Sunday, October 15, 2006

History of Laptops [Another History Lesson :-)]

It is a little hard to determine what was the first portable or laptop computer, the first portable computers did not look like the book-sized and folding laptops that we are familiar with today, however, they were both portable and lapable, and lead to the development of notebook style laptops. I have outlined several potential firsts below and how each qualifies, the photos of the computers will let you see the progression in design.

The First Laptop? Maybe

Designed in 1979 by a Briton, William Moggridge, for Grid Systems Corporation, the Grid Compass was one fifth the weight of any model equivalent in performance and was used by NASA on the space shuttle program in the early 1980's. A 340K byte bubble memory lap-top computer with die-cast magnesium case and folding electroluminescent graphics display screen.
The sale catalog describes it as a "340K byte bubble memory lap-top computer with die-cast magnesium case and folding electroluminescent graphics display screen."

Complete with manual, it sold for $800.

Gavilan Computer As The First Laptop?

Manny Fernandez had the idea for a well-designed laptop for executives who were starting to use computer. Fernandez, who started Gavilan Computer, promoted his machines as the first "laptop" computers in May 1983. Many historians consider the Gavilan as the first fully functional laptop computer.

The First Laptop Computer - Osborne 1

The computer considered by most historians to be the first true portable computer was the Osborne 1. Adam Osborne, an ex-book publisher founded Osborne Computer and produced the Osborne 1 in 1981, a portable computer that weighed 24 pounds and cost $1795. The Osborne 1 came with a five-inch screen, modem port, two 5 1/4 floppy drives, a large collection of bundled software programs, and a battery pack. The short-lived computer company was never successful.

Introduced: April 1981
Price: US $1,795
Weight: 24.5 pounds
CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
Display: built-in 5" monitor
                  53 X 24 text
Ports: parallel / IEEE-488
             modem/ serial port
Storage: dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives

Click Here for More Details.

More History of Laptop Firsts
  • Also released in 1981, was the Epson HX-20, a battery powered portable computer, with a 20-character by 4 line LCD display and a built-in printer.

  • In January of 1982, Microsoft's Kazuhiko Nishi and Bill Gates begin discussions on designing a portable computer, based on using a new liquid crystal display or LCD screen. Kazuhiko Nishi later showed the prototype to Radio Shack who agree to manufacture the computer.

  • In 1983, Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 100, a 4 lb. battery operated portable computer with a flat and more of a laptop design.

  • In February 1984, IBM announced the IBM 5155 Portable Personal Computer.
  • Three years later in 1986, Radio Shack released the improved and smaller TRS Model 200.
  • In 1988, Compaq Computer introduces its first laptop PC with VGA graphics - the Compaq SLT/286.

  • In 1989, NEC UltraLite was released, considered by some to be the first "notebook style" computer. It was a laptop size computer which weighed under 5 lbs. (second photo)
  • In September 1989, Apple Computer released the first Macintosh Portable that later evolved into the Powerbook.

  • In 1989, Zenith Data Systems released the Zenith MinisPort, a 6-pound laptop computer.

  • In October 1989, Compaq Computer released its first notebook PC, the Compaq LTE.

  • In March 1991, Microsoft released the Microsoft BallPoint Mouse that used both mouse and trackball technology in a pointing device designed for laptop computers.

  • In October 1991, Apple Computers released the Macintosh PowerBook 100, 140, and 170 - all notebook style laptops.

  • In October 1992, IBM released its ThinkPad 700 laptop computer.

  • In 1992, Intel and Microsoft release APM or the Advanced Power Management specification for laptop computers.

  • In 1993, the first PDAs or Personal Digital Assistants are released. PDAs are pen-based hand-held computers.
More about History of Computers.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

History of Hard Drives

(Bill Healy, executive vice president at Hitachi, holds up a platter from a 1-inch microdrive in his right hand. In his left is a 24-inch platter from IBM's RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control), which came out 50 years ago. A 1-inch 8GB platter holds more than 80,000 times as much data as a single 24-inch RAMAC platter. An 8GB 1-inch drive holds 1,600 times as much data as RAMAC, which had 50 platters.)

IBM 350. Consists of 50 disks, each 24 inches in diameter.

IBM creates a storage system based on packs of six 14-inch disks. Each pack holds 2MB. Commercially, this is when hard drives take off. 

IBM develops an 8-inch drive.

The 5.25-inch 'Winchester' drive makes its debut. Its design plays a key role in the development of the PC market.

Rodine releases a 10MB 3.25-inch drive. It's still the standard form factor for desktops.

PrairieTek releases its 2.5-inch 20MB drive; this size remains the standard for notebooks.

Integrated Peripherals debuts its 1.8-inch drive. Drives this size aren't destined to go mainstream until the debut of Apple's first iPod, more than 10 years later.

Hewlett-Packard produces a 1.3-inch drive. It doesn't make a major impact, although drive manufacturers are now thinking about bringing it back.

IBM releases a 1-inch microdrive with 340MB of capacity. That capacity has since expanded to 8GB.

Toshiba shrinks the microdrive to 0.85 inches in diameter. Many believe that this is the smallest size of drive that will be mass-produced.

(This 1957 prototype demonstrated a new technology using disk drive heads and tracks rather than magnetic tape. The first commercial use of the technology was IBM's 3330, in 1971.)

The hard disk drive, invented by IBM 50 years ago, underpins modern computing and will continue to do so for a while yet. But how did today's data storage technology evolve, and what does the future hold?

Yesterday, Apple launched its most capacious iPod ever. Its 80GB Toshiba hard disk has room for 40,000 songs or 100 hours of video; it weighs 59 grams, takes a watt of power and transfers data at 100MB a second.

The iPod that would have housed the world's first hard disk -- announced fifty years ago today -- would have been a much less attractive proposition. Weighing in at over a ton and bigger than two coffins, IBM's RAMAC took several thousand times more power, transferred data eleven thousand times slower, and had room for just the two songs (probably by the Seekers and the Platters). It's difficult to directly compare prices, due to IBM's habit back then of only renting equipment, but the iPod disk costs roughly a thousand times less. That's a twenty million-fold increase in storage capacity per penny.

What's next?

The hard disk's future looks secure -- for now. It still costs hundreds of times less per bit than flash memory, which has frequently been touted as the hard disk's successor, although a combination of flash memory and hard disk in the same device may become popular as a way to speed up boot times and reduce power consumption in portable computers. Future improvements in disk technology include heat-assisted recording and patterned material. Both of these techniques address the problem of adjacent bits affecting each other because they're so small that virtually no energy is required to flip them from one state to another. Seagate says this will help to push densities up to between fifty and a hundred terabits per square inch, or around five hundred times that of today's iPod disk.

After that, new technologies that combine magnetic recording with solid-state devices are likely to appear, with the state of single atoms set by direct control of electron spin. This is predicted to reach to four petabits per square inch, perhaps even beyond. At that point, the hard disk revolution will have spun its last, making it unlikely that it will equal the CRT's record of a hundred years as a viable component. Between then and now, however, there's a lot more data to be stored on one of the most ubiquitous, useful and underappreciated pillars of the digital age.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Maximize your iPod's battery life

I am a proud user of Apple iPod. And i found a way to maximize the life of iPod's Battery. Here it goes...

Your iPod's battery is a lithium polymer that's rated for 500 or more charging cycles. (A charging cycle is a full discharge--that is, when you run the battery all the way down until it has no charge left and follow it with a full charge.) If you recharge your iPod's battery every other day, 500 charges should last you the best part of three years (though some claim you'll get only about 18 months). If you recharge your iPod's battery less frequently, there's a good chance the battery will outlast the hard drive. Here's how to get the longest life possible.


To get the most life out of your battery, don't let it discharge fully--that is, don't run it until it's dead. However little you use your iPod, recharge it fully at least once every three weeks to prevent the battery from going flat. If you go on vacation for a month, you should take your iPod with you and recharge it during that time. (But you were going to take your iPod with you on vacation anyway, weren't you?)


  • Play your music by album or by playlist, rather than hopping from one track to another. Remember that your iPod can cache an album or playlist to minimize the time the hard disk is spinning. But when you ask your iPod to produce another track it hasn't cached, it has to spin up the hard disk and access the song.
  • Use AAC or MP3 files rather than WAV or AIFF (Mac users only) files. Because WAVs and AIFFs are uncompressed and, therefore, much bigger than compressed files, they prevent your iPod from using its cache effectively, so the hard disk has to work much harder.
  • Minimize your use of the backlight or turn it off completely. To control the backlight, go to Settings > Backlight Timer. Here, you can designate the amount of time you want the backlight to remain on (2, 5, 10, or 20 seconds), set it to Always On (not recommended, obviously, for saving your battery), or for maximum conservation, just turn it off.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

HP Pavilion dv2025TU

Hewlett Packard India, launched its global brand of premium HP Pavilion notebook PC, the HP Pavilion DV2025TU on june 17th 2006, featuring Intel Centrino Due Mobile Technology, and is equipped with HP’s Imprint Finish Technology.

HP claims that the new molding and imprint technique used for designing HP Pavilion DV2025TU notebook PC had been created after conducting through market research in three continents to understand personal design preferences for diverse user groups.

HP’s Imprint finish incorporates an advanced molding technique produced using Nissha Film Products. HP Pavilion DV2025TU notebook is also the very first notebook PC to features ‘capacitive’ touch technology for accessing the audio, launch buttons, and volume controls. By just touching, tapping or swiping these backlit media launch buttons in a very similar manner as on a touch pad, user can have direct access to entertainment objects.

DV2025TU Notebook comes with HP QuickPlay 2.1 application which allows users to watch DVD movies, listen to music and browse pictures without booting up and users can easily switch between movies, music and pictures with a slick, widescreen interface in the HP QuickPlay 2.1 application or with the dedicated media buttons

HP Pavilion DV2025TU notebook PC comes with an integrated 1.3 megapixel high-res webcam for still camera and two omni-directional microphones, integrated into the sleek, hands-free design. The new notebook PC has the crisp and clear 14.1-inch, high-definition BrightView wide-screen LCD display.

HP Pavilion DV2025TU features:

  • Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 7200 discrete graphics with Intel
  • HP QuickPlay Direct, to access DVDs and music without booting up
  • ExpressCard Remote Control (control various applications from a distance of up to 10 feet),
  • Capacitive touch technology for accessing the audio, launch buttons, and volume controls
  • 14.1″ BrightView widescreen with high color gamut technology,
  • Super Multi Lightscribe DVD-Writer,
  • Integrated wireless support for 802.11 a/b/g Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • 5-in-1 media card reader on select models
  • Up to 3 USB 2.0 ports on select models
  • Up to 120GB on select models
  • ExpressCard/54 Slot
  • 6-cell standard and 12-cell battery available for additional battery life
  • Altec-Lansing speakers

The HP Pavilion DV2025TU notebooks is priced at Rs. 52,500 onwards and is vailable across the country.

More About This Product.

Buy Here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nikon Coolpix L2

I have always been fascinated about digital cameras and have great interest towards photography. So, i decided to try out a best entry level camera(Upto Rs.8,500/-) and began browsing both in the net and a nearby electronic bazaar(Richie Street, Chennai). In my survey, i found that Nikon Coolpix L2 will best suit my needs. The Description and the factors which made me like it are as follows:

Image Sensor : 6.0 effective megapixels(Good for an entry level model)
1/2.5-inch type (6.18 million total pixels)

Lens : Zoom-Nikkor
Focal Length : 6.3-19.2mm (35mm [135] format equivalent to 38-116mm)
5 elements in 5 groupss
Maximum Aperture : f/3.2(W)-5.3(T)
Optical Zoom : 3x
Focus Range / Macro : 30cm (12 in.) to infinity, 10cm (3.9 in.) to infinity in Macro Mode

LCD monitor : 2.0-inch type, 86,000-dot TFT LCD monitor with brightness adjustment

Storage media: Internal Memory (32MB total, 23MB for image), SD memory card (not included)

*Front and Back View(Click the image to Enlarge it)

Shooting Modes:

Auto, 4 modes with Scene Assist (Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Night Portrait), 11 Scene Modes (Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/Dawn, Night Landscape, Close Up, Museum, Fireworks Show, Copy, Back Light, Panorama Assist);

Voice Recording, BSS (Best Shot Selector), Color options, Blur Warning, Date Imprint;

Self-timer (10 sec)

With sound: TV movie (640) at 30/15fps, Small size (320) at 30/15 fps, Smaller size (160) at 15fps

Pictmotion: N/A

Capture modes:
1) Single, 2) Continuous (approx. 1.7fps), 3) Multi-shot 16

Built-in flash:
Range: Approx 1 ft - 9 ft 10 in (0.3-3.0m) (W), Approx 1 ft - 5 ft 9 in (0.4- 1.75m) (T); Flash modes: Auto, Auto with Red-eye Reduction (In-Camera Red-Eye Fix (TM)), Flash Cancel, Anytime Flash, and Slow Sync

Interface : USB, Audio Video output

Wireless capability: N/A

Supported languages: Total of 12 languages: German/ English/ Spanish/ French/ Italian/ Dutch/ Russian/ Swedish/ Japanese/ Simplified Chinese/ Traditional Chinese/ Korean, selectable in menu display

AA-size battery (LR6 alkaline (included), ZR6 oxyride, or lithium) x 2, Rechargeable NiMH Battery EN-MH1 x 2 (optional), EH-65A AC Adapter (optional)

Battery life (approx): 180 shots with alkaline, 600 shots with lithium, or 320 shots with EN-MH1 (CIPA standard)

A Snap by the L2(Click Image to Enlarge)

Included Accessories:

Supplied accessories may differ by country or area
- No memory card included
- 2 LR6 AA-type alkaline batteries
- Strap
- UC-E6 USB Cable, EG-CP11 Video Cable
- PictureProject CD-ROM

Optional Accessories:
MH-71 Battery Charger, Rechargeable Ni-MH Battery EN-MH1, EH-65A AC Adapter, Case, Case/Battery/Recharger Kit

Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 91 x 60.5 x 26mm /
3.6 x 2.4 x 1.0 in.
Weight (Camera body only) 120g / 4.2 oz (without battery and SD memory card)

Its the best for an amateur photgrapher to point-and -shoot.
A 2.0-in. LCD monitor has 86,000 pixels resolution, kind of low by today's standards, but good enough for outdoors use.

The Nikon Coolpix L2 is targeted to entry-level photographers desiring automated operations in an ultra-compact, simple-to-use and affordable digital camera. Nikon's unique D-Lighting and Best Shot Selector help the beginner get the shot in less than ideal situations. Recommended for sunny outdoors use.

Buy it Here(Lowest Price $177-Rs.8,140)

Nikon Coolpix L2 User Profile:

(i) Desire an entry-level 6.0 MP resolution point-and-shoot digital camera.
(ii) Want an ultra compact, JeansPocketâ„¢ Certified digital camera (small fashion purse, jeans pocket).
(iii) Have no problem with small buttons.
(iv) Able to hold a small camera steady and gentle with shutter release.
(v) Will use it mostly outdoors in bright and sunny conditions.


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