Test Your Nerd Knowledge — March 22, 2022

Here’s a review of this week’s questions:

  1. Which company is recognized as the first of its kind to be located in what is now “Silicon Valley”?
  2. What is Philip Don Estridge famous for?
  3. What is defined as “an indication of how quickly data travels along a connection”?

And here are the answers:

  1. Shockley Semiconductor Labs. Shockley Semiconductor Labs was a pioneering semiconductor developer founded by William Shockley, and funded by Beckman Instruments, Inc., in 1955. Shockley rented a building at 391 South San Antonio Road in Mountain View, California, and began recruiting “the most creative team in the world for developing and producing transistors.” His work in the region, 40 miles from San Francisco, laid the technological and cultural foundations of Silicon Valley while spinning off dozens of new high-tech start-ups, including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel. Shockley passed away at age 79, in Palo Alto, in 1989.
  2. Development of the first personal computer. Philip Don Estridge joined IBM in 1959 and was promoted to several high positions in the company until he found himself appointed director of Entry Systems Business in 1981, responsible for the IBM Personal Computer. Known as the “father of the IBM PC,” his decisions dramatically changed the computer industry, resulting in a vast increase in sales of personal computers, thus creating an entire industry that is still powerfully thriving today. Born in 1937 in Jacksonville, FL, Estridge applied a workman-like intensity to the idea of creating a cost-effective alternative to high-priced solutions, a marked departure from previous IBM strategy. This begat the IBM PC Model 5150, a development that exceeded the company’s expectations by as much as 800%. Estridge died tragically in a plane crash with his wife in 1985.
  3. Bandwidth. Bandwidth is the data transfer capacity of a computer network in bits per second (Bps). Data moves from A to B just as water flows through pipes from a supply point to our faucets. The volume that’s transported, the bandwidth, varies, impacting how effectively a transmission medium, such as an Internet connection, operates. It’s easy to dismiss bandwidth as a technical term that doesn’t really apply to you unless you like to play around with tech products or set up internet hardware. In reality, learning what bandwidth means and how it applies to your own network can help you tweak your setup to get a faster internet connection when you need it.

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