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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.
In February 1956 the president of IBM, Thomas Watson Jr., hired the industrial designer and architect Eliot F. Noyes, charging him with reinventing IBM’s corporate image, from stationery and curtains to products such as typewriters and computers and to laboratory and administration buildings. What followed—a story told in full for the first time in John Harwood’s The Interface—remade IBM in a way that would also transform the relationships between design, computer science, and corporate culture. IBM’s program assembled a cast of leading figures in American design: Noyes, Charles Eames, Paul Rand, George Nelson, and Edgar Kaufmann Jr. The Interface offers a detailed account of the key role these designers played in shaping both the computer and the multinational corporation. Harwood describes a surprising inverse effect: the influence of computer and corporation on the theory and practice of design. Here we see how, in the period stretching from the “invention” of the computer during World War II to the appearance of the personal computer in the mid-1970s, disciplines once well outside the realm of architectural design—information and management theory, cybernetics, ergonomics, computer science—became integral aspects of design. As the first critical history of the industrial design of the computer, of Eliot Noyes’s career, and of some of the most important work of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames, The Interface supplies a crucial chapter in the story of architecture and design in postwar America—and an invaluable perspective on the computer and corporate cultures of today.
What do Paul Bunyan, Charles Lindbergh, and Jesse Ventura have in common--Minnesota, of course! In A Popular History of Minnesota, historian Norman K. Risjord offers a grand tour of the state's remarkable history, taking readers through the centuries and into the lives of those colorful characters who populate Minnesota's past. This highly readable volume details everything from the glacial formation of the land to the arrival of the Dakota and the Ojibwe people, from Minnesota's contributions to the Northern cause during the Civil War to the key players in reform politics who helped sculpt the identity of the state today. A Popular History of Minnesota highlights the historical significance of Minnesota's natural resources--the bountiful north woods, the treasured iron ranges, the impressive Mississippi waterfall on which the Mill City was built. It details the powerful marks left on the state by such luminous figures as Oliver H. Kelley, founder of the national Grange movement, Hubert H. Humphrey, champion of civil rights, and Betty Crocker, aid to homemakers everywhere. Lively sidebars outline noteworthy subjects, from the Kensington runestone to the devastating forest fires of the 1890s and 1910s, from the rise of the Mayo Clinic to the preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Handy Traveler's Guides highlight historic destinations for readers who enjoy seeing where history happened. Fast-paced and informative, with generous illustrations, A Popular History of Minnesota is a must-read for newcomers and established Minnesotans alike.
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.
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