June 5, 1977: Boasting memory that is equivalent to a tiny modern image file, the Apple II was released to great fanfare on this day in 1977.
Costing $1,298 in dollars of the day (equivalent to about $5,000 today), the personal computer – with just 4 KB of random-access memory – was a pricey but still affordable option for consumers who wanted it in their homes. Budding programmers could learn the tricks of the trade courtesy of a simple programming module on the system.
Later sales of the computer were boosted with the addition of a floppy disc drive. This allowed consumers to transport information to and from the computer to similar models.
Personal computers became popular in schools and businesses in the 1980s, and had almost fully penetrated the consumer market in North America and Europe by the late 1990s.
Additionally, the wide popularity of the Internet in the mid-1990s made computers a near must-have for most workers and schoolchidren.
Elizabeth Howell is an award-winning Canadian journalist who can't stop talking about space and science. As a teenager, she saw the movie Apollo 13 and wanted to be an astronaut. That hasn't happened - yet - but at least she gets to write about them. Elizabeth's favourite career moments so far include attending three shuttle launches, and legitimately writing the word "snot" into a Mars Curiosity story. Besides EarthSky, you can read Elizabeth's work in SPACE.com, Universe Today, SEN.com, All About Space and other fun places. Elizabeth's space obsession extends to her hobbies; she's a big fan of Battlestar: Galactica and has met all five TV Star Trek captains. She even visited Captain Kirk's future birthplace in small-town Iowa.