What's it like to own a computer? To get a better idea of everything it could offer, we hired writer C.P. Gilmore to live with a machine for several weeks while reporting on the experience. Naturally, Gilmore was thrilled with the device -- unlike its predecessors, his machine wasn't merely a "glorified adding device" -- it was capable of handling programs that play games, handle his income taxes, and solve math problems.
This was before conventional computers used screens, though. To use his machine, Gilmore would enter commands on a Teletype hooked up to a telephone line. A General Electric Datanet-30 machine would receive the commands, run the program in a GE-235 central processing computer, and transmit the solution back to the Teletype within seconds. Using time-sharing, Gilmore was able to write new programs and access old ones, including a program that calculated the cost of heating in his house.
The novelty of his device led Gilmore to predict that the future of computing hinged on time-sharing."It will be far cheaper to build one monster computer with thousands or even millions of customers hooked to it than to have small, individual machines in individuals homes," he said.
Read the full story in "I Used a Real Computer at Home...and So Will You"