Stories by CIO Staff

Time Piece: Answering the Call

True story: When dial telephones first replaced the crank variety in one Iowa town, the phone company set up two pay phones a block apart and taught the local farmers to use them by having them call each other.

Time Piece: The Ticker

Silently, it streams across our desktops, but its onomatopoetic name still applies: the ticker, capitalism's seismograph, recording the tremblers of money shaping and reshaping the economic landscape.

Time Piece: Counting the Beads

The first computer? Let's go back in time. Looking out the window of the Wayback machine, we see a hand-held computer flying by, a PC, a hulking Cray, then Univac, Edvac and Eniac, followed by Charles Babbage's gorgeously named Difference Engine, and then, as the mists gather, Jacquard's 19th century punch-card loom, Pascal's 17th century adding machine and, finally, way, way back, the abacus.

Time Piece: Click Clack

In 1714, Queen Anne of England granted patent number 385 to one Henry Mill for "an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters, singly or progressively...on paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print."

Board of Influence

Nearly all the ideas and articles we develop come from knowing and interacting with our readers. Our mission is to get inside their heads to learn what they need to know. Some of these readers have let us spend a lot of time in their heads by agreeing to serve on our Editorial Advisory Board. We thank them for their generosity and insight. -The Editors

Time Piece: Volta's Pile

Why does the Energizer Bunny keep going? Well, first of all, it doesn't. Everything in the universe, including you, me and the stars above, eventually goes kaput. That's entropy. But before that doleful death sentence is served, what keeps the rabbit running is the battery, which was born around 1800 when Alessandro Volta took disks of copper, zinc and cardboard soaked in salt water, stacked them in alternating layers and measured an electronic current coming off what he modestly called the Voltaic pile.

Time Piece Cool Tube

It goes by many names, among them electron valve, thermionic valve, triode, glassfet and, the best, firebottle. It's the vacuum tube: a melding of form and function, of beauty and truth.