[vcf-midatlantic] Inventor of the first personal computer dies - and it's not who you think

Evan Koblentz evan at vcfed.org
Sat Apr 22 11:16:22 EDT 2017

>> Noticed this in the NYT and thought that I've never heard of this guy, but he is mentioned in "Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer" by Scott McCartney. The NYT article is "Harry Huskey, Pioneering Computer Scientist, Is Dead at 101" https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/20/us/harry-huskey-dead-computer-pioneer.html His G-15 computer was 'personal' because it could be operated by one person.

I posted about him (and ARPA/PARC's Bob Taylor) last week on VCForum and Cctalk. They were both under-appreciated pioneers.

Harry was (probably) the last person alive who worked directly on ENIAC.

Of course, we strive to avoid the F word -- "first" -- when giving museum tours. "Early", "Tube generation", etc. are better choices. ENIAC was not the "first computer" unless you add several qualifiers. Anything is first if you use qualifiers... these are THE FIRST SOCKS (that I'm wearing today).

"Personal computer" is subjective. :)  The late Wes Clark was adamant that his LINC was (ahem) "the first personal computer" in the mid-1960s -- a decade after the Bendix G-15. I regret that I never asked Wes why he didn't consider the G-15 as equally personal if the criteria is a machine designed to be used by one person.

The real answer is probably, "Because history is written by winners." Most prominent historians of the Xerox/homebrew era worship Clark.

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