COMPUTERS


Updated Aug 4 96

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Internet from anywhere

Now one can surf the net or send email to the office while lying on the beach . All one has to do is to connect a laptop via a PC Card to a mobile phone - a digital one like Nokia Orange and since the phone is digital even a modem is not necessary. Colorful web pages can be downloaded at 9.6kbps , fast enough for most purposes. Compuserve and other online services can accessed. It should lead to a revolution in small businesses operations as they will be able to conduct their business from anywhere in Europe with digtal phone service without the need to hunt for searching for fixed phone outlets. A palmtop like the Psion can also be used.

Internet phone

Intel have written software and will soon release a program which needs at least a 133Mhz processor together with a fast modem 28K to send color pictures at 8 to 12 frames per second over ordinary phone lines. The quality is very good and could lead to a revolution in communication.

Computer uses evolution to get smart

A computer built up of about 1000 logic circuits was able to rewire itself by seeing how close the software program got to enable it to distinguish beween two sounds .It was able to alter the software mutating the programs until it was nearer to its goal .. It was found that the computer had written some lines a human would not have and that these lines made the programs very efficient. To get a computer to distinugish between sounds in a noisy enviornment is very difficult if not impossible and this has been a big surprise. Very soon using these Darwinian methods computers may be able to teach hemselves new things. Full article in interface in the Times of July 17- a link is on the front page.

Multi purpose machine

HP are selling a combination fax , scanner , printer ,photocopier and telephone answering amchine for less than $500 . Equipping a small business office has never been cheaper .

Powerful Apple

Apple will soon release a laptop computer powered by the Motorola 300e chip which runs twice as fast as desktop computers powered by intel pentium pro 200mhz chips !

On line backup

Many small firms go bankrupt if their main computer data becomes corrupted by a virus or gets lost otherwise . Compuserve are now offering a backup service for about $20 a month . A high speed line can backup a company's data automatically each night and save it at their Ohio headquarters . In case of computer failure this data can always be downloaded. The company can be anywhere in the world. Data can be priceless and this would appear to be a small sum to pay for peace of mind.

Information by FM radio

Sony and others are starting to sell radios which have a screen which can display information sent along with the normal FM singal. Weather , road traffic and other info can be displayed on the screen while listening to the radio. Since each radio will have an individual numbered chip even personal email can be sent .At 12kbps it is almost as fast as many modems and could prersumably be used to diplay the internet web. Some far seeing countries could license FM frequencies for the net only so that all their citizens could access the latest news and educational info .

A million TV channels on one optic fibre

Professor Prahalab Chatterjee of Texas Instruments says that the new DSP ( digital signal processor ) chips allow a transmission rate of one gigabyte per second - enough for one million TV channels on one optic fibre. Cable companies tend to connect the optic fibre on the street to the house by just coaxial fibre at the moment but could easily upgrade this to a couple of optical fibres to give all households unlimited video on demand , internet bandwidh and video-conferencing facilites and reap huge profits. It could completely alter our world.

Surfing the net on TV

Tiny computers (01293 821333) are selling for less than $600 a computer without the monitor which plugs into the TV and with a phone hookup will download internet pages. With 26 inch or bigger screens educational material downloaded from the net or from the CD may lead to a revoluion in home education. There are many teachers on line ready to help with homework at all times.

No limit Internet !

Bandwidth problems could soon be a distant memory. The US govt has given the go ahead for platforms filled with hydrogen to be floated to just 20 miles above the earth ( compared to 22000 miles for present satellites) . Very small transmitters on the roof would then beam internet information to and from these platform at extremely high speeds . Each can accomodate 600,000 calls at the same time or 200m all at once for all 250 so everybody on the planet could use the internet at the same time without slowing things down and more platforms could be put up if needed . The total cost for all 250 is estimated at less than a billion dollars - spare cash at many multinational companies .

Cheap phone to USA and other countries

A new company which can be contacted at 08003760800 is offering cheap prepaid phone service to USA and other countries at 10-14 p per minute (for USA) compared to three times as much charged by BT. The phone call is routed through the USA. Mention ukindia if you contact them.

Navigator 3.0

This new brower from Netscape has software built in to phone for long distance calls, real audio sound so can listen to foreign radio broadcasts , video playback in real time and even 3d virtual reality ! . It takes 4 Mb of space and 8 Mb of Ram and can be downloaded free from netscape.

Super Jazz

Iomega have announced the development of the 5 Gigabyte Jazz cartridge. A 1 Gbyte Jazz disk costing less than $99 can back up a hard disk in less than 5 mintues . 5 Gbytes is more than enough to transfer movies between computers. The zip cartridge has also been doubled to 200 Mbytes.

Self Scanning

Many supermarkets in Britain have now adopted self scanning where the customers themselves scan the products into the basket and do not have to queue at the desk. Random checks have revealed a small discrepancy in the supermarkets favour !. Only selected customers are given the card to self scan.

Digital Video Disk - The new revolution.

These little compact disks , the same size as CDs will soon lead to a revolution in education. They are very cheap to stamp out -less then $2 each and can store massive amounts of information. Initially the machines will cost $700 for attachment to TV and $500 for the computer DVD Rom but mass production should lead to large scale price reductions.

They could be used to store books. Not one or two but thousands of books on each disc complete with pictures and sounds. Each student in the third world could be given his own library to take home and the latest editions added at nominal cost . Authors would earn more as the the distribution costs would be very low.

DVD because it uses mpeg2 compression is much better than VHS , better even than laser video disc and as good as broadcast TV . It is possible to read text on TV or even computer monitors - now down to $200 or less. It is better than VHS because it has random access and each disc weighs so mmuch less than VHS tape.

Each DVD can store 2 and a half hours of movie with six channels of audio and a further 8 foreign languages dubbing and subtitles can be added . R versions can be switched to G for children .. Hindi movies could be sold dubbed into Arabic , English and other languages. No more watching grainy VHS tapes. The double sided double layer discs (18 Gbytes) can store 4 movies on one disc. It could lead to a revival of regional languages under attack from English. Two or more years later recordable DVD should be available .

DVD Rom is as fast as a 9 speed CDRom device and with a mpeg2 sound card the computer will play full screen movies.Each DVDrom stores 4.5 Gigabytes of data equivalent to 9000 books. Much internet material could be distibuted at very low cost on DVD Rom and with 1.5Mbps transfer rate even graphics wold load fast on to the screen.

10 Speed CDRom

Panasonic are selling this , the fastest device yet. It is so fast 1.5Mbps that applications can be run directly from the CDRom.


Never get lost

Small handheld GPS units costing less than $300 use signals from three satellites to compute the action position in three dimensions. Attached to small radio transmitters they can broadcast the person's exact location so that one never get lost again provided the battery is kept recharged by solar cells.

31 inch monitor

Gateway will soon release a complete system with 31 inch monitor , 16 MB Ram and most useful wireless keyboards which communicate by radio waves.It will have a built in TV tuner. Reported price is under $4000. Even 21 inch computer screens have been unaffordable and this one should revolutionise home entertainment .

Tagged devices

These tiny devices -only 15mm long made by Avid and called rfid chips have no battery. Just a capacitor charged by em radiation from a hand held scanner. The capacitor discharges through the antenna identifying the device. It costs less than $7 and can be implanted under the skin (millions of animals have now been tagged) or hidden in computers and other pricey items. Police now have a way of identifying belongings by running a scanner near the item. Implanted in the upper arm at birth it could enable one to walk through passport control etc. It lasts 100 years.

Better than JPG

Stack run coding is a new way of compressing image files - results show an almost three fold improvement. MC card

This is a new type of PC card about half the size of credit card but able to hold 64MB of data. Enough for an hour of sound and could make possible incredibly small recoding devices the size of a matchbox and also cheap digital cameras.

Active Movie

Microsoft will soon release software for Windows 95 which will enable Pentium computers to play full screen VHS quality movies without the need for an MPG card . With DVD rom out in the summer people will be able to watch 4 hours of movies when they should be working.

Jazz cartridge

Now on sale this shirt pocket size cartridge enables one to carry one gigabyte of data or the contents of a library of 5000 books and yet it costs only $100. The device itself is about $500.

DVD Rom

Phillips will soon release this high density device which can read ordinary CD Roms and also these new ones storing 7 times as much data at a price of $400 for the device.

340Mb PC card

The Germans are selling this small card. With a color LCD screen and PC card modem , high capacity PC hard disk and digital wireless networks coming into place it will soon be possible to make a computer with which one carry in ones pocket and work on the beach while communicating with the office.

Secret Agent

This software allows one to download complete web pages with the images and read them offline.

Fractal Compression

This is a new method of compressing still and video images which compares shapes in different areas of the pictures. It is a lossy technique but is reported to give better results than JPG. Further the image can be expanded from a small one without degradation. It compresses as high as 100:1 and will be released as shareware soon. A 40k image can be compressed to less than 1k and at 14kbps would take less than one second to come down compared to 15 now. The quality of the images can be assessed from those on CDRom encyclopaedia like Encarta which have used this compression method from amny years .It should make the web fly as images and video are downloaded in real time over ordinary lines.

Net Computer

Sun are about to release a $500 device which links to the TV and allows net surfing and some downloading. With a few dedicated digital satellite channels out of the thousands now or soon to be in operation there is no reason why most usenet newsgroups and many web pages could not be broadcast continously .

Virtual Reality in India

Indian firms have designed programs which can show in full 3d buildings from drawings so archtects can correct faults which otehrwise may not ebcome apparent till construction - more in India today.

Pippin

This device should be on sale shortly. It allows CD Roms to played via TV ; invaluable in the third world where not many people can afford computers.

Secret Agent

A new and extremely useful program which allows web pages to be automatically downloaded for offline reading.


64 Mbyte chip

IBM are marketing a 5mbyte chip for $260 and 64Mbyte for a higher price . the latter could store an hour of sound easily or hundreds of photographs or even small movies or over 1000 books ! It is postage stamp size and once prices fall a little further could lead to miniscule dictation machines , cameras , computers...

1 Gbyte 3.5inch removable discs

The syquest J is a new disc which sells for less than $60 and is removable and can store a remarkable 1 gbyte. So much cheap storage space will revolutionise video applications. Iomega also have a same sized cartridge but it costs twice as much.

Phone India for a local call

Using software from www.vocaltel.com and other areas one can download software and use a microphone attched to the computer to phone India and Pakistan at local call rates . The internet provider at the other end can route it through local lines so that the recepient does not need to have a computer.

Internet By Radio

On March 26 this year Ionica will launch an internet by radio system in Eastern England to be extended to the rest of the country by the end of the year. It will need very small dishes -less than 1 foot and cost just 5 per household to install compared to 500 for cable . With a bandwidth of 2 megabits per second , one hundred times the fastest modems at 28kbs currently availaible it will enable subscribers to hold live phone and video conferences and get internet articles and web pages at this superspeed.

Subscribers will be offered two phone lines at cheaper than BT rates . This method should be ideal for third wordl countries and propel them into the age of the superhighway at affordable cost.-see link to Sunday times on ukindia front page and go to the innovations page.

Radio by Internet

Millions of radio stations can go live on the internet at low cost. Not only live programs but listeners can click on buttons to download recorded programs . Software such as real audio and true speech are already available . One really needs a fast modem at least 14k to access this service but once cable or radio networks are in place -see above - there is no reason why speech put on computer hard discs should not allow anyone to set up their own radio station.

Real Audio

This software allows everybody to set up their own radio station and broadcast over the net.

Intranet for small firms

Companies which cant afford the cost of full networking are finding that the intenet browsers can serve as a very cheap and cost effective way of exchanging data between computers.

Voice recognition

Responsive Systems of London will market this year a system which can recognise continuous speech better than 98%. it has been developed by Dr Tony Robinson of Cambridge University.

Big floppy

A 130mb floppy disk with a new drive to make it the cheapest storage method is due to go on sale this spring.

Car drives itself across USA

A car has driven itself across the USA -over 2500 miles. It needed human help on changing lanes but otherwise coped well. There was no panic in the streets as pedestrians were not aware of the experiment taking place.

Fast Internet

Cable modems in Boston can download data hundreds of thimes faster on the Internet. A 20 minute long file or movie in less than 5 seconds. Phone companies are also planning to use the radio waves to speed up data transfer.

4.6 Gbyte hard drive

Pinnacle have introduced a 4.6 Gbyte rewritable hard drive . Data is transferred at 16 times CD rom speed.Each removable cartridge can store a library of thousands of books . The drive costs about $1500 . One interesting possibility is taking the cartridge and downloading a movie in about 10 minutes at the video store and not having to return the movie .

Zip drive

One of the best inventions of 95 is the Iomega zip drive . Costing less than $200 , it has rewriteable shirt pocket floppy disks - about $15 each , which hold 100 megabytes or 50,000 pages! The drive is attached in between the computer and printer. The syquest is another holding 135 Mb but is internal and SCSI. Iomega have also introduced a Jaz drive with 1 gbyte removabale discs .The discs are about $100 each

On line British paper

An upto date entire edition of the excellent British paper -the Sunday Times and daily Times before it is printed is availaible for reading at Sunday Times -http:// www.sunday-times.co.uk

One Gigabyte chip

Samsung is reproted to have finished design stages for a 1 Gbyte RAM chip. At present 16 Mb is considered to be a lot of memory . A computer with 100 times capacity would be enormously powerful.