Long Playing (LP) Records & Talking Movies

Long-playing records play for a long time, enabling records with more than one song. Background As Edison’s phonograph evolved, the recordings eventually migrated to small disks played at 78 rotations per minute (rpm). Each disk held about three minutes of music per side. Filmmakers wanted to add sound to their movies. Before then, movies ran […]

Speech Recognition

Speech recognition is the ability of a computer to recognize the spoken word. “Alexa: read me something interesting from Innowiki.” “Duh human, everything on Innowiki is interesting or it wouldn’t be there.” Today, inexpensive pocket-sized phones connect to centralized servers and understand the spoken word in countless languages. Not so long ago, that was science […]

Mass Market Broadband Internet (DSL & Cable Modems)

Broadband definitions continually change, but in 2017 the US definition of broadband is 25Mbps (megabytes per second) downstream and 3Mbps upstream. This is fast enough to stream music, movies, web surf, and read blurbs on innowiki. Background Early internet users used slow dial-up modems. The last mass-produced dial-up model ran at 56Kbps, about 1/450th the […]

Mobile Phone

Mobile phones allow calls from anywhere that’s within range of a tower. They vastly increase productivity, convenience, lower the risk of a missed call, and they’re fun. Mobile phones work by beaming voice (and, later, data) to a tower, seamlessly switching from tower-to-tower as the person moves. Cooper Creates the Mobile Phone Battery-operated gadget maker […]

C Programming Language

Dennis Ritchie went on to create multiple aspects of modern computing culture. Indeed, odd hours, obsessed screen time, sloppy dress, funky naming conventions, and – most importantly – those attributed tied to brilliant and useful code all belong to Ritchie. Sometime between Ritchie, the software engineer straight enough to gain employment at Bell Labs, and […]

Unix

Unix is a computer operating system. Among other things, it allows a computer to do many things at once. Derivatives of the original Unix include Linux, MacOS, and BSD. You’re reading this right now due to a server running Unix derivative Linux. Background Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson worked at Bell Labs. Thompson worked on […]

Charge-Coupled Device (CCD)

1969 William BoyleGeorge Smith “We are the ones who started this profusion of little cameras all over the world.” William Boyle Charged Coupled Devices (CCD’s) are a special type of chip that reacts to light. They are inexpensive and especially useful in imagining, enabling digital photography and video. William Boyle and George Smith worked for […]

Communication Satellite

“This satellite must be high enough to carry messages from both sides of the world, which is, of course, an essential requirement for peace…” President Kennedy, July 23, 1962 Communication satellites bring the world closer together, with instant communication. They are especially important for communication, beaming information from one central place to many more. For […]

LASER

LASER’s allow light to be intensely focused. There are many uses, from reading digital media at low power to cutting at higher powers. Countless applications rely on LASER technology. In 1957, Arthur Schawlow and Charles Townes, of Bell Labs, worked on an infrared LASER, called an “optical MASER.” They patented the invention in 1958. In […]