Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine.
According to a 2008 study conducted for England’s Which?
magazine, computer keyboards can contain up to five times the amount of bacteria as toilet seats. This is particularly yucky news for users of public or shared keyboards, who are being exposed to other peoples’
bacteria. In settings such as hospitals, where doctors and nurses share keyboards, it’s a situation that definitely should be addressed. Fortunately, a study recently conducted at the University of Hertfordshire determined that an ultraviolet light device very effectively sanitizes keyboards.
The Eagle has landed. As portable devices sporting ARM's Cortex A9 1GHz powerhouse start to appear, the company has unveiled the next step in the evolution of its system-on-a-chip Cortex A architecture, the A15 MPCore processor. ARM-based chips currently provide the processing power for a host of mobile devices, from smartphones to tablets, and this latest development is claimed to deliver five times the performance of current solutions such as the Cortex A8, yet has a similar low energy footprint.
has announced details of its most powerful commercial system ever. The core server of the new zEnterprise System mainframe – called zEnterprise 196 – contains 96 z196 processors, which IBM touts as the world’s fastest, most powerful computer chip. IBM is aiming the system at businesses such as banks and retailers dealing with the skyrocketing amounts of data resulting from the ever increasing amount of business transactions carried out in an increasingly inter-connected business world.
Back in the halcyon days of the 80’s, my siblings and I were lucky enough to receive a VIC-20 computer for Christmas. As much fun as I had whiling away the hours on such classics as Missile Command
and Lode Runner
, I was always insanely jealous of friends who had the power of the Commodore 64 at their fingertips. Now, some 20 plus years later, I may finally be able to satiate my jealousy with the news that the good ol’ C64 could soon be back on the market – and with some much more impressive specs.
Four mechanical engineering undergraduates from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have installed a computer and eight velocity sensors on a surfboard, in effort to create the ultimate surfing experience. While the students ride the board across the waves, the sensors register the speed at which the board skims along the water, then send that data to the computer, which proceeds to transmit it wirelessly to a laptop on the beach. The computer also saves the data on an internal memory card. The students built the board for their senior design project, but also as a part of Ph.D. student Benjamin Thompson’s science-of-surfboards project, in which he hopes to design the "perfect" board.
Laptop computers are
appropriately named, as they do sit nicely on your lap. If you’ve ever tried using one down there, however, you’ll know that it’s not the most ergonomic set-up imaginable – you have to bend your head down, keep your knees up, and feel your thighs getting toasty warm from the computer-generated heat that is evidently not
able to disperse into the air. In order to position laptops in other ways, various companies have offered laptop stands to put on your desk
, devices for turning your lap itself into a desk-like computer workspace
, gizmos that allow you to swivel your laptop over from the passenger seat of your car
, or that let you use it beside your bed
. If only there was one that held your laptop in front of you while you were lying on your back... there is, of course, and Hong Kong-based company Omax has a variety of them to choose from.
Pioneer Computers has announced the forthcoming availability of a Windows 7 tablet computer with an 11.6 inch capacitive touchscreen, up to 64GB of storage and ION-based graphics. Processing power for the DreamBook ePad L11 HD comes courtesy of Intel's Atom N450 processor and there's also a built-in camera and optional GPS.
Five years ago, Frog Design
founder Hartmut Esslinger envisioned a technology that “could influence notions of community, identity, and connectivity with minimal impact on the physical environment.” Using an online design portal, users would select and try out a customized electronic processing device that they would then print onto their own skin. The DNA Tattoo, or Dattoo, could include printable input/output tools such as a camera, microphone, or laser-loudspeaker - it would be up to the user, as would the Dattoo’s aesthetics. Most intriguingly, it would capture its wearer’s DNA, to ensure an intimate user/machine relationship.
Rather than rely on noisy fans to cool computer systems, overclockers and gamers have been using the chilling power of water to keep processors from overheating for quite some time. Now Kingston is offering three new flavors of water-cooled DDR3 memory modules to help keep the temperatures down while users try to squeeze even more performance from their machines.