Gov. & the machine(s) we love

Fred Cisin cisin at
Fri Oct 30 16:05:02 CDT 2015

On Fri, 30 Oct 2015, Murray McCullough wrote:
> What is the role played by the U.S. gov. in helping to create the
> microcomputer? What money & expertise did it provide?  “Steve Jobs the
> Movie” doesn’t mention this nor have  books written about him and
> microcomputers in general mentioned this. Not even mine! Do the
> computers we love owe more to gov. than we care to admit? Granted I'm
> a Cdn. and 'we' here up north view it somewhat differently than
> Americans...

It is arguable how much influence Steve Jobs had in ADVANCING
consumer computers, but by the time that he got involved,
CREATION of microcomputers was alreaqdy a given.
What did Jobs invent?  besides the cult of Jobs
It's like talking about gates "inventing" operating systems!
BTW, is Woz getting squeezed out of the histories?

Instead, we need to look at the relative involvements of academia, 
guvmint, military, and industry (foreign and domestic).  Like the 
development of the internet (I do not see an "invention" nor a definable 
creation date), there were several major forces that helped in their own 
self-serving ways to bring it about.

In terms of what brought about the creation of microcomputers, 
look particularly at where the impetus and funding came from for the 
4004 and similar.

The creation of the microprocessor made microcomputers inevitable.
Not just "possible", "inevitable".
It was no longer an "invention", merely major engineering to build it.

When I left NASA in 1972, I declared, "I'll get back into computers as 
soon as those "tabletop computers" WITH FORTRAN, get down to my price 
range."   I was not a great prognosticator.  It was OBVIOUS.

It's like Columbus and the "discovery" of America.  He was NOT the first, 
and if he hadn't done it, it was only a matter of time before somebody 
else did a variant of the "discovery" that didn't get forgotten and denied 
(like the Vikings).  It probably would NOT have taken until we had 
pictures from space :-)

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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