A Digital Timeline

A History of Digital Technology

1996 to 2006

Compiled by Skip Schiel

(added December 27, 2005
revised January 12, 2006)

 

An attempt at charting the trajectory of digital technology, with special attention to graphical applications. Comments solicited, corrections gladly considered, links and images most graciously desired. (Special note: those attributed as inventors or creators more often were joined by many others, some named, some not. And dates are often only approximations.)

Beginnings - 1900

1901 - 1959

1960 - 1979

1980 - 1985

1986 - 1995

1996
 

Internet's 25th anniversary

Tim Berner-Lee

40 million people connected to the Internet, more that $1 billion commerce per year, rapidly growing internet companies like Netscape

 

1997

 

 

Athlon processor

Advanced Micro Devices

Athlon processor

This processor competes successfully with Pentium chips

 

 

 

Giant Magneto-Resistive heads

IBM


A new technology used in IBM's Deskstar 16 GP, a 16.8 GB drive, bringing down the cost of memory to 25 cents per megabyte

 

 

 

Pentium II processor

Pentium

 

 

A 7.5 million transistor processor incorporates MMX technology, which is designed specifically to process video, audio, and graphics data efficiently

 

1998

 

 

DVD-RAM drive

 


5.2 GB rewriteable capacity on a double-sided cartridge, enough to hold a full length 2 hr movie (not be confused with DVD-ROM)

 

2001
iPod
Apple

iPod is not based on a new concept. Companies before Apple released hard drive based music players, but none had the charm and elegance in the Apple implementation. Unlike the competitors, the iPod used a high speed FireWire interface to transfer files on and off of it, and it used a tiny hard drive, that made the device a quarter of the size of comparable products.

—Saad

2005
Wearable computer

A person's computer should be worn, much as eyeglasses or clothing are worn, and interact with the user based on the context of the situation. With heads-up displays, unobtrusive input devices, personal wireless local area networks, and a host of other context sensing and communication tools, the wearable computer can act as an intelligent assistant, whether it be through a Remembrance Agent, augmented reality, or intellectual collectives.

—Wearable Computing, MIR

2006
20th anniversary of the MacPlus

things haven't changed as much as the hype would have it. I think that years from now, when the details have been washed away by the acid rains of time, four major commercial events will stand out in the history of personal computers: the advent of the microprocessor which drove prices of computers down to the point where individuals could buy them and led to the first flowering of the present computer revolution, the ascendancy of the software industry and the shift from "users will program them" to "users will run software packages", the Mac interface and its followers which brought the benefits of computers to a far broader audience and fundamentally changed the way we use computers of all sizes and software of all kinds, and (to tread on dangerous ground since the event is relatively recent) the blossoming of the Internet. To sum up the history: cheap hardware, application, software, human interface, & internet

—Jef Raskin

  More coming, please check back
General references

Chronology of
Personal Computers

A Chronology of Computer History

An Exhibition at the
National Museum of American History
Information Age:
People, Information & Technology

The Evolution of the Computer [Infographic]

Computing History, Myths and Legends (Ian Darwin)

A Brief History of Computer Technology

ENIAC COMPUTER

History of Communication From Cave Drawings
To The Web
(Thanks to Kelly Carter & her student Ashley)

skipschiel@gmail.com
9 Sacramento Street
Cambridge Massachusetts 02138-1843
617-441-7756
www.teeksaphoto.org