Today in History – April 1, 1976 – Apple Computer Company formed and released the Apple I computer - the first with a single circuit board. There was no assembly line as each Apple I was hand-built by Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs’ parents’ home and required further assembly by the purchaser, including providing AC input voltages, wiring an ASCII keyboard to a DIP connector and wiring the video output pins to a monitor or to an RF modulator if a TV was used. Steve Wozniak showed the first one to the Homebrew Computer Club to get sales going. He had to sell his Volkswagen bus to help keep the company afloat. Steve Wozniak designed the Apple II personal computer that was released on April 16, 1977, featuring a central processing unit (CPU), keyboard, floppy disk drive, and a $1,300 price tag. The Apple II launched the personal computer revolution. He left Apple in 1981 and went back to the University of California at Berkeley and finished his degree in electrical engineering and computer science there. Since then, he has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, including improving computer capabilities in schools. So how do you build the first personal computer? Wozniak says when he teaches Personal Computer 101 he asks students to go to the Apple I Owners Club, founded in 1977 by Joe Torzewski. The site contains over 120 pages detailing the Apple I computer. It shows you what it was like to actually buy and assemble one. If you’ve never seen an Apple I, check this site out and see how the personal computer revolution began. Want to know more, read Wozniak’s book: iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. Check out the Engineering Pathway’s educational resources on Apple computers and history of computing. For more educational resources, see our electrical engineering education, computer science education and computer engineering education community pages. The Engineering Pathway also hosts Engineering Education communities in all ABET-accredited disciplines.
Also, today April 1, 2008, the Engineering Pathway completed a comprehensive user study of customer needs and has developed the following prioritized list of new features for development: For Faculty:
- Tag educational resources guaranteed to boost teacher evaluations by at least 20%.
- Develop tool to automatically create homework and exams for each course in ABET-accredited computing and engineering curricula.
- Develop obfuscation tool that will take a simple concept and make it seem so complicated that faculty will be guaranteed to impress students and colleagues with their brilliance.
- Implement mind reading search tools (such as UC Berkeley’s brain scan or the MentalPlex developed by Google) to improve the user interface so that typing is no longer required.
- Develop chat bot for faculty to help them find good educational materials and boost their confidence in teaching.
- Tag educational resources guaranteed to increase their grades by at least one letter grade.
- Provide a collection of homework and exam solutions for each course in ABET-accredited computing and engineering curricula.
- Develop a de-obfuscation tool that will take a complicated lecture from a “brilliant professor” and make it easy to understand.
- Tag the parts of computing and engineering courses that will be useful for a student’s first job. We plan to modify Google’s gDay tool that can search content on the internet before it’s created.
- Develop a database that allows students to enter their courses and return their “dream job” or “graduate school”.
- And the reverse. Students should be able to enter their “dream job” or “graduate school” and be told which courses to take.
- Create tool to create automatic “Cliff Notes” for any educational resources in the Engineering Pathway.