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San Antonio Has Claim As The Birthplace of the Personal Computer. Read All About It.

My column in today's San Antonio "Express-News" sets out to correct the fact that the origins of what we know as the personal computer has its roots in San Antonio, and not in what became Silicon Valley.  Here's a bit of expanded history that the article does not get into.  This information was provided to me by my key source on the column, a friend and local freelance writer, Lamont Wood, who I have known for 20 years. Last summer he had a story in Computerworld magazine documenting the history.  Here is a bit of an expanded version based on information provided to me…. Gus Roche and Phil Ray were engineers in the space program in the late 1960s and decided as the Apollo Program was winding down that their career prospects were limited there, so they decided to apply what they knew about the latest advances in semiconductors and set up a business. The business plan they wrote suggests that they were aiming to eventually develop a desktop system with internal intelligence based on large-scale integration (other words, the latest microchips.) But at the time, computers were monstrously expensive things sold by IBM and a few struggling competitors, and so they had to be coy about using the word "computer" to avoid scaring off potential backers. As their starter product, friends suggested they produce a "glass teletype," meaning an electronic version of the electromechanical Model 33 Teletype. Through mutual friends they were introduced to Gerald Mazur, who raised the startup funds locally, but imposed a stipulation that the company had to be set up in San Antonio. They did...