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Xerox Alto Designer, Co-Inventor Of Ethernet, Dies at 74

Xerox Alto Designer, Co-Inventor Of Ethernet, Dies at 74

An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica:
Charles Thacker, one of the lead hardware designers on the Xerox Alto, the first modern personal computer, died of a brief illness on Monday. He was 74. The Alto, which was released in 1973 but was never a commercial success, was an incredibly influential machine… Thomas Haigh, a computer historian and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, wrote in an email to Ars, “Alto is the direct ancestor of today’s personal computers. It provided the model: GUI, windows, high-resolution screen, Ethernet, mouse, etc. that the computer industry spent the next 15 years catching up to. Of course others like Alan Kay and Butler Lampson spent years evolving the software side of the platform, but without Thacker’s creation of what was, by the standards of the early 1970s, an amazingly powerful personal hardware platform, none of that other work would have been possible.”

In 1999 Thacker also designed the hardware for Microsoft’s Tablet PC, “which was first conceived of by his PARC colleague Alan Kay during the early 1970s,” according to the article. “I’ve found over my career that it’s been very difficult to predict the future,” Thacker said in a guest lecture in 2013. “People who tried to do it generally wind up being wrong.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, displays

NVIDIA Changes SDR Monitor Settings To Make HDR Look Better

The guys at Hardware Canucks were wondering why the SDR screen looked so washed out, well that’s because NVIDIA had changed the settings to so it would look that way.

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Posted by amiller in All News, Blog, Computex 2017, displays, Hardware News, HDR, HDR Display, Monitors, Nvidia
Apple Announces New 10.5-Inch iPad Pro With Narrower Side Bezels, 120Hz Refresh Rate Display

Apple Announces New 10.5-Inch iPad Pro With Narrower Side Bezels, 120Hz Refresh Rate Display

At WWDC 2017 today, Apple unveiled a brand new iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch display and 40% narrower bezels. The new iPad features a 50% brighter True Tone display and “ProMotion” technology which increase refresh rates up to 120hz. 9to5Mac reports: The new iPad Pro includes dynamic refresh rate adjustments, screens move from 24hz to 48hz to 120hz. This maximizes battery life and performance, when you need it. The A10x Fusion chip improves CPU and GPU by at least 40%. Cameras have also been upgraded with the same sensor as the iPhone 7 on the back and the front. Apple demoed a photo app called “Affinity Photo,” to demonstrate the 120hz refresh rates. Apple says new iPad Pro performance compares favorably with a desktop computer. This includes incredibly fast selections and fluid Apple Pencil interactions. Both iPad models start with 64GB of memory and maxes out to 500GB at the high-end. There are also several new software features for iPad, coming this fall with iOS 11: A new customizable Dock that provides quick access to frequently used apps and documents from any screen; Improved multitasking, including a redesigned app switcher that brings Spaces to iOS, making it easier to move between apps or pairs of active apps, used in Split View and now Slide Over; Multi-Touch Drag and Drop, which is available across the system to move text, photos and files from one app to another, anywhere on the screen; A new document scanner in Notes, which lets users easily scan single or multi-page documents, removes shadows and uses powerful image filters to enhance readability; and Deeper integration with Apple Pencil, with support for inline drawing to write along text in Notes and Mail, Instant Markup to easily sign documents, annotate PDFs or draw on screenshots, and a new Instant Notes feature, which opens Notes from the Lock Screen by simply tapping Apple Pencil on the display. New searchable handwriting makes it easy to search for handwritten text or characters.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, displays
UCF Research Could Bring 'Drastically' Higher Resolution To Your Phone and TV

UCF Research Could Bring 'Drastically' Higher Resolution To Your Phone and TV

New submitter cinemetek quotes a report from University of Central Florida: Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a new color changing surface tunable through electrical voltage that could lead to three times the resolution for televisions, smartphones and other devices. Current LCD’s are made up of hundreds of thousands of pixels that display different colors. With current technology, each of these pixels contain three subpixels — one red, one green, one blue. UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center (Assistant Professor Debashis Chanda and physics doctoral student Daniel Franklin) have come up with a way to tune the color of these subpixels. By applying differing voltages, they are able to change the color of individual subpixels to red, green or blue — the RGB scale — or gradations in between. By eliminating the three static subpixels that currently make up every pixel, the size of individual pixels can be reduced by three. Three times as many pixels means three times the resolution. That would have major implications for not only TVs and other general displays, but augmented reality and virtual-reality headsets that need very high resolution because they’re so close to the eye.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, displays
New Evidence of a Decline In Electricity Use By U.S. Households

New Evidence of a Decline In Electricity Use By U.S. Households

There’s some surprising news from the Energy Institute at the University of California’s business school. America’s households are using less electricity than they did five years ago.

So what is different? Energy-efficient lighting. Over 450 million LEDs have been installed to date in the United States, up from less than half a million in 2009, and nearly 70% of Americans have purchased at least one LED bulb. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are even more common, with 70%+ of households owning some CFLs. All told, energy-efficient lighting now accounts for 80% of all U.S. lighting sales.

It is no surprise that LEDs have become so popular. LED prices have fallen 94% since 2008, and a 60-watt equivalent LED lightbulb can now be purchased for about $2. LEDs use 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, are much more durable, and work in a wide-range of indoor and outdoor settings.

“I would add LED TVs replacing LCD, Plasma and CRTs,” writes Slashdot reader schwit1.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, displays

AOC’s New Monitors Designed By Porsche

AOC has partnered up with Porsche to release two new monitors with very sleek designs. They are the PDS241 and PDS217, both of which feature a 1080p AH-IPS panel at 24″ (PDS241) and 27″ (PDS217). These displays come in super-thin at only 5.2 mm and have a three-way-frameless design.

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Posted by amiller in 1080P. IPS, All News, AOC, Blog, displays, Hardware News, Monitors, PDS217, PDS241, Porsche
Religion Meets Virtual Reality:  Christianity-Themed VR Demo Scheduled For Easter

Religion Meets Virtual Reality: Christianity-Themed VR Demo Scheduled For Easter

“Anyone looking to experience God in a brand new way will soon have his or her chance — virtually,” writes NBC News, reporting on “a new immersive faith-based virtual reality experience…part of a larger project created by L. Michelle Media called Mission VR.” An anonymous reader writes:
The company was founded “to create a signature virtual reality environment — a faith world of sorts — where dynamic, never before seen, Christian lifestyle stories and experiences could have a home.” Demos have been timed to coincide with this weekend’s Easter celebration, while the official launch happens later this spring. Viewers will apparently experience biographical stories combining VR applications and YouTube videos to showcase the power of belief. “Up until now, we’ve only been able to watch Christianity from a third person perspective — preached sermons, music videos, interviews, even reality shows…” says the founder of Mission VR. “This is the future of Christian programming.”

But one reverend told NBC that VR worlds could be dangerous because they “may take people from community and from the incarnational aspects of Christian life… [W]e always run a very serious risk that the medium overtakes the message… What we must do is guard against the use of technology through market logic where people become brands and all things spiritual become commoditized.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, displays