It's 30 years since IBM launched the IBM Personal Computer, setting a standard for business computing that is still recognisable today. Indeed, the PC has become a platform for the vast majority of home computing, for education, and for all kinds of industrial and commercial purposes from the factory floor to digital signage systems -- the ones that are meant to say Flight 647 is about to depart from Terminal 5 but we all love to see displaying an odd Windows command or a Blue Screen of Death.
News and comment on what's happening in the technology industry, and the direction it's heading.
Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....
Windows 7 will become the leading PC operating system by the end of 2011, running on 94 percent of new PCs, and 42 percent of all PCs, according to Gartner, Inc. While the industry research company predicts that Apple's Mac OS will be on 4.
Rebecca Rickwood, a 15-year-old pupil at Sawtry Community College in Cambridgeshire has been offered a £100,000 job at Course Academy, "after she finishes school, of course!" The promised job is based on her becoming World Champion in Microsoft Excel 2007 at a competition run by Certiport in San Diego, California.
Facebook and YouTube dominate the UK social networking scene, according to Hitwise numbers for July 2011, though we're still waiting to see the impact of Google Plus. The hit-tracker also notes that Microsoft’s Bing has regained its position as UK’s second favourite search engine, but it's so far behind Google that it doesn't make any difference.
America's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is trampling over the rights of non-American internet companies, damaging their businesses. Worse, an American federal judge apparently thinks this is perfectly OK, even though the Electronic Frontier Foundation reckons that "the court's First Amendment analysis is flatly wrong" and "the Supreme Court doesn't agree".
It will soon be the 30th anniversary of the launch of the world-changing IBM PC in August 1981, and technically it's also the 30th anniversary of MS-DOS, which was about to appear as IBM's PC DOS. This dominated the operating system business until Microsoft launched Windows 95.
Successful technologies usually diverge so that users end up with multiple products rather than one: for example, just count up the number of clocks, radios, phones and computers you have now, when until quite recently, there was usually only one per family. Indeed, one of the very few examples of a successful convergence product was the bedside radio alarm clock.
Microsoft's Terry Myerson says the company has released the Mango version of its Windows Phone to mobile handset manufacturers and carriers, who will preinstall it on new smartphones. Nokia has been waiting for Mango to appear before launching WP7 products, but the first to be publicly unveiled will be the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T, which is being shown at a press conference in Tokyo at 10am on Wednesday.
Gianfranco Lanci, the Italian who transformed Taiwan's Acer, is being tipped to join its Korean rival Samsung Electronics, according to an unconfirmed report in the Taiwan-based news source, DigiTimes. The story also confirms that Samsung is the world's seventh largest notebook PC manufacturer "according to IDC data".
With almost 20 million users, Google+ has got off to a great start, even if it's still mostly tech geeks discussing Google+ with other tech geeks. With Facebook now at 750 million users, and Twitter at 200 million, Google+ is still too underdeveloped to be worth a lot of investment, and it's not ready for corporate use: it's not open to users of Google Apps, and Google is actively discouraging companies from setting up shop there, pending the arrival of Facebook-style "fan pages".