History Of Personal Computer Essay Paper 4 pages

History Of Personal Computer

Ceruzzi, P.E. (2010). “Ready or not, computers are coming to the people”: Inventing the PC. OAH Magazine of History 24(3), pp. 25-28. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

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In late 1974, a young Boston-based electronics engineer read an article in Popular Electronics about small personal computers. He showed the article to a friend, Harvard undergrad William “Bill” Gates III, and the two soon formed a company to write software for an industry that was still in its infancy. The history of Gates’ company, MicroSoft, is well-known; the purpose of Ceruzzi’s article was to put the development of the personal computer into historical context. The early 1970s were a time of economic downturn in the U.S., following more than two decades of growth and prosperity. Environmental concerns were beginning to gain public attention. A war in the Middle East contributed to a gasoline shortage. Americans began to lose faith in the political system with the scandals surrounding Watergate as well as Vice President Spiro Agnew. The computer industry was dominated by IBM Corporation and was geared toward governmental and scientific uses. Despite seemingly overwhelming odds, young entrepreneurs like Gates prospered.

Ceruzzi begins the article with a description of a newsstand in Harvard Square, famous for more than half a century for its expansive stock of magazines and newspapers representing myriad interests and global origins. As the author points out, however, in today’s internet age, with twenty-four hour access to news feeds and the World Wide Web, the prospect of visiting Out-of-Town News is much less exciting. For journalists, writers, editors, photographers and artists, there are fewer print markets available to showcase their work, but a great number of virtual markets. The personal computer can provide new ways for artists to create their work as well as new ways to get it into public view. Writers and artists who limit themselves only to print publications may find they are limiting the exposure of their work. Those who embrace new technology and its place in the market will find that there are not fewer venues for their work, but different ones. Writers and artists, to be seen and heard, will need to adapt. Adapting to the new technology seems essential for one who is determined to make his art commercially successful as well.

Trachtman, P. (1995). Charles Csuri is an ‘old master’ in a new medium. Smithsonian 25(11), pp. 56-63. Retrieved from MasterFile Premier database.

Charles Csuri, once a professor on the art faculty at Ohio State University, turned to the use of the computer for art as early as 1964 because he wanted to be among the first to use this new medium. The computer to which he had access was an enormous mainframe requiring data entry via punch cards. There was no monitor. Essentially, Csuri was not creating art, but the tools with which he and other artists would eventually be able to create graphics and animation. The skills he taught his students were more in the realm of computer programming than art. By the 1990s, Csuri was able to use the computer to draw, paint and sculpt electronic images. This article tells the story of his journey from boyhood and a developing interest in art to his days at Ohio State as a student and All-American football player, to his interest in the computer and its potential for his art.

Csuri helped pioneer a new medium. Today, many different programs are available for use by artists. In Csuri’s time, many traditional galleries were resistant to computer images. Csuri was one of the first to create a CD-ROM as part of a “virtual gallery,” allowing viewers to look at his paintings on a virtual wall and even zoom in for a closer, more detailed look. There are now many cyberspace “galleries” that allow artists to showcase their work. The computer allows artists to reach new audiences. Viewers of art do not need to wait until they can travel to a museum or gallery. The computer serves to make the world a much smaller place.

Lavin, M.A. (1997). Making computers work for the history of art. Art Bulletin 79(2), pp.

198-202. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

By 1997, the use of computers in the field of art history was still relatively new, but art historians were beginning to understand that databases, electronic bibliographies, storage and retrieval systems and high-quality digital images were often time-consuming and difficult to create and use, yet they offered great potential for organization and research. Personal computers at this time were still largely used for word processing programs, and it was problematic to organize art and ideas with the terminology and software of the day. The author reported on the creation of search terms useful for art historians and the creation of a framework of multimedia databases. Database software such as Lotus and D-base were popular at the time Lavin wrote his article, although there were still some technical difficulties associated with their use.

In the fifteen years since Lavin’s article appeared, considerable progress has been made in the world of personal computing. Much more sophisticated database software is available and more complex search queries can be carried out. The advantage for art historians and educators is to be able to better catalog information and disseminate it to a wider audience.

Ahmed, M. (2005). Blogging: It’s easier than you think! Perspectives 43(5), pp. 33-34.

Retrieved from MasterFILE database.

Blogging was a budding phenomenon in 2005 and Ahmed defines terms and details the steps for getting started. As he points out, anyone with a personal computer can join the “blogosphere.” Blogs offer individuals a venue through which to share ideas, opinions, poetry, prose, photographs, drawings and paintings. Bloggers can easily reach a worldwide audience. It does not cost anything to blog, and some bloggers actually earn money by providing links to other sites or by featuring paid advertisements. Depending on the parameters the blogger sets for the blog, readers can communicate with the blogger and other readers by asking questions and posting comments. It is a means through which people from all over the world can interact.

With a blog, an artist or writer can potentially make his work available to a huge audience. The personal computer has changed how creative people market their work. They can gain feedback quickly, and they can also get inspiration from the blogs of others. A writer or artist does not need to work in isolation; s/he can be connected to the arts community and to the world at large while working anywhere and at anytime. The personal computer removes limits and barriers for the artist as well as for the viewers and readers.

June-Friesen, K. (2007). Reboot. Smithsonian 38(4), pp. 76-79. Retrieved from Academic

Search Premier database.

Much has been written about the impact of the personal computer on the arts; June-Friesen reviews a collection of photos by photojournalist Mark Richards that captures the computer itself as art. In a book titled Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers, Richards shares 150 photos that somehow manage to capture elegance and even warmth in their views of these man-made inanimate objects. Contrasted to the starkness of industrial photos by Margaret Bourke-White and Charles Sheeler, Richards photos do not create a distance between viewers and technology but rather draw the viewer in and, to an extent, demystifying technology. His photos have an organic quality. For example, a close up of yellow wires resembles the roots of a plant, while bundles of red and blue wires are reminiscent of anatomical illustrations. Many of the components photographed by Richards are familiar to those who live and work with computers, yet we can look at them through fresh eyes and appreciate a different kind of beauty.

Richards was inspired when he visited a museum exhibition filled with vintage computers. One may not immediately associate computers and art, and it may certainly be a leap to associate computers with beauty. Yet, computers can be a means through which people create and share their art. Richards shows the machines themselves can be art. Computers may be viewed as technology but there is a human component in their design and use. Because of this human element, computers cannot be separated completely from the humanities. There is an art to their design and they can be used to create and disseminate art as well.

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