Did you know that the charger for a modern MacBook has about as much computing power as the original Macintosh computer? That's one surprising lesson from this teardown of an Apple charger:
One unexpected component is a tiny circuit board with a microcontroller, which can be seen above. This 16-bit processor constantly monitors the charger's voltage and current. It enables the output when the charger is connected to a Macbook, disables the output when the charger is disconnected, and shuts the charger off if there is a problem. This processor is a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller, roughly as powerful as the processor inside the original Macintosh.
Some other surprisingly smart devices I learned about when I posted this on Twitter: the original Laserwriter printer was more powerful than the computers it was connected to, and a modern Firewire to HDMI cable contains 256k of RAM runs a Unix-like operating system.
That's all from us for this week. We'll be back on Monday and all next week keeping you up-to-date during the holiday period. See you then!