DYK Thursday – The First Ever Laptop Weighed 12 Kg!

Hey there, welcome to the DYK Thursday. Here we share interesting and fascinating facts every week.

Have you ever wondered how the world’s first laptop looked? or how much did it weigh? If you did, the answer is in this post. Read on.

The first portable computer was invented in the year 1981. It could be called as a portable computer rather than a laptop, for the reason which I will state in this post later. This portable computer was released by the Osborne Computer Corporation, under the name “Osborne – 1″. The Osborne – 1 was priced at around USD 1795 which was just about half the cost more than the normal computers in those times (1981).

Here are some specifications of the Osborne Computer.

Introduced: April 1981
Price: US $1,795
Weight: 24.5 pounds
CPU: Zilog Z80 @ 4.0 MHz
RAM: 64K RAM
Display: built-in 5″ monitor
53 X 24 text
Ports: parallel / IEEE-488
modem / serial port
Storage: dual 5-1/4 inch, 91K drives
OS: CP/M

An interesting fact worth noticing here is that the Osborne Computer weighed about 24.5 pounds/ 12 Kg approximately! So tell me now, can you call this a “laptop”? Certainly not!

The founder of Osborne Computer Corporation, Adam Osborne was the mastermind behind this innovative idea. Osborne 1 was a huge hit amongst the people and it gave a great profit to the company.

Later, after the success of Osborne 1, the company announced about two new computers (portable) named as Executive and Vixen. This announcement lead to a serious downfall of the company. The customers stopped buying the Osborne 1, instead waited for the new computers.

The downfall of the company resulted in the bankruptcy of the company. Thus, even the production of other to computers could not take place. This became a phenomenon and is often called as the Osborne effect.

The above situation is somewhat similar to the “Apple – Gizmodo” story. After seeing the iPhone 4G specs,   people would mostly wait for it, rather than buying the iPhone 3G. However, in this case the product was leaked, but in the above case it was announced by the company itself!

That’s it in this DYK post! Hope you liked it!

Source: Wikipedia and Old Computers

Android 3.0 a.k.a. Gingerbread To Release in Q4 2010

We still have few days left for the official release of Android 2.2 a.k.a. Froyo, but the release date of the future Android OS, Gingerbread is already disclosed. The Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) is scheduled to release in Q4 2010.  android-gingerbread

Google has just introduced their latest WebM media format. In the WebM documentation, is the first mention of Android 3.0 release date.

“When will other Google products support WebM and VP8?

WebM support in Android is expected in the Gingerbread release (currently planned for Q4, 2010). We expect many other Google products to adopt WebM and VP8 as they prioritize it with their other product requirements. Keep an eye on the WebM blog for announcements.”

So, we still have to get our hands on the Android 2.2 a.k.a. Froyo and the future Android OS is already in the Menu. Let us wait for Android 2.2 and let the Gingerbread to be baked meantime.

(Source)

Image Source Engadget

Next Generation iPod Touch With 2-Megapixel Camera Leaked??

Thanks to Apple, Vietnam sure is grabbing a lot of headlines nowadays. A few days ago, Tinhte.vn got their hands on the upcoming MacBook, and the iPhone HD/4G. Now Tinhte.vn has managed to get their hands dirty withiPod Touch an iPod Touch that has a 2-megapixel camera at its back! The device has a ‘DVT-11′ code written at its back, which points to this device being an early prototype. The serial key of the device shows that this it is a 3rd generation iPod touch, manufactured in late 2009.

The device has 64 GB of memory, as indicated by the ’64G’ written on the device. The 2-megapixel camera is manufactured by Omnivision. The device was shown running the iPhone OS 3.1 when connected to a computer. Apple might release a new iPod Touch with camera at the upcoming WWDC on June 7th. Users can check the leaked iPod Touch pictures here.

TalkToMe: An Android App That Translates What You Say

With dozens of apps available to perform text-to-text translation, it has become a thing of the past. TalkToMe is a cool app for Android phones that take translation to the next level. Just say something in English and the app will translate it to desired foreign language. Not only that, the app will actually speak the translated version back to you.

So the app actually takes your speech, converts it into text, translates it and then converts it into speech again. This is fantastic technology and highly useful for people whi often find themselves in a foreign country struggling with the language. The languages supported right now include Spanish, French, German, Italian and UK or USA English. The app is complete free of cost and can be downloaded fron the Android market place.

Android App Talk To Me

Imagine yourself traveling to a remote place in Italy and not knowing enough Italian to ask for directions. With TalkToMe, you don’t need to learn a new language, you just need to know how to use the app. Here is a short video review for TalkToMe courtesy of AndroidApps:

[Image Credit Androlib]

TwitweeClock: A Clock That Cuckoos For Specific Tweets

Twitter has been used in all sorts of amazing things. The latest one is a clock that cuckoo’s everytime a tweet matching your query comes in. This clock called TwitweeClock has been designed by Haroon Baig, a communication designer from Germany.

You can set the TwitweeClock to cuckoo anytime a tweet with your user name or a specific hashtag comes in. For example, in the video below Haroon demonstrates how the TwitweeClock cuckoos when any tweet carried the word TwitweeClock. It is a great tool to be used in emergencies or in situations where you are expecting a critically important tweet but cannot be around your computer or mobile phone.

Once the clock cuckoos, the incoming tweet can be read on a small screen attached to the clock. The screen can also be used to scroll through previous tweets that have come in through to TwitweeClock. Here is some other information on how Haroon put this together:

From a technical point of view the clock consists of a touch screen display with a controller board and a wifi dongle, that is distributed as an open source/ open hardware platform with a linux operating system by Chumby Industries. On the device there is a Flash Lite Player installed, a flash runtime for mobile devices from Adobe. A custom built widget for the Twitwee Clock connects to the Twitter API to receive new tweets. The mechanic of the cuckoo is controlled by the Arduino Board.


Via FlowingData

Internet Explorer 9 Will Support VP8: Apple, Now It’s Your Turn

Internet-Explorer-WebM WebM was just unveiled and already it is making its presence felt. In my previous article, I mentioned that everyone from Google, Opera and Firefox to Adobe, Nvidia and AMD will be supporting it. Given Microsoft’s recent commitment to doing the right thing, I speculated that Internet Explorer may also follow suit. However, I never expected them to do it so fast.

Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch has confirmed that Internet Explorer 9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video. The rider being that the user must already have VP8 installed on his system (Windows 7 ships with H.264 computability). Re-iterating Microsoft’s commitment to supporting web standards, Hachamovitch said:

“We want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web. We are strongly committed to making sure that in IE9 you can safely view all types of content in all widely used formats. When it comes to video and HTML5, we’re all in. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows.”

Internet Explorer’s backing is a big boost to WebM, since IE is still the most used desktop browser. The only major browser manufacturer that is yet to commit to WebM is Apple. With seemingly the entire industry aligning with Google on WebM, Apple will be under pressure to follow suit. Yet, Apple is known for being unpredictable and unwavering.

WebM: Why We Should Be Excited

WebM-Open-Video-Codec Google has just unveiled WebM – an open source royalty free codec based on VP8 by On2. If everything goes according to (Google’s) plans, WebM would become the de-facto standard for HTML5 videos. In the past, I have emphasized on numerous occasions the need for an open codec – both on TechieBuzz and on my personal blog.

Until now, two codecs were being considered for use with the <video> tag – H.264 and Theora. Unfortunately, there are considerable problems with both. While Ogg Theora is royalty free and open source, it is a technically inferior codec. Not only are the file sizes generated by Ogg Theora larger, but it also lacks hardware acceleration support. The latter is critical for mobile devices like the iPad and the the iPhone. H.264 is a superior codec, but it is proprietary. If it becomes the prevalent codec, we would be held hostage to MPEG-LA’s goodwill.

If you believe that this doesn’t affect you, then think again. MPEG-LA is legally entitled to collect royalty from both content distributors as well as (commercial) content providers. Yes, they have decided to waiver this fee til 2015. However, there is nothing stopping them from changing their minds after the initial grace period is over.

WebM offers a way out. It is a media project encompassing both audio and video. While the video codec is based on VP8 codec by On2 (Theora is based on VP3), Vorbis will be used for delivering audio. The container format is based on a subset of the Matroska media container.

WebM will be initially supported by Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera. While Chrome had earlier chosen to support both H.264 and Theora, the latter two had opted against using the patent encumbered H.264. Now the big question is, will Apple and Microsoft back WebM?

My guess is that Microsoft will make Internet Explorer WebM compliant in time. The biggest thorn in Google’s way may be Apple. Apple has been pushing hard in favor of H.264. In fact, recently Steve Jobs had issued a thinly veiled threat against Theora. His exact words being, “A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other open sourcecodecs now”.

The biggest advantage WebM has is Google and its might. While, MPEG-LA would like to go after any open codec it considers a threat, Google is a formidable target. WebM will also be getting a huge initial impetus in form of YouTube compatibility. Numerous major players have already pledged to support WebM. Besides the aforementioned browser vendors, hardware manufacturers like AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Freescale, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments will be backing the new technology. Adobe will also be supporting WebM through Flash.

If you want to get a taste of WebM go ahead and download the experimental builds of Mozilla Firefox or Opera. Google Chrome builds with WebM should be released on May 24.

[ Download Opera and Mozilla Firefox with WebM ]

Your Phone’s Battery Should Last A Day, says Larry Page

zeitgeist1-728-75

We don’t have any doubt in the fact that some Android phones have trouble with their battery performance. Many users have complained about the battery of their phone, which drains quickly.

At Google’s annual partner forum, Google Zeitgeist, a question was asked to the co-founder of Google, Larry Page, that whether he is looking forward to solve the battery issues in Android phones. To which Larry Page replied, that the battery is pretty good in the Android phones and he is pretty happy with it.

Larry Page, taking this topic into detail also said, “I have noticed there are a few people who have phones where there is software running in the background that just sort of exhausts the battery quickly. If you are not getting a day, there is something wrong.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt also replied to the topic, “The primary consumer of the battery life on these phones is the transmit/receive circuit. So tuning that and obviously figuring out a way to not use too much of that extends your battery life”

So, the applications (which runs continuously in background) of Android are to be blamed for the poor battery performance, according to Larry Page. Note that all Android developers and users.

(Source)

Download iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 4

Apple has just released the latest beta version of the upcoming iPhone OS 4. The latest beta version is numbered 4. There are not many changes compared to the previous beta version. The default home screen has been completely revamped in the new beta version. The clock, calculator, calendar, compass and voice memo applications icons are now present inside the Utilitiesfolder. Apple has also added some new wallpapers in this new beta version.

iPhone OS

Users now also have the option to turn off the ability to send group messages. Another major change in this new beta is the Internet Tetheringoption. The iPhone OS now finally has the tethering option, and it looks like AT&T is also ready for tethering by boosting their network strength. There is a slight performance improvement as well. The phone’s UI and the all applications present in the phone now feel faster and responsive.

Developers can download the latest beta version of the upcoming iPhone OS 4 from here.

(Source)

Google, Opera And Mozilla Announce New Competitor To H.264 – WebM

At Google I/O Google, Mozilla and Opera have announced a new alternative for video content in HTML5.

The video codec for HTML5 has been a major bone of contention with Apple siding with H.264 instead of Ogg. Microsoft has offered support for H.264 too. Today, Google, Mozilla and Opera have come up with another alternative to this debate. Known as WebM, the format is based on the VP8 technology Google acquired with On2 Technologies. CNET reports that the audio uses Ogg Vorbis.

Given that the video codec to be used with HTML5 hasn’t been finalised and browser makers are free to use their own, Opera, Firefox and Chrome will be using WebM. The format seems to have a massive momentum behind it with the three major cross-platform browsers behind it.

Google has also released documentation on WebM:

Opera has a blog post about their plans for WebM and have committed to the format for their mobile and desktop browsers.

You can download Opera builds of WebM for Windows, Ubuntu and Mac OS X as of now:

Windows:

Mac:

Linux (currently limited to Ubuntu support):

Update: VP8 is a royalty free and completely open source video codec.

Update #2: Adobe just announced support for VP8 in Flash. Looks like Flash might not be dying so soon after all.

Update #3: Download the Nightly Firefox build with WebM here.

Know your technology head on