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Very few things have had the impact upon almost every area of life for
those living during the time period since 1970.  Although some claim
that  the beginning of the Personal Computer (PC) Revolution began in 1966,
it took a few years and many technological advances before it began to be
While mainframe computers had been around for a while, the average
hobbyist interested in computers or programming had no resources available
for a reasonable price or size for home use.  During the early days before 1970, hobbyists borrowed time on a mainframe computer owned by educational institutions or research facilities. One of these hobbyists was Bill Gates.
In 1969, Gates and friend, Paul Allen, managed to gain computer time on a mainframe computer, a Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) PDP-10, for their services of debugging software. Up until that time, developments that affected personal computing were slow. After the patent of the first microprocessor in 1970, the PC Revolution began to move a little faster, like a steam locomotive pulling out of the station.  It was the microprocessor that revolutionized the computer industry.
Intel corporation introduced the first manufactured microcomputer in 1971.  It contained their, just introduced, microprocessor chip, the 4004.  Other chips carrying the 4000 series manufactured by Intel were also used. Earlier in the same year, Steve Wozniak and Bill Fernandez built a home-brew computer with surplus parts.  Like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak also become a key player in the PC Revolution.
In 1974, Ed Roberts, heavily in debt, built a small computer called the Altair.  During the next year, Allen and Gates developed software for the Altair.  This was the first software developed for a PC.  Later in that year, this software was licensed to MIT.  Also, in 1975, Gates and Allen founded Micro-Soft (the hyphen was later dropped).  Who would have thought that Microsoft would become the world's largest and richest corporation manufacturing a non-tangible product, software.
Up until 1980, many players entered the market selling their own PC's.  A nationwide chain, RadioShack, sold its brand of computer, the TRS 80, lovingly named the "Trash 80" by their owners.  The Apple Computer Corp. was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and began to sell computers in the marketplace, as well.  Commodore Business Machines developed the PET computer, a predecessor to the VIC-20.
By  the end of the 90's, the PC has certainly revolutionized the lives of most people.  Many could not perform their jobs without a PC.  Other functions would be so labor intensive, that it would be economically unfeasible to perform them without a PC.  Becoming computer literate is now a goal in elementary schools today, and colleges offer courses using computers and the Internet.  Young children operate PC's as their parents gaze in amazement.  Very few demographic groups do not know how to operate a PC.  The PC Revolution is a work in rapid progress and there is more to come.  To add to and paraphrase a question used in Microsoft's advertisements:  From history, you know where you have been.  Do you know where we will go in the future with the PC Revolution?
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