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The History and Development of Computers and Programming

As an avid programmer, freshman Wenbo Fan details her experiences with computers.

My first so-called computer was a tiny, pink, Leapfrog with a 3×5″ screen. It taught me the alphabet and how to count to 10. My young self believed that this computer was the most magical and advanced technology there was.

The world of computers is expanding rapidly with new improvements made all the time. Since there are so many different types of computers, it is hard to say which came first. According to the Centre for Computing History, one of the first fully programmabcomputerster was the Z1, which was created by a German named Konrad Zuse between 1936 and 1938. The Z1, like many other early computing devices, read binary codes from punch cards.

Computers were big and looked like giant machines. They were also slow and unreliable with operations.

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My first “computer” was an educational toy from the company Leapfrog.

Unlike today, computers were not used for entertainment purposes such as reading the news, researching information and gaming. Computers were originally used for computation purposes like calculating large and complex numbers that humans in comparison took longer to compute.

Computer monitors were first fitted with cathode ray tubes, which reflected electron rays onto the screen to produce images which were dull and unclear compared to the computers we now use.

Soon, computers stopped relying on punch cards to read code but instead used programming languages. Programming languages were able to make a program readable for humans and had the function to automatically convert from this programming language to the binary language that computers can understand. Some common programming languages include Java, Python, HTML, C++, C# and Ruby.

However, computers aren’t the only electronic devices that have improved in the past century. Almost everyone in high school carries around a small portable device that allows them to contact almost anyone. This device is also known as…a phone.

The obsession with phones, particularly smartphones, has greatly increased with the development of technology in the past decade. According to Business Insider, The first smartphone that was developed was actually developed by IBM and was known as “Simon.” It had a touchscreen and emailing abilities, but its power was nowhere near the iPhones and Samsung which are so popular today.

“The phone itself measured 8 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 1.5 inches thick, and weighed two ounces north of a pound. That’d be pretty clunky today, but we’re talking about the ’90s here,” said Times.

Technology has advanced a long way since the first computer. The smartphones we carry our pockets are more powerful than the computers used to send the first astronauts to space. Our lives have changed from programming and computers, with artificial intelligence becoming more and more involved with our lives. Driverless cars will supposedly be available to the public soon. However, there are many controversies in regards to whether or not artificial intelligence will overpower humans someday. More on that to come.

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