TO THE SEVENTIES:
was during the Seventies that the computer revolution finally
reached the American public. Computers were not new. The first
computer was built by the American military during the Second
World War. It was a huge machine that used vacuum tubes and
ate up enormous amounts of electricity. The computer made calculations
slowly, but in the 1950's the invention of the transistor led
to bigger changes. A transistor was a tiny silicon wafer that
could pack more energy and information into itself than a huge
computer using hundreds of thousands of vacuum tubes. It was
like having a tiny computer in one's hand. This little computer
chip could be put together with other computer chips and from
this was born the concept of an integrated circuit. Many little
computers working together in less and less physical space working
faster and faster. It was almost like magic, this new computer
simply became smaller and smaller during the 1960's. Many of
the new computer companies were based in an area south of San
Francisco called Silicon Valley. Silicon was the material in
which the little computer chips were made of. This is were the
Ritchie family lived and Mr. Ritchie worked in this busy computer
environment. But by the mid-Seventies most Americans still had
no access to private computers. This soon began to change. As
the technology became cheaper and easier to use many computer
hobbyists began building their own little computers with the
new chip technology. At first these little computers were just
toys with few applications. The important thing was not what
the computer could do, but that it could be built at all for
almost nothing. Many young computer hobbyists or " hackers
" as they were called shared information between themselves
for the sheer fun of it.
in 1976, two young hackers named, Stephen Jobs and Stephen Wozniak
were the first to build a small computer that could be sold
on the market to many people cheaply. The Apple II had been
created in a garage owned by Stephen Job's family. This was
the beginning of the PC revolution and of the computer company
called Apple. Many Americans were still unaware at the time
of the implications of what this all meant. But within five
years personal computers would be creating a huge new industry
worth billions of dollars that would change the face of America
and the world. Soon the possibility of every American having
access to computing power would be a reality. The Third Wave
would be taking off sooner than most people suspected and later
in the century when the power of all these personal computers
were connected a new cultural era would begin. An era that is
still not fully understood by most humans. An era with many
good and bad implications.
look at the Ritchie family now:
" Hey, Harvey how's the champ today? Is your mother taking
good care of you. "
Harvey: " Yeah, I'm alright Dad. Can we play Pong? "
Chad: " Sure we can. You don't want to play baseball, though?
Harvey: " Yeah, baseball's OK, but I'd rather play a computer
game right now. "
Chad: " Do you want to play STAR TREK ? "
Harvey: " Yeah, I get to be Captain Kirk and I need to
destroy the Klingon spaceships. "
Chad: " Well, you need to capture them first. "
Harvey: " I can also play MICRO-CHESS. "
Chad: " And PIRATE ADVENTURE.. "
Harvey: " Yeah, I know I'm going to college soon, but this
is more fun. "
Chad: " What do you want to do when you get to college?
Harvey: " Oh, I don't know. Make a lot of money, I guess.
I mean I don't want to do protests like Mara. That was pretty
dumb. It didn't really accomplish much.
Chad: " Oh, let your sister do what she needs to do. Just
don't take any drugs. "
Harvey: " Well, you know Dad everybody's taking drugs now
in high school. Weed is really big. "
Chad: " You stay away from that stuff. "
Harvey: Yeah, I'm trying. But if you don't toke weed. People
think you're pretty uncool.
" Let them think what they want. Let them destroy their
" Yeah, it's bong city everywhere. Roaches too
Chad: " Stay away from all of that stuff. "
Harvey: "Well, what about the babes? "
Chad: " What about them? "
Harvey: " Everyone's making out more and more and going
all the way. "
Chad: " I don't want to talk about this. "
Harvey: " Why not? "
Chad: " Because it's not time for this. "
Harvey: " Well, if not now. Then when? "
Chad: " Let me talk to your mother first. "