Category Archives: Technology

Got wood

Oh the wonders of technology. This little beauty from VisualJunkie.no offers 1GB or 2GB of memory in handmade wooden USB sticks and would set you back about €50. I’m tempted…

A tale of two green-car markets

The Japanese market is apparently embracing more eco-friendly hybrid vehicles at a much greater rate than the US, largely due to a more wide-ranging incentive scheme. The sale stats don’t lie, as we can see (I’m including the hyperlinks from the original article to make it easier to follow up on what’s going on):

In Japan, where hybrids are now tax-free and gas prices are 78 percent higher than in the U.S., a hybrid (Honda’s Insight) topped the charts for vehicle sales for the first time ever in April. And Toyota’s gen-3 Prius, which took the crown last month, is doing well enough that the company has reportedly brought back overtime and started recruiting workers from other Toyota factories to keep up with booming demand. Chief Prius engineer Akihiko Otsuka told the New York Times recently that he expects hybrid sales to “push up the entire car market.”

Yet a Honda executive has just announced that the company expects to miss its sales targets for the Insight by as much as 33 percent this year in the U.S. That’s partly because of relatively low gas prices — they’ve dropped as much as 35 percent in the last year. As J.D. Power and Associates powertrain analyst Mike Omotoso told us recently, “When gas is cheap we tend to buy large vehicles without too much concern for the environment.”

Links o' the day 27/11/08

This shot of wind tower in Jaipur is one of my favourite photos of recent times. And it certainly helps take one’s mind off the carnage that’s going on in Mumbai.

While on the subject of great photographs, here are ten of Hubble’s best before it gets decommissioned in 2010.

Say phooey to that digital alarm clock and get a pin one instead.

Although given its recent track record (read “Vista”), Microsoft has got a fair bit right.

Could newspapers have survived the web?

The credit crunch/economic meltdown has thrown up all sorts of new financial terms. Just to add one: apparently Nokia refers to “synergy-related headcount adjustments”, better known to you and me as redundancies.

Energy islands

It is one of those ideas that is so obvious it is difficult to imagine why somebody did not think of it sooner: a floating rig that collects wave, solar, thermal and wind energy.

One of these hexagonally-shaped islands could generate 250 megawatts (enough power for a small city), Michaelis said. Even more power is possible by mooring together several Energy Islands into a small archipelago that could include greenhouses for food, a small harbor for ships and a hotel for tourists.

Although the focus is on using the other technologies to help ocean thermal energy conversion, I think the idea could have plenty of merit even without this. It won’t be cheap, at about $600m per energy island, but it could pay for itself through desalinisation or aquaculture.

It would be important to ensure that such facilities do not interfere with marine life: with so many fish species already threatened, it would be stupid to run the risk of further depopulation (although I confess ignorance of fish stocks in tropical waters). There are also a great many dead zones in world waters, and I would be concerned that the pumping up of so many nutrients could create new ones; I’m sure such possibilities will be dealt with if such projects get funding.

It’s also unclear how far offshore these islands would be: too close, and public opinion will be against populating pretty sea views with technology.

Hallowe'en links and more

Hallowe’en pumpking carving with robotics (Slashdot, pic via there as well)

Looking for a Hallowe’en scare? Try the latest video games (Reuters)

Ten horror hoaxes that spooked the masses (The Daily Telegraph)

DIY Hallowe’en projects (Lifehacker)

Researchers build “haunted” room (BoingBoing)

And now time for some music.

The Misfits – Scream

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td-QoYceevk[/youtube]

Lordi – Hard rock Hallelujah

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdItwaLrv1U[/youtube]

Cradle of Filth – No Time to Cry

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wokDxDt504g[/youtube]

And a horror of a different kind: Jan Terri – Losing You

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE2l6CPna4M[/youtube]

Calling all notebook designer wannabes

Have your say over at WePC.com, a joint venture by Asus and Intel that allows users to specifiy what they’d like to see in a computer. You can also draw the thing if you’re feeling creative :D

Some of the stuff is quite broad in aspiration: “quality display, perfect performance, huge HDD”. I wonder how one defines “perfect performance”, particularly if WIndows Vista is installed.

The site lets you balance between long battery life and a large screen, weight versus durability, performance against price and that sort of thing, so it’s impossible to, say, have one with a battery that lasts for nine hours that also has a 19-inch screen.

One of the most highly rated so far is the extensible gaming laptop, which says nuts to a long battery in favour of desktop power.

I have yet to come across the one advocating hair, though.