Jonathan A. Titus

Microcomputer Pioneer

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Welcome to the About Section.

The Team:

The team consisted of four students and a mentor professor. We met once every week to discuss progress on the assigned tasks and meeting objectives. The team leader's responsibility was to assign individual tasks and make sure that they were accomplished in an orderly fashion. The mentor assisted the team to keep us organized, helped make sure that we were focused and heading in the right direction to completing the project on time.

Each of the four team members had a different focus. The team leader’s focus was the actual website development: access to technologies, website design and implementation, testing according to requirements of the competition and meeting the W3C standards, and organization of the team’s work. The second team member focused on developing the flash media: what features should be implemented, how to best illustrate the concepts, and how to do efficient implementation. The third and fourth team members focused on designing the Lessons and working on the development of the microcontroller case study. Thus, each member took one aspect of the site to build, although we all interacted in accomplishing individual tasks. During the meetings, each member would present the research findings and development accomplishments that we had assigned from the past week. To make sure we would stay on task, we developed documents for the competition requirements, design decisions, and testing procedures. In the final stages, as a team, we focused on integration, so that each team member's section would fit well with the site.

In summary, this competition allowed us to gain a lot of experience not only in website design, but also in computer design based on historical data as well as on modern processor architectures: first, we have learned how to properly research historical information, access the right sources, evaluate them critically, and obtain the original material; secondly, by researching the historical information, we have learned about several computing theories and hardware advancements, thus becoming better informed professionally; finally, this competition gave us the opportunity to improve our qualifications in two ways: (a) by applying the technologies that we haven't used before, and (b) by working as a team on the development of a real computer and showing the results in a website product.

Educational Value:

There were two educational aspects of developing this website:

(1) enhancing our own knowledge and skills, and (2) providing an educational resource for the general population. In this view, we feel that the following has been accomplished:

To maximally benefit from the project, in addition to putting together our own copy of Mark-8 microcomputer, which turns out to be a long-term task, we decided to embark on a simpler project, which would let us gain experience in modern computer design, while researching historical facts.

Attracted by a computer game experiment, published in the original article on Mark-8, and directed by Dr. Titus to the use of a microcontroller, we gained practical experience in computer design, using the XGame Station.

To provide a maximally useful resource to the general population, we created the Lessons section, which guides a student through 12 steps of computer design, using examples from Mark-8 and Dr. Titus’ professional writings, and additionally provides a template for using another processor architecture to learn about computer design, if someone wants to follow this pattern or even extend the website.

Historical Accuracy:

To assure accuracy in collecting and presenting historical data, we applied the following rules governing the process:

used only reliable sources, that is, those sources that were independently reviewed.

contacted Dr. Titus, interviewed him for the project and obtained additional information and artifacts.

purchased actual parts of Mark-8 microcomputer from eBay and began the development of our own unit.

acquired original copies of articles and books, and obtained permissions to publish relevant excerpts on the website.

verified historical data with the mentor and computing experts, to make sure that all presented information is true, correct and complete.

Website Attractiveness:

To ensure attractive look of the website we used the latest technologies (this site has been fully developed using Visual Studio 2005 and Macromedia Flash 8) and applied the following criteria that would take advantage of these technologies:

graphics – wherever possible, we used the latest advances in graphical design, for example to develop the timeline and comm board.

reliability – the site has been fully tested to verify that each of the pages follows all W3C standards and is error free; all external links have been verified to not contain any malware and be current.

usability – we made sure that users would have an easy access to the information and could navigate through the website with a few simple clicks.

extensibility – we provided an option of adding new information, which might have been missed or overlooked, or simply be important in maintaining and expanding the website.

Project Objectives:

This site has been developed for the IEEE Computer Society's Computing History Competition CHC61, focusing this year on an "Unsung Hero." We chose as a topic an important figure in early personal computer development, Dr. Jonathan A. Titus. The specific objectives of our project were three-fold:

Historical Accuracy.

Website Attractiveness.

Educational Value.