The first electronic digital computer
The first modem
The first computer keyboard,
The first computer monitor
The first core memory
The first mouse
The first software…and
The first digital network
From Amazon bestseller to podcast adventure
When the World First Went Digital
A handful of spunky, brilliant engineers in an old laundry building made the world go digital.
They were called irresponsible, spendthrift, boondogglers with zero credibility, zero standing, and zero chance of building the laughable, crazy machine that they claimed would change the world.
In one, white-hot decade (1946-1956) of sassy brilliance and dogged persistence, they engineered:
They democratized computing by letting anyone use their machine; by night they taught classes in the then-heretical binary mathematics; they took the newly-invented transistor and built the first transistorized computer; they rattled academia with their new-fangled technology: electronics engineering; they taught AT&T how to send data over telephone lines, and showed IBM how to manufacture their computer on an assembly line.
Their crazy, digital machine became the backbone of the air defense of North America during the Cold War, formed the nucleus of military command and control, as well as the core of commercial air traffic control…and the first, national computerized airline ticketing system.
And, in 1956, as the world was madly cloning their machine, they one-upped themselves when they networked a computer in Cambridge to another in Los Angeles, and kissed the shores of the Internet.
A long, three decades later, their leaders, Jay Forrester and Bob Everett, were awarded the National Medal of Technology.
In 2012, the IEEE finally recognized their achievements with a commemorative plaque on the door of their old laundry building. By then, they were all octogenarians…or older! and their amazing feats of engineering shared only amongst themselves.
Edward R. Morrow called them “Unusual…and gifted.”
Bright Boys is their story.
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Bright Boys, The Podcast