Getting Personal with Personal Computers

by Charles S. Hodge, (M.ASCE), Dir., Computer Services; Boyle Engineering Corp., 1510 Quail St., P.O. Box 7350, Newport Beach, CA 92658-0350,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 6, Pg. 60-62

Document Type: Feature article


Personal computers can make an engineer's job easier but only if he or she understands something about how they work. New developments in hardward and software can make this a difficult task. Since 1981 alone, IBM has introduced the PC, PC XT, PC AT, for which third party vendors created an abundance of add-in features and peripherals. And then other companies complicated things further by building machines that were nearly compatible with IBM's standard, also called clones. This article covers IBM's innovations as well as some of the other basics an engineer needs to know to buy and operate a computer that will actually make his or her job easier. Other topics addressed include: operating systems, microprocessors, the difference between a hard disk and a diskette, random access memory, or RAM and monitors.

Subject Headings: Computing in civil engineering | Computer software | Equipment and machinery | Innovation

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