Nowadays laptops are compact, lightweight and powerful. But how did it all begin? Here is the review of the Toshiba T3100/20 made in 1986 — one of the first ‘luggable’ laptops.

It is always nice to have a portable computer with all the files, documents and programs installed, especially for people who travel often or work from different locations. But in the 80s the average personal computer was looking like this:

There was almost no chance to use it as a “portable”, though some companies like Compaq, tried to make a portable PC with a CRT tube (I will publish…


Using renewable energy is a popular trend in the 21st century. But how it really works? The best way to get an answer is to build such a system and to test it on their own. I bought two 160 Watt panels and installed them on my balcony. Results and details you will see in this article.

General Information

As we know, there are two main principles of using solar power.

  1. Store the energy in batteries.
  2. Feed the energy directly to the power grid.

The first method is perfect when we need an autonomous energy source that can work without external electricity…


Nowadays almost everybody can afford a laptop, prices are starting from about $50. But not so long time ago it was a sort of luxury item. How did it feel to use such a machine? The only way to get an answer — is to try.

Hardware

Those who are not interested in technical details, can skip this part and continue reading from the software testing.

It is absolutely no problem to find any computer specs on the Internet. I can easily read that the Compaq LTE laptop has a 100 MHz Pentium processor and 8 or 16 MB of RAM…


Psion 5MX is deservedly considered one of the best portable devices with a mechanical keyboard in history. Is it really so? Let’s find this out.

It is easy to find many reviews and YouTube videos about any device nowadays. But when we are talking about the things like a mechanical keyboard, no review can replace personal and tactile sensations. So I decided to buy a Psion 5MX on eBay — it is easy to find it, and the price can vary from 50$ to 250$ depending on the bit of luck and the device condition. There are also two other…


Nowadays it’s easy to have a video call with almost every part of the world. But it took a long time for the technology to reach this level. I will show what solutions engineers used back in 1988, so you could not only talk but also see your friend or partner during the call.

Once I saw a YouTube review of Sony PCT-15 — this device, made in Japan, was connecting to an ordinary telephone line and allowed not only to talk with another person but also to send and receive images during the call. …


My first PDA was Palm m105, I used it in 2001. 20 years later I decided to check, how the last generation of Palm OS devices was looking and to check if it’s possible to use Palm OS nowadays.

Palm m105 was a nice device for its time, it had a grayscale screen with a “stunning” 160x160px resolution and a 16 MHz Motorola CPU. Comparing to it, Palm TX looks much better — it was released 4 years later, and it has 312 MHz CPU, 320x480 TFT screen, USB, WiFi and Bluetooth support. …


Analog mobile phones were popular in the 90s and the last operators ended their service only in 2007. Is it possible to run this phone now? Let’s figure it out.

AMPS

Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) standard was created by Bell Labs in 1983, these phones became popular in the 90s. This standard was a sort of first-generation cellular technology — the voice was transmitted using the “old way” method of frequency modulation (FM), like in a walkie-talkie radio, but the radio spectrum was divided into separated channels, and the so-called “control channel” was actually digital.

The AMPS is using 825–845…


An interesting device, released a little too late

In the 90s, pagers were popular: They were cheap, lightweight, and had very long battery life. But at the same time, they were only able to receive messages. There was no transmitter inside the pager, and there was no physical possibility to send any response. The idea of having two-way communication was tempting, and in 1995 the Motorola Tango, the first pager that was able not only to receive but also to send messages, was made.

Technology

All pagers from the paging provider listen to the same frequency, let’s say, 930 MHz. Every pager has its own unique ID, called CAP…


How a Raspberry Pi will help you resurrect this classic communications device

Pagers were popular many years ago, and some people may still have one at home. Is it possible to test the pager now? Absolutely, and I will show you how to do it.

Let’s get started.

POCSAG — The Messaging Protocol

In the 90s, I was a student and the pager for me was something like a Star Trek Communicator, a piece of the cutting edge technology. It is fun to remember it because now I know that technologically the paging protocol is very straightforward. …


The first Palm PDA was introduced in 1996 and it was a huge success. How did Palm OS really work? Let's test it and figure it out.

Before we begin, it can be useful to remember the technological level of that time. The typical mobile phone, available for the customers in 1994, was a Nokia 2110, which had a 236g weight, a 25mm thickness, and a small monochrome 96x96 screen:

Laptops were heavy and expensive, smartphones were not invented yet, and nobody was even thinking about iPhone or Android at least for the nearest 10 years. Thus, an appearance in 1996 of a Palm Pilot device, that was relatively cheap and lightweight, that could be held in a palm and could work as a personal digital assistant…

Dmitrii Eliuseev

Python and IoT Developer, science and ham radio enthusiast

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