Topic: Home Living
A computer is a machine that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A "complete" computer including the hardware, the operating system (main software), and peripheral equipment required and used for "full" operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.
Computers are used as control systems for a wide variety of industrial and consumer devices. This includes simple special purpose devices like microwave ovens and remote controls, factory devices such as industrial robots and computer-aided design, and also general purpose devices like personal computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The Internet is run on computers and it connects hundreds of millions of other computers and their users.
Early computers were only conceived as calculating devices. Since ancient times, simple manual devices like the abacus aided people in doing calculations. Early in the Industrial Revolution, some mechanical devices were built to automate long tedious tasks, such as guiding patterns for looms. More sophisticated electrical machines did specialized analog calculations in the early 20th century. The first digital electronic calculating machines were developed during World War II. The first semiconductor transistors in the late 1940s were followed by the silicon-based MOSFET (MOS transistor) and monolithic integrated circuit (IC) chip technologies in the late 1950s, leading to the microprocessor and the microcomputer revolution in the 1970s. The speed, power and versatility of computers have been increasing dramatically ever since then, with MOS transistor counts increasing at a rapid pace (as predicted by Moore's law), leading to the Digital Revolution during the late 20th to early 21st centuries.
Conventionally, a modern computer consists of at least one processing element, typically a central processing unit (CPU) in the form of a metal-oxide-semiconductor (MOS) microprocessor, along with some type of computer memory, typically MOS semiconductor memory chips. The processing element carries out arithmetic and logical operations, and a sequencing and control unit can change the order of operations in response to stored information. Peripheral devices include input devices (keyboards, mice, joystick, etc.), output devices (monitor screens, printers, etc.), and input/output devices that perform both functions (e.g., the 2000s-era touchscreen). Peripheral devices allow information to be retrieved from an external source and they enable the result of operations to be saved and retrieved.
The iLoo (short for Internet loo) was a cancelled Microsoft project to develop a Wi-Fi Internet-enabled portable toilet. The iLoo, which was to debut at British summer festivals, was described as being a portable toilet with wireless broadband Internet, an adjustable plasma screen, a membrane wireless keyboard, a six-channel speaker system, and toilet paper embossed with popular web site addresses. The iLoo was also to have an extra screen and keyboard on the outside, and was to be guarded. It was intended as the next in a series of successful initiatives by MSN UK which sought to introduce the internet in unusual locations, including MSN Street, MSN Park Bench and MSN Deckchair.
The project was announced by MSN UK on April 30, 2003, and was widely ridiculed before being declared a hoax by Microsoft on May 12. On May 13, another Microsoft press release stated that although the project had not been a hoax, it had been cancelled because it would do little to promote the MSN brand. There has since been speculation as to whether the project was cancelled for fear of being sued by Andrew Cubitt, who had invented the similarly named product "i-Loo". The iLoo was described as a public relations "debacle" by Online Journalism Review.
- "iLoo" | 2015-07-23 | 354 Upvotes 56 Comments
The Monobloc (From mono- (“one”) + bloc (“block”), meaning an object forged in a single piece) chair is a lightweight stackable polypropylene chair, usually white in colour, often described as the world's most common plastic chair.
Based on original designs by the Canadian designer D.C. Simpson in 1946, variants of the one-piece plastic chair went into production with Allibert Group and Grosfillex Group in the 1970s. They were inspired by the Chair Universal 4867 design by Joe Colombo in 1965, but no patents were filed for a monobloc chair design. Since then, millions have been manufactured in countries including Russia, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico, the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Morocco, Turkey, Israel, India and China. The Monobloc chair is named because it is injection moulded from thermoplastic polypropylene, the granules being heated to about 220 degrees Celsius, and the melt injected into a mold. The gate of the mould is usually located in the seat, so ensuring smooth flow to all parts of the tool.
Close to a billion Monoblocs have been sold in Europe alone, with one Italian manufacturer producing over ten million a year. Many design variants of the basic idea exist. The chairs cost approximately $3.50 to produce, making them affordable across the world. The stackable design aids setting up large gatherings and storage of the chairs afterwards. In developing countries with high population growth, monoblocs are used to seat thousands of church attendees at a time. Social theorist Ethan Zuckerman describes the chair as having achieved a cultural global ubiquity.
- "Monobloc chair" | 2020-02-22 | 381 Upvotes 117 Comments
Nebraska Furniture Mart is the largest home furnishing store in North America selling furniture, flooring, appliances and electronics. NFM was founded in 1937 by Belarus-born Rose Blumkin, universally known as Mrs. B., in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. Under the motto "sell cheap and tell the truth," she worked in the business until age 103. In 1983, Mrs. B. sold a majority interest to Berkshire Hathaway in a handshake deal with Warren Buffett.
- "Nebraska Furniture Mart" | 2019-09-21 | 170 Upvotes 72 Comments
The Phoebus cartel existed to control the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs. They appropriated market territories and fixed the useful life of such bulbs. Corporations based in Europe and America founded the cartel on January 15, 1925 in Geneva. They had intended the cartel to last for thirty years (1925 to 1955). The cartel ceased operations in 1939 owing to the outbreak of World War II. The cartel included manufacturers Osram, General Electric, Associated Electrical Industries, and Philips, among others.
The Phoebus cartel created a notable landmark in the history of the global economy because it engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence to generate repeated sales and maximize profit. It also reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost fifteen years. Critics accused the cartel of preventing technological advances that would produce longer-lasting light bulbs. Phoebus based itself in Switzerland. The corporation named itself Phœbus S.A. Compagnie Industrielle pour le Développement de l'Éclairage (French for "Phoebus, Inc. Industrial Company for the Development of Lighting").