American Inventions – Personal Computer

Basically every classroom, business and home has at least one Personal computer. They allow Hancock International College to provide state of the art education to our ESL students. They have become a necessary part of life so much so that they’ve already evolved into pocket sized phone hybrids. Personal computing had to start somewhere and today we’ll find out how.

Bbc.com says, “In the early days of the office computer even a small device cost thousands of dollars, whereas Mr Blankenbaker’s aim was a simple computer that would cost no more than $500…

His ambition was that the device should be educational, give user satisfaction with simple [programs], and demonstrate as many programming concepts as possible. ‘I thought of the Kenbak as an affordable introduction to the study of computer programming – I emphasized the hands on experience,’ he recalls.

He demonstrated his prototype computer at a high school teacher’s convention in southern California, and when the computer went into production, its advertising was focused on the schools market, something he now feels was a mistake. ‘It should have been at the hobby-oriented people,’ he says. ‘Schools took too long for budget approval.’ ‘My failure was in marketing, but the machine was a success in its limited way.’ Unlike most hobby computers of the time, it was sold as an assembled and functioning machine rather than as a kit.

By the time Kenbak Corporation closed in 1973 it had completed one production run of just 50 computers, and is now virtually unknown today. Mr Blankenbaker says that as well as US sales, there were also buyers from France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and Canada.

However, as Mr Blankenbaker says, he may have been more successful targeting his sales at the university students and young professionals who would go on to provide Apple’s customer base later in the decade, and indeed still do. After the Kenbak-1 experience he worked at International Communication Sciences, at Symbolics, and at Quotron, before retiring in 1985. He says he did not make much money out of the Kenbak-1 venture, and that one of his failings was in underestimating the development of high technology.

‘In 1970, I had no vision of what the future would bring. I always felt that the current technical situation was the most that could be expected.’”

Full Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34639183

Idiom of the Day

One’s Future Looks Bright

Meaning: One has a promising future.

Example: Tom’s future looks bright and he will do well if he keeps working hard.