the first version of Lotus Notes. In January 1985 Tim Halvorsen and Len Kawell joinet Ozzie, followed soon after by Steven Beckhardt. They all brought extensive knowledge ands vision to the company as well as career long interest in collaboration and messaging software.
They modelled Lotus Notes after "Plato Notes" but expanded it to include many more powerful features.
Alan Eldridge joined from Digital Equipment Corporation contributing to the database and security features. 
The first release of Notes shipped in 1989 and sold more than 35,000 copies in its first year. Notes client required either DOS 3.1 or OS/2 and the server required DOS 3.1, 4.0 or OS/2.
A great site that gives the full history of Notes is here>>

1989 Rabbit starts the Wi-Fi revolution

In 1989 Rabbit was one of four location-specific phone services given licences in Britain. The others were Phonepoint, Mercury Callpoint and Zonephone. Subscribers to the service, backed by Hutchison Whampoa, could make mobile calls when they were within 100 metres of a Rabbit transmitter.  Mobile phone services that let people roam were taking off at the same time and proved more popular.
None have survived to the present day and all that remains of Rabbit are a few lonely signs in places such as New Barnet and Brighton stations, but this was the start of mobile wireless communications leading to WI-FI radio network transmitters.


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