WebMD.com has some little health
calculator tools including an exercise calorie counter, target
rate and BMI calculator (which claims I could loose over 60 pounds
being considered "underweight", if I did that I could disappear from
by turning sideways!)
hypothermia to save
trauma patients may be just around the corner. The idea is to
rapidly drain the blood, replace it with a chilled saline solution and
then operate for up to 2 hours, then pump the saved blood back in.
Works with pigs 90% of the time, wonder what it does for human
memories? Could this be extended further by taking the temperatures
lower? Perhaps even to the point of long term suspended animation?
sport lights makes some LED flashlights. I picked up their LED-4AAA-BL that uses 4 AAA
batteries to drive a lamp made of three bright white LEDs. Its a nice, compact
unit, waterproof to 500ft (not that I'll ever test that!) that turns on by
twisting the lens mounting. They claim that by using LEDs the burn time is about
150 hours (rather than the 6 or so hours a conventional bulb will give
you). While I can't find this model on their web site (perhaps its
already obsolete) its similar to this
In June'07 Asus announced the Eee
PC 701 which is a compact mini-laptop (more full-featured than the
Palm Foleo) and claimed to be targeting an entry level price of $200!
Wow! There is a Wikipedia article here. Even if
these really cost $400 by the time you've added a few
options they will sell like hot cakes. From the comments in this article
it appears the screen might be quite low resolution (and certainly is
smaller than the available case size suggests), still this might only
be the case for the lowest price version. Later comments on this
indicate that there may be two screen sizes offered (for the same case)
a smaller 7 inch and a 10 inch size. It gets another look at here
Review, since this is a full (but very small) notebook with 8GB (or
16GB in a more expensive model) of flash drive, and a bigger screen and
a keyboard for less than the Nokia N800 it will be giving the Nokia a
stiff battle. HotHardware looks at it here.
claiming that light has actually been sped up beyond the speed of
light, but mainly discussing recent advances in slowing it down.
is offering prizes for prior art that can invalidate some patents
BountyQuest may be disappearing
some day soon). BustPatents.com
is also watching and reporting on this mess. Scientific American ran this
article on four very bad patents (imagine patenting the "training
Here is a claim
that may invalidate the BritishTelecom patent on the web. There may
be a way around all gene based patents.
- I wonder if anyone tried to copyright the classic Nigerian
419 scam? Here's a few more sites that exploit
the scammers for some fun. Here's another attempt at scammer
baiting, and another.
is home to an updated unclaimed lottery winnings form of this
scam. Finally someone's been arrested
garbage, oddly enough this happend in Australia. A Canadian nearly got
arrested for doing this to an American, but the charges were
dropped. Here's a site dedicated to baiting
these scammers. Sometimes someone gets
taken by these scammers. Now it looks like you don't even need to
travel to Nigeria to collect,
just head on over to Scottland... In July '04 the scammers
decided to switch to a form of extortion (almost sounds like
something from Thieves'
World). Some 419 scammers have finally be brought to justice. The state of Utah got taken for $2.5M on a classic Nigerian scam. It looks like the UK justice secretary may have been phished. After many years late 2009 saw some progress in actual attempts at shutting down some scammers.
Now someone claims
to have patents that cover what EBay does
Microsoft is now
claiming that various free software systems violate 235 patents
that they hold. Covered on Slashdot
Still, there's probably not much of a business case to be made by
trying to extract payment from free software over this - its more a
matter of generation of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about open
source software to try and reduce its acceptance in areas that
Microsoft could provide solutions in. Linus Torvalds has
responded to this. And now Microsoft says it has no immediate
plans to sue anyone.
- Now SOHOWare is
NBG800 (reviewed here)
which is the first I have seen that claims to have stateful packet
(which is something that GNATBox has had for a long time). This Slashdot
article looks at this sort of equipment. GigaFast
makes a 4 port router with a built in printer server. The Compex
NetPassage is another NAT firewall/router unit, with wireless
ISB Pro800 router
with NAT sounds nice.
- The RIAA finally lost, this time they got dismissed for failing to state a claim.  
long distance cordless phones - up to 130km claimed
Intel claims they will
ship WiMax cards in 2006.
- False ad clicks are claimed to cost Google $1G per year. 
- Even if your printer inks claim to have a 100-year fade
resistance life you must keep the prints out of the sun, this article
is an excellent informal study of the fade resistance of the main
consumer ink jet paper/ink/printer systems that were available in 2006.
In it they placed a set of prints in full sun (inside a window) for 11
months and caused serious fading for all except Epson and HP.
is a cute little highly integrated motherboard, roughly 6 inches
square (this PDF claims that the mini-ITX board can be mounted in a
FlexATX or MicroATX chassis, perhaps with modification of the mounting
hole positions. Also, the mini-ITX supports both ITX and ATX compliant
power supplies) .
Here are a number of neat
case projects built around this sort of motherboard. The Lex
case (reviewed here)
is based on the VIA Mini-ITX. The mini-ITX format could also be used to
your own supercomputer cluster. Or you can fit an entire PC
into a Windows XP retail box - not your typical computer case, but the
artical has some interesting custom case building ideas.
- Here's a bus that uses
in-wheel electric motors for drive, along with a battery pack that
is continuously topped up by a small diesel generator system that runs
continuously. They seem to be making a big deal of placing the motors
in the wheels, but I think that's been done before in big construction
vehicles (wavecrest is
doing this in bicycles). While the in-wheel motors sound like a great
thing because they eliminate the weight and inefficiency of the drive
train, they may well be less desirable because they increase the mass
of the wheels (requiring suspension redesign, possibly offsetting some
of the drive train weight savings - older racing cars used to place the
brakes at the end of the drive shafts furtherst from the wheels for
this reason, this was called "in-board brakes"), they now expose the
motors to a much worse environment (lots of road shock, water and
debris), and installing a liquid cooling system on the motors is now
more difficult (which may not be a big problem if they get enough air
cooling, but it eliminates using the motor's waste heat to warm the
passenger compartment in the winter...). Also, given you now have these
larger rotating masses there will be more rotational inertia in the
vehicle (which means slower acceleration and braking, but this might
not be significant). E-Traction is going to modify a number of buses to use in-wheel electric motors along with a hybrid diesel-electric power system, they are claiming up to 50% better fuel economy that normal buses.
Some people claim that ethanol
production is more trouble than it is worth
This is probably not as good as claimed, but if it was
very significant, the H2N-Gen
takes water, uses electricity from the cars battery to create some
hydrogen and oxygen, then injects these into the fuel that the car
burns. The claim is in doing this overall fuel consumption is reduced
by 10 - 40% and emissions are also reduced. Apparently someone else who
has a patent for something similar is already suing...
from wind, an Australian claims to have invented a windmill that
extracts moisture from air. Doing this should be possible by expanding
the air (which will chill it) and one could just take a conventional
windmill, use it to drive a compressor (which will compress a stream of
air), then cool the compressed air back to ambient temperature (perhaps
using the waste heat to heat your house or hot water) and then expand
the compressed air back to normal atmospheric pressure and a lower
temperature, which will cause the water in it to condense (and cause
the expansion nozzle to get cold causing water vapour in the normal air
passing over the outside of the nozzle to condense). This is pretty
much the standard thermodynamic cycle used in refrigerators around the
world, except in those a special fluid is used that switches state from
liquid to gas and back as it goes around the cycle making the process
Wind Power in Cold Stores, this is really a case of intelligent
load averaging, and thus, swapping some conventional power requirements
for wind generated power. For one to really make the claim of "storing
power" one should be able to place energy into the storage device and
then return some of that energy back to its original form for later
use. That said, this is a good example of "low-hanging fruit", there
are probably plenty of power users that could be tailored to make use
of alternative power sources when those are abundant (for example
commercial green houses, swimming pool heating, ice rink cooling...).
Hybrid cars may be falling
far short of their fuel efficiency claims
One outfit claims that the Prius is less "green" than a Hummer,
this implausible claim sparked some lively debate on Slashdot.
A123 Systems claims to have created a new Lithium Ion battery
that can be recharged
much faster than current batteries. This would allow one to quickly
recharge while on a trip (instead of overnight), which would also allow
vehicles to be built with smaller batteries (greatly reducing the cost
of the vehicle) since the reduced range would not be such an issue.
offers server certificates from about $15/yr, they also have a 30-day
free trial, so you can figure out how to fill in the details correctly.
They claim their certificates will be trusted
by over 99% of browsers.
- Beating brownouts: building a super UPS discusses building a large capacity UPS out of an inverter. For about the $400 price this article quotes the Noma 1800W unit from Canadian Tire is claimed to be capable of providing a 200W load with power for about 2 hours.
- The Asus Eee PC 701 gets reviewed by Laptop Mag, discussed here on Engadget. There's at least one 701 in the UK getting passed around the reviewers and its being received favorably. CNet's Rory Reid got his hands on it and quite liked it, a Slashdot discussion of this review revealed that ZDNet was to have reviewed the machine after CNet, but that CNet had messed it up by trying (and failing) to install XP on it. However, Rupert Goodwins the the ZDNet reviewer then fixed the problem by installing the new Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon release on it. Since the standard Ubuntu installed with only minor issues I'm guessing that this little laptop might receive a lot of attention from the Linux community which should be a good thing for it. There is also an unofficial Eee PC forum at www.eeeuser.com along with lots more news and some unofficial specs (like the VGA port supports up to 1600x1280). NewEgg appears to be the first to claim to have stock of these in the USA. Engadget has a round up of the latest post-release reviews. This review from Notebook Review is especially noteworthy has it includes instructions on dissecting your new laptop and also on upgrading the RAM to a maximum of 2GB. 
referenced on Slashdot,
is claiming that many drives do not implement the "flush buffers to
disk" functions correctly
Adtron announced (Feb'07) a 160GB
SSD and they claim up to 70MB/sec read/write performance.
- InPhase Technologies has announced
their 300GB Tapestry holographic drives will ship in 2006. Now InPhase
is saying they will be shipping a 600GB write-once system in the
fall of 2007, while the disks are not cheap at $180/each the drives are
insanely expensive at $18,000. Looks like a big flop to me. They have kind of missed their shipping date, they have shown the 300GB drive at NAB in April'08 and claim that it will ship in May'08 (about 2 years late). But it's still the ridiculous $18K for a drive and $180 for a 300GB cartridge, so that's not price competitive with a 3.5 inch 300GB hard drive in an external USB enclosure. Even if you were to write copies to a few drives for redundancy it is just not competitive. And in Aug 2008 we started hearing about layoffs at InPhase. InPhase delays their 300GB holographic drive until late 2009, by which time it will be beyond obsolete - however, the article also mentions that GE is developing something that might compete in the 300GB disk field. In Feb'10 the InPhase saga came to an end.
It might be possible to increase
the storage of DVD (including Blu-ray) by about a factor of 3 by
Some time in the future CDs
might hold a tera-byte, but various "holograpic techniques" have
been touted as being just around the corner for a long time now, I think I
remember hearing similar claims back in the 1980's, so don't depend on it!
Here's an updated press release that claims samples
will ship in the 3rd quarter of 2002. Here's some more news
DVD storage. This gets mention on Slashdot
(16-Jul-02) as some ex-Sony engineers have demonstrated this.
In Jan 2006 Sony announced a new
CMOS sensor that they claim will increase the pixel count without
reducing image quality
- Hyperion plans to build a factory to manufacture small nuclear power modules (they call them batteries). These would be hot tub sized devices capable of producing about 27MW. These have a uranium hydride core surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere and need to be connected to a steam powered generator. It is supposed to be self regulating with no moving parts. They now claim to have a backlog of $2G worth of orders for more than 100 devices (discussed on Slashdot) and one potential application is in providing power to tar sands oil extraction (which could also reduce green house gas emissions by replacing the natural gas that is used for this today). 
- Nanosolar (partially backed by Google) is beginning production of cost reduced solar panels (discussed here on Slashdot) that are made by "printing on to aluminum plate", they claim that these will sell for less that $1/W. If true, this changes the economics of the entire solar (and even other alternate power sources) industry by making raw solar power less expensive than grid electricity at $0.12/kWh. Consider the following calculation:
You take $1000 and use it to purchase a panel capable of 1000W. You take out a loan at 10% to do this, so you are paying $100/yr in interest.
You live in an area where you can get 6hr/day of good light over 200 days of the day, so your 1kW panel produces 6*200*1 = 1200kWh in each year.
The cost of this (to you, is $100) so the cost of this electricity is $100/1200 = $0.083/kWh,
which is competitive with grid electricity.
Granted I've oversimplified things a bit (no installation cost, no DC to AC converter and grid adapter) but I'm also quoting a higher interest rate than you would be paying and I'm pretty conservative on the sunlight hours per year, and in a lot of areas you can get a credit from your utility company for the energy that you push back into their grid - and this credit can be at a much higher than normal grid rate. As well, there can be some tax savings for doing this.
The important point is that before Nanosolar came along the cost per watt was at least $5 for solar power - so the drop to $1/W is an industry-changing event and suddenly makes solar attractive to a whole new market place.  
- Perhaps the DCMA and the RIAA have pushed the youth of today too far, this article claims only 2 in 500 believe in IP, which could have significant impact in 10-20 years time - remember intellectual property is only protected by laws and laws can be changed quite easily once the population decides to have them changed. I will predict that by 2028 the standard copyright term will have been reduced to 25 years and patent protection will only be granted for 10 years. 
- Ford is claiming that their trademarks are infringed by people who publish pictures of their cars. 
- ACER is expected to enter the ultra portable laptop arena to compete with the ASUS Eee in the second quarter 2008. At CeBIT in Mar'08 they claimed to be on target for a Q2/Q3 release, though that's pretty vague sounding! ACER is claiming that its first 8.9 inch laptop will be priced in the $350-400 range, making it up to $150 less than the $500 ASUS is intending to charge. More information on this is leaking out. Pictures of the Aspire One appeared at the end of May-08. Engadget got their hands on one of these at Computex in June'08, talk is US$399 pricing and available in Sept'08. Acer has provided official specifications for this. Acer talks a bit about the role Linux is going to play in this market place and mentions a $379 version of the Aspire. The Tech Digest got their mitts on one. Laptop Mag reviews the Acer Aspire One. The Aspire One gets hacked to add an internal Bluetooth adapter. In late Aug'08 Acer announced price cuts to the Aspire One making it the lowest priced of the 9 inch display models (and even reduced the price of the model with the extended battery. 
- The FCC is going to do a second test of prototypes that transmit wireless internet in the unused portions of the television spectrum. The first round of tests failed due to interference with the neighboring TV signals. Discussed here on Engadget with more links to the previous failed trial. Google claims the FCC rigged the tests to make sure they would fail. 
- Slashdot discusses the CIA's claims that cyber attacks have blacked out cities, including one in the US. While this sounds pretty far-fetched, the claimed approach of attacking the SCADA system (which is the brain and nerves of the whole system) is plausible, especially when coupled with lax security practices (like installing WiFi on the internal LAN). Additional coverage on Engadget too.  
- Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the waters, the SCO patent zombie has been resurrected by The Carlyle Group with a $100M business plan to pursue SCO's legal claims. 
- The 2.5 inch Easy Nova Data Box PRO-25UE RFID portable encrypted drive turns out to be pretty insecure (discussed here on Slashdot), seems the manufacturer only implemented an XOR algorithm instead of the claimed AES.  
- A gravity driven floor lamp, this is so much like an old grandfather clock that one wonders how it could possibly get patented.
Of course there is just the slight problem that this light must be violating the laws of physics. Consider the claim that it provides about 4W of light via the LEDs for 4 hours per "charge up". This means that the energy used would be 4W * 4 hr * 3600s/hr = 57600J. Now since the formula for potential energy is just mass*gravity*height, and the height of the device is roughly 1m this means 57600 = mass * 9.81 * 1m so the mass required is 5871kg. Of course, the mass will need to be larger than this to overcome conversion efficiencies, friction etc. Looking at the design pictures it appears that the mass they are intending to use is probably in the range of about 25kg (it cannot be much larger for practical health reasons - not to mention the risk of tipping the light over when the mass is near the top), so someone has made a serious error as a mass of that size would only produce 4W of power for about 60 seconds.
And this won second prize in a contest and they (a university by the looks of it) are patenting it! So much for peer review.  
- All 44 Blackboard patent claims have been invalidated, as usual this is not final and probably will be contested, but it is a start. 
cancer scanner looks a lot like it uses one of the scanning wands
used in airport security checks. It may offer a fast, inexpensive, way of
screening for presence of any cancer in your doctor's office. If this is fast,
cheap and efficient it'll never be welcomed by the medical community, they'll
claim something like "it has too many false-negatives to be safe to
Of course the cancer scanning that is currently carried out on all
patients on their regular doctors visits is running about 100% false negatives
right now... That is to say practically everyone who visits a doctor for an
annual medical leaves his office with a false feeling that they are healthy
(i.e. cancer free).
- Forgent Networks claims
to own a patent that covers the JPEG (and probably other related
schemes such as MPEG and MJPEG/DV) compression system. From the
scan I did of their patent I would guess that their basis of claim will
be applied to any compression scheme that can be considered
"lossy". Can we say "overly broad"?
- On 8-Apr-08 Google started to preview their Google App Engine, discussed here on Slashdot.
Their overall design goals:
- make it easy to use
- make it easy to scale
- free to start (small apps)
What Google will do for you:
- Run the web applications
- provide the full life cycle, logs, status, updating, database...
- provide access to Google's scalable infrastructure, google accounts, big table, Google FS
To do this the application stack they provide has:
- Scalable serving infrastructure
- Python runtime
- Web based administration console
- Datastore (based on big Table)
Their environment does allow you to run a local test server, so you can do your application development on your own private machine.
They provide a basic Django template module.
Seems to follow the Python wsgiref module.
An initial presentation of this is in these videos.
One of the things this does is to get you to build things using Google tools which may result in an implementation that is difficult to move to some other service provider without doing a complete rewrite. Whereas if you were using Amazon's EC2 you are writing for a more standard LAMP style environment so you should be able to take whatever you develop and run it somewhere else. Of course, if you keep this all in mind it might not be a big issue, use the Google tools to develop a prototype and test the waters before investing in a full scale project.
With Google's use of Python as the first application language to be supported by this system it has caused an unprecedented stir in the Python community, see:
- Seagate is starting to sue other SSD makers, so we're going to find out if Seagates patent claims are valid. 
- Will Microsoft wake up smarter and extend the retail lifetime of Windows XP beyond 30-June-2008? Dell has announced they will provide copies of XP Pro past the cut off date, this is being done under the Windows Vista for Business downgrade license program, so you need to buy a Dell machine with a Vista for Business license and they will supply an install image CD for XP Pro (in case you want to downgrade to XP) or on some models Dell will even pre-install the downgrade at the factory. Microsoft says that XP will still stop selling in June. There are some on-line petitions to save XP and there has been an attempt to demonstrate that people still want XP by calling in to Microsoft's support lines en-masse. More on Dell's XP Pro downgrade offering, looks like it will only be available on a few of their machines, and it may cost you $50. Microsoft said in late June that there would be no reprieve for XP, but that local OEMs may still continue to buy XP through to 31-Jan-2009, they also say that support for XP will last until 2014. This article claims that Microsoft's software license allows customers who purchase a copy of Windows to install and run a previous version of the OS at no additional cost, I wonder what really happens when you enter a Vista license key into an XP install... 
- The Triac, a three-wheeled electric car that is claimed to be highway-capable may appear soon. Though it would probably be more at home on the streets of Rome. Some more information about this is here. 
- The Tile64, a 64 processor CPU appeared in 2008, along with a PCIExpress development board and a Linux-based development kit. They claim one of these chips can outperform a dual-core Xeon by a factor of 10. Might be just the thing for some fast ray tracing. Though with the development cards hosting a pair of 10Gbit ethernet ports the initial applications are probably going to be in the internet packet sniffing and routing fields. 
- The ASUS Eee 901 will be based on the Atom processor, some initial pictures here. This is going to be available 3-June-08 for $650 and will include built-in Bluetooth. For me the Bluetooth is not an essential, but there are some nice wireless headphones that use it, so if it supports the advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) it would be a nice feature. ASUS released some pricing and specification of these in June'08 along with the 1000 series, look for the 901 to be $550 and the 1000 to be $650. The official pricing for this is now US$599 (a bunch of reviews are here too), though I would expect this to drop quickly as soon as the competing MSI Wind and ACER Aspire One reach the market as these are claiming $499 and $399 prices which makes ASUS's price hard to justify. 
- The Inventec V10 is a 10 inch display laptop that claims to be about $230 in China. 
- Talk of a successful cold fusion experiment by Yoshiaki Arata in Japan. A bit more here on Engadget. The source article includes some comments, one of which links back to this video (which though sensationalist, might be worth a watch). 
- Call/Recall claims it is going to build a 1TB optical drive based on their blue-violet laser diodes (which are used in Blu-Ray drives) and a 200-layer optical disk. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- From time to time you hear of disputes over trademarks, but T-Mobile's claim to exclusive use of the colour magenta is particularly bad. Luckily this dispute has been settled in court and the judge found it to be unfounded and T-Mobile ended up paying all costs. 
- From time to time you hear of disputes over trademarks, but T-Mobile's claim to exclusive use of the colour magenta is particularly bad. Luckily this dispute has been settled in court and the judge found it to be unfounded and T-Mobile ended up paying all costs. 
- The Green Machine from ElectraTherm converts waste heat (for example 200F water) into electricity. With a current minimum size of 30KW its a lot larger than a typical home could use, but if they were to produce a smaller module in the 1-5KW range then it is conceivable that one could use conventional solar hot water collector panels to supply the "waste" heat and maybe this would be less expensive than a photo-voltaic solar system. They are claiming a 30KW output from 200F liquid at an input flow rate of 100 gallons per minute, so a smaller module (say 3KW) might have a 10 gpm flow rate which sounds plausible. 
- Hitachi Maxell is working on a nano-tech lithium ion battery that might be able to store 20 times the energy of current Li-ion cells. 
- The AeroCam windmill from Broadstar Windsystem is claimed to hit the $1/watt price point for a 250kW system. These could be mounted along the roof ridge line of a house to provide power. I did some lab work in the early 1980's on a similar system, except it was mounted vertically. 
- Has Taser been lying about the safety of their Taser Guns? A Canadian news study of the Taser usage reports that the RCMP keeps, is showing about a third of their victims needed medical attention, while Taser's study claimed few trips to the hospital were needed. 
- PopPhoto runs a comparison of AA batteries (both regular and rechargeable). They perform a rather screwy cost comparison: they base the cost of the rechargeables on a single use (rather than say 100 recharges) - even with this handicap rechargeables are almost the same price as disposables (though they should be about a factor of 100 less!). It is interesting to see that for digital photography the NiMH rechargeable battery always has more capacity than the one-use battery (with the exception of the more expensive one use lithium batteries). As well, their test shows that the claimed mAh capacity ratings of rechargeable batteries are not a very accurate guide, for example the Polaroid 1800mAh was the lowest claimed capacity, but it solidly out performed the Kodak 2400mAh battery. 
- Sharp will be providing the panels for two new Japanese solar power plants, claimed cost to be about $1.6/W which is very low. 
- Hitachi expects to have a 5TB hard drive by 2010. Better start your downloading now... They have now achieved a recording density of 610Gb / sq. in. which is 2.5 times the current amount (mid-2008) so achieving their claim of 5TB seems pretty likely. 
- If you need really fast parsing of XML you might want to take a look at AsmXml, which claims to be able to parse XML at about 200MB/s on an Athlon XP 1800+ type chip. Despite this being an assembly language implementation there are versions for a number of operating systems (presumably all running on X86 chips). 
- Sustainable Power Corp.'s claims of inexpensive bio-crude from agricultural waste products sound too good to be true. 
- A new loop in the carbon cycle has been uncovered, turns out the deserts of the world have a significant role in reclaiming carbon from the atmosphere. Perhaps there is some catalytic system like the air purifying concrete or pollution-cutting asphalt taking place here? 
- The XR3 is a hybrid car kit that is claiming 225 MPG with availability in 2008 (maybe - it's slipped already). 
- ZPower claims its Silver-Zinc batteries have 40% more capacity than lithium-ion. 
- One company actually has a patent-incentive scheme to try and get its employees to inform them about potential patent ideas. This is pretty unusual, the norm seems to be all your ideas belong to us and you must identify them to us and assist us in claiming them. 
- How to find new or unreclaimed objects between two points in your Python code.  
- ArsTechnica tries to find the basis for the common claims that piracy costs the US economy 750K jobs and about $200G a year. Further discussion of this is here on Slashdot. 
- Some code for working out what the sample size might have been for some experiment on the basis of a claim that is made. 
- A simple solar powered electric car, that claims to be able to drive up to 150km on a 30 hour charge. 
- Piaggio is claiming up to 141MPG from a hybrid scooter. This is to reach the USA in early 2010. 
- Korea claims to have developed a new way to separate hydrogen from water that only requires 1/30th the energy of electrolysis, most likely this is going to end up being bogus. 
- OpenWrt.org is a Linux distribution for embedded devices (a simpler, prepackaged version called X-Wrt is also available), in particular a large number of small wireless routers. If you need a small, low-power, always-on computing device this might be an approach to take. It might even be possible to run a Windows Primary Domain Controller (PDC) on one of these using SAMBA 3, see the following:
The procedure for getting a PDC working has been figured out for the somewhat similar NSLU2 device (the LINKSYS Network Storage Link), see the HowToSetUpPDCWithSamba page.  
- MSI is adding the Wind U110 and U115 to its netbook product family. The U115 has been found to have up to 15 hours of battery life. MSI is claiming a 9-hour battery life for the Wind U110. 
- Windspire's vertical axis turbine for the housing market claims to be able to provide about have the average household's electric power (though the cited figure of 2000kWh annually seems rather low). 
- A research group in Japan claims to have produced images received directly from the brain, next step would be to apply this to border crossings...  
- It appears that Psion controls a trademark on the term "netbook" (discussed here on Slashdot) in a number of countries (for example in Canada) so its time to switch to some other term for this section of the computer market. How about webpads or porta-books? Dell is fighting back over this issue. Intel is also returning fire over this issue. Psion claims it really is still selling its netbook. In June'09 it appeared that Psion had relented. 
- Pretec has taken the CompactFlash physical form factor and given it a SATA interface to allow for much faster flash storage. What would be really neat would be to have a SATA interface at one end of the card and the old CF IDE interface at the other end, then you could use the same card in old and new devices. 
- LG is adding a digital photo frame mode to some of their TVs in 2009. They claim that when in this mode the TV will also consume only 10-15% of the power it normally does.
- Shelby's Aero EV does 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, proving that elevtric cars don't have to be boring. They are also claiming a 10 minute recharge time, which would give you just enough time for a coffee and a doughnut while recharging. 
- The new (and expensive) Intel X25-M flash drives have been bench marked with very fast write speeds, but these appear to fall substantially after the drive has been in use for some time. Discussed here on Slashdot. Intel says this is not so. Intel has investigated these claims and found the cause and issued a firmware update that addresses the issue (and also suggests the possibility that these drives are actually even faster internally, but are limiting their speed for marketing reasons). Another round of firmware updates in Oct'09 had some problems. 
- The GreenWheel is a replacement hub assembly for bicycle wheels that contains an electric motor and batteries. This allows just about any bicycle wheel to be converted into an electric drive system. It claims to have a range of up to about 25 miles (which should be more than enough for most city use). Hopefully they have designed this so that the guts can be easily accessed in case service (i.e. battery replacement) is needed, otherwise a design that does not integrate the battery would be far superior. One advantage of this approach is that you could put two of these on a single bicycle for two wheel drive, which might be useful in winter cycling. 
- A pair of economists are claiming patent and copyright laws kill innovation and are costing the economy. But they keep so many lawyers employed... 
- Seagate's 6TB BlackArmor NAS is a 4-bay RAID 0/1/5/10 device aimed at small business LANs. It includes support for a number of services, including Microsoft Windows Server Active Directory. Since they are claiming an 8TB version will be due out in May it is probably a safe bet that Seagate's 2TB drive is going to start shipping then (or they are going to populate these with WesternDigital drives) which is a lot sooner than the Q3'09 they had previously announced... 
- The Interead COOL-ER e-book reader looks a lot like an iPod Nano, and since it does not have any of the wireless functions of the Kindle it will be a lot less expensive (plus its smaller and lighter for the same size display). 
- The muvi micro DV camcorder is a small video camera that records to micro SD cards at 640x480 resolution for those who want to record while cycling or skiing etc. From the comments this is a rebranding of an existing camera. 
- Copyfraud: stealing the public domain by claiming copyright. 
- A new bio fuel production process claims up to about a factor of 10 improvement over current approaches, allowing it to reach 20,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year. 
- Wolfram Research is claiming copyright to the output of their Alpha engine. I thought this issue has already been decided with photographs and fonts, such that new versions that were derived algorithmically (such as by a program or process) could not receive separate copyright protection - thus only the author of the original work could hold copyright in the work and all expressions of it. If this gets to court there will be some interesting battles to watch. 
- Credit cards and access cards which use RFID for "security" are becoming targets for information theft. This was demonstrated at DefCon in 2009, discussed here on Slashdot. The UK National Identity card may also have been hacked, though the UK Government claims this is not the case (this article contains some interesting information on how the card is using public key security for various functions), discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The Nissan Leaf electric car is claimed to get an equivalent of 367 miles per gallon. The US DOE has a formula for calculation of the equivalent gallons of gasoline that a pure electric or hybrid vehicle would use, it is discussed here. Essentially what they do is to use a conventional vehicle dynamometer to measure fuel consumption in simulated driving (just like they do with any other vehicle) and then they take that measurement (which is actually in Watt-hours per mile) and convert it from an electric energy value (a Watt-hour is just 3600 Joules - which is a true energy unit) to a gallons of gasoline by using the factor 82049 Watt hours per gallon of gasoline (which would be 295.4MJ/gallon). The odd thing here is that published energy content for gasoline (also here) is about 45.8MJ/kg which would result in about 124.6MJ/gal... 
- Researchers are playing with Lego to learn how arrays of nanoscopic objects could be used to sort cells. Or so they claim, really its all about accumulating a massive pile of Lego blocks in the rare colours. I just wish I had tought about using Lego in my thesis.  
- How the music industry in Britain came up with their claimed figure of 11 million illegal file sharers (from a survey of 1176 households) and then got the government to cite this as an official statistic. 
- Using a patent claim to gain access to Facebook's source code through the court system. I wonder if anyone has tried this on Microsoft? 
- The DiamonDisc DVD media is claimed to hold data for 1000 years (which would be better than some Sanyo CDRs I burned in 1999 that had turned transparent - and unreadable - by 2009). Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The British national DNA database now contains 5 million DNA profiles, and a claim has been made that their police have been making arrests just to gather DNA samples. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- In Canada "responsible communication on matters of the public interest" can be used to defend against claims of defamation and bloggers are now eligible for this protection.  
- A number of "secure flash drives" that claim NIST certification to the FIPS 140-2 standard have been found to be easily cracked. Turns out that while they may actually use AES 256 bit encryption inside the way the password authentication is done can be trivially bypassed so that any of these drives can be unlocked without the correct password. Schneier discusses it here. NIST is investigating this issue. The known vulnerable drives are:
- Kingston DataTraveler BlackBox
- SanDisk Cruzer Enterprise FIPS Edition
- Verbatim Corporate Secure FIPS Edition
- A new type of solar panel made from silicon wires embedded in plastic has been developed. Initial reports claimed a very high conversion efficiency, but a later article corrects this back to the 15-20% range. Further discussion here on Slashdot. Still these panels may be much less expensive than current designs as they only require 1% of the silicon that a conventional cell would use and as they are flexible could be manufactured in a high-volume roll-to-roll process. 
- The case against vaccine induced Autism continues to get stronger. 
- Hitachi may have some new chemistry to improve the longevity of lithium-ion batteries. 
- Sometimes big brother gets caught by his own surveillance, the strange story of urban golfers clashing with Seattle police and the police claiming that their arrest videos were deleted after 90 days. 
- The US GAO is now recognizing that most media industry piracy claims are not founded in fact. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- One big problem with electric cars is the time it takes to recharge them. JEF Engineering is developing a quick charging system that they claim will be able to recharge batteries to 50% in only three minutes. 
- Could one person download 2TB in a month? 
- Looks like IBM has been patenting other people's existing technology, they are even citing the previous work in the patent so they must be claiming some subtle advancement.