I remember the first generation of portable computers -- the luggables -- and the intense, burning desire they aroused in my breast. Now I routinely carry four or five devices that are more powerful than the ones depicted in this 1982 (between phones, cameras, watches, laptop, etc), in a package that weighs less than the power-adapter on one of these behemoths. But I still yearn for one.
Just what is the difference between a pocket computer and some of the more sophisticated hand-held programmable calculators?
From a practical standpoint, it all depends on the type of information (data, if you will) that you manipulate. For many problems, numbers and mathematical formulas are all that are involved. And if number crunching is your game, either product may be suitable. (Astronauts, in fact, have often used programmable calculators to determine the data to be entered into on-board spacecraft computers.) Pocket or hand-held computers, however, not only allow you to crunch numbers (and in greater quantity), but to save them. You’ll also be able to save and manipulate letters and, in some cases, graphic symbols. This opens up problem solving to other-than-strictly-mathematical areas. In fact, it opens up the whole field of information storage and retrieval for virtually any purpose, from nuclear physics to household recipes.
Among the machines currently making their way to the marketplace, the two that most amply fit the criterion of pocketable are the Radio Shack TRS-80 Pocket Computer (manufactured by Sharp and also sold as the Sharp PC-1211) and the Quasar/Panasonic HHC (developed jointly by Matsushita of Japan and Friends Amis of San Francisco–those wonderful people in Silicon Valley who originally brought you the Atari video games and the Craig/Quasar/Panasonic language translator).
COMPUTERS THAT ARE REALLY PORTABLE (Mar, 1982)
Meet the Claire’s Accessories gom jabbar! Insert a finger into the box and it will print the image of your choice on the nail. Though intended for use by professionals, you can get them on Amazon for just shy of a grand and a few consumer reviews have turned up. It takes just 30 seconds […]
iSongs is a YouTube channel that shows popular songs being recreated from scratch with the music-making app that comes with the iPhone. It’s an excellent and incredibly dense tutorial, too, for those with the “observe and copy” learning style.
Consumer Reports' Digital Lab does groundbreaking privacy research: they're hiring for eight positions including technologists ("resident hacker," "digital standard manager," "information security researcher," "program manager, security and testing," and "privacy testing project leader"); journalists ("digital content manager"); policy and comms ("senior researcher, digital competition" and "associate director, strategic communications — technology and privacy"). Most of […]
We all know those gifts we get “for the kids,” the ones that parents are secretly more excited to open. Drones are a perfect example, but there’s a model out there that really doubles down on that appeal. Introducing the Space Fighter Building Block Drones, a series of space fighter drones that are a blast […]
The hardest part of web design can be nailing down the look. These days, even non-designers can easily spot a stale stock photo or lazily-made icon. What’s the solution? No matter what kind of artist you are, it’s always a good idea to widen your palette. And with more than a million vector images to […]
For all that tech that gets squeezed into them, the best wireless earbuds are ones we barely have to think about. That’s the whole point, right? We get wireless because we just want to hit play and have a hands-free, cordless soundtrack for the rest of the commute. If that’s your philosophy, definitely give these […]