Sunday, June 25, 2017

Electronics Age

The electronics revolution of the 1970s produced a boom in the US in the 1980s. Calculators evolved from large mechanical desktop machines to pocket-size, battery operated devices. Smaller, cheaper, faster electronic components ignited a boom to replace vacuum tube technology and made it possible to redesign every electro-mechanical device on the planet and automate processes that had previously been manual.

The Transistor
Computers and communication devices developed in the 1930s used vacuum tubes. In the 1940s, Bell Labs developed transistors to improve telephone equipment. In the 1950s, Texas Instruments developed the point-contact transistor that would set the pattern for the future.

The Computer
In 1937, Bell Labs added relays to build a calculator. In 1939 Hewlett and Packard built an audio oscillator.  In 1940 Bell Labs developed a computer that could be accessed by a teletype terminal. In 1941, the ENIGMA was developed in Great Britain to decipher NAZI communications. These are the early versions of computers that would be designed to produce the productivity gains we saw from the 1950s through the 1990s.

By the 1970s, mini-computers were being built with electronic components you could buy at Radio Shack. The TRS-80 desktop microcomputer went on sale in 1977. The IBM PC model 5150 was introduced in 1981. Xerox had developed the Ethernet in 1973 that enabled PC to interconnect.

In 1984, I used the internet that I accessed by a phone number at New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 1996, I upgraded my PC to enable me to connect to the internet through Mindspring, This made my private consulting practice paperless.

The development of electronics that occurred from the 1950s to the 1990s enabled telephones and computers to evolve

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

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