The history of the home computer provides an example of how a technology once felt to be far removed from the home and everyday patterns of life was subsequently developed, promoted, and embraced—indeed consumed—as a product. For many, the home computer continues to mediate a wide range of consumer activities from e-commerce to online gaming.

The home computer consists of a technology originally called a microcomputer to distinguish it from the larger minicomputer and mainframe computer. The most well-known brand is IBM's Personal Computer (PC), based on Microsoft software, and hence these devices are sometimes referred to as PCs, using the brand name as a generic one. In many developed countries, the majority of households now have a home computer, although even here adoption reflects sociodemographics ...

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