Computer Assisted Design (Sketchpad)

“The cinema camera doesn’t make movies; it allows movies to be made. It’s the creative people who make it real to people.” Ivan Sutherland Computer Assisted Design (CAD) uses mathematics to do the geometry and calculations necessary to draw and design. CAD is faster and more accurate than hand drawing. Sutherland’s “sketchpad” software, part of […]

Peer-To-Peer File Sharing (Napster)

File sharing allows one computer to connect anonymously with others, sending and receiving files. Most files were single-track MP3s of copyright music. Background The original theory was that because mixtapes were legal then noncommercial “sharing” of any music was legal. The legality of mixtapes, a collection of songs from other tapes, stems from a US […]

Virtualization

Virtualization enables the separation of an operating system and the physical device, the chips that it runs on. An imperfect but close enough metaphor is auto rental. Rather than purchasing a car, that may be too big for many tasks and too small for others, a user can rent just the right size car or […]

Wi-Fi

In 1941, Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr devised a system and submitted a patent for radio signals that changed frequencies. Background Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (Heidi Lamar) was born in Vienna. She is most famous as the first woman to appear nude in a mainstream film. In the same movie, she was also the first woman […]

Voice Over IP (VOIP)

Voice Over IP (VOIP) transmits voice calls over the internet, allowing people to speak to one another. Invented in 1995, VOIP came about after countless seemingly more complex inventions including web-based video. Interestingly, the likely reason for the late invention date is incentives. Businesses believed that the internet would work well for broadcasting, displacing other […]

Visual Web Browser

Tim Berners-Lee original world wide web was entirely text-based, mainly used to link textual papers to one another. Mosaic Marc Andreesen, then a student at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, extended Andreesen’s HTML. Andreesen extended the original HTML, adding components describing not only the contents of a page but also how it should be laid […]

Smartphone

In 1909, Nicola Tesla described what eventually would be a smartphone. They’ve existed in various forms for many years. History IBM invented a phone called the Angler in 1992 with PDA like functions. Subsequently, they released a commercial version in 1994. The term “smartphone” first appears in 1995 describing AT&T’s PhoneWriter Communicator. Eventually, more phones […]

World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Background The internet was about 20 years old and connected many computers. However, once connected between computers, users searched for the material, an oftentimes odious task. Furthermore, many computers required logins. Think of the pre-web internet as a series of libraries without central directories. […]