On this date in 1981, IBM unveiled their first personal desktop computer, revolutionizing the concept of computers with off-the-shelf parts and industry standards. The new PC brought the unique gift of affordable computing power to everyone.
IBM’s earlier release of the 360, an innovative room-sized mainframe computer, coincided with the transition from the gray flannel “IBM look” of narrow lapels and thin ties to a new, hip generation of creative thinking and mod styling. Prior to this machine, many computers had to be custom-programmed for each application, costing millions.
Personal computing has continued to evolve exponentially, with Apple’s release today of the Apple Watch. Modern data storage will be a billion times larger than that used in the IBM 360 and that first PC. Shrinking chips and Jovian data storage has brought us the reality of the computer that is worn on the wrist.
As our computing power has evolved, so have the products that make personal computing easier and safer. Here are some suggestions for unique gifts that will enhance your use of your own PC, tablet or smartphone.
This pocket-sized device extends the range and improves the signal strength of a wireless network. The cordless device rebroadcasts the signal to provide a faster, more reliable WiFi connection at a hotel, airport or coffee shop. About the size of a smartphone, the device stores unobtrusively during travel and its rechargeable battery last up to four hours. The unit also converts a wired Internet connection into a wireless network via a built-in Ethernet port.
Tapping out a message on a smartphone or tablet can lead to some fat-fingered mistakes. This Bluetooth device projects a laser-generated keyboard onto any flat, opaque surface, providing an instant keyboard. An invisible infrared horizontal plane projected millimeters above the surface detects actual contact with “keys”, passing it along to a paired device.
The Eye Scanning Password Authenticator confirms a user’s identity before granting access to secure websites and other sensitive digital data. Employing the same biometric technology trusted to verify travelers at international borders, the authenticator has a small camera that scans each user’s iris, creating an encrypted ID that cannot be forged, duplicated or acquired by a hacker. It can authenticate five separate users and comes with a carrying pouch for travel, giving you the unique gift of identity security wherever you are.