Hot answers tagged

62

In addition to Stephen Kitt's answer, you can go back even further from Windows 3.1 to the Apple II version of America Online, circa 1989. Certainly not as popular or long-lived as the MS-DOS and Windows versions, but it did exist for the 8-bit platform! While some things were done in graphics mode, most of the text and "productivity stuff" was ...


60

AOL provided (and still provide) their own client, which — at least back then — was called “America Online”. This was available on a variety of platforms, including DOS: (based on GeoWorks) and Windows 3:


49

The shrinkwrap issue was a vicious circle perceived by the computer industry in the late 1980s to early 1990s. In essence: With many different processors and binary formats, it was difficult for a commercial “killer app” to gain enough market share to bring users to Unix; Without the strong commercial user and software base, there was little incentive to ...


33

The range of intermediate results. The Java Language Specification, 2nd Ed. relaxed the evaluation rules for floating-point expressions by introducing the notion of an ‘FP-strict’ expression, defined as follows (§15.4, p. 319): Within an FP-strict expression, all intermediate values must be elements of the float value set or the double value set, implying ...


30

CTSS, a timesharing system for the IBM 7090, was putting dates on files as early as 1962. Timestamps is another story. Wikipedia


28

Section 1.3.1 of The Art of Computer Programming says the following: MIX is the world's first polyunsaturated computer. Like most machines, it has an identifying number—the 1009. This number was found by taking 16 actual computers very similar to MIX and on which MIX could easily simulated, then averaging their numbers with equal weight: ⌊(360+650+709+7070+...


22

If you want to add digital data to an already existing tape, I imagine you'd need some rather very special equipment, probably purpose-built - the recording heads are not multitrack. However, if you need to record "hidden" digital data simultaneously while recording the analogue video, then there was a way - and it was even sometimes used. And ...


21

The world of large computers is amazing. MCM systems of monstrous in the eyes of a PC user parameters were widely popular right up to the cloud revolution, and even now, taking into account legal restrictions, they are actively used in banks. Just remember IBM POWER2+ in a six-chip configuration for one core (not counting L2 cache) (video) - it was launched ...


20

As a matter of fact, IBM did introduce support not only for multiple parallel processes, but also for multi-threading (called "sub-tasks") in their Multiprogramming with a Variable number of Tasks (MVT) variant of OS/360. That is the earliest mention of multi-threading concept in a production system I could find. MVT variant was announced AFAIK ...


19

I know that a Real Time Clock was not implemented and that the first computer to integrate the RTC was the IBM PC/AT in 1984. There where many more before that. All the way back in the 60s. When did files start to be dated, on what computer or which version of which operating system? Well, the earliest I know would be tape based storage on 729 tapes on ...


19

The oldest magazine of that kind I know might be CURSOR for the Commodore PET. Its first issue is dated July 1978. It was as well the most bare-bones delivery I know. Just the cassette, no box, wrapped in a folded sheet of paper with instructions held together by a rubber band. Last issue seems to be May 1982. The Internet Archive got a collection of all '...


19

Prodigy used NAPLPS (North American Presentation Level Protocol Syntax) to encode its graphical displays. This is a vector-based graphics originally intended for videotex and teletext services (in North America). Client-side behaviour was implemented using proprietary programming languages. Prodigy clients were available on at least DOS, Windows 3, and ...


18

Sinclair's use was a very unique case in a very specific situation that never occurred again later on. Production side: There were many more manufacturers of chips back then. The ones that wanted to compete at the forefront used RAMs as gateways to technological development. (*1) Anyone not ramping up their output fast into the upper 90s will lose money. ...


18

Using SCO UNIX describes the history of XENIX and SCO UNIX and provides a brief summary of the technical differences. As Raffzahn explains, SCO UNIX is the successor to XENIX. XENIX is a licensed version of UNIX; it was called XENIX because initially, AT&T didn’t allow its licensees to use the UNIX trademark. This was relaxed in 1989, which allowed SCO ...


17

History and Workings (This time the long read first :) As with his lamp, the phonograph or telephon, Edison didn't invent the printing ticker but improved usability to a point where it was good enough for most uses. The ticker as used by brokers is based on Edward Calahan's design of 1867. In this case Edisons improvement was the way of synchronisation(*1). ...


17

Wikipedia, unsurprisingly, gives incomplete information. A number of important new technologies were developed as part of the five-year R&D of SABRE, including a disk drive capable of storing that many reservations, a new transaction-processing system, a frequency-modulation system to send data over the phone lines, and a new model of terminal, pictured ...


17

Any operating system that supports multiple execution contexts within a shared address space has "threads", even if they don't call it that. Because that's all that threads are. For example, the exec on many ICL 1900s systems supported what they called "subprogramming", in which a program could start an independently-executing entity in ...


14

Ah, memories of Computer Science 412. In the Digital Research family of operating systems, MP/M II (1981, possibly earlier variants, but this is what I found quickly) as noted in the programmer's guide already allowed for processes to create sub-processes, had mutual exclusion queues/semaphores, etc. Section 1.2.2, Queue Management, gives an overview of how ...


14

IBM i is actually the name of an operating system rather than the hardware. So, it is the successor to OS/400 rather than AS/400. The current hardware is IBM Power Systems. These can also run Aix and Linux. There was also the name iSeries between AS/400 and i. Regardless of its name, RPG has been the dominant language though it has also changed a lot. ...


13

I think the Apollo Guidance Computer has a shot at making this claim. It may not be the first, but it's certainly one of the better documented early systems. The AGC had to juggle dozens of things at once. It was the main clock, and the navigation system, it ran the displays, and the radar, and the telemetry uplink, and controlled the engines, all ...


13

The AOL “international e-mail gateway” was announced on June 3, 1992, and seemingly available there and then: VIENNA, Va., June 3 (1992) /PRNewswire/ — America Online subscribers can now communicate with millions of people throughout the world by using an electronic mail gateway that connects to a wide variety of commercial and educational e-mail systems. ...


12

It wasn't called "threads", but as soon as interrupts were invented - which was in the mid 1950's - which was also before (even primitive) operating systems evolved to manage them - user programs handled them. Which meant ordinary programmers (for the time) were writing concurrent programs "in a single address space" for those computers ...


12

The 1955 manual for the IBM 704 on page 7 talks about data representation in the computer. When a word is interpreted as numerical data, the zero position acts as the sign of the word. (…) When a logical operation is performed on a word, the word is interpreted as a 32-bit signless number. As an algebraic (signed) binary number, a word can represent (…) In ...


11

From what I understand, unless things have changed, I think that even in non-strict mode, Java required that floating-point values be rounded to the appropriate length in the mantissa. Leeway was allowed, however, with values that were smaller the smallest normalized float value. Most float values should have 24 bits of precision, but values whose ...


10

But in between those [Batch vs. Terminal], there was an era of 'interactivity, but not as we know it', when computers supported interactive work by teletype. Not really. To start with, these were complete different usage scenarios. Batch didn't turn into terminal use - or got replaced by it. Batch is like mass production on industrial scale. It still ...


10

Threads seem to have first appeared in IBM's mainframe operating system OS/360 MVT in 1967, although they were called "tasks" at the time. MP/M (1981) allowed a process to create additional sub-processes which amounted to threads. Since MP/M ran on hardware without memory protection, thread programming would have been somewhat more risky than it is ...


10

It's hard to be completely certain without knowing a model number, but it strikes me as extremely unlikely. Casio's first data bank device (of which I'm aware, anyway) was the PF-3000, which they started selling around 1983. At least as I read things, this is saying a realistic capacity is names and numbers for around 50-60 people (with a theoretical maximum ...


10

Just to have a starting point, per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softdisk_(disk_magazine), Softdisk was first issued September 1981. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_disk_magazines seems to suggest the following was earlier: CLOAD was a cassette and disk magazine for the TRS-80 which started in 1978.


10

The last commercial non-integrated main processor introduction that I can recall was the one in Tandem NonStop Cyclone systems, introduced circa 1989. The CPU seems to have been 3 large printed circuit boards full of ECL gate arrays.


10

I can think of a couple of ways to do it. The "teletext" method would work, hiding data in the blanking lines off the top of the frame. Because of the way video tapes work these can get mangled, but if you used a low enough data rate and repeated patterns over several frames you could reconstruct it. This was used to record VITC (Vertical ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible