Tuesday, September 4


Thorne posts about a potential future of Mobile Phones on his blog:

The potential phone-of-the-future that this presents is really obvious: It looks just like an iPhone; a flat little tablet with a screen covering its entire surface, except that there’s no little port for a camera on this one, the screen is the camera. So long as phones continue to be used as cameras as well, there will probably be a screen/camera on both sides of your future-phone. If you like, the screen on the back can display a precise 3D rendition of your head when you hold it up to your ear, so that it looks transparent. In fact, why not do that all the time, so that the phone always looks transparent? Take that Aqua! To take a photo you just hold up your empty phone-frame, and press the button on the side…

I like this idea, and also had a vision of Apple using this new technology from Sharp, when I read the slashdot article. I like Thorne's extrapolation to a transparent phone.

Saturday, July 28

Toyota Debuts Plug-In Prius

Extremetech reports that on Wednesday Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled a "plug-in" hybrid car based on its popular Prius model.
Toyota is going to test the fuel-saving vehicle, currently called the Toyota Plug-in HV on public roads—a first for the industry, with 8 Prototypes being built and tested.

Toyota does not intend these cars for later production, as they are using Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (as currently used in the Prius), which they consider inappropriate for a plug-in vehicle. They are waiting for Lithium Ion batteries to improve before commercialization.

Hybridcars.com also has an article, based on the same press release.

Monday, May 21

Media Centre Remote

Ricavision Media Centre Sideshow Remote

This bluetooth remote does almost everything (except unfortunately control your other, non-computer connected devices, such as the stereo or DVD player).
Windows Sideshow allows you to navigate your music collection on the remote and add songs to the playlist as well as see what is currently playing. It displays this information on a 2.5" QVGA LCD screen.

If a universal remote version of this comes out, it would be very tempting to buy.

Thursday, May 17

Next-Gen Prius - Hybrid X

The next generation prius is going to come in 3 Flavours, all under the Prius label.

One car will be approximately the size of the current Yaris, the next size up will be slightly larger than the current Prius, and the larger version will be slightly smaller than the Camry. They are expected to release these models in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.

The Camry Hybrid is expected to be dropped from the lineup.

This, along with the announcement that all of their cars will be hybrids by 2020, suggests that the existing line-up of cars will slowly be phased out, rather than converted to support a hybrid petrol/electric design.

Toyota to be 100% Hybrid by 2020

Toyota has announced that they plan on producing 100% of their cars as Hybrids by the year 2020.
Previously, Toyota had announced that they would have their full range of cars available in a Hybrid form by 2010.

Currently the Prius is the only Toyota branded Hybrid available in Australia, with a Camry Hybrid available in the USA. Lexus has a range of luxury Hybrid cars available, at a much higher price.

Reuters reports that Toyota is hoping to make as much money from hybrids as it does from conventional cars by the end of the decade.

Experts are predicting that the new model [ed: 2008/2009 Prius], due late next year or in early 2009, will feature a cheaper lithium-ion battery system.

As for alternatives, Takimoto mentioned that plug-in hybrids, which run on electricity alone and can be charged from a household power socket are still years away from being feasible. While diesel vehicles, as favored by the European carmakers, require expensive particulate filters and other traps that cost almost as much as the first generation hybrid technology.

Tuesday, May 15

Student Arrested for "Suspected Terrorist Activity"

A student has been arrested for "Suspected Terrorist Activity" after creating a map of his school in a computer game and playing this game with his friends.

The student was also expelled from his school, despite not being convicted of the charges yet, and moved to the "M.R. Wood Alternative Education Center".

Original Story at FortBendNow.

Also reported by Bandon Paddock's blog

Friday, April 6

New Fence

Since we moved in, we've talked about replacing the fence along the side of the house, that has been falling apart and leaking bits of garden onto the street.
We've finally replaced it.

The rest of the photos can be seen on PicasaWeb:

Next stage:

  • Get new trellis and put the climbing plants back against the fence
  • Pave the section where we've relocated the gate to.
  • Fix up the irrigation system so that it drips into the garden again before next summer.

Tuesday, February 6

Google Maps - Australia

Google has announced that they now have full support for Australian maps, including driving directions and local businesses.

By using the url http://maps.google.com.au, it defaults to Australian addresses, and seems to work really well for me.

It is also now allowing me to do things like search for Pizza in my local area.

Lookout Sensis - Google has just invaded your market space.

Saturday, January 27

Intel announces replacement for Silicon Dioxide

Betanews reports that Intel has announced that they are going to change the material used in the transistors on their semiconductors, as they move to a 45nm process.

The new materials are a hafnium based gate oxide (replacing the SiO2) and a metal gate (alloy undisclosed, replacing polysilicon).

They are planning on releasing CPU's using this new process in the second half of 2007, with higher clock speeds and similar thermal characteristics to the current Core 2 Duo processors.

"For Penryn, we're going to deliver some micro-architectural features that will improve performance, and separate from that and orthogonal to that, we're going to deliver some clock rate improvements," Intel's Smith told reporters. "You can expect some frequency increase within the same thermal envelopes; we know that is possible, and that's our plan for these."

Smith also confirmed that the new Penryn series will implement the long-anticipated fourth set of Streaming SIMD extensions to its instruction set - its next generation of single-instruction, multiple-data instructions that have steadily improved Intel CPUs' capability to manage multimedia and streaming data. "We already see those running in our lab successfully," he stated, "and what we're seeing is excellent, multiple-double-digit performance gains on media-type applications. So we're seeing the result we expected there from SSE4 in our initial evaluations."

On power consumtion, Jim McGregor says (from the same article):

"As we've seen, more miniaturized components should require less power to operate, as the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad series have clearly demonstrated. But at layer thicknesses of just one or two molecules, conventional materials behave differently, leaking current and thus using more power. HK+MG solves Intel's problem today, In-Stat's Jim McGregor believes, but it might crop up again later."

Monday, January 22

Books in a Minute - SF/F

Books in a Minute:

Don't have time to read it all?
Let's face it. There's a lot of science fiction and fantasy out there and very little time to read it in. Well sit back and relax, because your troubles are solved! We here at Book-A-Minute SF/F have come up with a solution. We've taken several great speculative fiction novels and extracted the important stuff, cutting out all the filler. (You'd be surprised how much filler there is sometimes.) With our ultra-condensed versions of your favorite speculative fiction, you can read entire books -- entire series, even -- in just one minute! You can have your books and read them too!
And it costs nothing!

Spoliers may be contained (briefly) in the links below...

Books In a Minute - The list of abreviated books

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Illuminatus Trilogy!

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

and an ultra-condensed version of Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire

Thursday, January 11

iPhone drool

No, not the device by InfoGear in 1999, but Apples new toy.

What thorne says. I agree. There is a really nice Demo that steve jobs gave at MacWorld that looks pretty sweet.

I especially like the scrolling with you finger, and the slide to unlock. The pincer action to zoom into the photos is nice too (but wouldn't be used as much).

With Samsungs new NAND memory doubling in capacity all the time, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 16GB model late this year.

The first model only has GSM + EDGE + WiFi + Bluetooth.... 3G is "comming".