Graphical Windowed Computing
Apple Failed to Begin It
Apple didnt think of the concept but the ubiquitous graphical interface company undoubtedly popularized it.
No the graphical user interface GUI started out in of all locations a copier firm termed Xerox.Xerox Alto
Because 1973 workers at the Xerox Palo Alto Study Middle PARC had been working on a new home pc style that implemented a mouse had bit-mapped graphics icons and included network connectivity to larger more powerful pcs. The new layout was strictly in-house and beside a very limited distribution in university settings was basically an experiment in the future of computing. What set the Alto apart besides the mouse and graphical interface was its screen orientation. Xerox wanted the screen to replicate paper. For that reason screen orientation mimicked an 8 12 by 11 inch sheet of paper. Rebecca in pawn star
After all Xerox is a document agency it wanted its personal computers to be document computers.
In 1977 Xeroxs El Segundo Systems Development Department SDD completed the latest style and design identified as Xerox Star. The style and design team was brought from PARC and members of the team worked out solutions to the problems encountered while using the Alto. They also wanted to develop a system that bridged the gap between large centralized computing platforms with dumb terminals and the stand-alone personal personal pc with no connectivity to other computer systems. The Star incorporated a better keyboard improved mouse greatly increased internal memory an Ethernet connection improved screen mapping and easier to use software.
The idea was to provide customers with a user interface that mimicked the office desk. Files and printing would be performed on the large central laptop or computer and the Star would act as a workstation in this setting. This was the beginning of distributed processing.
In this new system model the consumer would see a desktop that contained documents and folders each with an icon that represented the document or folder type. By clicking on an icon the appropriate software would open an application window using the document or folder in it. Outwardly users would not use a program they would simply open the file and the appropriate software would run for that document type.
Additionally various file types pictures graphs and text could be incorporated into a single document.
In 1981 the same year IBM introduced the model 5150 personal home pc Xerox introduced the Star office computing system as a commercial product.
At 16000 for the Star workstation and an additional 50000 to 100000 for the complete system Xerox only sold about 25000 units.
Some of the problems encountered with this system were long boot up times as the Star Workstation loaded the desktop system from the mainframe. This would take an hour or so and was often interrupted with crashes. Saving files was also fraught with risk as file errors encountered during the save processes would be followed by a file scavenging session that also took hours.
Though the systems were plagued with problems that Xerox could not completely fix before customer interest waned Xerox established a different standard smart workstations personal computers in their own right connected to a central file server network. They set the standard for distributed processing that stands today.
Steve Jobs and Apple
In 1979 Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC and saw the Alto and Star laptop or computer systems. This led to the graphical person interface operating system and mouse being incorporated into the Apple Lisa and later the MacIntosh.
After his visit Jobs returned to Cupertino and a team was assembled and work on the Apple Lisa began.
Lisa software applications included LisaWrite word processing LisaCalc spreadsheet LisaDraw drawing program LisaGraph business graphics LisaProject project management LisaList a flat database and LisaTerminal to communicate via modem with other computers collectively identified as 77.
One of the drawbacks of the Lisa style was that development software was not included on the personal pc. Lisa Workshop as the development environment was identified as required a separate dedicated machine. This in turn limited development to Apples in-house teams until Lisa Workshop was released to the general public. Though Apple felt that 77 was everything anyone would ever need the computing public had a different view. Some surely not wanting to spend almost ten thousand dollars for features they did not want or need.
At 9995 the Lisa was quite expensive. Between the high cost and the closed development environment the Lisa was doomed.
The Macintosh was released to the public on January 24 1984 while using the now famous Big Brother ad during the Superbowl. The ad was directed by Ridley Scott1 see footnote and featuring Anya Major2 who despite her petite frame won the role considering the fact that she was the only woman showing up in the casting call who could wield the hammer. As you can see from the video below the hammer was almost as long as Anya was tall.
On release the Macintosh included two software applications MacWrite and MacPaint. In April of that year Microsoft ported Multiplan over to the Mac. In 1985 Microsoft Word followed. Lotus also developed a GUI version of Lotus 1-2-3 termed Lotus Jazz. However at 2495 the machine was still quite expensive.
In 1985 Apple introduced the LaserWriter printer. This along with Boston Softwares MacPublisher and Aldus PageMaker enabled Apple users to design and style preview and print page layouts which included text and graphics. This became known as desktop publishing.
Initially this concept was unique to the Macintosh with applications such as Macromedia FreeHand QuarkXPress Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. This suite of applications on the Macintosh firmly established Apple as a GUI personal computer organization.
Microsoft Windows – Bill Gates Steve Balmer
By now IBM and other PC makers had incorporated color displays into their product lines.
In May 1985 Microsoft introduced Microsoft Windows 1.0 with a very limited number of applications a clock text editor and file manager. It would not run DOS programs. Windows 1.0 sold for 99.00.
About that same time a firm referred to as GeoWorks introduced GEOS Graphic Environment Operating System. It also had a limited number of applications. but it would run native DOS programs.Geoworks sold for 29.95.
In January 1988 Microsoft introduced Windows 2.0. That same year Microsoft released versions of 286 2.1 and 386 2.1 designed for the Intel 286 and 386 processors. In March 1988 Apple sued Microsoft and Hewlett Packard for violating the look and feel of the Apple interface.
GeoWorks faded from memory as a home pc operating environment but started writing OSes for cellphones.
Xerox later joined the suit stating that theirGUI was copyrighted and that Apple had infringed on the copyright. The Xerox suit was later dismissed because the corporation waited over three years the then statute of limitations to file suit against Apple.
After four years and numerous appeals Apple lost the suit and Microsoft was free to market a graphical person interface.
In May 1990 Microsoft introduced Windows 3.0. This was the version that was widely adopted by casual and business users alike. Microsoft also began having computer system makers pre-install this OS its marketing department often equated by insiders to a black-ops operation.
1 Ridley Scott later directed Blade Runner.
2 Anya Major later starred as a soviet border guard love interest in Elton Johns Nikita video. Anya is British. Ms. Major was chosen by Apple as the hammerwielderbecause she was the only actress screen-tested who was capable of handling the sledge-hammer.
The author was not compensated in any way by Microsoft Apple GeoWorks or any other company mentioned in this hub. The author was compensated by word-count for the creation of this article.
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Graphical Windowed Computing