Networking and Communication

From the 1960s, engineers found ways to link computers. Initially, this involved introducing intermediate computers. Later, terminals might be wired to a common large computer. It soon became possible to link desktop and then mobile devices. Thus networking expanded from the workplace to the personal realm.

PANAMAC in use, 1966

PANAMAC in use, 1966

Courtesy of Pan American World Airways

PANAMAC in use, 1966

PANAMAC in use, 1966

Courtesy of University of Miami Libraries

PANAMAC agent set, 1964

Making airline reservations was one of the first commercial applications of linked terminals. IBM developed a system for Pan American that included this terminal. Some of the first people to regularly use a computer for customer service were agents of Pan American Airlines, who used systems like this one to book airline tickets.

Gift of Pan American World Airways

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A Networked World

Once the visions of an elite few designed for a single purpose, linked computing devices with multiple functions are now widely owned and used.

Harold Dorwin’s Philips Velo 1, 1997

Harold Dorwin, who operated a photography business, could use this device for calculation and to run word processing and database management programs. It also sent faxes and recorded voice memos; it could be used to surf the Web and linked to a larger computer at home.

Gift of Harold Dorwin

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Family looking at iPad, around 2018

Family looking at iPad, around 2018

Courtesy of iStock.com/davidf

Laura Warner’s iPad, 2011

Laura Warner used this first generation iPad as a student at the University of Kansas. She found it particularly convenient in studying readings teachers posted online. Warner also had a laptop computer for use in her room.

Gift of Laura Warner

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Google Glass user, 2014

Google Glass user, 2014

Vinton Cerf, 2013

Vinton Cerf, 2013

Courtesy of Sandy Schaeffer-Hopkins

Vint Cerf’s Google Glass, 2013

More recent personal computing devices include the Google Glass, which could be worn like a pair of glasses. Wearers could communicate with the internet via touch and voice commands. The glasses displayed information by a screen mounted above one eye or by sound. A camera also was included.

Gift of Vinton Cerf

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