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Accounts of the early events of the computing industry--the Turing machine, the massive Colossus, the ENIAC computer--are well-told tales, and equally well known is the later emergence of Silicon Valley and the rise of the personal computer. Yet there is an extraordinary untold middle history--with deep roots in Minnesota. From the end of World War II through the 1970s, Minnesota was home to the first computing-centered industrial district in the world. Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and a wealth of oral histories, Digital State unveils the remarkable story of computer development in the heartland after World War II. These decades found corporations--concentrated in large part in Minnesota--designing state-of-the-art mainframe technologies, revolutionizing new methods of magnetic data storage, and, for the first time, truly integrating software and hardware into valuable products for the American government and public. Minnesota-based companies such as Engineering Research Associates, Univac, Control Data, Cray Research, Honeywell, and IBM Rochester were major international players and together formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies. These companies not only brought vibrant economic growth to Minnesota, they nurtured the state's present-day medical device and software industries and possibly even tomorrow's nanotechnology. Thomas J. Misa's groundbreaking history shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, its workforce, and its prominent institutions. Digital State reveals the inner workings of the birth of the digital age in Minnesota and what we can learn from this era of sustained innovation.
This compact history traces the computer industry from 1950s mainframes, through establishment of standards beginning in 1965, to personal computing in the 1980s and the Internet’s explosive growth since 1995. Martin Campbell-Kelly and Daniel Garcia-Swartz describe a steady trend toward miniaturization and explain its consequences.
All the Facts presents a history of the role of information in the United States since 1870, when the nation began a nearly 150-year period of economic prosperity and technological and scientific transformations. James Cortada argues that citizens and their institutions used information extensively as tools to augment their work and private lives and that they used facts to help shape how the nation evolved during these fourteen decades. He argues that information's role has long been a critical component of the work, play, culture, and values of this nation, and no more so than during the twentieth century when its function in society expanded dramatically. While elements of this story have been examined by thousands of scholars---such as the role of radio, newspapers, books, computers, and the Internet, about such institutions as education, big business, expanded roles of governments from town administration to the state house, from agriculture to the services and information industries---All the Facts looks at all of these elements holistically, providing a deeper insight into the way the United States evolved over time. An introduction and 11 chapters describe what this information ecosystem looked like, how it evolved, and how it was used. For another vast layer of information about this subject the reader is directed to the detailed bibliographic essay in the back of this book. It includes a narrative history, case studies in the form of sidebars, and stories illustrating key points. Readers will find, for example, the story of how the US postal system helped create today's information society, along with everything from books and newspapers to TV, computers, and the Internet. The build-up to what many today call the Information Age took a long time to achieve and continues to build momentum. The implications for the world, and not just for the United States, are as profound as any mega-trend one could identify in the history of humankind. All the Facts presents this development thoroughly in an easy-to-digest format that any lover of history, technology, or the history of information and business will enjoy.
The history of how computers spread to over 20 nations globally in less than six decades, exploring economic, political, social and technological reasons and consequences. It is based on extensive research into primary and secondary sources, and concludes with a discussion of implications for key players in the globalized economy.
In The third volume of The Digital Hand, James W. Cortada completes his sweeping survey of the effect of computers on American industry, turning finally to the public sector, and examining how computers have fundamentally changed the nature of work in government and education. This book goes far beyond generalizations about the Information Age to the specifics of how industries have functioned, now function, and will function in the years to come. Cortada combines detailed analysis with narrative history to provide a broad overview of computings and telecommunications role in the entire public sector, including federal, state, and local governments, and in K-12 and higher education. Beginning in 1950, when commercial applications of digital technology began to appear, Cortada examines the unique ways different public sector industries adopted new technologies, showcasing the manner in which their innovative applications influenced other industries, as well as the U.S. economy as a whole. He builds on the surveys presented in the first volume of the series, which examined sixteen manufacturing, process, transportation, wholesale and retail industries, and the second volume, which examined over a dozen financial, telecommunications, media, and entertainment industries. With this third volume, The Digital Hand trilogy is complete, and forms the most comprehensive and rigorously researched history of computing in business since 1950, providing a detailed picture of what the infrastructure of the Information Age really looks like and how we got there. Managers, historians, economists, and those working in the public sector will appreciate Cortada's analysis of digital technology's many roles and future possibilities.

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