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The Pre-Internet Age: Recalling the Pioneering Technologies of Early Computing

omputing has come a long way since its inception, and many of us take for granted the incredible advancements we have seen in recent years. But it's worth taking a moment to look back at the early days of computing, before the internet became ubiquitous and personal computers were a rarity.

In the early days, computing was mostly the domain of large corporations and government agencies, and the machines themselves were massive, expensive, and often unreliable. The earliest computers used vacuum tubes, which were prone to failure and required frequent maintenance. But despite their drawbacks, these early machines paved the way for the modern computing revolution.

One of the earliest computers was the UNIVAC, which was first built in the 1950s by the company that would later become Unisys. The UNIVAC was a massive machine that weighed more than 29,000 pounds and cost more than $1 million to build. It was used by the U.S. Census Bureau to process data from the 1950 census, and it was also used by the U.S. military for various purposes.

Another early computer was the IBM 701, which was first built in 1952. The 701 was a vacuum-tube computer that could perform about 1,000 calculations per second. It was used by various government agencies, including the National Security Agency and the U.S. Air Force.

In the 1960s and 1970s, computing became more widespread, and smaller, more affordable machines began to emerge. One of the most famous of these early machines was the Altair 8800, which was released in 1975. The Altair was a kit that users could assemble themselves, and it was one of the first computers to be marketed to the general public. It was also one of the first computers to use a microprocessor, which made it much smaller and more efficient than earlier machines.

The early days of computing were marked by experimentation and innovation, and many of the early machines were designed and built by hobbyists and enthusiasts. Today, we take for granted the incredible power and versatility of modern computers, but it's worth remembering the pioneers who paved the way for the digital age we now live in.

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