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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

In the beginning...

It's the 25th birthday of the microprocessor, and where better to celebrate than Comdex? Intel, the Computer Museum, and a few other sponsors have put together a display sure to make Comdexees feel a little better about being here this week.

It's the 25th birthday of the microprocessor, and where better to celebrate than Comdex? Intel, the Computer Museum, and a few other sponsors have put together a display sure to make Comdexees feel a little better about being here this week.

From the very first personal computer kit, the Altair, which didn't really do anything, to handheld computers running Microsoft Windows CE, which don't really seem to do much of anything either, that wafer-thin chip of silicon has changed the way we work, play, and--if Jonelle French, the director of the Intel Microchip Museum is to be believed--our sex lives too.

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Jonelle French, director
of the Intel Microprocessor Museum

But seriously folks, the Computer Museum's collection of eight-inch floppy disks, Pong video game machines, and old Roy Orbison look-alike photos of Paul Allen should be the required entrance to the show floor, rather than being hosted in a tent to the side.

It isn't often this forward-driven industry gets a chance to look back. Now that we have a little history, it's a good time to pause and remember that there was life before Microsoft.

Without the microprocessor there would be no Comdex. Without Tedd Hoff there would be no microprocessor. So how is it he's been excused from the annual cab-hailing, line-jumping, floor-walking fest until this year? Just wondering, before setting off to hike 20 miles of aisles among 2,300 exhibitors.

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Tedd Hoff, inventor of the microprocessor