The 1980s was the decade when ‘micro’ computers came within reach of non-computing professionals. Early domestic computers provided an introduction to the digital age for many. Experimentation was encouraged – and in the early days, almost a requirement – as there was often little software available for these machines. This condition created a situation where early users were effectively inventing uses for computers, according to what they wished to see them do. Despite its significance, this period has been poorly documented, especially in Australia.
This blog is intended to be a portal for sharing material pertaining to the history of what I’ve termed “creative micro-computing”. This term is intended to be inclusive, taking in what people were using computers to make in the broadest sense – from artists and designers, to the use of CADCAM in manufacturing, to home hobbyists’ creations, to the introduction of computer graphics into television, and other things besides.
I’m a researcher at Flinders University. I’ve been awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to research a history of this period in computing, between 1976 and 1992. Whilst my team and I will be trawling through the archives, I know that there’s a lot of knowledge that’s not held in archives, but which lives in people’s memories, and artefacts that reside in their private collections, photo albums, or bottom drawers even.
I’d like to invite you to join with me to help document this period of creative computing, by sharing your knowledge and memories on the blog, and opening up those proverbial ‘bottom drawers’ of archival materials. Scan them and share them here on the project blog, so that everyone can know the histories of how we became digital.