Generations in computing and their builders


The definition of the beginning of one generation and the end of another as it relates to computing is at best unclear to me.

The death of Dr. Henry Edward Roberts yesterday, the man who designed the Altair 8800 broadly credited as being the world's first personal computer is a generational milestone for personal computing if not marking the change of a generation.

This is a man who was truly part of the incubation of Microsoft and providing a platform for Bill Gates and Paul Allen to launch Microsoft and with it much of what has become the PC today; for this I can only be truly grateful to a man I did not ever meet in person.

Some time ago I discovered an emulator for the Altair 8800 and if you are interested in experiencing hands on what the birth of the personal computing industry looked like this is the place to start.

My introduction to Intel based personal computing was the original 4.77Mhz 8088 based IBM PC that came with 128KB of memory, a dual 360KB double-sided 5.25" full-height floppy disk drives, I like to think not too far removed from that first Altair 8800.

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