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The creation of the modern laptop (arstechnica.com)
49 points by Deprecated on June 16, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

How can you have a history of portable computing and not say a single thing about LCDs? The innovation that contributed most to adoption of notebook computers was the TFT screens with wider viewing angle and better colors. The article talks about the CNC used to make the sleek computers of today. But it wasn't any deficiency of manufacturing that made old laptops look boxy. They had to build the frames to block as much light as possible from interfering with the display.

There were laptops with plasma screens (grid compass 2 = turret from 'Aliens'), or EL. At least plasma ones had no trouble with direct sunlight.


Who would like a grid compass case for the Novena laptop ?

"battery gains have been mostly linear for the last 25 years" After a whole paragraph about how Li-ion improves by ~5% per year. Reporters don't understand what exponential means!

> After a whole paragraph about how Li-ion improves by ~5% per year. Reporters don't understand what exponential means!

Just think, 20 years ago, there was no battery life at all! :-)

Growth of 5% per year is geometric, not exponential.

What's the difference? Wikipedia says that geometric growth is a special case of exponential growth, so anything that exhibits geometric growth would, by definition, exhibit exponential growth.

I don't think the commenter you're responding to was accounting for the possibility that the growth occurred in discrete jumps once per year.

This article is a bit lacking in details. The GRiD Compass is not given credit for being the first computer with a clamshell case (also a plasma screen). Also, not mentioning the Tandy TRS-80 Model 100 is a crime in a discussion of how the modern laptop came to be.

Previous submission from 2 weeks ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9637015, which is funny because the article says it was published yesterday.

If you check that submission you'll notice that it's on the European version of ars, while this is on the US edition. It seems the two publications are not aligned.

Yeah i was wondering why everyone was buzzing about it now, until i noticed that it had been re-published on their .com site.

> It is the result of trillions of hours of R&D over tens of thousands of years.

Wow, I did not know that Ars was so much into hyperbole. That claim is just ridiculous.

It's not hyperbole but you could probably say the same about any modern computing device. Think about all the hours spent by the countless engineers designing all the individual components in a modern laptop. Now think about all the hours spent developing / iterating on previous versions of those components to get them to the point they are now.

It's very impressive.

Assuming "trillions" means 3 trillion. Divided by the average work hours during a persons career that'd come up to about 33 million people.

That's quite a few engineers.

It's like the Civilization technology tree. To get the laptop, you first have to invent Electronics, and before that Physics, and before that...

Easily adds up to trillions of hours.

Man-hours and man-years? Probably not hyperbole at all.

Ars has never been too serious. The same author has an article titled "Is the Internet a failed utopia?".

If you haven't read that article[0], you should.

If you have read it, what's your quip with it? It seems quite reasonable. Is it the title?

[0] http://arstechnica.co.uk/information-technology/2015/06/is-t...

25 years of laptops and we still have these damn screens on them that are physically attached to the computer.

Any laptop engineers out there: I want a screen that I can detach from the laptop, velcro it to a wall or to a stand and let me use my laptop with good posture.

Buy a Surface Pro 3 and use a wireless keyboard/mouse. That's more or less what you're asking for. I will admit you'd need pretty heavy duty velcro to attach it to the wall, but it likely is do-able if you don't mind having a completely fuzzy-backed SP3.

There are many hybrids with detachable keyboards; they're not that far from what you seem to want.

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