The USB ‘memory stick’ (or ‘flash drive’, as it is commonly known) is a small storage device used for computers that implements ‘flash memory’ technology, and connects to computer systems via a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. A flash drive is designed to be both portable and rewritable, with very large storage capacities considering their size. A primary purpose of the memory stick is that they can transferring data between two different computer system. But who created this innovation of technology?
The need for the flash drive came about after the computer developed to the extent that the original method of portable storage, the floppy disc, was seen as too slow and small (file size (up to 1.44MB of data)) for modern machines.
In 2000, IBM, together with Trek Technology, invented and sold the first-ever USB flash drives. Trek Technology, a Singaporean company, named their product the “thumb drive” due to its physical size.
Although the first memory sticks had a storage capacity of only 8MB (still a large improvement on floppy disks), the product would develop into an even more functional piece of technology, with storage sizes now as high as 258GB.
With a huge marketing potential, and by being sold in different shapes and sizes for novelty value, it is fair to say that the USB memory stick is one of the most important accessories to a modern computer system today. For the more confused customer, though, this video helps to explain further aspects of the device, and what ‘type’ is suitable for different people:
The Segway is one of the most innovative methods of transportation developed in recent years, but who was it that came up with this odd, self-balancing, and expensive alternative to walking?
The patent of the Segway design and machine will agknowlege American Dean Kamen as its inventor. The two wheeled machine was created by Kamen in 2001 and sales began around a year afterwards. The Segway was also known as Ginger and IT during its development stage. Ginger was in fact a product of the IBOT wheelchair technology that Kamen was working on. The Ginger was developed while Kamen was at the University of Plymouth.
Now being sold as a well-known device around the world, for those that can afford it, the Segway has developed products for more specific uses, such as security / police work, playing golf, and riding over difficult terrain. The company estimates that over 50,000 Segway units (all models) had been sold since the initial release.
Despite criticisms of its nature and price, the Segway has been seen as a marketable device, even if to some it is just for the novelty factor, but it is clear that the creators do take their product seriously, as seen by this extended advertisement:
The QWERTY keyboard is the default keyboard used with computers, named after the first 6 letters on its top left side. The QWERTY design was not actually for computer keyboard design, and instead goes back much further than that.
American Christopher Sholes designed the original QWERTY keyboard. Sholes, while worked at a newspaper in Milwaukee. His main motivation was to invent a device that would number pages in a book easily, so that the newspaper did not need the man hours of tedious work in numbering. Together with another inventor, Samuel Soule, he created a machine for numbering in 1866. He may have just stopped there, but a fellow inventor, Carlos Glidden, suggested the machine could capeable of more, nameley typing letters. After reading an article about the Plerotype typewriter invented by John Pratt, an Englishman, Sholes then had the idea to invent his own typewriter.
Sholes got together with Soule and Glidden once again, and after several attempts, and the departure from the project of the latter two, a typewriter was produced, though a major issue with the product was key jamming. That is, the typing bars would stick together when the typist worked too fast, due to popular letters being close to eachother in the alphabet, on which the keypad was directly based. So Sholes decided to split up the most commonly used letters in the design, and after much trial and error, he came up with the QWERTY design. The final design made sure the word “TYPE WRITER” could be typed just from the top row. Producers Remington approved the design, and the rest is history, with QWERTY even being the most popular design in modern computers, which do not have the issue of jamming. Several other designs have been attempted, but QWERTY looks set to be the keyboard layout of choice for a long time.
Below is an example of someone seeming to use a QWERTY keyboard to its maximum potential, a speed which would probably have broken an early design keyboard within seconds: