What is a “Macintosh” ?

February 24, 2015

The Macintosh (/ˈmækɨntɒʃ/ MAK-in-tosh), or Mac, is a series of personal computers (PCs) designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc.

Steve Jobs introduced the original Macintosh computer on January 24, 1984. This was the first mass-market personal computer featuring an integral graphical user interface and mouse. This first model was later renamed to “Macintosh 128k” for uniqueness amongst a populous family of subsequently updated models which are also based on Apple’s same proprietary architecture. The Macintosh product family has been collectively and singularly nicknamed “Mac” or “the Mac” since the development of the first model.

The Macintosh, however, was expensive, which caused it to be overtaken in sales by the aggressively priced IBM Personal Computer and its accompanying clone market. Macintosh systems still found success in education and desktop publishing and kept Apple as the second-largest PC manufacturer for the next decade. In the 1990s, improvements in the rival Wintel platform, notably with the introduction of Windows 3.0, gradually took market share from the more expensive Macintosh systems. The performance advantage of 68000-based Macintosh systems was eroded by Intel’s Pentium, and in 1994 Apple was relegated to third place as Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Despite a transition to the PowerPC-based Power Macintosh line in 1994, the falling prices of PC components and the release of Windows 95 saw the Macintosh user base decline.

In 1998, after the return of Steve Jobs, Apple consolidated its multiple consumer-level desktop models into the all-in-one iMac G3, which became a commercial success and revitalized the brand. Since their transition to Intel processors in 2006, the complete lineup is entirely based on said processors and associated systems. Its current lineup comprises three desktops (the all-in-one iMac, entry-level Mac mini, and the Mac Pro tower graphics workstation), and three laptops (the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Pro with Retina display). Its Xserve server was discontinued in 2011 in favor of the Mac Mini and Mac Pro.

Production of the Mac is based on a vertical integration model. Apple facilitates all aspects of its hardware and creates its own operating system that is pre-installed on all Mac computers, unlike most IBM PC compatibles, where multiple sellers create and integrate hardware intended to run another company’s operating system. Apple exclusively produces Mac hardware, choosing internal systems, designs, and prices. Apple also develops the operating system for the Mac, currently OS X version 10.10 “Yosemite”. Macs are currently capable of running non-Apple operating systems such as Linux, OpenBSD, and Microsoft Windows with the aid of Boot Camp or third-party software. Apple does not license OS X for use on non-Apple computers, though it did license previous versions of Mac OS through their Macintosh clone program from 1995 to 1997.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “Windows Update” ?

February 17, 2015

Windows Update – A service offered by Microsoft, provides updates for Windows components. It can be replaced with Microsoft Update, an expanded version of the service which provides for other Microsoft software as well, such as Microsoft Office, Windows Live Essentials and Microsoft Expression Studio. Windows Update clients normally download updates over an Internet  connection, although Microsoft makes provision for installing updates on computers without an Internet connection and a range of alternative methods and programs also exist to install updates.

The service provides different kinds of updates. Security updates or critical updates protect against vulnerabilities to malware and security exploits. Other updates correct errors unrelated to security, or enhance functionality.

Microsoft routinely releases security updates on the second Tuesday of each month (Patch Tuesday), but can provide them whenever a new update is urgently required to prevent a newly discovered or prevalent exploit targeting Windows users. System administrators can configure Windows Update to install critical updates automatically so long as the computer has an Internet connection, without the user needing to install them manually, or even be aware that an update is required.

Windows Vista and later provide a Control Panel to configure update settings and check for updates. The Windows Update Control Panel also has the function of downloading Windows Ultimate Extras, optional software for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. For previous versions of Microsoft Windows, users can download updates from the Windows Update website, using Internet Explorer.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “Backup and Restore” ?

February 10, 2015

Backup and Restore – (Formerly Windows Backup and Restore Center) is a component of Microsoft Windows introduced in Windows Vista and included in later versions that allows users to create backups and restore from backups. It is a replacement of NTBackup, which was included in previous Windows versions. It became a deprecated feature in Windows 8 and was completely removed in Windows 8.1 in favor of File History.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “VLC Media Player” ?

February 3, 2015

VLC media player – (Commonly known as VLC) is a portable, free and open-source, cross-platform media player and streaming media server written by the VideoLAN project.

VLC media player supports many audio and video compression methods and file formats, including DVD-Video, video CD and streaming protocols. It is able to stream media over computer networks and to transcode multimedia files.

The default distribution of VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries, avoiding the need for finding/calibrating proprietary plugins. Many of VLC’s codecs are provided by the libavcodec library from the FFmpeg project, but it uses mainly its own muxer and demuxers and its own protocols implementations. It also gained distinction as the first player to support playback of encrypted DVDs on Linux and OS X by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “Intel” ?

January 27, 2015

Intel Corporation – An American multinational corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Intel is one of the world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip makers, based on revenue. It is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers.

Intel Corporation, founded on July 18, 1968, is a portmanteau of Integrated Electronics (the fact that “intel” is the term for intelligence information also made the name appropriate). Intel also makes motherboard chipsets, network interface controllers and integrated circuits, flash memory, graphic chips, embedded processors and other devices related to communications and computing. Founded by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore and widely associated with the executive leadership and vision of Andrew Grove, Intel combines advanced chip design capability with a leading-edge manufacturing capability. Though Intel was originally known primarily to engineers and technologists, its “Intel Inside” advertising campaign of the 1990s made it a household name, along with its Pentium processors.

Intel was an early developer of SRAM and DRAM memory chips, and this represented the majority of its business until 1981. Although Intel created the world’s first commercial microprocessor chip in 1971, it was not until the success of the personal computer (PC) that this became its primary business. During the 1990s, Intel invested heavily in new microprocessor designs fostering the rapid growth of the computer industry. During this period Intel became the dominant supplier of microprocessors for PCs, and was known for aggressive and sometimes illegal tactics in defense of its market position, particularly against Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), as well as a struggle with Microsoft for control over the direction of the PC industry.

The 2013 rankings of the world’s 100 most valuable brands published by Millward Brown Optimor showed the company’s brand value at number 61.

Intel has also begun research into electrical transmission and generation. Intel has recently introduced a 3-D transistor that improves performance and energy efficiency. Intel has begun mass-producing this 3-D transistor, named the Tri-Gate transistor, with their 22 nm process, which is currently used in their 3rd generation core processors initially released on April 29, 2012. In 2011, SpectraWatt Inc., a solar cell spinoff of Intel, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. In June 2013, Intel unveiled its fourth generation of Intel Core processors (Haswell) in an event named Computex in Taipei.

The Open Source Technology Center at Intel hosts PowerTOP and LatencyTOP, and supports other open-source projects such as Wayland, Intel Array Building Blocks, Threading Building Blocks (TBB), and Xen.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “Radeon” ?

January 13, 2015

Radeon – A brand of computer products, including graphics processing units, random-access memory, RAM disk software, solid-state drives, produced by Advanced Micro Devices. The brand was launched in 2000 by ATI Technologies, which was acquired by AMD in 2006.

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Source: Wikipedia


What is “Nvidia” ?

January 6, 2015

Nvidia Corporation – An American global technology company based in Santa Clara, California. Nvidia manufactures graphics processing units (GPUs), as well as system-on-a-chip units (SOCs) for the mobile computing market. Nvidia’s primary GPU product line, labeled “GeForce”, is in direct competition with AMD’s “Radeon” products. Nvidia also joined the gaming industry with its handheld Shield Portable and Shield Tablet, as well as the tablet market with the Tegra Note 7.

In addition to GPU manufacturing, Nvidia provides parallel processing capabilities to researchers and scientists that allow them to efficiently run high-performance applications. They are deployed in supercomputing sites around the world. More recently, Nvidia has moved into the mobile computing market, where it produces Tegra mobile processors for smartphones and tablets, as well as vehicle navigation and entertainment systems. In addition to Advanced Micro Devices, its competitors include Intel and Qualcomm.

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Source: Wikipedia


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