Jonathan A. Titus has had many accomplishments throughout his life time. He created the first published kit microcomputer and
has been author and co-author of many different books.
Jon Titus Contents [hide]
Hobbyists have been an integral part of the electronics world, and every so often one hobbyist develops an invention that makes an impact within industry.
In Jonathan A. Titus' case, he was a computing hobbyist who had the desire to build his own computer. At the time Titus decided to design this computer,
the smallest computers were Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) PDP-8 series of machines, which took up the space of about two microwave ovens. Titus
successfully built his own computer, the Mark-8, in 1973, based on an Intel 8008 microprocessor. The Mark-8 may not have been the first home-built computer
that worked, but it was the first to offer a kit design explained in detail in a national magazine. The Mark-8 kit let other hobbyists follow in Titus's footsteps.
2. Jon Titus Answers 10 Questions on Mark-8
We were lucky enough to have a chance to interview Jonathan A. Titus. He was very helpful and was able to teach us a lot. Click the questions
below to see his responses or click "Entire Interview" to see them all.
- What was your inspiration to make the Mark 8?
- Did you ever think about expanding on the Mark 8?
- Have you ever thought about designing a successor to the Mark 8?
- How does it feel knowing that one of your creations is on display in the Smithsonian?
- Was it difficult for you to design the working on the design of the Mark 8 and its circuitry?
- It took you x time to develop the Mark 8, how long do you think it would take you to develop a similar system using today’s technology?
- You work with embedded systems currently, correct? So do you find it more difficult to develop an embedded system today then when you made the Mark 8?
- When you set off to make the Mark 8, did you intend to sell it to the public or was it just a personal project turned global?
- Do you have any advice for people interested in continuing education in computers?
- Any final words on the Mark-8 and its design?
An earlier 1999 interview has been copied and preserved from
the now defunct website on Mark-8 maintained by John Lewczyk.
Read More: 1999Interview.pdf [30.8KB]
3. Titus on IBM PC History
"In the mid '70s, relatively inexpensive memory and microprocessor ICs made it possible
for knowledgeable electronic experimenters to build their own computers. Prior to that,
the smallest computers-minicomputers-took the space of a large microwave oven, cost
thousands of dollars, and found use only in special applications. But by 1975, commercial
"hobby computer" kits such as the MITS Altair 8800 and the IMSAI 8080, provided a basic
front panel of lights and switches, a power supply, and a motherboard. The kit suppliers also
offered a range of CPU, memory, and I/O boards. The resulting "systems" looked much like
minicomputers. Hardy souls programmed these hobby computers-no one then called them
personal computers-in assembly language. Some hobbyists, and a few people who saw
business uses for small computers, wrote programs using a BASIC interpreter developed
by a small software company called Microsoft, then based in Albuquerque, NM, the home
of MITS. In the late '70s, hobby computers evolved from boxes with lights and switches
to sleek packages that came with a keyboard and built-in software. Apple Computer offered
its first commercial computer-the Apple II-in 1976, which Radio Shack answered the next
year with its TRS-80." (Source: Test & Measurement World, 9/15/2001)
4. Articles on Jon Titus
Below are some selected articles that refer to Jon Titus and the significance of Mark-8.
Click next to each link
to view a small preview of the site and read a little clip before viewing the site.
5. Books by Jon Titus
Jonathan A. Titus has been a prolific writer on various subjects related to computing. He authored and co-authored over a dozen books, which are listed here.
Most of them cover various aspects of designs using Intel 8080 microprocessor. Others are related to microcomputer interfacing and programming. With his
co-authors, David Larsen, Peter Rony, and Christopher Titus, he created a serious of “bugbooks” published by Howard W. Sams in the Blacksburg Continuing
Education Series. They were translated into Chinese, Japanese, German and Italian.
View Book List
6. Jon Titus on the Future of Computing Video
Interview Part 1 - New Technologies
Jonathan Titus answers questions about important trends in computing, his view on biocomputing and neurocomputing from an engineering standpoint,
and hands on expericence with new technologies.
Interview Part 2 - Professional Writing
Interview Part 3 - Education