IBM System/38

system38The IBM System/38 was part of the Future Systems Project at IBM,  and was developed by Dr.Frank Soltis under the codename “Pacific”.  It was released to the public in August, 1979 and featured one of the first relational database management systems using SQL, System R, also developed by the company.

Using a unique 48-bit addressing system,  it used the CPF (Control Program Facility) operating system. It was also one of the first mainframe systems to include user based security. It supported RPG II, COBOL,  BASIC,  and PL/I.  It was also capable of storing data anywhere on the disk.  It was later replaced by the AS/400.

IBM System/38

system38The IBM System/38 was part of the Future Systems Project at IBM,  and was developed by Dr.Frank Soltis under the codename “Pacific”.  It was released to the public in August, 1979 and featured one of the first relational database management systems using SQL, System R, also developed by the company.

Using a unique 48-bit addressing system,  it used the CPF (Control Program Facility) operating system. It was also one of the first mainframe systems to include user based security. It supported RPG II, COBOLBASIC,  and PL/I.  It was also capable of storing data anywhere on the disk.  It was later replaced by the AS/400.

UseNet

networkIn 1979, UseNet, a multidisciplinary computer network of news and discussion groups is formed on two campuses in North Carolina. Providing a unique forum to gather information and exchange ideas, Usenet grows from it’s origin as an underground activity among graduate students into a vast international phenomenon. It’s popularity influences the government to consider connecting the ARPANet to smaller, independently established networks.

Students Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis and Steve Bellovin connected their department’s computers via phone lines to communicate more efficiently. Using UNIX and welcoming other sites to their network, they create a number of discussion groups on various topics in which all users can participate and it becomes known as the “poor man’s ARPANet”.  In the early 1980’s connections around the world are established and users can talk without ever meeting face to face. UseNet is eventually incorporated into the successor of the ARPANet, the Internet.  By 1991 UseNet hosts more than 35,000 nodes and generates close to 10 million words of discussion daily.

VisiCalc

visicalcVisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers. Conceived by Dan Bricklin, refined by Bob Frankston and distributed by Personal Software Inc. in 1979 (later VisiCorp) for the Apple II computer, it propelled the Apple from being a hobbyist’s toy to being a much-desired, useful financial tool for business. This likely motivated IBM to enter the PC market which they had been ignoring until then.

Legend has it that Bricklin was watching his university professor create a table of calculation results on a blackboard. When the professor found an error, he had to tediously erase and rewrite a number of sequential entries in the table, triggering Bricklin to think that he could replicate the process on a computer, using a blackboard/spreadsheet paradigm to view results of underlying formulas. More powerful clones of VisiCalc include SuperCalc, Borland Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel.

VisiCalc sold 10,000 copies in a single year. It was one of the most popular spreadsheet programs ever.