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A Notebook That Can Maybe Take a Beating

The Durabook from GammaTech is tougher than its competitors—at least so says GammaTech

3 min read
A Notebook That Can Maybe Take a Beating

According to GammaTech Computer Corp., its "fully rugged" MT10 Durabook tablet can survive being dunked underwater, chilled below freezing, and dropped from a lectern—a lot more abuse, in other words, than the falls from desks and minor liquid spills that merely "business rugged" notebooks are supposed to take.

When it came time to put its money where its marketing claims are, though, the company wouldn’t authorize us to put the loaner unit it provided through any paces that went beyond business-class-rugged drop-and-spill tests.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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