Amazing Technological Advances Since the 60’s Part II

With all of the technology available today, it’s hard to remember a time existed before tech was widely available. In Part II of my technological advances series, we dive even deeper into that tech that drove us toward today.

1973 – The Xerox Alto personal computer is developed at Xerox PARC. It becomes the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and mouse-driven graphical user interface. In the same year, the world’s first mobile phone call was made when Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, called a rival telecommunications company and informed them he was speaking via a mobile phone. The phone Cooper used, if you could call it that, weighed a staggering 2.5 lbs. With this large prototype device, you got 30 minutes of talk-time, and it took around ten hours to charge.

1975 – The first personal computers were introduced. The MITS Altair 8800 was followed by the IMSAI 8080, an Altair clone. Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote a BASIC compiler for the Altair and formed Microsoft.

1976 – Steven Sasson, a 24-year-old engineer at Eastman Kodak, invents the process to make digital photos. A couple of other Steve’s, Jobs and Wozniak, launch the Apple I. As Apple’s only “kit” computer, consumers needed to add a keyboard, power supply and enclosure to the assembled motherboard around the 6502 processor.

1978 – Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston introduce VisiCalc. The first electronic spreadsheet, it turned the personal computer into a useful business tool, not just a game machine or replacement for the electric typewriter.

1982 – The first thing (as in Internet of Things) connected to the Internet was a Coke vending machine at Carnegie Mellon University. Programmers connected to the machine over the Internet, allowing them to check the status of the machine and determined whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them should they decide to make the trip down to the machine.

1983 – On a boat trip to Catalina Island in 1983, five marketing professionals conceived an electronic alternative that would transform the retail landscape.The solution involved using grocery scanners to distribute targeted coupons. Catalina Marketing was born. Catalina created a single solution—the Checkout Coupon—benefitting retailers, brands and consumers.

Don’t miss next week’s blog when I share even more technological advances from the last 50 years or so!