It looks like at least some
direct exposure to the sun might be a good thing after all - turns
out that the vitamin D produced by this might be very effective in
reducing cancer. There's also a bunch of controversy surrounding this,
as some of the related results may be that blacks have higher cancer
rates than whites due to reduced vitamin D production and also since
vitamin D gets trapped in fat, the obese end up with more cancer.
At last! Star Wars (4, 5 and 6) and due
out on DVD 21-Sept-04.
small video recorders are due to arrive before Dec 2006. The
Magenetox V120 and another from Vosonic.
Zoom H2 SD from Samson, is a rather high-end voice recorder that
used SD flash cards. And a couple of years later the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder is due to be released for about $99.
- The Pepper Pad
2 looks promising
at US$800 (pre-order pricing) its the only thing I have seen that has
an 800x600 display, WiFi, 256M RAM, hard disk, a reasonable means of
user input... In fact the only two things that I have noticed as being weak are the USB connector is only
v1.1 and the media slot does not do Compact Flash (although I presume
one could hook up a compact flash reader to the USB port if needed). It
also does not have VGA output, but it does have composite video out.
This made an appearance at the DEMOmobile 2004 show in Sept'04 and gets
on Slashdot. In Aug'05 it is starting to get some coverage and appears
to be shipping
at last, see pepper.com. In
June'06 the PepperPad
3 was announced. In Oct'06 the PepperPad 3 is due
to ship. Here is a pretty positive review of the PepperPad3. Engadget reports that the Pepper Computer company is struggling.
770 has been released in Europe and is due for a North America
release on 10 Nov 2005. This has a 4.1" 800x480 display and WiFi and
Bluetooth for networking. It is reviewed here.
Expected price is under US$500. Some pictures
comparing the Nokia 770 to other small devices. This is due
to be released in North America on Nov 17th, for US$359. A review
of the 770 by Ars
Technica, discussed on Slashdot.
In early Jan'06 Nokia announced
on Slashdot) there was a 2 week waiting period to get a 770. It gets reviewed
here on InfoWorld. Some more
info on the USB port here, it appears to be client-mode but can be
tricked into being host mode. Here's a review of it by
Mark Davis. In late Oct'06 information about a successor device started
to appear, such
as this from the FCC site. Here are some photos of the new Nokia
870, the successor to the 770. In Jan'07 the Nokia
N800 started appearing on store shelves, it looks like it might be
replacing the N770. The N800 gets discussed
on Slashdot. A round up of various
N800 reviews. The N800 is reviewed on the CoolTechZone.com
with discussion on Slashdot.
may get a WiMAX version in 2008.
from Samsung might make for a very portable web device with a
reasonable sized folding keyboard, it is due
to appear in Dec'06.
Coefficients for water flowing in some common pipe types and the Hazen-Williams
formula for pressure loss due to pipe flow, on the Wikipedia here
- HD VMD is due to ship its first high definition DVD player and movies in Oct'07. This is a late to the table competitor to HD and Blueray, but given their much reduced pricing (at introduction about 1/2 of HD DVD's price for a player) this may stand a chance of gaining a foot hold this Christmas. Even if it is a flop, it could cause the prices of HD and Blueray to drop dramatically. 
The US Patent Office has ruled the Fogent JPEG
patent invalid, due to some prior art (which was known to the
original applicants not being disclosed in the application)
It looks like the whole SCO
patent issue may be resolved soon due to SCO not paying the license
fees it owes to Novell
- Researchers have discovered new security holes due to multi-core CPUs. 
radio and TV reception due to odd atmospheric conditions
Seagate is due to ship wireless
USB hard drives in early 2006. This got revised a day later to say
that Seagate were still just showing a proof of concenpt with no firm
plans to ship in 2006.
is a small case design that even has a custom front panel display, its
intended for use in home entertainment type applications. It is
by Motherboards.org. One thing that bothers me about this is MSI's
statement: "Due to proprietary mechanical design, MSI only guarantees
the compatibility of the MEGA PC with MSI's own Optical Storage
Devices". Another thing that bothers me is in Motherboards.org's
review they note that the hard drive mounting bracket actually
positions the hard drive upsidedown
and suggest drilling a new set of mounting holes to correct this.
by SFF TECH, they also have a forum with some feedback about it and a knowledge
base thread on it. Technology Review has a collection of links to
other reviews of the MEGA. Apparently there will be an AMD chipset
version of this box in the fall of 2003 as well. 3DVelocity reviews it here.
More dual Athlon boards are due out soon (start of 2002?), this
picture is the MS-6501 (or K7D
Master I from MSI) and is reviewed
here and here
and mention of the ASUS
A7M266-D (which is also to be seen here
and reviewed here).
The Tyan Tiger S2466 is an AMD dual-cpu MPX chipset mother board,
conventional batteries, this appears to be one of these cases where
the overall savings will be due to the reduction in the cost of energy
being used to manufacture the devices.
Recent advances in Biodiesel
production due to new catalysts.
for hybrid cars and the world's largest photovoltaic array is due
to be built in Nevada.
Biofuel production could lead
to water shortages, largely due to increased irrigation needs
- The ASUS Eee PC is due to be shipped in October'07; BestBuy and Newegg are expected to be carrying it. ASUS stated that they have received contract orders for over 1 million units already. 
Krugle, a search
engine to allow programmers to search open source code is due
to open in March'06 
- News of another process for making solar cells, presumably at lower cost, this involves dropping the molten silicon so that it forms small spheres (due to surface tension) and freezes while it falls. 
- Beaming solar power from space in the form of microwaves has been talked about in the past for a long time, but now it seems to be getting more attention. The collection efficiency can be improved (versus land-based) because there are no losses due to clouds or atmospheric pollution and potentially a collector can be kept in full sunlight 24 hours a day (though this would mean it needs to transmit its output to different sites on earth as the world turns) the raw cost per watt would be less for space based collectors than ground based ones. Of course, that would get massively reversed once the cost of lifting the collectors into space is factored in.
The real drive behind this might be the need for power in the military (though that does not make a lot of sense as the power will be off during the night, and the batteries the military would need to store power for use overnight would likely be bigger than the oil fueled generators they replace). It might be the military sees this as a way to get a new weapon in the sky, consider their recent work with the "pain ray", a microwave gun that causes intense pain by stimulating the nerves of the skin, perhaps such satellites (which use microwaves to relay their collected power to the ground) could do double duty and be used to cover large areas of a battlefield with pain rays, thus, knocking enemy troops out of action prior to an attack. 
Hitachi is promising
4TB drives by 2011 (just 4 years away...) due to further reductions
in head sizes.
from Epson (due out in Summer 2004) looks like it could be a very good,
and user friendly printing "appliance" for 4x6in prints. With a
combined media+ink cost of about US$0.29 per print it may also be very
- The ASUS 2G Surf Eee PC is due to be available in Jan'08 for $299. 
- The PCSport Power Stepper is a small, USB-attached stepper that can be placed under your desk to get some exercise while working. Slashdot discusses it here. Given that it is going to be rather limited in range of motion, and that your knees will be quite bent while using this in a typical sitting position (unless you are on the edge of a rather high seat) I doubt this will burn many calories per hour and I'd be a bit worried it might lead to some odd new joint injury (due to the odd position for the knees). Still it might help keep the circulation going. 
sounds like a nice, fast, Linux install (I got good download speeds
The documentation is available at knoppix.net.
There are even specialized
versions of Knoppix for particular applications such as bioknoppix and clusterknoppix. And KnoppMyth for MythTV. And Quantian which
focuses on numerical analysis tools. And KnoppiXMAME for
arcade game emulation. June 2004 and another
Knoppix release is due soon. March 2005 and Knoppix 3.8 is almost
ready to appear. Looks like Knoppix 3.8 has
been released and could even run within Windows.
- The Aptera Electric Type 1, is a pretty exotic looking 3-wheeled electric car, due to be sold first in California in 2008. Google has invested $2.75 million to help get this rolling. It is a bit late, but now (Jan'09) Aptera has reached the pre-production stage and are promising first shipments in October, they have an "interested" list 4000 people long. Now how do you fit a pair of 200cm skis into one of these? More info on this is leaking out. In Oct'09 it looked like Aptera might get some of the energy-efficient vehicle grants to commercialize it. 
The MOST space
Canada's own space telescope due to go into orbit Oct 2002.
- By super-heating cobalt ferrite to 2600F one can force it to release trapped oxygen, then by cooling it to 2000F it will capture an oxygen molecule from CO2 or steam. This can be used to make CO (carbon monoxide, which can be used as an organic chemistry building block) or hydrogen gas. This is being proposed as a way of reducing CO2 emissions from power plants (discussed here on Slashdot) by obtaining the necessary power to heat the cobalt ferrite from concentrated sunlight. However, much of the captured energy is not needed for this process due to the high value of the lower process temperature (i.e. 2000F) so the ultimate efficiency will be quite low and one probably would be better just using the solar power to generate steam to drive turbines to generate electricity and by doing so just reduce the amount of fossil fuel that must be burnt in the first place. 
- The $2500 car from Tata India is shown here and discussed here on Slashdot. My gut feeling is this will be a disaster for India, already their roads are over crowded and converting masses of small motorbikes to hordes of small cars is only going to make the situation worse - welcome to the 24 hour grid lock India! This car is due to go on sale Monday March 23, 2009 - another small step down the world to global crisis. In mid-July the first Nano was actually sold, they had to hold a lottery to select the first 100,000 purchasers. 
review of Pragmatic Version Control using CVS, there is also a
companion book "Pragmatic Unit
Testing" and another on due out in 2004.
the quality of technical support is dropping due to the oursourcing /
Quake3's fast InvSqrt() function
is one strange piece of C code. Discussed here
on Slashdot. Its even made it to a paper.
- 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. 
- This article proposes a new automatic focusing mode setting be added to digital cameras which would put the lens in hyperfocal distance mode. When active the camera would not auto focus on elements of the scene, rather it would check its current f-stop and focal length and then adjust the focus setting so that infinity is always just in focus (at one end of the depth of field). This means that the distance to the nearest point of focus will vary (getting shorter) as the f-stop gets bigger and the focal length gets shorter (lens gets wider). This ability is most useful for the wide to short telephoto ranges, but can also be used to good effect on distant telephoto shots where you are "shooting through" obstructions (such as a wire fence, some foreground branches or the bars in a cage at the zoo) which you do not want to attract the focus. This mode can also be used to improve focus speed, since it only depends on the current aperture and focal lengths, which can be measured directly.
An additional feature that could be used with this would be for the camera's normal autofocus system to pick its typical targets and identify those of them that will be in the hyperfocus zone with circle outlines and those of them that will be out of focus (because they are too close) with X's. This way the photographer can see if the hyperfocus coverage includes the significant features, and if not he can either increase the f-stop, reduce the zoom or switch over to one of the conventional modes.
Another variation on this is for you to enter the maximum and minimum focus distances and then allow the camera to control the f-stop to meet your requirements as you zoom the lens. In this mode the camera would control the exposure by adjusting the shutter speed. The point of this is for fast point and shoot candid work (say high school year book photography) as it eliminates the shutter lag due to focusing. 
- Samsung talks about flash reliability in SSD drives, they figure that due to the wear leveling technology a 100K write cycle flash will make it virtually impossible to wear out an SSD drive. For a rough approximation consider that your computer writes continually at a 1MB/s rate, then with an 32GB drive it would take 32K seconds to write once to all the cells. This would then need repeating 100K times, so its 32K x 100K or 3200M seconds, which is about 106 years. If you drop the drive size to only 4GB then you are still looking at 13 years (which is more than a mechanical drive is going to last). Increasing the write rate will also decrease the time, so if you bring it up to the maximum speed that such a drive can sustain, which is around 32MB/s then the ultimate life of a 32GB drive would drop by a factor of 32 to about 3.3 years. So you're not going to be able to wear out one of these drives within a 3 year warranty!
This sort of calculation also means that if a device like a compact flash drive is used in a computer as a system disk (so it's getting log files updated and the swap partition is on the drive) then so long as the device is large enough and the average write rate is acceptable then it will have a long life - and the easiest way to assure this is to just oversize the drive a bit. So instead of using a 512MB drive for your disk-less server, installing a 2GB unit will make it last 4 times as long. 
- A new version of the Compact Flash memory card format is being worked on, for introduction in late 2009 to 2010 time frame. This is to replace the IDE conection with an SATA type connection allowing data rates to hit 375MB/s. The specification (see the CompactFlash Association)for this is due to be published in May'08. 
reports on the industry's recent grief, sounds like it might just be
self-inflicted due to miss-management
Brother calls for more DNA, a judge in the UK has called for
everyone there to be DNA sampled and recorded. This might come
to an end due to a European Court of Human Rights ruling.
- Windows XP SP3 (service pack 3) is due to be released starting April 21/2008 (for special customers) and April 29 for the rest. 
- Wind power for the home is becoming more popular in a few US states, possibly due to some of the tax subsidies. 
- Switched On talks about the opportunity Linux has due to the growing market for low cost ultra-portable laptops started by the ASUS Eee.  
- The Sony PS3 could become a good DVR machine. Their dual tuner add-on called PlayTV is due for release in Europe in Sept'08 for $160. You'll need a PS3 ($399) and also need to upgrade the hard drive to something in the 200GB plus range for another $150 or so for a total of about $700. 
- AMD has entered the mini-notebook arena, their design saves space by not using a trackpad, rather some sort of optical touch sensor is used. This comparison of the Archos 5, iPhone 3G and the Nokia N810. It is possible that the slower load times for the Nokia 810 were due to it being run in "power saver mode", but the 810 does have the slowest processor of the three (400MHz versus 600MHz) so that's going to count against it too. 
- Some observations on the odd software used for the US Elections, why would anyone make the final "submit your vote" button a big RED button? I bet a few of the missing ballots were due to people thinking that was a "cancel" button. 
- Netbooks have hurt Windows profits, Microsoft is finding it hard to monopolize the low-end market because the cost of their Windows license is a significant part of the overall machine cost. This is something that anyone who has tried to build a low-cost "appliance" type machine (like a NAS device) based on Windows knows quite well. Typically you can buy all the new hardware you need for a few hundred dollars, and then the $140 or so for an XP license is close to half the cost of the hardware making you think strongly about using Linux instead. It looks like the netbook manufacturers are getting their XP licenses for something like $50, which means that on a $250 machine Microsoft is still 20% of the total, leaving little room for profit. The sudden development of the netbook market has taken Microsoft by surprise, its increasing size and popularity due to the typically lower price point is seen as threatening to erode the sales of traditional laptops and desktop systems and thus reduce Microsoft's profits. What Microsoft is not considering is that many of these netbook sales are going to people who are adding a second or third computing device, and who are only doing so because of the tempting price, so it is likely this new market is not eroding the traditional markets to the degree that Microsoft fears. In fact, if Microsoft were to extend its reduced price XP license some more it might find XP showing up in other low-cost devices like NAS boxes and set-top media players where Linux (thankfully) has a near total monopoly. 
- Another possibility for a Linux-based NAS machine would be to use unRAID from Lime Technology, their hardware compatibility page is here. This is reviewed by SmallNetBuilder and here is another approach. unRAID is somewhat like RAID-4 in that it uses a single parity disk, but it also does not stripe the data across multiple disks. This causes it to loose some potential performance due to the lost striping, but it provides some important gains in flexibility. You can upgrade existing data disks much faster (as the only data regeneration is to reload the contents of the replaced disk) and there are fewer limitations on the sizes of the individual disks. There is a long support thread on the LIMEtechnology unRAID product here. A video review of unRAID can be found here, they gloss over some of unRAID's biggest advantages: it can make a fault-tolerant array out any random assortment of IDE and SATA drives (they don't have to be all the same size, this also allows you to easily upgrade old (small) drives by just unplugging them and replacing them with a larger new drive) and if you have the bad luck of having two drives die at the same time the data on the other drives in the array is still usable (which is not the case for RAID-1 or RAID-5). Another video on unRAID, this goes through reasons for using it and a full build, further discussion here. 
- Dependency Walker is a useful tool for figuring out if a particular EXE or DLL load failure is due to some missing essential DLL. 
- Why Sustainable Power is Unsustainable explores the limits to some forms of alternative energy production that will be imposed due to shortages of certain rare materials like indium. 
- Research is underway on a pace-maker like device for muscles that have been left without proper nerve control due to injury or stroke. 
- Samsung's new N120 netbook is attempting to make a netbook as large as a laptop. The end result seems to be you get something the size of a small laptop (one with about a 12 inch screen) that only contains a 10 inch screen (with a large display bezel) and perhaps a longer battery life (due to the lower power components typically used in netbooks). 
- Another report of hackers penetrating control systems. This mentions the Bellingham Washington gasoline spill, but that was not due to hackers.  
- 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... 
- Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car is due to ship first in Japan in the summer of 2009 and then enter the US in 2011. 
- VAserv may have lost 100,000 web sites due to a security flaw in HyperVM. Make sure you have off-site backups! 
- The Archos9 will be a Windows 7 based tablet with a 9-inch display, which will make it a pretty serious webpad if the price is right (though currently they are thinking of 450-500 euros). A longer look at the capabilities of this device is here. This is due to start shipping Oct 22nd with a US$499 price tag. It gets a brief review where it is found to be too big and too slow. 
- A 5-inch Android-powered webpad from Archos is due to be released on Sept 15, 2009. 
- The Canadian government is taking another run at the DMCA, this time they are consulting the public before drafting the bill. The MPAA is making its views known on this through its Canadian arm, the CRIA. THey held a town hall on this and it was packed by the recording industry to make sure their views were the only ones heard. The public consultation is due to end on Sept 13. 
- Could e-book lending make libraries popular? One thing's for certain, it would make returning books much easier and eliminate overdue fines - just preset the loaned license to expire on the return date. 
- Western Digital is going to start introducing hard drives that are formatted with 4K byte sectors rather than the current 512 byte sectors in 2010. This will apparently allow for improved error correction while slightly increasing storage density. This will potentially cause a performance issue for Windows XP (and older systems) due to these older Windows versions creating the first partition in a way that it is misaligned to the 4K blocks on the drive (sort of an off by one type error). WD has two solutions for this, one is they provide a jumper on the drive that can compensate for the off by one misalignment (but it is only good for drives with a single partition) and the other is a utility that will realign the partitions on the drive. More discussion here on Slashdot. The first of these drives from WD will have "EARS" as part of the model number. An article about the issues with these 4K sector drives causing bad performance under Linux, both the Reiser and EXT3 file systems can have severe slow downs on writing small files if these drives are not installed correctly at the current time. 
- ARCHOS is getting ready to introduce some new 7 inch Android-based PMP / FDA / MID style tablets. The first announcement is here and then this article refers to them as the Archos 7 Home Tablet and Archos 8 Home Tablet. The Archos 7 Home Tablet is due to ship in June 2010. Engadget takes a look at the Archos 7 Home Tablet but finds it somewhat lacking, still for $199 it might be a good choice for some users. 
- Slashdot discusses the difficulty of selecting CPUs and GPUs due to the strange naming and numbering systems that are used these days. For comparison purposes the site: CPUBenchmark.net has a number of good performance charts that span a wide range of CPUs, as well the companion site VideoCardBenchmark.net compares GPUs. 
- 2010 will see the introduction of the first 3TB drives, but there may be some issues with older operating systems (like XP) and motherboard compatibility problems due to LBA mode BIOS issues. 
- Part of acupuncture's effect may be due to triggering the release of a natural pain killer called adenosine. 
- Leaking electrolytic capacitors have been a problem in computers and other home electronics. Dell got hit pretty hard by this in the 2005-2007 period and perhaps as many as 97% of some of their OptiPlex machines failed due to this. 
- It looks like part of Dell's success was due to secret kickbacks from Intel to keep AMD out. 
- Progress in Alzheimer's research is being made due to large-scale sharing of data between researchers.