November 26, 2013

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November 20, 2013

Self Repairing Battery Promises To Increase Lithium-iOn Charge Capacity

Lithium-ion batteries that power devices and vehicles used today could always use extra charge capacity. Now, researchers at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a potential way of doing just that.

According to a new report from Forbes, the scientists have developed a self-healing battery electrode that will allow for greater charge capacity in lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers have seen silicon as a potential battery electrode material for awhile now because it's capable of holding large amounts of energy while the battery charges, which extends its life.

The problem is that silicon electrodes expand when they're charged, and contract when the electrons release. This causes them to stress and crack from the expansion until electrons can no longer be stored.

But the latest study aims to fix that problem by coating the silicon electrodes with self-healing polymer. When this polymer expands, it also cracks like the silicon. However, the broken bonds of the polymer "attract" one another, and returns back to its original shape.

By coating the silicon with this sort of material, it can expand all it wants without cracking, and the electrodes can continue storing more energy without worry.

So far, the technology appears to be working. The researchers have put the electrodes through 100 charge-discharge cycles without any issues.

However, the team said the coated electrodes need to achieve 500 cycles for smartphones and 3,000 cycles for electric vehicles, so further testing is necessary before it can be considered a sure thing.

"The ability to repair damage spontaneously, which is termed self-healing, is an important survival feature in nature because it increases the lifetime of most living creatures," said the team in their study. "This feature is highly desirable for rechargeable batteries because the lifetime of high-capacity electrodes, such as silicon anodes, is shortened by mechanical fractures generated during the cycling process."

Source: Daily Tech

November 13, 2013

Usain Bolt, a Cheetah, Bugatti Veyron, Bullet Train, Space Craft Versus Speed of Light (Infographic)

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November 6, 2013

Walmart Is Offline Due To A Massive Pricing Glitch - Hack or Marketing Scheme? is officially offline for most. This is due to a hack or major internal glitch. Minutes ago you were able to purchase a $1,000 pool table for $90 or $1300 Samsung HDTV for $85. The pricing glitch was immediately noticed by hundreds of shoppers who were able to checkout items worth hundreds of dollars for only a few bucks. Will Walmart honor these prices?

If it was not a hack or a real internal pricing error, then this would be one clever and unique marketing stunt.

October 31, 2013

Android Smartphone's Dominate World Market (Phone Sales Q3 2013)

Global smartphone shipments reached 251.4 million units in Q3 2013, up 45 percent from 172.8 million units in Q3 2012. Breaking those numbers down:
  • Google’s Android secured a whopping 81.3 percent global share
  • Apple’s iOS fell to 13.4 percent
  • Windows Phone took third with 4.1 percent.
The majority of growth came from robust demand for Android and Windows Phone models in developed and developing markets, notably Europe and Asia. Here’s the full breakdown for annual growth:

October 21, 2013

Sexiest iWatch Concept

First of all, I am not into physical product design at all - so please be kind (I know it looks basically like the bastard child of a Fuel Band and an iPhone)
After several weeks with my new fuel band and a quiet disappointing revamp last week it got me thinking what functions I would love to see in a so called "smart watch" like this - not that many actually.

But I really liked the idea of wrapping the Interface around the wrist and have something like the click wheel rotating around my arm. The main problem is, I love the form-factor of the fuel band but would it be practical to read more text than "GOAL" or even interact with it? If the possibilities are just swipe and tap I'm sure it's possible but a watch has to be something that people like to use and I am not quiet convinced if this would be the fact.

But what we've seen so far is either ugly or stupid or both - and the conclusions going to be: smart watches are just pricy unnecessary gimmicks, until "somebody" will teach us better :)

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October 14, 2013

New LG Smartphone - G Flex with Curved Screen technology

LG has announced it's latest smartphone which will be named G Flex and will feature a curved screen. As you can see from these images, the handset will be sleek, curved and with a 6-inch display, quite large.
Specs, availability and pricing are not yet available which might be an indicator that this device will probably have some major changes before it is released or, as has happened before, might not even make it on store shelves.
Will you be supporting this design and technology when it arrives?

October 10, 2013

Nexus 5 Leaked Image, Android 4.4 Kit Kat and Internal Service Manual

Android Police has reported on a document that presents itself as a draft internal Service Manual for the Nexus 5 (LG-D821) — revealing a:
  • 4.95 inch Nexus device
  • 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 800 processor
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 2300mAh battery
  • 2GB RAM of memory
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 1.3 megapixel front camera.

Take a look at the whole 281-page document below.

Document removed due to copyright infringement  

Sorry, we can't display this document.

October 4, 2013

First Look: Amazon's 3D Smartphone

Amazon is working on devices with an eye/head movement tracking 3D user interface, and has been at it for at least 5 years.

Code Name "Smith"

Amazon filed quite a few patent applications at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office describing their 3D user interface ideas, and a lot of them talk about things we are now hearing about: device with a camera on each corner, eye and head movement tracking, adjusting user interface elements based on viewing angle, etc.

Those four front-cameras that Kindle smartphone should come equipped with? It seems that they are not really necessary to make Amazon’s faux-3D smartphone UI work. One, or at most two cameras should be plenty enough to accomplish the movement tracking task. Instead they are needed for Amazon’s Kinect like touch-less input gesture user interface.

If the ideas from this patent app make it into the commercial release, you should be able to operate your Kindle Phone by hovering your finger and making various gestures above the device, without touching it. But following your finger movement and hand gestures requires much more detailed resolution and precision, than just figuring out your viewing angle. That’s where 4 front-cameras come into play.

Why would you need such a thing for a smartphone or tablet? Touch works just fine? Yep, multi-touch works great on a 2D UI’s of today. But to effectively navigate through the 3D interfaces, you also need the depth dimension. And that’s what Amazon’s multi-dimensional input UI is all about.

Another smartphone feature that Amazon has been working on for a while now, is constant awareness and user tracking. A bit similar to Moto X's constant voice command monitoring for Google Now integration. But also able to track your whereabouts in the room through device cameras, and always ready for your voice or gesture commands. It’s described in some detail in these patent apps: App 1, App 2.

And why would Amazon go through all this trouble with their own smartphone? Well, to better integrate its services and sell you more stuff, of course. They think they can do it much better with own 3D UI, than with currently available 2D stuff. In Amazon’s own words:

" electronic marketplace might not display information through a conventional Web page in a browser, but might provide information to a device that can be displayed along one or more dimensions of a multi-dimensional interface and can be sorted and modified just as any data stored on the device. For example, a shopping view might show dimensions such as past purchases, browse history, reviews, wish list items, etc. A user can select such a view and navigate to content of interest using approaches discussed and suggested herein. Further, since the data can be associated with other data dimensions, the user can obtain information that would not previously have been readily determinable. For example, if a product on the marketplace was reviewed by a reviewer that the user recognizes, but cannot remember where the user met that reviewer, the user can change the view to combine contacts, location, or other such dimensions with the shopping dimension to locate the information.”

Original story by Stasys Bielinis
Photos courtesy of Amazon

September 17, 2013

Arduino In Your Pocket - Small, Stackable and Affordable (Video)

Microduino Studio wants to make Arduino more accessible by creating a smaller, flexible and cheaper hardware addition to the prototyping platform. All Arduino-compatible boards and extension modules created by Microduino are about the size of a quarter and stackable, which makes it easy to build micro-robotics and other tiny projects.

After launching on Kickstarter last week, Microduino hit its goal of $20,000 in just three days. You can still back the project until October 19 for pledges starting at $20, which will get you the Microduino basic kit with functions equivalent to one Arduino Uno circuit board.

KS_MicroduinoMicroduino achieves its tiny size by separating the Arduino Uno into its controller and communication cores and stacking them on top of each other. All core boards and extension modules use the same U-shaped pin-out, which means they can also be stacked together.

Tiki Wang, the startup’s CEO, says Microduino’s boards and extension modules were created to help users decrease prototyping and production expenses. Each has only the circuits necessary for their specific function, which keeps size and cost down. Extension modules currently ready for production includes ones that add Ethernet connectivity, 2.4GHz wireless communication, Micro SD card jacks, a Bluetooth Shield, a 10 DOF Sensor, Li-ion battery management and OLED display. More are currently being tested by members of Beijing Makerspace and other Microduino users.

Written by Catherine Shu

September 13, 2013

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C: Which New iPhone Is Right For You?

iPhone 5S on the left and iPhone 5C on the right.
From a hardware perspective, the 5c is very similar to the iPhone 5: It uses the same processor (Apple’s A6), the same graphics circuitry, and the same screen. The main differences are that the 5c includes a slightly more capacious battery, compatibility with more bands of LTE, and an updated FaceTime HD camera that features larger pixels and a better backside-illumination sensor.

When can I get the new iPhone models?

You can pre-order an iPhone 5c starting on Friday, September 13; the 5c will actually be available on September 20. The iPhone 5s will also be available on September 20, but Apple isn’t taking pre-orders for that model. These dates apply to the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the UK.

How much do the phones cost?

The iPhone 5c costs $99 for 16GB of storage or $199 for 32GB with a new two-year contract. Unlocked versions—without a contract—will cost $549 and $649, respectively. With the unlocked version, you can choose one that ships with a T-Mobile SIM card, or one without a SIM card at all. Both unlocked options work only with GSM networks.

The iPhone 5s costs $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, or $399 for 64GB of storage with a new two-year contract. Without a contract, those same phones will cost $649, $749, and $849, respectively. As with the 5c, you can get the unlocked model for use with T-Mobile. (Apple’s site doesn’t currently list a no-SIM option for the 5s.)

The iPhone 5C with the new colorful cases.

How does the 5s compare to the 5c and the 5?

Apple calls the 5s its most “forward-thinking” phone. Though its aluminum body is almost the same as the iPhone 5’s, there’s a bunch of new hardware inside. Most impressive is the new A7 processor, which Apple touts as the first 64-bit processor available in a phone. The iPhone 5s also includes a new M7 “motion coprocessor”; some big camera upgrades and capabilities; and the Touch ID fingerprint-authentication system. (More on these below.)

Other improvements over the iPhone 5 include a slightly larger battery, expanded carrier support, and a new color. Speaking of which...

What colors can I get?

The lower-cost iPhone 5c, constructed of hard-coated polycarbonate, will be available in candy-like light blue, light green, pink, yellow, or white. Each—including the white version—has a black bezel surrounding the screen.

There is one tiny—and we mean tiny—difference between the iPhone 5c models: On the blue, green, yellow, and white models, the Ring/Silent switch shows an orange line when flipped to the Silent position. On the pink model, the line is white. Details, people.

If you splurge on the aluminum-body iPhone 5s, your choices are different: “space gray” (with a black screen bezel and back trim), silver (with white screen bezel and back trim), or gold (also with white screen bezel and back trim). The gold is subtler than it sounds; it’s more of a champagne color. A nice touch on the 5s is that the metal ring around the Home button on each phone matches its main color: gray, silver, or gold.

The iPhone 5S with the new leather cases.

I hear Apple also makes cases for the new phones?

The $29 iPhone 5c case, available in the same five colors as the phone plus a black version, is made of silicone with a microfiber interior lining and sports a pattern of 35 circular holes on the back that let your iPhone’s own color peek through. You can match your phone to the case or opt for something a bit more interesting like, say, a white phone with a blue case.

The $39 iPhone 5s case is made of leather with a microfiber interior and is available in brown, beige, black, yellow, blue, and Product(Red) red. The case is molded over the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons, with openings for the Ring/Silent switch and back camera and flash.

The iPhone 5s

What’s this about a new processor and a co-processor?

The A7 inside the new iPhone 5s is unquestionably the most powerful chip Apple has ever put in a mobile device. It’s also the first one that uses a 64-bit architecture—usually found only on laptop and desktop computers. The implications of that architecture might not be immediately apparent, because apps have to be written to take advantage of it. But down the road, the new chip will offer some exciting possibilities for expansion and power.

The A7’s support for the latest OpenGL ES 3.0 standard means better graphics performance, too. In fact, Apple claims that the new A7 processor is twice as fast at both processor-intensive and graphics-intensive tasks as its predecessor. We’ll see about that when we test the 5s.

The iPhone 5s also includes a separate processor, called the M7, that handles sensor data.

What’s this M7 thing good for?

The M7—which Apple calls the motion co-processor—is a brand-new chip inside the iPhone 5s that complements the A7 by handling data from the device’s many sensors, including the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. Why a separate processor for all that? The key to the M7 is that it can log data from those sources without waking the full A7 processor. This means that not only can fitness-tracking apps more easily run in the background, but they’ll also chew up less of your precious battery power. And using the new CoreMotion API, third-party apps can use real-time location and motion information—like, say, whether you're walking or riding in a car—to determine how the app behaves, without dramatically affecting battery life.

iPhone 5S's newly improved 8PM camera.

Is the iPhone 5s camera really that much better?

For starters, the 5s uses a new, five-element lens that Apple designed specifically for the new iPhone. This new lens offers an f/2.2 aperture, a 15-percent-larger area than the iPhone 5’s lens, and 1.5-micron pixels—larger than those on the iPhone 5 and other smartphones.

The phone also includes a new dual-LED True Tone flash that Apple says is the first of its kind on a phone or a standalone camera. One flash is cooler white, while the other is amber with a warmer color temperature. The phone monitors ambient light and then fires the two flashes together to match that light. Together, Apple says, the two flashes provide more than 1000 unique light combinations, for flash lighting that’s brighter and more natural.

But iOS 7 also includes a bunch of software specifically designed to take advantage of the improved camera hardware. For example, before you take a photo, the phone automatically adjusts white-balance and exposure to create a tone map for better highlights and shadows; it also performs auto-focus matrix metering for improved sharpness. When you take the photo, the phone actually takes multiple images, analyzes them in real time, and then shows you what it thinks is the best one.

The 5s also includes image stabilization in software: In situations—such as low lighting—where you’d normally end up with blurry images, the phone takes multiple photos with a single shutter press, and then it blends them together into a single, sharp image. And a new burst mode captures ten full-resolution frames per second for as long as you hold down the shutter button. But unlike most burst modes, on an iPhone 5s, the phone automatically filters out bad shots to show you only the “best” ones. (You can choose others manually, if you like.)

When taking video, you can capture 720p video at 120 frames per second, slowing it down later for true slow-motion video. (You can do the editing in your favorite video app, or you can choose, right in the Photos app, which section of the clip to view in slo-mo.) And Panorama mode now lets you adjust exposure as you pan.

Fingerprint-sensor, Touch ID: how does it work?

It’s a capacitance-based (as opposed to optical) scanner built into the iPhone 5s Home button. The “capacitance” part means that instead of taking a visual scan of your finger or thumb, the scanner detects minute differences in electrical charge caused by a fingerprint’s whorls, loops, and curves.

The phone then produces a digital template (again, not an image) based on that scan. In other similar systems, software then runs such a template through a cryptographic hashing process, making it virtually impossible to recreate the original print from the template. If that’s how Touch ID works, the hashing process should make it harder—if not impossible—to spoof your prints. For further security, your fingerprint is never stored in the cloud or anywhere in the phone’s memory—only in a secure area of the A7 chip itself.

We don’t yet know all the details about how iOS 7 will use the fingerprints it detects. But we do know that it will let you bypass the lock-screen pass-code. (You do have a lock-screen pass-code, right?) It will also let you authenticate with iCloud and the App Store using your finger.

With all this new technology and speed on the iPhone 5s, is the battery life worse than that of the iPhone 5?

Apple claims that the iPhone 5s offers battery life equal to or greater than that of the iPhone 5. Specifically, the company says the iPhone 5s offers 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE or Wi-Fi browsing, or 250 hours of standby time. Compare that to Apple’s claims for the iPhone 5 when that model was released: 8 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, or 225 hours of standby time.

Apple says that the iPhone 5c’s battery life is identical to that of the iPhone 5s.

By Macworld staff
Photos courtesy of Apple

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September 5, 2013

Say Hello To Yahoo's New Logo

Here’s the new logo that the 18-year-old Internet company will use going forward:

What do you think of new logo?

The general consensus is that people don't love it and most feel indifferent.

Here’s a video that Yahoo has released in conjunction with its new logo:

August 29, 2013

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August 22, 2013

BBM (Blackberry) comes to iOS and Android

We've known that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) would be making its way across to the rival iOS and Android mobile platforms at some point before the end of the summer, but it would seem that reality just got one step closer with the arrival of user guides for the apps on the official BlackBerry website.

Unsurprisingly, they contain exactly what you’d expect in a user guide: a list of features and how to carry out basic tasks like adding BBM contacts, initiating BBM chats, using emoticons and sounds, all the usual fare.

The guides also confirm the features of the apps on iOS and Android, which sadly means no voice or video calling or screen sharing. They do, however, support voice notes and BBM Groups.

Featured Image Credit – Getty Images
Written by TNW

August 16, 2013

Internet Usage In China: Statistics, Trends and Internet Access (Infographic)

China, Internet Usage Powerhouse

Internet usage in China is growing; every 1.6 seconds, a new internet user is added to the Chinese Internet population. Chinese internet users are spending more time online (20.5 hours per week as compared to 18.7 hours in 2011). 54% of Chinese Internet population is less than 30 years old and only 6.2% is older than 50 years. Take a look at the following infographic – “Internet Usage in China – Statistics and Trends” for more interesting facts.

Internet Usage in China – Statistics and Trends

August 14, 2013

What is a Feature Phone, a Basic Cellphone and a High-End Smartphone?

This LG full QWERTY device is one of many Feature Phone's sold through Verizon Wireless.

A feature phone is a mobile phone which is priced at the mid-range in a wireless provider's hardware lineup. It is intended for customers who want a moderately priced and multipurpose phone without the expense of a high-end smartphone. A feature phone has additional functions over and above a basic mobile phone which is only capable of voice calling and text messaging. Due to the quick progression in capabilities, current mid-range devices in a carrier's lineup today may be more advanced than previous high-end devices just a few years ago.

Difference Between a Smartphone and a Feature Phone.

While a feature phone is a low-end device and smartphone a high-end one, there is no standard way of distinguishing them. Smartphone and feature phone are not mutually exclusive categories. A complication in distinguishing between smartphones and feature phones is that over time the capabilities of new models of feature phones can increase to exceed those of phones that had been promoted as smartphones in the past. Because technology changes rapidly, what was a smartphone ten years ago may be considered only a feature phone today. For example, today's feature phones typically also serve as a personal digital assistant (PDA) and portable media player and have capabilities such as cameras, touchscreen, GPS navigation, Wi-Fi, and mobile broadband access.

Back in 2009, a significant difference between smartphones and feature phones is that the advanced application programming interfaces (APIs) on smartphones for running third-party applications can allow those applications to have better integration with the phone's OS and hardware than is typical with feature phones. In comparison, feature phones more commonly run on proprietary firmware, with third-party software support through platforms such as Java ME or BREW.

The most popular Basic Cellphone manufacturer is Nokia. Pictured is the Nokia 1661 for sale at T-Mobile.

It should be noted, though, that many of these proprietary software platforms, such as S60 (Nokia, Samsung and LG), UIQ (Sony Ericsson and Motorola) and MOAP(S) (Japanese only such as Fujitsu, Sharp etc.), which were based on Symbian, were gradually phased out in 2009-11. During that period the manufacturers shifted their lineups, usually the high-end handsets first then followed by the mid-range and low-end offerings, to advanced APIs such as Android and Windows Phone. 

As of 2010-present, while advanced APIs appear on smartphones first, they are gradually moving to feature phones; for instance as of 2012 smartphones (especially flagship phones) are often the first to run the latest OS version (i.e. the HTC One X which ships with Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, while the midrange HTC Desire C has Android 2.3 Gingerbread). Often OS is no longer a distinguishing factor, such as the Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone and Lumia 710 feature phone, both of which run Windows Phone 7.5, however the Lumia 900 has among other things a better camera and a larger screen. 

Another example is the HTC One X and HTC One S, the flagship and upper-middle offerings of HTC's One series lineup, and the HTC One V; all three ship with Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, however the One X and One S have dual-core processors which allows them to run future Android updates whereas the One V is a single-core which will be unlikely to enjoy an OS update. The only advanced smartphone OS that has never appeared on a feature phone so far is Apple iOS, as all of the company's handset releases using iOS (the iPhone) have always commanded smartphone (premium) pricing, and as Apple has not licensed iOS out to other handset manufacturers.

The most popular High-End Smartphone, the Apple iPhone5.

The price difference between a smartphone and feature phone remains one of the widely used attributes to distinguish the two devices. As of March 2012, the big three Canadian cellular service providers (Rogers, Bell, Telus) offer the choice of purchasing smartphone upfront for $450–650 CAD on "no term" (month-by-month), or by signing 3-year voice and data contract to waive most of the handset purchase cost (there are no waivers for a voice-only plan). The no term price for a feature phone, by contrast, is typically half or even less than that of a smartphone (topping out at $300 CAD), and this cost can be waived with a 3-year voice-only plan. Below feature phones are basic mobile phones or "dumb phones" which are intended for pay-as-you-go customers and often retail for $0. Smartphones, while improving their features and capabilities, however, have always maintained their price advantage over feature phones.

Pricing structure is still a grey area, for instance at Rogers Wireless, the Sony Xperia ion was originally released with smartphone pricing in June 2012, however poor sales led to that device being demoted to feature phone pricing by December 2012 of that year. By contrast, the iPhone 4 8 GB which debuted in mid-2010 is still sold as a smartphone by Rogers as of December 2012 (which reflects Apple's success in keeping the price of its phones constant).

August 6, 2013

How to Stop Your Mobile Phone/Tablet From Draining Your Battery

1) Lower Your Screen Brightness

2) Disable Wi-Fi When Not In Use
3) Exit Apps Not Being Used
4) Only Charge Your Phone When It Reaches Below 15%

August 2, 2013

Buyer Beware- Cheap eBay, Amazon Laptop/Notebook Batteries

We're always looking for a good deal when shopping online. For the most part, things don't always go wrong with the products we purchase but when they do go wrong, we can have some of the worst shopping experiences.

See some real life examples of when buying "cheap" does not pay off:
I bought this product about 2 months ago the battery never lasted as long as the old battery, 2 hours tops. Now it's not even holding charge and it's not working. I cannot return it because my warranty has ran out. Would not recommend this to anyone. I have bought several things from Amazon and this will probably be the last time I would buy something. -     
This review is from Amazon for a Laptop Battery for HP Pavilion DV7 DV7T DV7Z DV7T-1000 DV7Z-1000 DV7-1000 HDX18T-1000 HDX18-1020 Series fits HSTNN-IB75 HSTNN-C50C HSTNN-Q35C 464059-121 (Electronics)

I recently purchased this product for my Toshiba computer. The battery seems to not hold a charge. It takes approximately a full day for the battery to charge 100%. After the completion of the charge, the battery last 30 - 45 minutes. This is really annoying. I get tired walking around with the battery charger attached to the computer.

This review is from Amazon for a NEW Lithium-ion Laptop Battery for Toshiba Satellite l305d l201 PA3534U-1BRS (Electronics)

I purchased this battery in October 2012, it is now January 2013 and the battery is almost dead. I am very unhappy with the life of this battery, less than four months and I will have to purchase another new battery. When fully charged, I get about 30 minutes use before I need to plug in to recharge. You can bet your boots it won't be another of these.       

This review is from Amazon: Superb Choice 6 cell Laptop Replacement Battery for Dell Inspiron N5010, M5010, 15R, N5110, M5110 (Personal Computers)

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July 30, 2013

BMW i3 Fully Electric Vehicle - Battery & Charging Technology

The i3 Battery

The lithium-ion high-voltage battery is positioned centrally in the Drive module of the BMW i3 and thus optimally protected against outside influences. A specially-developed heating and air conditioning system ensures as little temperature fluctuations as possible which significantly increases the service life of the high-voltage battery.

The Battery Guard supports the BMW i3 owner by monitoring the high-voltage battery of the vehicle and notifying the owner, for example, if a deviation from the planned charging procedure occurs or, for example, if the vehicle lights were left on for too long.

The high-voltage battery is guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 km.*

* for 70 % of the charging capacity.

BMW iWallbox

If you have your own parking space at home, you can easily charge the BMW i3 using the BMW i Wallbox. This charging station, which is mounted to the wall of the house or the garage, not only completes the unique design of the BMW i vehicles, it also charges the BMW i3 up to 30 % faster than the standard included charging cable – thus charging the BMW i3 to 80 % charging capacity in under 6 hours.*

The Wallbox Pure, including individual installation service is available from BMW directly. To see if your private residence is suitable for the installation of the wallbox, please check the link below. And because BMW i stands for seamless sustainability in e-mobility, you can also conclude a green energy contract from a selected BMW i Partner, if desired.

* based on 16 A current     

ChargeNow - Public Charging

BMW i has created an innovative concept that also offers optimal charging options for the BMW i3 on the go. In addition to ChargeNow – a mobility service from BMW i and the largest association of mobile charging station providers – this concept also includes semi-public parking options for long-term parkers, where the BMW i3 can be charged; for example, in parking garages.

The navigation of the BMW i3 supports you during the search for suitable charging options, which are displayed in the vehicle, on the BMW i Remote App, and in the BMW ConnectedDrive Internet portal and are taken into account by the range assistant. The use is cashless and possible using a centrally valid access card, the ChargeNow card. You are simply billed monthly for the electricity costs.

Photos and data courtesy of BMW USA

July 26, 2013

Solar Charging Pavilion and New Volvo Hybrid

When thinking of stylish cars, Volvo probably isn't the first brand to come to mind. One thing the company is renowned for, though, is introducing new technology: it was the first manufacturer to install laminated glass in a production car, invented the three-point safety belt, and is constantly adding new safety features to its range.

After holding a design competition for a pavilion to accompany the launch of its new V60 plug-in hybrid, the company will debut a photovoltaic accessory in September that will unite its history of embracing new technology with some cutting-edge style.

The V60's batteries take around 12 hours to charge when connected to the Pure Tension pavilion, good weather permitting. The whole structure is held in place by a carbon fiber tube that keeps the panels taut, and also allows the pavilion to disassemble and fit into a car trunk.

Although these are renders, the Pure Tension will debut at a show in Rome in September. The concept cost around $80,000 to research, develop, and build, according to Wired.

A consumer-ready version isn't anywhere close, unfortunately. For now, the Pure Tension pavilion only serves to showcase Volvo's new hybrid car. Volvo is in talks with the designers of the pavilion about developing the idea further.

Images courtesy of Volvo
Story by Aaron Souppouris

July 24, 2013

Google Chromecast - Easiest Way to Enjoy Online Video and Music on Your TV

Sit back, watch together

With Chromecast, you can easily enjoy your favorite online entertainment on your HDTV—movies, TV shows, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. No more huddling around small screens and tiny speakers. Chromecast automatically updates to work with a growing number of apps.

Remote free

Chromecast works with devices you already own, including Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones®, iPads®, Chrome for Mac® and Chrome for Windows®. Browse for what to watch, control playback, and adjust volume using your device. You won't have to learn anything new.

Plug in and play

Get started in 3 easy steps: plug Chromecast into any HDTV, connect it to WiFi, then send videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your TV with the press of a button

Available now for only $35 at Best Buy and

July 18, 2013

History of the San Diego Comic Con

Today is Day 1 of the 2013 San Diego Comic Convention better known as Comic-Con.

What is Comic-Con?

The convention was founded in 1970 by Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger, Mike Towry, and Greg Bear. Detroit, Michigan-born comics fan Shel Dorf, had in the mid-1960s mounted the Detroit Triple-Fan Fairs, one of the first commercial comics-fan conventions. When he moved to San Diego, California in 1970, he organized a one-day convention (Golden State Comic-Minicon) on March 21, 1970 "as a kind of 'dry run' for the larger convention he hoped to stage." Dorf went on to be associated with the convention as president or manager, variously, for many years until becoming estranged from the organization. Alf co-chaired the first convention with Krueger and became chairman in 1971.

Following the initial gathering, Dorf's first three-day San Diego comics convention, the Golden State Comic-Con, drew 300 people and was held at the U.S. Grant Hotel from August 1–3, 1970. Other locations in the convention's early years included the El Cortez Hotel, the University of California, San Diego, and Golden Hall, before being moved to the San Diego Convention Center in 1991. Richard Alf, chairman in 1971, has noted an early factor in the Con's growth was an effort "to expand the Comic-Con [organizing] committee base by networking with other fandoms such as the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Mythopoeic Society, among others. (We found a lot of talent and strength through diversity)." By the late 1970s the show had grown to such an extent that Bob Schreck recalled visiting with his then-boss Gary Berman of Creation Conventions and reflecting, "While [Berman] kept repeating (attempting to convince himself) 'This show's not any bigger than ours!' I was quietly walking the floor stunned and in awe of just how much bigger it really was. I was blown away."

The convention is organized by a panel of 13 board members, 16 to 20 full-time and part-time workers, and 80 volunteers who assist via committees. Comic Con International is a non-profit organization, and proceeds of the event go to funding it, as well as the Alternative Press Expo (APE) and WonderCon. In September 2010, the convention announced that it would stay in San Diego through 2015.

According to the San Diego Convention and Visitor's Bureau the convention has an annual regional economic impact of $162.8 million, with $180 million economic impact in 2011.

For a list of complete 2013 Comic-Con schedule of celebrity appearances, panels and other useful information visit here.

July 17, 2013

Scientific Breakthrough - Engineers Create A Battery Made Of Wood

Wood fibers are coated with carbon nano-tubes and then packed into small disks of metal. The sodium ions moving around in the wood fibers create an electric current.

The battery is being developed at the at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Dr. Lianbing Hu heads the group that developed a new battery made with wood at the Energy Research Center at the University of Maryland in College Park. Heather Rousseau/NPR

I really wasn't sure what a wood battery would look like. I knew you could make a and wires, so I figured maybe they were doing something similar with a block of wood.

Wrong. The "wood" is actually microscopic wood fibers that are fashioned into thin sheets. The sheets are then coated with carbon nano-tubes and packed into small metal discs.

The wood batteries use sodium ions, rather than the lithium ions that are found in the batteries of cellphones and laptops. In this case, the charged particles move around in the wood fibers, creating an electric current. It turns out wood is a good medium for sodium ions to move around in.

Now, wood is comparatively cheap. So is sodium. , head of the battery project, says he's hoping the new batteries can be scaled up so they'll be useful for storing the vast amounts of energy generated by solar arrays or wind farms.

"I think this wood-based storage can play a very important role as a low-cost solution," he says.

Nick Weadock just graduated from the University of Maryland and helped design the new battery. Heather Rousseau/NPR

Right now the battery is just a prototype. Hu and his colleagues will need to tweak the materials before they have something commercially viable.

There was something else interesting about the new battery: One of the authors on the describing it in Nano Letters was an undergraduate. What's up with that? How does a young college student wind up co-authoring a paper in a major scientific journal?

Hu says Nicholas Weadock was an engineering major who expressed an interest in working in the lab. "In the very beginning he was helping students, my Ph.D. students actually, correct some English grammar," says Hu. A lot of Dr. Hu's doctoral students are from outside the U.S. "During the process ... he asked a lot of interesting, very insightful questions, not only about the language, but about the science behind it."

Weadock says he had originally wanted to work on wind power, but became interested in energy storage technology and wanted to show Hu that he could be a contributor to the lab.

"I came to the group meetings, I made suggestions, and I was ambitious enough to show him that I can do my own project," he says.

Weadock is off to the California Institute of Technology in the fall for graduate school, where he plans to continue work on energy storage. Hu says the positive experience with Weadock has convinced him to recruit more undergraduates to his lab.

by Joe Palca, 

June 3, 2013

How To Clean Your Laser Printer and Save Money Too

Samsung 1665 Laser Printer

The best way to prevent future problems and save money with your laser printer is by performing bi-weekly to monthly cleanings of your printing unit. The accounting department and everyone that uses the laser printer will thank you for it.
The exterior of the printer can be cleaned with a water-dampened cloth or a cleaner rated for electronics.
Innovera Compressed Air can
The interior can be cleaned with a small vacuum or with compressed air. If you are using compressed air, remove the fuser assembly to allow a path for dirt and debris to exit the printer. The interior can be further cleaned with a dry, lint-free cloth.
Want More Savings?
Another simple trick to saving the company money is by switching laser printer toner and drum kit vendor. Take for example, purchasing a toner from them versus a big office retail store can save you anywhere from 25 - 45% on each toner! Big savings that add up.
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May 31, 2013

The Volkswagen Beetle Ball - Art by Ichwan Noor

Get your cat one of these!

Jakarta based sculptor, Ichwan Noor got this idea from playing the popular Playstation 2 videogame Katamari Damacy and with the help of Marvel super-villain, Magneto, it was made possible.

May 21, 2013

Xbox One - Microsoft's Gaming Console (Specs + Pricing + Video)

Xbox One specs:
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 8-core x86 CPU
  • 500GB HDD (non-replaceable, external storage via USB 3.0)
  • Blu-ray drive
  • USB 3.0
  • HDMI In/Out
  • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Kinect 2.0 (system will not work without a Kinect. Update 5/27/2013: Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox One will run while Kinect is off.)
  • Skype
  • Voice Commands (ie: saying "Xbox on" turns on the console.)
  • Cable/Satellite TV integration
  • Social Media integration
  • New Achievement system
  • Upgraded Multiplayer Matchmaking system

  • Estimated, $499 US Dollars
  • Estimated Release Date: November 2013.

Used Games?
One thing Microsoft hasn't been clear about: used games. We know that every game will come with an activation code, and that you'll have to install a game to your system's hard drive before using it. You'll also have to register it online and connect it to your Xbox Live account. Your whole family will be able to play the same game on your Xbox One, but if you want to, say, bring a game to a friend's house and play on his machine, you'll have to use your account. If you give a game to a friend, and he wants to play it on his own account, he'll have to buy it.

Sounds like the concept of "used games" as we know it might be going away. But Microsoft says there will be "some" way to trade Xbox One games online. They're being sketchy on the details, though.

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May 9, 2013

Micro-Battery Charges 1,000 Times Faster Than Regular Batteries (Tech Research)

Imagine charging your cell phone in 1 second. There's a tiny new battery that can do that.

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created an incredibly small, incredibly powerful battery that could vastly improve technology moving forward. The new micro-battery charges 1,000 times faster than regular batteries. 

The batteries are also small. How small? They could fit in and power a credit-card-thin device. Leading scientist William P. King told the University of Illinois News Bureau: "The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has lagged far behind. This is a micro-technology that could change all of that. Now the power source is as high-performance as the rest of it.” 

The batteries are not only small enough to be used in tiny phones and gadgets, but are also powerful enough to be used in emergency equipment. Indeed, they are powerful enough to jump-start a car battery. The scientists are now working to create a way to create the batteries inexpensively so the batteries can be sold.

Corresponding authors William P. King, Paul V. Braun

Story by

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May 6, 2013

Become Iron Man - Here's How Much Money You Need

Being Iron Man is not cheap but to a billionaire, it's like buying a laptop.

graphic and info courtesy of
iron man is a registered super-hero from marvel
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