Nowadays, computers are such a big part of life that we barely even think about how far computers have come and how much of a large part of our life that they really are! In 1833, Charles Babbage invented the parts that would become the computer, he called his invention the ‘Difference Engine’. In the early 1940’s, early computers were being made – these early computers were so large, that they took up the size of a room! There would be no computer desks big enough to put one of these, you couldn’t just go and get one from https://www.easyofficefurniture.co.uk/Office-Desks-and-Workstations, and they used A LOT of electricity!
In the 1980’s, computers really started to take off, they became smaller and therefore more popular. Whereas before they had only ever been used in workplaces, they had been made small enough to become home computers (a long way from the earlier ones that needed a whole room to house them!) and of course with games like space invaders and pong, their popularity increased rapidly.
The Sinclair ZX80, the first computer that went on sale in 1980 for under £100, had less than a millionth of the memory of the modern smartphones of today! People would spend hours learning to program them, it was believed during the 1980s that computer programming was going to be an important skill in everyday life in the future! Computer ownership grew rapidly during this time, and in 1985 Alan Sugar introduced the Amstrad word processor, with a built in printer and popularity of computers in the home soared even more.
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the world wide web – and changed the world! By 1998, there were over 130 million web users in the world, and it was growing. People started to use the web to chat to other people all over the world, and even started to shop online! Take a look at what some of the websites looked like back then!
Of course, nowadays nearly everyone has access to the world wide web at the click of a button – on home computers, tablets and smartphones. Satellites beam down GPS information to drivers, we can buy almost anything and have it turn up the next day, and speak to anyone in the world whenever we like. Imagine how Charles Babbage would feel if he could see what his ‘Difference Engine’ had led to!