Technologizer: World’s Weirdest Portable Computers

oncomputers

By Harry McCracken

There aren’t many pieces of technological design that simply can’t be improved upon, but the clamshell-style laptop computer case–introduced by Grid Systems in 1982–may be one of them. That’s why the vast majority of the portable computers built ever since have used it. But for more than a quarter-century now, inventors have been trying to top it, with folding screens, screens on stalks, folding keyboards, two-screen clamshells, tri-fold clamshells, and more. Most never even get off the drawing board. Herewith, a gallery of designs from Google Patents (click the filing dates to see the patents). There’s only one in here I might have considered buying, but on some perverse level I admire them all.

Continue reading


World Portable Rank Added to OverDrive

resize

January 14th, 2009 marks an important upgrade to the PC Pitstop OverDrive scan. “World Portable Rank” is now a standard feature of our well known System Analysis Software. Untill now all computers were included in one group to compare rankings and performance. Thanks to Lyle, Sandy, and Kevin, it’s possible to see how your portable stacks up against other portables using this newly created class, No more comparing your 3 lb. ultra-light to my 56 pound gaming box or someones 6 drive RAID array.

Continue reading


Death To The Desktop

THE SHAPE OF COMPUTING

Strewn across the floor and stacked in my closet are 100’s of lifeless parts. Processors, cords, connectors and fans, dead and lifeless now, they were once proud warriors of the desktop era. Striving to be faster in a technical world consumed by speed, I greeted new processors and motherboards like a lion greets wildebeasts. Today those dark ages are gone, replaced by the Renaissance of Mobility, or as the techies would say, “let me grab my portable”.

Continue reading


Average Installed Memory – Vista vs. XP

Vista vs XP: Average Installed RAM

Back in May 2006, when Microsoft announced Vista system memory requirements of 512 MB for “Vista Capable” and 1 GB for “Vista Premium Ready” classifications, the average XP system had 833 MB and 659 MB of installed memory for Desktop and Portable systems respectively. Once Vista was released in early 2007, most users determined that “more memory was better” as the average installed desktop memory rose relatively quickly to over 2 GB on Vista systems. In recent months, it is not uncommon for PC manufacturers to market Vista systems with 3 GB of RAM. The emergence of 64-bit architecture has also likely played a role in the increase of average RAM.

Continue reading


Laptop Security

Gregg Stebben is the Chief Internet Evangelist for PC Pitstop. Gregg is well-known to radio listeners all over the country as a “tech guru”, including his weekly reports on WTOP in Washington DC. WLW in Cincinnati, WOAI in San Antonio and KSL in Salt Lake. He is the author of 11 books, including INTERNET PRIVACY FOR DUMMIES, and he has also written for magazines ranging from MEN’S HEALTH to ESQUIRE to BON APPÉTIT. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

Continue reading


US State Technology Metrics – Quartile Rankings


How does your state rank in general PC technology? We analyzed several technology metrics for folks running the PC Pitstop online tests and ranked the states based on our findings. Surprisingly, no one state or region clearly dominated all the metrics we reviewed. Delaware appears to have surfaced towards the top of the rankings while the states of Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas and Ohio generally ranked lowest.

Continue reading


Unutilized D Drive Partitions

Our research shows that, overall, approximately 3.1% of PCs that have one physical hard drive also have an unutilized partition with drive letter D:. Our research indicates that 4.8% of portables and 2.4% of desktops have a D: drive partition that has 99% or more free space. It appears that it is common for some vendors to split the primary hard drive into two partitions. Often a drive is split into two equal partitions. If you think your hard drive capacity isn’t what you paid for, you might want to check to see if you have an unutilized drive partition.

Continue reading


A Video is Worth a Hundred Blogs

I was shocked when Dell announced their first battery recall in August 2006, quickly followed by Apple. Being cynical by nature, the only reason that these companies would proactively do an expensive battery recall was to limit liability on a potentially explosive (pun intended) issue. I talked to numerous industry vets and learned that the potential exists for many more battery explosions and recalls. At PC Pitstop, I made it our mission to inform the public of the danger of battery fires, and practical tips to avoid them.

Continue reading


Notebook PC Explodes

We intentionally created conditions in which the Li-ON battery pack would explode inside a generic portable. The results are dramatic. There are numerous conditions where these fires can occur in real life. Faulty battery packs (driving the recalls), faulty protection circuits inside the PC, exposure to excessive heat, and blunt force are some of the major ways that this could happen to you.

Continue reading


Playing with Fire: Part II

Tony Olson
CEO D2 Worldwide

Rob: Hi, this is Rob Cheng. It’s October 13th, 2006. I’m here with Tony Olson who is an old friend of mine that I worked with at Gateway. He was the Vice President of Engineering. Tony started a brand new company called D2 Worldwide and he has a lot of insight into the portables and what’s going on there. Tony, first tell me a little bit about D2 Worldwide and how you learned so much about the portables.

Continue reading


Wide Screen Display Trends

Wide screen displays are becoming more popular. Portable PCs are rapidly leading the trend. Whether your need is to view wide spread sheets, watch a wide screen DVD movie or multitask using multiple screen windows, wide screen displays, which are replacing the traditional personal computing 4:3 and 5:4 aspect ratio displays, may be the answer.

Continue reading