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Episode 29 Notes - PCM Predictions from 1965

May 6, 2020

Pulse Code Modulation, or PCM, is the core technology behind digital audio. Despite being so central to modern day life PCM is actually pretty old. It was originally developed by Alec Reeves, a telecom engineer, all the way back in 1937. From there the technology has slowly gained traction and eventually found its way...

Episode 27 Notes - Vectrex on Launch Day

Apr 8, 2020

The Vectrex was a unique and impressive console. It differentiated itself from other home offerings of the time by using vector graphics instead of a more traditional pixelated approach. The machine could handle crude 3D graphics years before the competition, and in the modern day it's become a cult classic. But what...

Episode 26 Notes - Other Predictions from Vannevar Bush

Mar 25, 2020

First published  in the Atlantic Monthly in 1945, As We May Think is often cited as a watershed moment in computer history. In this essay Vannevar Bush laid out his vision for machines of the future, improved interfaces, and better data handling methods. It's most remembered today for it's description of the Memex, a...

Episode 25 Notes - Hard Sectoring

Mar 11, 2020

Diagram of hard sector floppy disk

The floppy disk has changed very little since it's original development way back at IBM in the late 1960s. That being said there have been incremental improvements, and I'd like to look at one of those early changes. As it turns out early floppy disks came with a pattern of holes punched along their outer edge. Many 8...

Episode 23 Notes - Artifacts of FORTRAN

Feb 12, 2020

In November of 1954 the first preliminary design of FORTRAN was completed. Over the next few years a compiler was built and distributed, various changes were made to the language, and FORTRAN would start down it's path to domination. High level programming languages, starting with FORTRAN, would change what could be...