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This history of the computer explores the roots of the industry's phenomenal development, tracing not only the development of the machine itself--beginning with Charles Babbage's well-known 1883 mechanical prototype--but also chronicling the effects of manufacturing and sales innovations by such companies as Remington and National Cash Register that made the boom possible. The authors recount the transition from slow mechanical computers to the vacuum-tubed electronic computers, ENIAC and EDVAC, pioneered by a team led by mathematician John von Neumann during World War II. Later innovations made the computer a mass-market item, and now, the authors suggest, freedom of access to the technology is constrained only by the imperative of computer companies to make money. [via]