According to Zimmermann (2015), initially, computers were basically designed for handling complex mathematical calculations rather than playing games or sending messages to people around the world or any other sort of entertainment. The USA population started increasing rapidly in 19th century and it took many years to calculate the total population of the country. It was then that the government realized that they had to come up with a better and faster system for handling various tasks and finally, computers were invented later on but their size was extremely large that they would take up almost the entire space in a room.
Early stage of computers
According to Woodford (2016), in 500 B.C, a calculating device called abacus was created. It was proven to be very helpful as it erased human errors and on top of that, it generated accurate results fast and it is still sometimes used up to this day. It continued being extremely useful calculating device but however, in 1642, along came Pascaline that had the ability to perform addition and subtraction. This device basically made by a French teenager named Blaise Pascal for the purpose making it easier for his father to calculate the taxes as he was a tax-collector. However, after few more years, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz came up with a way better calculator that couldn’t just handle addition and subtraction of numbers, but also perform multiplication, division and also give the square root of numbers. This was proven to be way more useful than Pascaline and it continued remaining helpful for a long period of time.
In the past, when it became really hard for the government to calculate the total population of USA, according to Meyer (n.d.), a man named Herman Hollerith along with James Power came up with a punch card system in 1890 which was helpful in storing and carrying out operations on data entered. The invention of this machine was extremely useful as not only did it help calculate the total population faster than before, but also reduced human errors. However, compared to today’s computers, the speed of these devices was slow but despite that, it was a very huge success back in the days and extremely useful for the government.
Errors and Viruses
According to National Geographic Education (2014), the first ever computer bug was caused by an insect itself. In 1947, Grace Hopper, who was a computer scientist, claimed that the people she worked with were facing some problems with their computer at Harvard university. Later on, when they decided to understand the cause of the errors they were getting on their PC, they found an insect stuck inside the computer that was causing all the damage and errors and thus the name “computer bug” was formed. And the removal of these errors is called “debug”.
There have been some very dangerous computer viruses in the history of computers. Some of which, According to The Cyber Archive (2014), include ILOVEYOU virus. In the year 2000, a very dangerous virus started spreading which would mess up a user’s computer. An email containing an attachment named ILOVEYOU was sent and once a user clicked on it, the email along with the attachment would get delivered to many of the user’s contacts. Once the virus would install itself on the PC, it would also come with a file which would transfer private information about a user’s computer like the password to hackers. This virus was extremely intimidating and was responsible for the damage of around billions of dollars.
Another most bizarre virus was MYDOOM which started in the early 2004. This virus was so damaging that it literally caused the google to stop working at all for hours. Basically an attachment with a name “Mail Delivery System” or “Mail Transaction Failed” was sent to tons of users which slowly led to the damaging of tons of pcs worldwide. According to Roberts (n.d.), It also had effect on other websites like altravista and lycos as it made them extremely slow.
Generation of computers
Ever since the creation of the first computer, many ambitious people decided to make a much better and useful computer than the previous one and some of them were quiet successful at doing that, in each generation, they designed computers capable of much more features than the previous ones.
According to Beal (2015), the computers of the first generation were extremely big in size, unlike computers now days; they would cover up almost the entire space in a room. They even relied on the machine language for performing operations which is a highly confusing programming language hardly understandable by humans because of its binary nature and on top of that, they were highly expensive. The amount of heat and electricity that these computers used up was extraordinary.
Examples of these computers include UNIVAC and ENIAC. UNIVAC was used by the U.S census for calculating the total population. ENIAC was developed for the purpose of calculating the firing table accurately in world war 2 by army Ordnance.
- Zimmermann, K. (2015). History of Computers: A Brief Timeline. [online] LiveScience.com. Available at: http://www.livescience.com/20718-computer-history.html [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- Meyer, J. (n.d.). A Brief History of the Computer (b.c. – 1993a.d.). [online] Jeremy Meyers dot com. Available at: http://www.jeremymeyers.com/comp [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- Woodford, C. (2016). A brief history of computers. [online] Explainthatstuff.com. Available at: http://www.explainthatstuff.com/historyofcomputers.html [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- National Geographic Education, (2014). World’s First Computer Bug. [online] Available at: http://education.nationalgeographic.org/thisday/sep9/worlds-first-computer-bug/ [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- The Cyber Archive, (2014). 15 Worst Computer Viruses in History. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4EE23IN5p4 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- Roberts, P. , IDG news service and PCWorld (n.d.). O hammering search engines. [online] Macworld. Available at: http://www.macworld.com/article/1034981/mydoom.html [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].
- Beal, V. (2015). The Five Generations of Computers. [online] Webopedia.com. Available at: http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Hardware_Software/FiveGenerations.asp [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].