Computer history started well before the microcomputer, but the old machines were typically not accessible to any but the exclusive few who had both knowledge and access. The advent of the Microcomputer, a phrase coined in 1975, changed all of that. Slowly but surely the average Joe could get his hands on computing power that often rivaled the big iron of just a few years earlier. By 1984, almost anyone could afford a computer and more and more were learning how to use them and actually buying them.
Personal Computers redefined how business was done by automating many tedious jobs that were once done by hand, by helping disseminate information that was once difficult to obtain and by providing tools like spreadsheets, word processing and, eventually, desktop publishing that allowed for more creativity in the workplace.
Personal Computers redefined education by allowing children to interact more with their learning environments and by providing much larger amounts of information to be pumped straight into the classroom.
Personal Computers redefined entertainment by providing arcade style games at home and, with the advent of the Internet, by providing millions of pages of reading, images, sounds and other distractions.
Personal computers redefined communications. First there were Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) that allowed callers to dial in and post and read messages, play games and upload and download files. This eventually gave way to email and the internet which provided for that and more.
In short, Personal Computers were responsible for altering the landscape of world culture in many ways. These pages will take you through some of the highlights of their history.