April 2015 11
Outpeep the Peepers
Of course you are not involved in any illegal, immoral, or otherwise embarrassing activities that you don't want
anyone to know about. Certainly not. But if you were, you
might be alarmed to know that several companies manufacture
optical devices that let police or other snoopy people reverse
the function of door peepholes and see (and even photograph)
exactly what's going on inside.
However, for every tactic, there is a counter-tactic. So, if
indeed there is something fishy going on (or you're just
paranoid), check out the Brinno ( www.brinno.com)
PHV132512 Digital PeepHole Viewer.
Not only does it prevent visitors from spying on you, it turns
the peephole image into a big bright digital image on the unit's
display. It also compensates for low-light conditions and
eliminates fisheye distortion.
To conserve battery life, the viewer automatically shuts
down after 10 seconds. It installs easily in doors from 1.375 to
2. 25 inches thick, and the two AA batteries are included. It lists
for $129.99, but scrounging around the Internet turned up
prices as low as $89.95. A small price to pay if you and Agnes
(the goat) need a little privacy. ▲
INDUSTRY and the PROFESSION
■ The Brinno PeepHole Viewer ensures privacy.
Computer Hits Age 60
Most of us are aware of the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) which became the first electronic general-purpose computer in 1946. Fewer are familiar with the Weizmann Automatic
Computer (WEIZAC) which debuted 60 years ago. Based on the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) architecture
created by John von Neumann, it was Israel's first computer and one of the world's first large-scale, stored-program machines in the world. The machine operated on
40-bit words and used punched tape for I/O (later, magnetic
tape). Memory consisted of a magnetic drum that could
hold 1,024 words (later expanded to 4,096).
The program to develop WEIZAC was initiated by Prof.
Chaim L. Pekeris, who wanted to use it to solve Laplace's
tidal equations for the Earth's oceans and other tasks,
including defense-related ones. Eventually, it was also used
for earthquake studies, atomic spectroscopy, numerical
analysis, and so on.
Interestingly, although von Neumann supported the
project, fellow Applied Mathematics Department committee
member, Albert Einstein thought it was a bad idea. WEIZAC
was fired up in 1955 and operated through 1963. In 2006, it
was recognized by the IEEE as a milestone in electrical
engineering, and the team who put it together was awarded
the "WEIZAC Medal." NV
CIRCUITS and DEVICES Continued
■ Israel's first computer, the WEIZAC.