Some Light Relief—The Mouse That Roared

Just about everything computer-related must have been designed for the first time or done for the first time by somebody. At some point there must have been the first editor, the first debugger, the first core dump, the first disk drive.

Sometimes these events are surprisingly recent. Sometimes they are old. The term “core dump”, which is a copy of the contents of a process's memory, is pretty old. It dates back to the early 1950s when computer memories really were composed of cores. Main memory was built out of tiny ferrite rings or “cores” threaded on fine wires which could induce or reverse a magnetic polarity in the cores. Memory was literally made up of cores that each held one bit, and the contents ...

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