Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The XO-1, previously known as the $100 Laptop or Children's Machine, is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge, and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves" (constructionist learning). The laptop is developed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization and manufactured by Quanta Computer.

The laptops are designed for sale to government education systems which then give each and every primary school child their own laptop. Pricing was set to start at US$188 in 2006, with a stated goal to reach the $100 mark in 2008.

The rugged, low-power computers contain flash memory instead of a hard drive and use Linux as their operating system. Mobile ad-hoc networking is used to allow many machines to share Internet access from one connection.

This laptop helped to define the emerging (2007) category of Netbooks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Intel 80386

The Intel 80386, otherwise known as the Intel386, i386 or just 386, is a microprocessor which has been used as the central processing unit (CPU) of many personal computers and workstations since 1986.

As the original implementation of the 32-bit form of the 8086-architecture, the i386 instruction set, programming model, and binary encodings is still the common denominator for all 32-bit x86 processors. As such, it has remained virtually unchanged for over 20 years, enabling modern processors to run most programs written for earlier chips, all the way back to the original 16-bit 8086 of 1978.

Successively newer implementations of this same architecture have become several hundred times faster than the original i386 chip during these years (or thousands of times faster than the 8086). A 33 MHz i386 was reportedly measured to operate at about 11.4 MIPS.

The i386 was launched in October 1985, but full-function chips were first delivered in 1986[vague]. Mainboards for 386-based computer systems were at first expensive to produce but were rationalized upon the 386's mainstream adoption. The first personal computer to make use of the 386 was designed and manufactured by Compaq.

In May 2006 Intel announced that production of the 386 would cease at the end of September 2007. Although it had long been obsolete as a personal computer CPU, Intel, and others, had continued to manufacture the chip for embedded systems, including aerospace technology.

Monday, December 1, 2008

PowerBook 150

The PowerBook 150 was a laptop created by Apple Computer in 1994. It was the last member of the PowerBook 100 series to use the original case design, the most affordable of the series when introduced, and also the last consumer model. It was 8 MHz faster than its predecessor, the PowerBook 145B. It lacked an ADB port and used a lower quality passive matrix display than other current offerings, both to reduce the price. Like the Duos & PowerBook 100 before it, the 150 only had a single serial printer port, however, a third party adapter was available for use in the optional modem slot. For those users requiring an external keyboard or mouse, this made a serial option a practical consideration. It also lacked a rear port door, unlike the rest of the 100 series models. Though it used the 140 case design, its internals were based on the PowerBook Duo 230 and actually more similar to the features of the PowerBook 190 (which used the PowerBook 5300's case design). Notably, this new logicboard design allowed this 100 series PowerBook to use more than 14MB RAM for the first time, as well as the first Macintosh ever to use less expensive and larger IDE drives (formatting required a unique software application limiting the selection of compatible drives). It was also the first of the 100 series to include a lithium-ion backup battery to preserve RAM contents when the battery is replaced. This is the last PowerBook model to include a trackball. However, like the 145B it replaced, the 150 could not be used in SCSI Disk Mode, unlike the Duo, 190 and 5300 which had HD Target Mode implemented.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pointing stick

The pointing stick (trademarked by IBM as the TrackPoint & by Synaptics as the Touchstyk) is an isometric joystick used as a pointing device (compare especially touchpad). It was invented by research scientist Ted Selker. It is present on many brands of laptop, including IBM's line of ThinkPad laptops (now made by Lenovo), Toshiba Satellite laptops, HP business notebooks and on Dell Latitudes under the name of Track Stick. It has also been observed on computer mice and on some desktop keyboards, such as the UltraNav. Pointing stick devices are sometimes informally referred to as a "nipple", "nub"[citation needed], "nipple mouse" The pointing stick has a replaceable rubber cap, traditionally red on the ThinkPad but also found in other colors on other machines. On a QWERTY keyboard, the stick is embedded between the 'G', 'H' and 'B' keys, and the mouse buttons are placed just below the Spacebar. The cap can also be a slightly rough "grippy cat's tongue" material. The mouse buttons are usually operated by the right thumb, but some people use both left and right thumbs, for buttons 1/3 respectively.

The pointing stick operates by sensing applied force (hence it is also known as an isometric joystick), by using a pair of resistive strain gauges. The velocity of the cursor depends on the applied force.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


The UNIVAC I (U N I Versal A utomatic C omputer I ) was the first commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was begun by their company, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand. (In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC".)

The first UNIVAC was delivered to the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951 and was dedicated on June 14th that year. The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 presidential election. With a sample of just 1% of the voting population it correctly predicted that Eisenhower would win. The UNIVAC I computers were built by Remington Rand's UNIVAC-division (successor of the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, bought by Rand in 1950).

Friday, November 28, 2008


CSIRAC (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Automatic Computer, pronounced /'sаɪræk/), originally known as CSIR Mk 1, was Australia's first digital computer, and the fourth stored program computer in the world. It was first to play digital music and is the only intact first-generation computer.

The CSIRAC was constructed by a team led by Trevor Pearcey and Maston Beard, working in large part independently of similar efforts across Europe and the United States, and ran its first test program some time in November 1949.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Honeywell 316 (Kitchen computer)

The Honeywell 316 was a popular 16-bit minicomputer built by Honeywell starting in 1969. It is part of the Series 16 which includes the Models 116, 316, 416, 516 and 716. They were commonly used for data acquisition and control, remote message concentration, clinical laboratory systems and time-sharing. The Series 16 computers are all based on the DDP-116 designed by Gardner Hendrie at Computer Control Corporation (3C) in 1964.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jacquard loom

The Jacquard Loom is a mechanical loom, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns such as brocade, damask, and matelasse[1]. The loom is controlled by pasteboard cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row of the design. Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card and the many cards that compose the design of the textile are strung together in order. It is based on earlier inventions by the Frenchmen Basile Bouchon (1725), Jean Falcon (1728) and Jacques Vaucanson (1740)

Each hole in the card corresponds to a "Bolus" hook, which can either be up or down. The hook raises or lowers the harness, which carries and guides the warp thread so that the weft will either lie above or below it. The sequence of raised and lowered threads is what creates the pattern. Each hook can be connected via the harness to a number of threads, allowing more than one repeat of a pattern. A loom with a 400 hook head might have four threads connected to each hook, resulting in a fabric that is 1600 warp ends wide with four repeats of the weave going across.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rainbow 100

The Rainbow 100 was a microcomputer introduced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1982 to compete in the IBM PC market. This desktop unit had the video-terminal display circuitry from the VT102, a video monitor similar to the VT220 in a box with both Z80 and 8088 CPUs. The Rainbow 100 was a triple-boot machine: VT102 mode, CP/M mode (using the Z80), and CP/M-86 or MS-DOS mode using the 8088.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Datapoint 2200

The Datapoint 2200 was a mass-produced programmable terminal announced by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) in June, 1970 (with units shipping in 1971). It was intended by its designers simply to be a versatile, cost-efficient terminal for connecting to a wide variety of mainframes by loading various terminal emulations from tape rather than being hardwired as most terminals were. However, enterprising users in the business sector (including Pillsbury Foods) realized that this so-called "programmable terminal" was equipped to perform any task a simple computer could, and exploited this fact by using their 2200s as standalone computer systems. Equally significant is the fact that the terminal's CPU (processor) was the embryo of the x86 instruction set architecture, which powered the original IBM PC and has powered all of its descendants since.