During their 60-year life span, computers have become the perfect example of modern convenience. Living memory is strained to recall the days of steno pools, carbon paper, and mimeograph machines. It sometimes seems that these magical computing machines were developed instantaneously in the form that we now know them. But the developmental path of computers is paved with accidental discovery, commercial coercion, and whimsical fancy. And occasionally computers have even improved through the application of solid engineering practices! Despite all the twists, turns, and technological dead ends, computers have evolved at a pace that defies comprehension. We can fully appreciate where we are today only when we have ...

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