Is today the anniversary of something and I missed the memo? Because in less than 5 minutes of surfing, I’ve scrolled by several different posts that step back in history to reminisce about electronic innovations like microwave ovens and PCs that weren’t much more than glorified typewriters and look how far we’ve come! I love these nostalgia trips. They always make me realize how good my daughters have it compared to my college years. I went off to school lugging my mothers’ Smith Corona manual typewriter, and they both went off sporting iPads, iPhones and laptops.  My biggest technical hurdles in getting homework done? Carbon paper, white out, and correcting ribbon. Theirs?  Slow/overloaded WiFi networks, jammed printers, and accessing the online homework sites.

So if you’re feeling like a trip down memory lane, check out A Short History of Semiconductors, by SemiWiki’s Paul McLellen. After remarking about “how expensive it is to make electronics really cheap”, McLellen goes back to the origins of the transistor, and talks us through the timeline that begins with William Shockley’s invention of the transitor (According to John Lau, Shockley also invented the TSV, go figure) and ends with Fairchild Semiconductor’s invention of the integrated circuit.

Remember the first time you saw an Apple computer? I do, it was in my residence hall at UNH, where one over-privileged engineering student flaunted his Apple MacIntosh. The rest of us who had to fight for time in the computer labs were green with envy. He set up shop typing kid’s final papers for a fee.  This little memory was triggered by a photo Brewer Science posted on its Facebook page 

Not really (at all) related to computers, but fun little piece of history nonetheless is EDN’s Suzanne Defree’s acknowledgement of  October 25, 2012 as the birthday of the microwave oven. I’ll bet you didn’t know it all started with a melted Mr. Goodbar in an engineer’s pocket!

How ironic that I found all these little nuggets while looking for updates on latest generations of Apple (iPad 4, and Mini) and Microsoft’s Surface.  Here’s one by Iain Thomson in the Register on the Surface that makes me sort of wish I’d waited before buying an iPad, because my biggest complaint about the iPad is the lack of native ports.  (Remember, I’m only a recent Apple convert, and I’m still evaluating!)

The Surface goes on sale tonight. Looking forward to the subsequent teardown reports. Gary Tomkins of Chipworks tweeted me yesterday that they’d likely be doing one, along with the iPad 4 and Mini. “Too many new tablets coming out!” Seriously – they’re coming out so fast that iPad versions 1-3 already history!  ~ F.vT

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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