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Oct 18, 2020

It's time to round out spook month with a return to one of last year's topics: the computer virus. Malicious code traveling over networks is actually a relatively new phenomenon, early viruses were much different. In this episode we examine ANIMAL and Elk Cloner, two early viruses that were meant as practical jokes...


Oct 4, 2020

Spam emails are a fact of modern life. Who hasn't been sent annoying and sometimes cryptic messages from unidentified addresses? To understand where spam comes from we need to look at the origins of email itself. Email has had a long and strange history, so too have some of it's most dubious uses.

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Sep 20, 2020

We've all played the Oregon Trail, but what do you know about it's origins? First developed as a mainframe program all the way back in 1971, the Oregon Trail was intended as an educational game first and foremost. In fact, it traces its linage to some of the first efforts to get computers into the classroom. Today we...


Sep 6, 2020

The creation of FORTRAN and early compilers set the stage to change computing forever. However, they were just the start of a much longer process. Just like a spoken language, programming languages have morphed and changed over time. Today we are looking at an interesting case of this slow evolution. JOVIAL was...


Aug 23, 2020

Is there a more iconic duo than the IBM PC and MS-DOS? Microsoft's Disk Operating System would be the final success that turned the company into what we know today. But here's a dirty little secret: DOS didn't start out at Microsoft. So how did Gates and Allen get hold of a winning program? Today we look at how...