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  1. 20Nov 2014

    Anniversary of Windows 1.0

    Today is the anniversary of the day that Windows 1.0 was officially launched. Windows, developed by Microsoft, launched 1.0, a graphical personal computer operating system and it was the first of the well-known Windows line that we have come to love and rely on in recent years.

    Windows 1.0 was run as an add on to the existing MS-DOS installations, and was known in the tech world as a 16-bit multi-tasking add on – and the first of its kind from Windows.

    Windows 1.0 provided users with a platform that could run programmes designed with graphics and graphic designing in mind as well as all of the components of the existing MS-DOS software. At the helm of the product was Bill Gates, company founder, who was inspired after watching a demonstration of a similar product suite, Visi On and the COMDEX event.

    However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Windows – is it ever? Although it received positive reviews in the early days after launch, with both hardware and software developer’s vocal with their positive reviews, critics didn’t see the product in quite the same light.

    Windows 1.0 was not so well received by critics as they felt the software was missing some of the elements they expected and that it didn’t live up to expectations. An example was that many critics felt that 1.0 put far too much emphasis on mouse usage and input, at a time when the mouse was not at a household stage, and use of it was limited around the world. Performance issues were also highlighted and it was claimed that new users were not provided with much.

    In light of all of the criticisms, Windows learnt, rebuilt and quickly moved on with different versions and updates and on the 31st December 2001, Windows declared the end of 1.0 and officially announced that it was obsolete and no longer supported.

    Although, Windows 1.0 may be looked back on in computer history as a programme that did not quite live up to expectation, it certainly did create the foundations and building blocks from further updates and developments in the world of technology, and for that reason, will always be looked back on fondly by most tech heads. Image credit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Windows1.0.png



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  3. 13Nov 2014

    Commonly Used Canadian Words & Phrases

    This month, we are looking at Canada. Typically, in Canada, they speak English or Canadian French, so instead, we are looking at a few of the phrases that Canadians use in everyday life, and what they mean. Can you add anything to the list?

    Canadian words and phrases – English

    Canadian Word English Translation
    Toonie A $2 coin
    Double double Slang used to ask for coffee with two creams and two sugars
    Gut-foundered Being very hungry
    Kitty-corner Something that is in a diagonal direction from something else
    Chinook Warm wind that blows over the Canadian Rockies
    Darts cigarettes
    Gitch Underwear
    Toque
    hat
    Matrimonial cake Date square or tart – form of cake
    Rink rat Someone who loves ice skating
    Pencil crayon Coloured pencil
    Pop Fizzy drink
    Hydro electricity
       

     

    Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Canada



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  5. 09Nov 2014

    Firefox 1.0 introduced 2004

    Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/asadotzler/4078506249/

     

    On the 9th November, 2004, Mozilla Firefox 1.0 was released to the public around the world. The developers behind the browsers issues a statement saying; “Now millions more will be able to enjoy a better web experience”.

    Created by the Mozilla Foundation – a non-profit that is home to a collection of world renowned innovators with a mission to bring choice and innovation to the internet and at the hands of the user, the foundation is based in California and follows the foundations laid by the world’s first widely used browser for the internet, Netscape.

    The release was launched after the highly successful Preview Release that was launched the month earlier in October when over 8 million people downloaded the demo version of the browser.

    And today, the browser is just as popular. Second in the browser statistics to Google’s Chrome, Firefox hands down beats Internet Explorer as well as Opera and Safari.

    Today, Firefox is known for being the fastest browser available so it ideal for the gamers in the world who require quick download speeds.

    Firefox also has a vast array of browser extensions that users can download to make their browser exactly how they want it. Customising the experience making it right for them and their needs.

    Features and updates have moved on considerably since the first release of Firefox, with the browser on update 32 as of September 2014. The new update includes features such as:

    Faster HTTP caching as default, historical use information for logins that are stored within the password manager, wed audio editor, easier and more intuitive back, forward, reload and  bookmarking features.



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  7. 04Nov 2014

    Anniversary of UNIVAC computer predicting the presidential election, 1952

    On the 4th November 1952, a Remington Rand UNIAC computer was used by CBS News in America during its presidential election news night coverage.

    Although these days we are used to graphics appearing on screen to predict results and fancy graphics showing what each county overall have voted for for instance, back in 1952 this was all new technology!

    When the UNIVAC computer was set up and running, the analysis showed an early indication that Dwight D. Eisenhower would easily win the presidential race verses Adlai Stevenson.

    Charles Collingwood, the CBS News reporter, who was assigned to the UNIVAC computer told the viewing audience at home that he was with ‘the face of a UNIVAC’ – this was true, as what he was sitting in front of in New York was just a mock-up of the real thing. The real deal UNIVAC computer, which nearly filled a whole room was actually over 100 miles away in Philadelphia safe in the hands of its developers with a film crew in tow.

    For CBS News, the use of a computer in its election coverage was a gimmick, something that had never been done before but for the developers of the UNIVAC, Remington Rand, it was a huge gamble – one that if it all went wrong on the night, would have massive implications for the future of the company.

    But, the news presenters at the time, Walter Cronkite and Charles Collingwood were a little apprehensive about the accuracy of the machines predicting abilities, especially as the opinion polls had predicted a huge, landslide win for Stevenson.

    As such, it was decided by unanimous vote to delay announcing the UNIVAC computers prediction until it became clear a little later that Dwight D. Eisenhower would indeed win the presidential election.

    And for Remington Rand, although there were a few early on hiccups, the faltering that happened early on in the night actually turned out to be a highly successful publicity triumph for the company, with some newspapers carrying headlines the follow morning like: “A machine makes a Monkey out of a Man!” And from that moment on, the UNIVAC computer became a cultural icon as well as a vital piece of the puzzle that is computing history.

    Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIVAC_I



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  9. 30Oct 2014

    Tech Round-Up – October 2014

    3D printing, crowdfunding and navigation apps – we’ve got it covered in this month’s technology roundup!

     

    3D Printing from HP

    It’s been a while coming but HP have finally jumped onto the 3D printing bandwagon with their new 3D printer, cited to be up to 10x faster than other models on the market. HP have stated the new model has been designed to be not only quicker but to turn out better-quality printing than rival printers, and at a marginally cheaper price, although no retail costs have been revealed yet.

    3D printing is still very much a niche market – it’s not like we all need 3D print outs for a business meeting – but as the younger generations grow up into a world where paper is fast becoming part of the past and electronics prevail, could this be HP’s chance to prosper in the 3D industry?

     

    Navigation app, Inside, means you’ll never be lost again…


    There’s nothing worse than getting lost, especially if you’re running late or on your own, and new navigation app Inside promises to be the one-stop solution to your problems. A new start up in the navigation market, Inside allows you to use your camera phone to recognise your location wherever you are and guide you from that spot.

     

    Co-founder Gil Devora has stated that the company are experts in satellite navigation and computer vision, and the app can gauge your position to within one metre. Working with big brands including BT, customers will also be able to pinpoint items in a shop and buy them, making this truly THE app that can tell you where you want to go, and get you there.

     

    Reddit Crowdfunding site, Redditmade launched


    Popular social bookmarking site Reddit have launched their own crowdfunding site, Redditmade, which allows users to raise funds for virtually any new design or product they want to promote. If the funds aren’t reached, the products aren’t made – it’s as simple as that!

     

    The products on the site at the moment are primarily Reddit themed (including caps, shirts and glasses), but we’re sure this will grow quickly as the website matures, especially with the large range of communities and subreddits that are on Reddit currently, including The Walking Dead, bestof and pokemon.

     

    RightPark app to end driver woes in Westminster

    Westminister council have announced they will be introducing the new RightPark app shortly, which has been designed to aid the parking situation in London’s West End and will help users identify which car parking areas and bays are free for use. Sensors have been installed across a trial area so far and plans are in place for another 7000, should the trial prove successful. The central database that these sensors feed to is updated every minute, meaning that drivers (who must have either stopped to use the app or are using their phone with appropriate handsfree equipment to prevent against illegally using the app and driving at the same time) can have up to date information on parking in the area.



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  11. 25Oct 2014

    A look back at the official release of Windows XP, 2001

    On the 25th October, 2001, Microsoft released its latest offering, Windows XP.

     

    Bill Gates said at the time; “Simply put, Windows XP is the best operating system Microsoft has ever built.”

     

    The Home Edition and the Professional package promised to unlock the full potential of individual’s computers and allow users to do simply amazing things with their PC’s and laptops, such as:

     

    • Download organise and share all of their individual photographs
    • The use of an all I one place to keep and purchase music
    • The enjoyment of instant messaging, or IM
    • Allowing the use of video messaging also, suitable for communicating with friends, family, colleagues and business connections
    • Means to share computers and devices at home or work easily

     

    Windows XP also had a whole host of other great functions, including built in features like; built in support for Wi-Fi problems and CD burning problems, Internet Explorer 6 web browser, a revamped interface and system managed console which set up apart from the previous releases, Windows 2000 and Windows ME.

     

    To this day, Windows XP can still be found on nearly 25% of the desktops used in the world. As the 2nd most installed desktop operating systems found in the world, it is used in many different places, such as government buildings, banks, automated machines and found predominately in China and India.  However, despite its successes and the fact that users liked to use it, Microsoft pulled the plug on offering support, and as of 8th Aril earlier this year, 13 years after its release, Windows XP no longer receives any support, users no longer get tech support and another iconic operating system has, bitten the dust.

     

    Microsoft XP, like many before and since it, encountered may bug issues during its years, and subsequently, Microsoft realised three services packages between 201 and 2009 to fix the bugs and security issues.

     

    So, although Windows XP is fast becoming a thing of the past, with modern day users switching to Windows 7, or up to Windows 8, XP will always be remembered by those of a certain age and will go down in history for what it was able to offer at the time, setting it apart from the rest.

     

    And since the release after Windows XP was Windows Vista, Windows XP will continue to look amazing compared to Vista, which was widely criticized by critics and users alike.

     

    Image credit:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Microsoft_Windows_XP_Logo_2.svg



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  13. 17Oct 2014

    Country Spotlight: Czech Republic

    A small, landlocked country situated in central Europe, the Czech Republic was formerly known as Bohemia. Surrounded by Germany on the west, Austria on the south, Slovakia to the south east and Poland to the north east, the Czech Republic is home to over 10 million people. The capital, Prague is nearly 2 million of these call their home.

    We take a closer look at some of the Czech Republic’s famous inhabitants and exports:

     

    Inventors

    Josef and Karel Čapek

    Although they didn’t directly invent the robot, they have been credited with coining the phrase that is used by many, every day all over the world to refer to mechanical or intelligent agents that perform tasks and jobs – think of robots in a factory. Referred to for the first time in ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots,’ the play depicted humanoid workers, assembled in factories. And therefore, the phrase ROBOT was born!

     

    J.E. Purkyně

    Jan Evangelista Ritter von Purkyně was the man behind one of the most popular methods in criminology today – he discovered that all human fingerprints are completely unique and therefore could be used as a means of identifications – and crime solving!

     

    Jakub Kryštof Rad

    Director of a local sugar refinery in the 1840’s, Rad was the man behind the world’s first ever sugar cube! Inspired by his wife who was injured many a time with a knife when trying to cut the refined sugar that came into the work kitchen, Rad set about trying to produce the sugar in a more manageable shape and in 1843, Rad took out a patent for the sugar cube.  England later brought the licence for producing these sugar cubes, and we have never looked back since. One lump or two?

     

    Companies

    GUFEX


    GUFEX create the world famous, Czech hockey pucks that have been used at many significant tournaments by the International Ice Hockey Federation, such as; the Winter Olympic Games World Championship and other international competitions.

     

    MOIRAA

    pioneer in the highly competitive field of functional sportswear, MOIRA have technology protected by a large amount of patents and each garment they produce is checked to insure that it meets the high company standards. The products are sold globally.

     

    Famous for…

    Skoda


    Founded as a family business back in 1895, the successful car company is now one of only four in the world that can boast a truly impressive 100+ years of tradition. They successfully began manufacturing cars in 1905 and in 1991, Skoda Auto became the 4th brand to join the VW Group.

     

    Glass making

    With a very long tradition in the Czech Republic, glass making and Czech glass is world famous. Developed during the 13th century, Czech glass products are treasured around the world to this day, with the most popular Czech glass products being; lead crystal, glass figurines and cut glass items, Christmas ornaments and chandeliers.
    Images

    http://bit.ly/KarelČapek

    http://bit.ly/JanEvangelistaPurkyně

    http://bit.ly/JakubKryštofRad

    http://bit.ly/CzechFlag

    http://bit.ly/CzechPuck

    http://bit.ly/CzechSkoda



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  15. A new face on the scene

    iPod Classic

    Perhaps slightly unbelievable, but 13 years ago today was the day that Steve Jobs released what was the start of the Apple revolution – the iPod.

    Plainly, one of the most important and praised contributions to technology, the iPod was launched to us in two models; the 5GB and then huge at the time, 10GB. It was thought quite widely, how on earth would it be possible to fill a 10GB iPod?! And just think, last month Apple launched a 128GB iPhone….!

    Compared to an iPod of current times, the first iPod would probably look like something that has come out of a museum, but when you put aside first appearances, the inner workings are still there, or thereabouts, today. Basic software mechanic of the devices, organisation of tracks and some playback controls are still around in the more modern devices.

    Back in 2001, Apple released a product that sent shockwaves through the tech world. Once known for its presence in a relatively niche market of computer enthusiasts, Apple was almost overnight catapulted into the spotlight.  What came next was almost unprecedented – a huge boost for the company, catapulting them to the tops of everyone’s wish list.

    The new plan from Steve Jobs was wall underway.

    And we all know what came next – the iPhone.

    And the rest as they say, is history!

     

    Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod_Classic



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  17. 10Oct 2014

    Commonly Translated Czech Words

    Carrying on with our translation series, our attention falls to the Czech Republic and we have had a closer look at some of the most commonly translated words, so that you don’t have too!

    Czech – English


    Czech Word English Translation
    se with
    je them
    a and
    jsem I
    co what
    si the
    díky thanks
    není zač
    you’re welcome
    jste you
    jako like

     

    English – Dutch


    English Word Dutch Translation
    goodbye sbohem
    Hello
    Dobrý den,
    nice
    pěkný
    here
    zde
    country
    země
    can
    může
    yes ano
    no ne
    is je
    it to

     

    Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Czech_Republic_stub.svg

     



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  19. 05Oct 2014

    Remembering a computing legend – Steve Jobs

    October 5th 2014 marks the third year since the tragic death of Steve Jobs. During his life, Jobs became one of the world’s best known entrepreneurs and inventors – his name was synonymous with his company, Apple. Before and after his death, he acquired a number of unofficial titles which serve to demonstrate the extent of his impact on computing, with just two being ‘Father of the Digital Revolution’ and ‘Master of Innovation’. We thought we’d take this opportunity to celebrate Jobs’ life and to explore his interesting career.

     

    Steven Paul was born in San Francisco on the 24th February 1955 to Abdulfattah “John” Jandali and and Joanne Carole Schieble and was adopted by his parents, Paul and Clara Jobs as a baby. A naturally intelligent child, Steve was encouraged academically by both his parents and was introduced to basic mechanics and electronics at a young age.

     

    On completing school, Steve briefly attended Reed College before dropping out, instead concentrating on calligraphy drop in courses and other creative pursuits. When he became better known, he attributed a lot of his success to this time.

     

    On becoming friends with Steve Wozniak, Steve managed to get a job as a technician at Atari. As the years progressed, he gained expert knowledge of the industry, and working with the technically brilliant Wozniak, went on to found the Apple Computer Company. Based on Wozniak’s Apple 1 PC and with Jobs’ charisma and ability to get customers and talented staff on board, the company began to grow relatively quickly. Disagreements between Steve and John Sculley led to Steve being put into a role in which he had no direct influence on the business, so he left and resigned as Chairman in 1985.

     

    Over the following years, Steve founded NeXT Inc. and then purchased The Graphics Group, which later became Pixar. Following the release of several high profile films in collaboration with Disney, the company was purchased by Disney – in the process making Steve Disney’s biggest shareholder.

     

    In 1997, Apple purchased Steve’s NeXT business and he returned to working with the company, helping it to return to a more profitable state and encouraging focus on the most innovative and saleable projects. In the years that followed, Apple went from strength to strength, with products launched under Steve taking the world by storm!

     

    Sadly, in 2003 Steve jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and despite various treatment attempts he died of the disease in 2011. His drive continuing right up until the end, Steve took leave from work in January 2011 and then resigned from Apple in August 2011, just two months before his death. One of the greatest entrepreneurs in living history, it is likely that he will be remember for generations to come.

     

    Image:  http://bit.ly/ZfZFxv



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