Posts tagged with ‘computers’

Global e-Waste Growing to 65.4 Million Tons by 2017
A new study by a coalition of NGOs, and industry, science, UN and government bodies, attempts to map the flow of e-waste around the globe. In doing so, it predict a huge surge in our collective discarded junk, with the United States and China generating the most waste.
Via The Independent:

[S]oaring international demand for electric and electronic products is fueling a global rise in e-waste, which is set to reach 65.4 million tons annually by 2017.
The grim forecast is from a new study released today, which has mapped more than 180 countries.
It reveals that, in only five years, the yearly amount of e-waste will rise 33 per cent from the 49 million tons of used electrical and electronic items generated last year…
…Mobile phones form the bulk of the 14 million used electronic products exported, with most used phones destined for Hong Kong, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Old computers are generally sent to Asian countries, while heavy items such as TVs and computer monitors end up in places such as Mexico, Venezuela, Paraguay and China.

The exportation of our unwanted electronics has strong, local health concerns. Take, for example, Guiyu, China. The town has become a dumping ground for old computers, phones and other gadgets with an industry arising that tries to strip valuable metals from, say, say microchips.
Side effect, according to the BBC:

The soil in Guiyu has been found to be so saturated with heavy metals such as lead, chromium and tin that groundwater has become undrinkable.
According to China’s Shantou University, the town has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world, and local children suffer from an extremely high rate of lead poisoning.

Image: A woman in Guiyu, China strips electronics of their valuable parts. Select to embiggen.

Global e-Waste Growing to 65.4 Million Tons by 2017

A new study by a coalition of NGOs, and industry, science, UN and government bodies, attempts to map the flow of e-waste around the globe. In doing so, it predict a huge surge in our collective discarded junk, with the United States and China generating the most waste.

Via The Independent:

[S]oaring international demand for electric and electronic products is fueling a global rise in e-waste, which is set to reach 65.4 million tons annually by 2017.

The grim forecast is from a new study released today, which has mapped more than 180 countries.

It reveals that, in only five years, the yearly amount of e-waste will rise 33 per cent from the 49 million tons of used electrical and electronic items generated last year…

…Mobile phones form the bulk of the 14 million used electronic products exported, with most used phones destined for Hong Kong, and countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Old computers are generally sent to Asian countries, while heavy items such as TVs and computer monitors end up in places such as Mexico, Venezuela, Paraguay and China.

The exportation of our unwanted electronics has strong, local health concerns. Take, for example, Guiyu, China. The town has become a dumping ground for old computers, phones and other gadgets with an industry arising that tries to strip valuable metals from, say, say microchips.

Side effect, according to the BBC:

The soil in Guiyu has been found to be so saturated with heavy metals such as lead, chromium and tin that groundwater has become undrinkable.

According to China’s Shantou University, the town has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world, and local children suffer from an extremely high rate of lead poisoning.

Image: A woman in Guiyu, China strips electronics of their valuable parts. Select to embiggen.

Your Solar Powered Laptop
Via David Snir:

A month ago we revealed SOL to the world. SOL is a solar laptop that runs on Linux. It runs on direct sunlight! Free Software & Free energy. SOL is rugged, waterproof and very affordable at $350-$400. It was created to enhance education in developing countries. SOL is first launching in Ghana this month…
A lot (A LOT haha) of people have asked a few question about SOL - so here’s one image that answers two: Yes, SOL will come in various colors (shown here is SOL Black Mamba model) and Yes, there are 4 PV panel powering the unit.
SOL’s website (www.solaptop.com) will be updated next week - We’ve promised to the community product specifications, better product views and prices and you will have those coming in the website’s update.

Image: The Black Mamba Laptop, via SOL. Select to embiggen.

Your Solar Powered Laptop

Via David Snir:

A month ago we revealed SOL to the world. SOL is a solar laptop that runs on Linux. It runs on direct sunlight! Free Software & Free energy. SOL is rugged, waterproof and very affordable at $350-$400. It was created to enhance education in developing countries. SOL is first launching in Ghana this month…

A lot (A LOT haha) of people have asked a few question about SOL - so here’s one image that answers two: Yes, SOL will come in various colors (shown here is SOL Black Mamba model) and Yes, there are 4 PV panel powering the unit.

SOL’s website (www.solaptop.com) will be updated next week - We’ve promised to the community product specifications, better product views and prices and you will have those coming in the website’s update.

Image: The Black Mamba Laptop, via SOL. Select to embiggen.

The Little People Working in our Machines

Via Wired:

Mark Crummett thinks modern technology is beautiful. To him the devices we’ve built, such as computers, are not only functional, they’re aesthetically appealing. Especially on the inside.

“I like the idea that [technology] looks the way it does because it has to look that way,” he says. “A hard drive is made out of round and shiny material because of what it has to do and how it has to do it.”

Crummett says he’s tried to highlight that beauty in a series of photographs he calls Ghosts in the Machine. He’s placed model railroad figurines inside the guts of old computers and other contraptions, making the processors and transistors form a kind of otherworldly cityscape. Computer fan vents become postmodern architecture. Motherboards become strange new ecosystems.

For more images, and how Crummett shoots, visit Wired.

Images: Selected photographs from Ghosts in the Machine by Mark Crummett, via Wired. Select to embiggen.

Old Timey Computer Ads

Behold the computer in a briefcase, the $3,398 10MB hard disk and the 16k of RAM that turns your computer into a working giant.

For more, visit io9, Hilarious and Awesome Computer Ads from the Golden Age of PCs.

The WITCH is Back

The 61-year-old Harwell Dekatron (aka, WITCH) computer was rebooted earlier this month by England’s National Museum of Computing. The museum claims it’s “the world’s oldest original working digital computer.”

Via the BBC:

Design and construction work on the machine began in 1949 and it was built to aid scientists working at the UK’s Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell in Oxfordshire. The 2.5 tonne machine was created to ease the burden on scientists by doing electronically the calculations that previously were done using adding machines.

The machine cranked through the boring calculations atomic scientists once had to do The machine first ran in 1951 and was known as the Harwell Dekatron - so named for the valves it used as a memory store. Although slow - the machine took up to 10 seconds to multiply two numbers - it proved very reliable and often cranked up 80 hours of running time in a week.

FJP: 61 years from a 2.5 ton machine that takes ten seconds to multiply two numbers to ever aware smartphones in our pockets? Not bad.

For more old-timey tech, see our Jurassic Technology tag.

Tired of staring at a computer all day? Well, go back a 100 years and you’d have been working in a grueling factory all day. Go back another century and you’d have been tending a field all day. Go back 500 years and more than half of your children would have died before the age of five. And yet you’d *still* be using all kinds of human-made objects and systems. As we read yesterday, humans may have been deploying fire for 1 MILLION YEARS. No matter how far back you go, you’ll find us shaping our environment. It is technology all the way down.

Raspberry Pi Launches, Crushed by Demand

In January we noted that the Raspberry Pi Foundation began production on a $35 Linux computer that was about the size of a credit card.

Yesterday, the foundation announced that the computer was available and could be purchased via two British distributors. If only interest wasn’t so great: both distributors’ Web sites crashed under heavy demand.

Via Ars Technica:

The Raspberry Pi foundation attempted to launch its $35 Linux computer on Tuesday evening, but the organization’s retail partners couldn’t cope with the massive demand. Two British electronic component distributors that intended to sell the product were unable to do so—their websites went down, succumbing to the stampede of eager enthusiasts who sought to purchase the hotly-anticipated system.

The product is a bare board with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 256MB of RAM. It’s roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and has a powerful GPU that is reportedly competitive with that of modern smartphones. Developer prototypes of the product have been shown running impressive graphics demos and decoding high-definition video.

The two companies selling the Raspberry Pi are Premier Farnell and RS Components. As of this writing the RS site is up while the Farnell site is still down.

Explainer of the Day: Understanding Computer Technology
Via Jaana Nyström. 

Explainer of the Day: Understanding Computer Technology

Via Jaana Nyström

fiftyyrsoftech asked: I suspect our blogs will share much in common.. Do you plan to post more on the history of technology and products?

Hi there, 

I think you might be referencing posts we tag with “Jurassic Technology”.

We don’t go out of our way to find it but are certainly happy when we come across old computers, visions of the future and assorted odds and ends that sort of somewhat demonstrate where we’ve come from.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the history of  modern computing is over 60 years old, the Internet is over 40 years old, the Web over 20.

Or that the first calculator dates back to 2400 BC.

IBM PORTABLE COMPUTER (1975)
IBM introduced the 5100 Portable Computer in September 1975. The machine weighed around 50 pounds and was a little larger than a typewriter. Though it may appear clunky compared with today’s computers, the 5100 was significantly smaller than the era’s other computers with similar capabilities; it could use both the APL and BASIC programming languages and could be equipped with up to 64 kilobytes of memory. Fully loaded, the 5100 cost around $20,000.
Technology Review: 100 Years of IBM in Pictures.

IBM PORTABLE COMPUTER (1975)

IBM introduced the 5100 Portable Computer in September 1975. The machine weighed around 50 pounds and was a little larger than a typewriter. Though it may appear clunky compared with today’s computers, the 5100 was significantly smaller than the era’s other computers with similar capabilities; it could use both the APL and BASIC programming languages and could be equipped with up to 64 kilobytes of memory. Fully loaded, the 5100 cost around $20,000.

Technology Review: 100 Years of IBM in Pictures.

1966 Prediction of the Home Computer

"What the wife selects on her console will be paid for by the husband at his counterpart console."

The future through the eyes of the past.

This 1994 Knight-Ridder Interface Design Lab video explores its efforts to create a tablet newspaper. Fun to see what they got right and what they got wrong in their digital forecasts.

Via PaleoFuture. The video’s available for download at the Open Video Project.

Run Time: 13:23.

Get to Know a Computer: The Osborne I.
Thirty years ago this month the world’s first commercially available portable computer was released. Hipsters rejoiced. Tens of thousands were sold.
Consider then, your parents’ portable.
Called the Osborne I, it weighed in at a lean 23.5 pounds (10.7 kilograms), sported a 5 inch (13 cm) screen that displayed an impressive 52 characters per line of text, had 64k of RAM and two single sided floppy drives for storage.
Price Tag: $1,795 (approximately $4,250 today adjusted for inflation).

Get to Know a Computer: The Osborne I.

Thirty years ago this month the world’s first commercially available portable computer was released. Hipsters rejoiced. Tens of thousands were sold.

Consider then, your parents’ portable.

Called the Osborne I, it weighed in at a lean 23.5 pounds (10.7 kilograms), sported a 5 inch (13 cm) screen that displayed an impressive 52 characters per line of text, had 64k of RAM and two single sided floppy drives for storage.

Price Tag: $1,795 (approximately $4,250 today adjusted for inflation).