Friday, January 29, 2010

BYD's e6 to be released May 2010

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The electric e6 MPV manufactured by Chinese firm BYD and partly funded by American billionaire Warren Buffet will launch in China this May and be initially targeted at government buyers and taxi fleets. It will cost 300,000 yuan (£27,000).

Provided the e6 passes North American safety tests, the car should arrive there by late 2010 priced at roughly $40,000 (£24,600). It’s unclear at this stage if the e6’s US price will include the $7500 (£4600) Federal e-car rebate.

The e6’s drive comes from two electric motors: one driving the front wheels and rated at 215bhp (160kW), with the other driving the rear rated at 53.5bhp (40kW).

The e6 can cover 0-62mph in under 14 seconds and reach 90mph. Front-wheel drive will be used for everyday driving conditions, with the rear motor only coming into play when things get sticky or slippery, BYD said.

BYD reckons the e6's battery can be charged to 50 per cent capacity in 10 minutes and to full capacity within one hour, when connected into a three-phase charger.

In an effort to overcome range anxiety, BYD has fitted the e6 with a 60kWh lithium iron phosphate battery of its own making. The pack should give the e6 a range of 205 miles (300km), BYD added.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Apple's iPhone-on-steroids measures 243 x 190 x 13mm, weighs 700g and has a 1024 x 768 pixel display.

To watch the obligatory slick video click here

For full specs click here

Available from late-March, prices start at $499.

Magimix Vision Toaster

- Glass sides allow visual monitoring of browning
- Wide, long, deep slots with auto self-centering for even toasting
- Extra lift lever lifts higher to remove small pieces
- Toasts 2 slices on 2 sides or 2 slices on 1 side
- Ideal for extra large bread, bagels or baguette slices
- Full length slide out crumb tray and opening glass windows
- Defrost, reheat and auto stop buttons


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


This ultra-low budget movie stars the excellent Sam Rockwell (as Sam), stationed on the Moon for three years with only a computer, GERTY* (excellently voiced by Kevin Spacey) for company. The film begins as Sam enters the last couple of weeks of his contract.

Parallels/comparisons have been made with 2001: A Space Odyssey but it reminded me much more of Solaris and Silent Running.

It is a well-acted, slow-paced film that I enjoyed very much. Duncan Jones (yes, yes, yes... David Bowie's son) has wisely avoided the deliberate vagueness of 2001 and Solaris, and the special effects are well-handled considering how little money there was to spend on them.

My main niggle is that the technology looks like it had been borrowed from the 2001/Silent Running sets. I'm guessing this was a deliberate style choice, but for a film made in the 21st Century and set in the near future, the computers are unconvincingly 'retro'.

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*If you're wondering what GERTY is an acronym for, it would appear that even the creator of the story has trouble remembering.

Monday, January 25, 2010

BookBook reports: [edited]

BookBook is a hardback leather case for the 13" MacBook & MacBook Pro and 15" MacBook Pro. Available in Black or Red for $79.99.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Benoit Paillé

He's Canadian. He takes wonderfully affecting photos, applying subtle digital treatments that enhance the humanity of the subjects.

Visit his Unstage Gallery and/or his Flickr site.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Samsung WB650 & WB600 15x zoom compacts

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Samsung has unveiled the HZ35W and HZ30W compact superzooms. The new image-stabilized cameras increase their zoom ranges to 15x, starting at a very useful 24mm equivalent.

The HZ35W (WB650 in Europe) includes built-in GPS and a 3" AMOLED display while the HZ30W (WB600) has neither, instead featuring a 3" LCD. Both cameras feature 12.2MP sensors and 720p HD video recording using H.264 compression.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Linx B-Tube

- Bluetooth capabilities with 10m range
- A2DP stereo from mobile phones, computers and MP3 players
- Microphone to make/receive hands-free calls through mobile phones
- Lithium-Ion battery with 6 hours playback time
- Carry pouch
- AC adapter
- USB charger cable
- Acrylic stand
- Also connects via supplied 3.5mm jack/cable
- 40x40x160mm, 170g

This neat little unit garnered good reviews when first released. It was recently discounted to £12 (inc. delivery) on Amazon, and I decided to give it a try. It connects fine via Bluetooth to my iPhone, and the volume/sound quality is perfectly adequate.

The price has since risen to £16 (inc. delivery), but if you're looking for an affordable, portable wireless speaker/microphone system, you could do a lot worse.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Time reports: [edited]

At the San Diego Zoo in January 2010 Yun Zi, the now-5-month-old panda, made his public debut, delighting visitors by rolling around the grass, playing with his mother, and climbing trees.

Click here for more pictures.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tintamar handbag liners

Quirky Bags reports: [edited]

If you are anything like us, you will have a collection of handbags that you like to change between depending on where you are going or what you are wearing.

If this is you, then you have probably done the same thing as us many times and not quite swapped all your handbag's contents, only to find you have forgotten your keys, mobile or anything else that is crucial to your existence.

You have also probably done the thing where you can't remember which pocket you put your purse in with each bag and have to fumble around at the till.

If this sounds like you, then you will find the VIP handbag lining as useful as we have. It contains life's essentials and travels with you from handbag to handbag.

You can quickly change your bag, but your mobile stays in its usual place. There are numerous pockets so you can find your bits and pieces with your eyes closed. All in a stylish, supple and hard wearing material that's washable in soapy water.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Looking for dark energy

Wired reports: [edited]

You’re looking at the heart of one of the biggest digital cameras ever conceived — 74 CCD sensors that will go into an enclosure the size of a Mini Cooper. The 570-megapixel shooter is being built at Fermilab by an international team of particle physicists and astronomers, who think it will help solve one of the great mysteries of the cosmos: What is dark energy?

We don’t really know whether dark energy even exists. What we do know is that the universe has been expanding since the big bang. But rather than slowing down like everything else fighting gravity’s pull, this expansion seems to be speeding up.

Something must be causing this, and astronomers call that something dark energy. The hope is that scientists can use detailed photos to chart the light from galaxies and supernovas, which will show the growth of the cosmos and at least give them more evidence for the existence and effect of dark energy.

Once the $35 million rig is complete, astronomers will mount it to a telescope in Chile and, over the course of five years, use it to map 300 million galaxies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti, 48 hours later

The Big Picture reports: [edited]

Two days after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck beneath Port-au-Prince, Haiti, some of the massive damage is becoming more apparent. Rescue teams are arriving, aid groups are trying their best to battle huge logistical challenges, bodies are being identified, and some medical care is being given.

Rescue teams from all over the world have joined the recovery effort, as the United States pledged $100 million in relief efforts. The Red Cross ventured an estimate of up to 50,000 deaths, as bodies at the local morgues overflowed into the streets. Collected here are some more scenes from this devastated region. (33 photos total)

Hadopi hoisted by their own petard

Telegraph reports: [edited]

The French government's web police force – called Hadopi – was set up to stop piracy and clamp down on illegal downloaders. The agency's logo was unveiled this by French culture minister Frederic Mitterrand, who said that Hadopi 'finally had a face'.

But within hours of its launch, it was forced to apologise for using a typeface without permission that belonged to France Telecom.

The blunder was spotted by graphic designer Jean-Francois Porchez, who created the Bienvenue typeface (top image) [Telegraph wrongly titled this 'Bonjour' Ed.] and sold it exclusively to France Telecom.

The design agency Plan Creatif that created the Hadopi logo has now admitted it used the typeface by mistake and the design had now been 'tweaked' (bottom image). But Mr Porchez said he was still considering legal action against the government for illegal use of his design.

Thanks to Shaun for the information

Yike Bike

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

A bunch of 'entrepreneurs, engineers and dreamers' have turned their backs on headline-grabbing e-cars to come up with an electrically powered shrunken penny-farthing. Yike Bike has been designed to 'dramatically change' urban transport by providing city dwellers with a fast, safe and easy way to get around town.

The travel gadget’s frame is constructed from carbon composite, weighs in at 9.8kg and folds away into a compact 43 litre unit once you reach your destination.

A lithium-ion battery lets the rider travel at speeds of up to 14mph, but Yike Bike only has a maximum distance of six miles. Its battery can be fully recharged in 30 minutes, the designers said.

Online advance orders are currently being taken for the Yike Bike, which will cost up to £3480. An arrival date hasn’t been announced.

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Brett's 2p'orth: I would love the chance to try one of these out, but having watched the video the Yike is worryingly reminiscent of a two wheel Sinclair C5. The thought of piloting this through city traffic is terrifying.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 Almanac

BBC reports: [edited]

The most interesting and unexpected facts can emerge from the daily news stories and the Magazine documents some of them in its weekly feature, '10 things we didn't know last week'. To kick off 2010, here's an almanac of the best from the past year.

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Brett's 2p'orth: My personal favourites include 'John the Good was bad and William the Bad was good' and 'Britain once sent an envoy with a quadruple-barrelled name to Moscow - Admiral Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurley Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax'.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Free fonts - Museo 500 Slab & Sans

My Fonts has the 500 weight roman and italic versions of Museo Slab, a soft and well-balanced contemporary slab-serif available for free download. The 500 weight of Museo Sans is also available free. (Registration required)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

London-Colsterworth-London 09-01-10

The weather on the way to pick Zak up from Lincoln was appalling. To maximise my chances of clear roads, I decided to stay on the A1(M) all the way to Newark-on-Trent, then follow the A46 to Lincoln.

As I passed Peterborough a mini-blizzard began, and by RAF Wittering visibility was down to nothing, and traction very poor.

On a downhill slope near Colsterworth, an 18-wheeler skidded to a halt about 100 yards in front of me, blocking both lanes. I gingerly applied the brakes, but the tyres had no traction at all, and the Previa went into a slow, uncontrolled spin, coming to rest against the central barrier.

Happily there was no traffic behind me, and I managed to reverse onto the side of the road. The 18-wheeler had pulled away , and I drove until I found a deserted petrol station to check the vehicle over. Fortunately the damage was confined to the left wing, with wheels/engine/radiator all fine.

After a phone call to Zak, I then crawled to the next exit before turning around and nursing my damaged Previa back to Harrow.

Little Black Heart - a-ha
Butterfly - Nickel Creek
A Love Worth Waiting For - Shakin' Stevens
Contagious - The Isley Brothers
Real Life - Girls Aloud
I Touch Myself - Divinyls
Kiss Their Sons - Transvision Vamp
How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live? - Ry Cooder
Romeo And Jane - Tonio K
If It's Not With You - Phoenix
Let's Dance - David Bowie
Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad - Meat Loaf
Get Right With God - Lucinda Williams
The City and the Traveler - Hem
Angel Of Harlem - U2
Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals
Don't Break The Heart - Amy Rigby
Tell Me More About U (Olivia) - Spleen
The Eyes Of SarahJane - The Jayhawks
Honky Cat - Elton John
It'5! - Architecture In Helsinki
Crooked Crown - Bonnie Raitt
The Energy Prinicples - Aleph
American Jesus - Bad Religion
Mine All Mine - SHeDAISY
Messiah Ward - Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You - Johnny Cash
There Was A Time - Siobhan Maher-Kennedy
Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor - Lucinda Williams
Guy Like Me - Pat Green
Steve McQueen - Sheryl Crow
All The Rage - Mary Lee's Corvette
I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine - Ry Cooder
Let Me Be The One - Shadows
When I Was A Boy (live) - Dar Williams
Your Mirror - Simply Red
As I Lay Me Down - Sophie B. Hawkins
Sidewalks Of The City - Lucinda Williams
Petals - Hole
Blue Eyed Baby - Leona Naess
The Outsider - Rodney Crowell
Moonfleet Beach - Nickel Creek
Sweet Cola Of Mercy - Republic Of Loose
My Heart Is the Bums on the Street - Marah
I Like Birds - Eels
Vet - Vigilantes Of Love
Thin Mint - Keller Williams
It's A Long Way To The Top - School of Rock
Folsom Prison Blues - Waylon Jennings
Perfect Kiss (single) - New Order
He Thinks He'll Keep Her - Mary Chapin Carpenter
Real World - Marques Bovre
Pocket Calculator - Kraftwerk
Smackwater Jack (live) - Carole King
Goodbye - Emmylou Harris
Everyday People - Sly and the Family Stone
Work - Morning Runner
Sheriff Fatman - Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine (Carter USM)
Heavy Living - Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Nelson Mandela - Special A.K.A.
Coming Right Over - hal
People In The Way - Maria McKee
Like A Child - Jars Of Clay
Love Rescue Me (live) - U2
Field Of Diamonds - Johnny Cash
Every Little Thing - Transvision Vamp
Gypsy - Van Morrison
Some Other Time - Yoko Kanno (菅野よう子)
I Want It Back - Shawn Colvin
Solo (Live) - Sandy Denny
Monty Got A Raw Deal - R.E.M.
The Honeythief - Hipsway
Saturday - Soulwax
Interzone - Joy Division
Can't Seem To Make You Mine - Alex Chilton
Fight - Art Brut
You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac
Queen Bitch - David Bowie
Velvet Roof - Buffalo Tom
Settle Down - Breaks Co-Op

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fitness: the latest data

New Scientist reports: [edited]

Does an activity have to get you out of breath to count as exercise? Do you really have to do half-an-hour a day? Is pumping iron a good way to keep your heart healthy? These are just some of the dilemmas many of us face when working out the best way to get fit.

The good news is scientists do broadly agree on the best ways to get fit, they just haven't been very good at telling us what they've discovered.

Whether because of a lack of information, or because some of us are just plain lazy, most of us don't do enough exercise. One recent survey in the UK found that only a third of adults meet the recommended goals for physical activity.

So how should you go about getting fit? Over the next nine articles, we have set out the latest evidence and exploded some myths along the way. Read on, and you can decide for yourself.

1. What counts as exercise?

2. How much, and how often?

3. How do you know if you're getting fit?

4. Is pumping iron really necessary?

5. Can jogging kill you?

6. Is getting fit easier for some people?

7. Can you be fat and fit?

8 Do you need to 'push fluids'?

9. What if you get injured?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

360 degrees of Prague

An 18 gigapixel, 360˚ panorama of Prague from the TV tower constructed from thousands of carefully taken images.

For more information click here

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nexus One arrives...

Engadget have published a hands-on review.


"Industry politics aside, though, the Nexus One is at its core just another Android smartphone. It's a particularly good one, don't get us wrong - certainly up there with the best of its breed - but it's not in any way the Earth-shattering, paradigm-skewing device the media and community cheerleaders have built it up to be.

"It's a good Android phone, but not the last word - in fact, if we had to choose between this phone or the Droid right now, we would lean towards the latter. Of course, if Google's goal is to spread Android more wide than deep, maybe this is precisely the right phone at the right time: class-leading processor, vibrant display, sexy shell, and just a sprinkling of geekiness that only Google could pull off this effortlessly."

- - - - -

For an online demo of the phone, click here.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Jaybird SB1 Sportsband Bluetooth headphones

Engadget reports: [edited]

The headphones boast about eight hours of stereo music use, feature moisture-protected music controls, and can even handle the odd call or two. They're shipping now for $89.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Living with the iPhone 3GS: Font Game reports: [edited]

From 'I Love Typography' comes the definitive Font Game for iPhone & iPod touch. Think you know your Arial from your Helvetica, your sans from your sans serifs? Then step up to the plate. With three levels of game play from the ease-yourself-in, ‘Somewhat Difficult’ through to the incredibly challenging ‘Exceedingly Difficult’, there’s lots of fun to be had for novices and typographic experts alike.

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Brett's 2p'orth: OK, so it redefines the term 'niche', but for me this 59p App has replaced Scrabble as my iPhone game of choice.

Resolutions 2010

1. Get building work done on house
2. Clear out remaining clutter from house
3. Write a piece on 'inhabiting space' concept
4. Watch or dispose of the unwatched DVDs in my collection
5. Work at ways of not hating weight training/running
6. Book at least one 'proper' holiday
7. Stop biting/picking at fingers
8. Read through Bible using iPhone
9. Read at least one novel
10. Supplement journaling using iPhone
11. Work on '66 Books' blog
12. Update Bible commentary collection
13. Develop understanding and practice of Pilates
14. Learn how to use Dreamweaver CS4
15. Gain a greater understanding of CSS, PURLs, etc
16. Redesign X1 web site
17. Build time into journeys to allow for taking photographs
18. Complete a large painting with kidz
19. Practice guitar for at least 30 minutes per week
20. Design & produce Christmas card

Friday, January 01, 2010

DVD Rewinder reports: [edited]

Never pay another DVD rewind fee again

Compatible with all disc formats: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, CDR, CDRW, Audio CD, VCD. Multi-region, code-free rewinder capable of rewinding all 6 region DVDs including RCE/REA encoded discs.

We have tested the DVD Rewinder with next generation disc media including Blu-ray, and HD. The DVD Rewinder also works with Sony Playstation, XBox, and other disc based console system media.