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The History of Computing: From The Perspective Of A Nine-Year Old

The History of Computing

From the perspective of a nine year old.

One thing that we have learnt from working so closely with school for so many years, is that the ability of students should never be underestimated, regardless of their age.

This blog, as I have mentioned a couple of times, was in fact written by a nine year old who sent it in for us to read. We loved it so much, that we felt compelled to share it as a blog post. We can just feel his passion and excitement for computing through his writing, which is incredible to see. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did:


Computers have changed rapidly through the past couple of decades and play crucialroles in our lives. They were first brought to the world in the 1930’s to help with the raging battle that killed lots of English and German men. Computers back then were big and bulky and weren’t very easy to transport to different places. Large vacuum tubes made them massive but these were replaced by transistors in the 1950’s. By 1960 computers were beginning to get a lot more compact. This was due to “microchips”. Now we can have laptops, phones, tablets and game consoles due to this fantastic invention.

Laptops were born in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. Most people choose laptops over desktop computers at the moment, but desktop computers are still popular. Laptops can actually be more powerful than a normal computer.

As well as laptops also on the rise is the Netbook. The most well-known of these is the Google Chromebook. Netbooks were made in 2007 and (again, like the laptop) is growing in power. Supercomputers like the first computer is absolutely massive but that doesn’t really matter because this type is the best type of computer on the planet. The most efficient supercomputer ever built was Japanese and built in 2011 and performs 8,000,000,000,000,000 calculations a minute. That means every 1 second the supercomputer does 133, 333, 333, 333.33333333333333 calculations.

Consoles weren’t originally the device to play games on. The original game consoles were computers. You didn’t have XBOX 360s or PS3s to play on. The game would be on a disc and you would insert it into the computer’s disc drive and voilà! You were playing the game. But then the console was born. It started off with Pong in 1971 which turned out to be an overnight success. A year after the Magnavox Odyssey was released which was loaded by a game cartridge. Later on, these consoles are loaded by CDs and DVDs and feature sensors which read were you move so we can now use things like Microsoft XBOX Kinect. A new invention in the gaming world are graphics cards but they are still new and expensive.

Any computer needs an operating system. Whether it is a laptop or desktop, it needs an operating system to change the way it’s hardware runs or the look of the software and the way it’s displayed on the screen. The two most famous of these operating systems are Windows and Mac OS. These two operating systems have always been rivals for each other. In this paragraph I will explain how these are different. Microsoft have always focused on Office and have made 9 versions of Office and are due to make another in 2016. It licensed its first version of Windows to IBM and it has just escalated from there to become a truly spectacular operating system. On the other hand, Apple’s Mac OS is an amazing operating system as well, focusing on splitting its resources between its operating system and hardware. Apple in its first couple of versions didn’t really worry about its programs but now we have things like iTunes. Also recently Apple went out and came up with Apple Music. We salute you Steve Jobs for building such a fantastic company. The new year of 1984 brought with it the release of the Apple Mac which was the first commercially successful computer to use GUI (Graphical User Interface) which is the use of more than 1 windows. Operating systems are also used for phones and tablets such as Samsung products which run on Google Android. Apple still runs on Apple Operating system but for phones and tablets these are named iOS.

Hope you enjoyed that tour of the operating system.

Now we move on to the complicated world of the storage. In the beginning, (sort of) computers stored their data on punch cards. Punch cards were cards with holes in (hence the name punch cards) specific places so the computer can read it. Later on in the computer’s extensive life people used the famous cassette tape to store the computer’s data. Seeing as programs are massive, they took a long time to load with these cassette tapes ad punch cards. The 1970’s brought the floppy disc to help load up programs. Increasing in size and decreasing in price, the storage has evolved loads from the very first computer. Floppy discs were helpful, yes, but broke very easily. You’d think that was what was going to stay forever, but it only stayed a decade because in the 1980’s, the hard drive was invented and it has stayed like that ever since.


If any of your students are creating impressive work, and you think that it deserves to be shared with as many people as possible, please do not hesitate to send it in to us. Get in touch on Twitter if you have anything you’d like us to see.