Monday, September 18, 2006

Paperbacks

Paperbacks have been around - as early as the 17th Century in France and Germany. In the English-speaking world, James Fenimore Cooper was writing frontier stories published in paperback-like format as far back as 1823, soon to be followed by a host of imitators. These were precursors of the tabloid "story papers", like Brother Jonathan Weekly, in the 1840s. The introduction of the steam rotary press enabled these to be produced cheaply in large numbers, and the emerging railroad network provided a convenient means of distribution. Probably the first true mass-market paperback, though, was the so-called "Dime Novel", which sprang into being in the 1860s.

The first bona fide mass-market paperback in the English speaking world is said to be Malaeska, by Mrs Ann S Stephens, which was published in June 1860 by the pioneers of the Dime Novel, Erastus and Irwin Beadle.

Penguin is the first really "respectable" paperback imprint in 1935. Allen Lane, Chairman of The Bodley Head, a London publisher introduced the Penguin imprint on July 30, 1935.

The first 10 title's Penguin produce were:
1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
2. Madame Claire by Susan Ertz
3. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
4. Poets Pub by Eric Linklater
5. Carnival by Compton Mackenzie
6. Ariel by Andre Maurois
7. Twenty-Five by Beverly Nichols
8. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers
9. Gone to Earth by Mary Webb
10. William by E.H. Young



The first respectable mass market paperback in the US was The Good Earth, a novel by Pearl S. Buck, first published in 1931, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes the books Sons (1932) and A House Divided (1935)and was published by Pocket Books in November, 1938.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

50 Years of Hard Drives

Rex Farrance, PC World

1956: IBM ships the first hard drive, the RAMAC 305, which holds 5MB of data at $10,000 a megabyte. It is as big as two refrigerators and uses 50 24-inch platters. (For the full story and interviews with key players, read "The Hard Drive Turns 50.")


1961: IBM invents heads for disk drives that "fly" on a cushion of air or on "air bearings."


1963: IBM comes up with the first removable hard drive, the 1311, which has six 14-inch platters and holds 2.6MB.


1966: IBM introduces the first drive using a wound-coil ferrite recording head.


1970: General Digital Corporation (renamed Western Digital in 1971) is founded in California.




1973: IBM announces the 3340, the first modern "Winchester" hard drive, which has a sealed assembly, lubricated spindles, and low-mass heads.


1978: First RAID (Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks) technology patent is filed. (Read "How to Buy a Hard Drive: Key Features" for a description of this technology.)


1979: A group headed by Al Shugart founds disk-drive manufacturer Seagate Technology.



1979: IBM's 3370 uses seven 14-inch platters to store 571MB, the first drive to use thin-film heads.


1979: IBM's 62 PC, "Piccolo," uses six 8-inch platters to store 64MB.




1979: Seagate introduces the ST-506 drive and interface, which is then used in all early microcomputer implementations.


1980: IBM introduces the first gigabyte hard drive. It is the size of a refrigerator, weighs about 550 pounds, and costs $40,000.


1980: Seagate releases the first 5.25-inch hard disk.


1981: Shugart Associates joins NCR to develop an intelligent disk drive interface called the Shugart Associates Systems Interface (SASI), a predecessor to SCSI (Small Computer System Interface).

1982: Western Digital announces the first single-chip Winchester hard drive controller (WD1010).

1983: Rodime releases the first 3.5-inch hard drive; the RO352 includes two platters and stores 10MB.

1984: Western Digital makes the first Winchester hard drive controller card for the IBM PC/AT--and sets an industry standard.

1985: Control Data, Compaq Computer, and Western Digital collaborate to develop the 40-pin IDE interface. IDE stands for Intelligent Drive Electronics, more commonly known as Integrated Drive Electronics.

1985: Imprimis integrates the first hard drive controller into a drive.

1985: Quantum introduces the Plus Hardcard, which allows the addition of a hard drive without an available bay or a separate controller card.

1985: Western Digital produces the first ESDI (Enhanced Small Device Interface) controller board, which allows larger capacity and faster hard drives to be used in PCs.

1986: The official SCSI spec is released; Apple Computer's Mac Plus is one of the first computers to use it.

1988: Prairie Tek releases the 220, the first 2.5-inch hard drive designed for the burgeoning notebook computer market; it uses two platters to store 20MB.

1988: Connor introduces the first 1-inch-high 3.5-inch hard drive, which is still the common form factor. Before this, hard drives were either full height or half-height.

1988: Western Digital buys the disk-drive assets of Tandon Corporation with an eye to manufacturing IDE drives.

1990: Western Digital introduces its first 3.5-inch Caviar IDE hard drive.


1991: IBM introduces the 0663 Corsair, the first disk drive with thin film magnetoresistive (MR) heads. It has eight 3.5-inch platters and stores 1GB. (The MR head was first introduced on an IBM tape drive in 1984.)

1991: Integral Peripherals' 1820 Mustang uses one 1.8-inch platter to store 21MB.

1992: Seagate comes out with the first shock-sensing 2.5-inch hard drive.

1992: Seagate is first to market with a 7200-revolutions-per-minute hard drive, the 2.1GB Barracuda.

1992: Hewlett-Packard's C3013A Kitty Hawk drive uses two 1.3-inch platters to store 2.1GB.

1994: Western Digital develops Enhanced IDE, an improved hard drive interface that breaks the 528MB-throughput barrier. EIDE also allows for attachment of optical and tape drives.

1996: IBM stores 1 billion bits per square inch on a platter.

1996: Seagate introduces its Cheetah family, the first 10,000-rpm hard drives.

1997: IBM introduces the first drive using giant magneto resistive (GMR) heads, the 16.8GB Deskstar 16GP Titan, which stores 16.8GB on five 3.5-inch platters.


1998: IBM announces its Microdrive, the smallest hard drive to date. It fits 340MB on a single 1-inch platter.

2000: Maxtor buys competitor Quantum's hard drive business. At the time, Quantum is the number-two drive maker, behind Seagate; this acquisition makes Maxtor the world's largest hard drive manufacturer.

2000: Seagate produces the first 15,000-rpm hard drive, the Cheetah X15.

2002: Seagate scores another first with the Barracuda ATA V Serial ATA hard drive.

2002: A demonstration by Seagate yields a perpendicular magnetic recording areal density of 100 gigabits per square inch.

2002: Among its many 2002 technology accomplishments, Seagate successfully demos Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording. HAMR records magnetically using laser-thermal assistance and ultimately aims to increase areal density by more than 100 times over 2002 levels.

2003: IBM sells its Data Storage Division to Hitachi, thus ending its involvement in developing and marketing disk drive technology.

2003: Western Digital introduces the first 10,000-rpm SATA hard drive, the 37GB Raptor, which is designed for the enterprise, but which gamers quickly learn is a hot desktop performer in dual-drive RAID setups.

2004: The first 0.85-inch hard drive, Toshiba's MK2001MTN, debuts. It stores 2GB on a single platter.


2005: Toshiba introduces its MK4007 GAL, which stores 40GB on one 1.8-inch platter, fielding the first hard drive using perpendicular magnetic recording.

2006: Seagate completes the acquisition of Maxtor, further narrowing the field of hard drive manufacturers.


2006: Seagate's Momentus 5400.3 notebook hard drive is the first 2.5-inch model to use perpendicular magnetic recording, which boosts its capacity up to 160GB.

2006: Seagate releases the Barracuda 7200.10, at 750GB the largest hard drive to date.


2006: Western Digital launches its 10,000-rpm Raptor X SATA hard drive, boosting its capacity to 150GB and placing a flashy transparent window that allows specially designed computer cases to showcase its inner workings.

2006: Cornice and Seagate each announce a 1-inch hard drive that holds 12GB. The drives are slated to ship in the third quarter of 2006.