Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dr. Henry Edwards, 68, computer pioneer

From The Macon Telegraph:
Funeral services for Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, a physician and one of the computing world’s influential figures, will be held Monday in Cochran. He died Thursday after a months-long bout with pneumonia.

Roberts, who was 68, made a name for himself when, in the mid-1970s, he built and sold a primitive home computer called the Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) Altair 8800, a screenless box of a machine with red light bulbs on its face that was operated by toggle switches.

The device, named after a star by his daughter Dawn, is now in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, which notes on its Web site that the machine is the one “that inaugurated the personal computer age.”
A couple of weeks ago we heard rumors that Bill Gates had flown quietly into Macon. It turns out Gates was visiting this man, who some believe built the first personal computer, on his death bed.

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