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Computers

The first OPC from Orange Amps was made available in August 2010 and we've been closely following its development ever since. The bundled musician-related software has remained pretty much the same since launch but the musician's computer was given a serious hardware upgrade towards the close of 2011, and it's the new Core i7 system which I've been getting to know over the past few weeks. I've also managed to discuss some of the finer details with the driving force behind the OPC, and its lead developer, Charlie Cooper. Read More
As proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “flow” is an ideal psychological state in which we are engaged enough by a task not to find it boring, and yet not so challenged by it that we get discouraged. When learning new subjects, however, students often end up falling at one end or the other of that scale. Now, a new computerized tutoring system has been developed to keep students in the “flow” zone. It does so by monitoring their emotional state, then adjusting its teaching method to steer them away from boredom or frustration. Read More
Israel's CompuLab has announced a Q2 release for its most powerful miniature fanless PC to date. Designed for customization and extensibility, and based around Intel's second generation Core i processors, the Intense PC features a 6Gbps SATA 3 connection for internal 2.5-inch format hard drive or SSD storage, an HDMI 1.4 port with support for up to 1920 x 1200 screen resolution, and wireless LAN with two antennas. There are more physical connectivity ports than you can shake a stick at, and the unit only draws 8W of power when idle. Read More
The Raspberry Pi went on sale just hours ago through UK electronics companies vendors Premier Farnell and RS Components, the latter quoting a price of GBP21.60 (US$34.43) for the enhanced-spec, credit card-sized Model B - the only one available for purchase today. I say "available" - unfortunately the websites of both vendors went down due to a high volume of traffic from hopefuls clamoring for their piece of the tiny Linux home computer. Read More
Just seven months after Lion hit servers, Apple has released OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8) to developers. This tight development cycle is in support of integrating the best features of Apple's iOS mobile operating system into OS X. As Steve Jobs put it in 2010, Apple intends to "hook up" the user environments of the iPad and the MacBook. The result is a substantial step forward for Apple interconnectivity. Read More
Researchers at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have developed a psychological model of patterns as seen and selected by humans, and incorporated it in their IQ test solving programs. By doing so they have created a computer program that can score 150 on standard non-verbal IQ test questions. Read More
John Martinis’ research group at the University of California at Santa Barbara has created the first quantum computer with the quantum equivalent of conventional Von Neumann architecture. This general-purpose programmable quantum computer is realized using superconducting circuits and offers greater potential for large-scale quantum computing than the one-problem devices that have been demonstrated in this emerging field to date. Read More
For the past several decades, it has been assumed that in order to store data on a magnetic medium, a magnetic field must be applied. Recently, however, an international team of scientists discovered that heat can be used instead of a magnetic field. Not only is this method reportedly more energy efficient, but it also theoretically allows for ten times the storage capacity and 300 times the performance of current hard drive technology. Read More
Want to get your computer to run faster? Well, consider its graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU). The two work away at their own tasks, each one rarely helping the other shoulder its workload. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, are in the process of changing that. They have already developed a technique that allows GPUs and CPUs located on a single chip to collaborate on tasks, and it has resulted in a processing speed increase of over 20 percent. Read More
There's good news for those itching to get their hands on a Raspberry Pi. After a short delay, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has confirmed that the first batch of the US$25 computers is due to roll off the production line February 20. Shifting production eastwards caused some delay, as the cheapest available quartz crystal package selected when manufacturing was planned for the UK proved harder to source in China, where the Pi will now be manufactured. The first batch will be freighted by air to the UK, where the wee beasties should be available before the end of the month. Previously, the first batch had been slated for completion by the end of January. Read More
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