Friday, April 26, 2013


Comics Alliance reports: [edited]

Universal Uclick's GoComics has launched a free app that enables you to read many classic comic strips on your tablet and phone for free, including Peanuts, Doonesbury, Garfield and The Boondocks.

The most notable inclusion may be Calvin and Hobbes, marking the first time the entire archive of the legendary strip have been legally available to read on your phone.

The app offers users '20 years of back issues of comic strips', and allows them to bookmark their favorites and share them with friends via email, text, and social media, including Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nitecore Tiny Monster TM26

GizMag reports: [edited]

Nitecore’s new Tiny Monster TM26 is billed as the world’s smallest 3,500-lumen flashlight.

The hard-anodized aluminum-bodied TM26 utilizes four Cree XM-L LEDs. These are protected by coated mineral glass lenses and powered by four 18650 or eight CR123 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Those batteries are charged via an AC adapter that plugs directly into the flashlight.

You can switch between eight brightness levels – along with other modes – via a single multi-function switch. An OLED display indicates level of brightness, battery status, battery voltage, approximate run time remaining and operating temperature.

If the four 18650s are used it can reportedly put out 3,500 lumens for 45 minutes. It has a beam distance of 415 meters. The flashlight is waterproof to two meters.

The Nitecore Tiny Monster TM26 is available for £209 from Amazon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Solar Impulse

New Scientist reports: [edited]

A solar-powered aircraft has this week been plying the skies around Moffett Field in San Francisco, California, as its inventors rehearse for their next ambitious move: a coast-to-coast sunshine-fuelled flight across the US.

The latest design of the 80-metre-wingspan plane, which has 12,000 photovoltaic cells peppered all over its wings and tailplane, charges batteries that power four electric motors. It manages a speed of just 64 kilometres per hour so, although it can stay aloft for 36 hours, it cannot manage the coast-to-coast trip in one hop. It will stop over a number of times: at Phoenix, Arizona; at Dallas, Texas; at St Louis, Missouri (or Atlanta, Georgia); and at Washington DC en route to New York City.

Weather permitting, the coast-to-coast attempt should depart from Moffett Field on 1 May - with a round-the-world attempt slated for 2015.

Image: J. Revillard/Solar Impulse

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Mactrast reports: [edited]

European car manufacturer Volkswagen is introducing an all-new version of the Beetle, designed specifically with Apple users in mind. Dubbed the iBeetle, the car offers an integrated iPhone dock. It also features a specialized app used to control certain functions of the vehicle, deliver oil and coolant temperatures, provide diagnostic information, and more.

The iBeetle app will also offer features such as a g-force meter, a compass, a chronometer, and a special Trainer mode which can compare driving times, and help you make the most of your fuel economy.

The iBeetle will be available starting in early 2014, and pre-orders will begin this October.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Zero DS

Wired has published a full and very favourable review reports: [edited] of Zero's leccy motorcycle.

Excerpts follow:

"The Zero DS is a true motorcycle, not just a scooter with sport bike pretensions. Going from a standstill to 60 mph takes a tick over five seconds, and high-end torque slings the bike through on-ramps with aplomb. The Zero has the power to inspire that smirk of speed euphoria I crave from a bike."

"The motor’s capabilities are akin to a 600cc sport bike, with 54 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque motivating the 400-pound Zero DS. In Sport mode, speed maxes out at 95 mph. Eco mode reduces torque to 70 percent of capacity and limits the top speed to 70 mph, but both numbers are adjustable. For range, you’ve got two options: 95 miles of city driving on the base model ($14,000) with an 8.5 kWh battery, or 126 miles on model with the 11.4 kWh battery, an option which adds $2,000 to the price. Riding at an average of 55 mph on the freeway knocks those numbers down to 57 and 76 miles of travel, respectively."

"As a two-wheeled electric vehicle, the Zero DS is perfect. The engineering has accounted for everything important in a transportation vehicle. Riding the Zero, you think, this is how a civilized society should move about."

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Battery Technology

Mashable reports: [edited]

Scientists claim they have made a giant leap in power storage, giving lithium-ion batteries 30 times more power and the ability to recharge 1,000 times faster "than competing technologies."

The team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, headed up by Professor William King, wrote about the technology in the April 16 issue of Nature Communications. The batteries are so powerful, King says you could use the power storage device in your cellphone to jumpstart your car battery.

The secret is extreme miniaturization of the conventional elements of traditional batteries, the anode and the cathode. Assembling these in a 3D microstructure, the researchers have developed what their press release says is "a new way to integrate the two components at the microscale to make a complete battery with superior performance."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Google Glass, erm, specs and API released

The Register reports: [edited]

The 'Google Glass Explorer Edition' (for those who pre-paid $1,500 for it last year) is rolling off the production line, and an application programming interface (API) guide and management software for the headgear is available.

Each set comes with a 16:9 640x360 pixel screen over the right eye that Google says will look the same as a 25-inch high screen seen from eight feet away. It has 16GB of flash (12 usable), a five megapixel camera capable of 720p video, Bluetooth and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Sound is transmitted via bone conductivity from the arms of the headset.

Google estimates that the glasses will have a day's battery life (each set comes with a MicroUSB charger), although it warns that Google Hangouts and video recording can cause a big drain.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3

Digital Photography Review has published a full review of Panasonic's Micro Four Third flagship.

Snippets from the conclusion follow:

"In terms of Raw capability the images it produces are sharp and have reasonably low noise levels. There's not a tremendous amount of additional dynamic range to be had out of the files, but they're reasonable malleable. The JPEG noise reduction isn't quite as impressive - with higher ISO images losing all their fine detail."

"Anyone who found the OM-D's handling too fiddly will love the GH3's substantial grip, while its magnesium-alloy build strikes a good balance between offering a feeling of solidity, without adding excessive weight."

"The GH3 has some of the most comprehensive wireless control we've yet seen on a camera of this type, with full control over exposure, focus and the majority of camera settings. Wi-Fi can also be used to automatically download files to your computer or upload them to the web."

"The Panasonic GH3 is the new standard bearer for video on a consumer stills camera. At the time of writing no other camera at a similar price point offers so much for video shooters and filmmakers. Whilst the Nikon D5200 / D7100 and Canon 5D Mark III perform better in low light, neither have the range of video features and frame rates the GH3 offers for $1299 - nor quite the crispness of detail at 1080p."

"For us the GH3's stills capabilities, while good, are not enough to make it stand out - Olympus' more compact E-M5 produces nicer JPEGs, while the likes of Nikon's D7100 offer an edge in stills image quality."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

£10,000,000 iPhone 5 reports: [edited]

This handset (commissioned by a  Chinese businessman) took 9 weeks of intricate work to re-create the original chassis of the iPhone 5 in solid gold, including a flawless black single deep cut diamond weighing in at 26 cts to replace the home button.

The chassis was inlaid with a circa of 600 white flawless diamonds with full gold dressing for the rear section with the logo in solid gold with 53 flawless diamonds. It boasts 135 grams of 24ct gold and a sapphire glass screen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Samsung NX1100

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Priced at $599.99, the camera is available now in black or white and comes with a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. In common with its predecessor, the NX1000, it includes 8fps continuous shooting, a 3-inch/921k-dot rear display and Full HD video recording. The only significant change is the Autoshare feature that automatically sends full resolution images and videos to mobile devices over Wi-Fi. There is currently no information about a European release.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Status Board for iPad

Status Board is an app that groups a number of useful data streams on to an 'at-a-glance' panel on your iPad.

At £6.99 it isn't cheap (by app standards at least), but I've been using it for a couple of days now, and I like it a lot.

It allows me to have the time/date, weather and my email, newsfeeds and twitter messages in plain view at all times. The panels can be moved/resized/deleted. And there are customisable widgets which allow you to channel your own data to the panel.

For more information, visit Panic.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crucial 1TB SSD prices drop to 62 cents per GB

ars technica reports: [edited]

The 2.5-inch M500 SATA III SSDs use 20nm MLC NAND sourced from Micron along with a Micron-provided SSD controller. Performance for the M500 drives is what you'd expect from a drive in this class: sequential read and write speeds of 500MB per second and 400MB per second.

The M500 is available in standard pedestrian capacities of 120GB and 240GB, as well as a large capacity of 480GB, but the top-end SKU is the exciting one: 960GB for just $599.99 (62¢ per raw GB). The MSRPs for the smaller capacities are $129.99 for the 120GB (about $1 per raw GB), $219.99 for the 240GB (about 91¢ per raw GB), and $399.99 for the 480GB (about 83¢ per raw GB).

Crucial's M4 has a good reputation for reliability, avoiding a lot of the pitfalls and blowouts that have plagued its competition (like the much-lamented OCZ Vertex lines).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GF6 - a 16MP entry-level mirrorless camera with Wi-Fi. Like many of its competitors it has a capacitive touchscreen, that can tilt both downwards and upwards to face forwards for self-portraits.

It gains a compact-camera style zoom lever around the shutter release that can alternatively be used to set exposure compensation, and an exposure mode dial on the top plate. It's also the first interchangeable lens camera with Near Field Communication (NFC) that allows setup of Wi-Fi connections with compatible smartphones and tablets, simply by tapping the devices together.

For a hands-on preview, click here

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Cover Disasters

Where Magazine is published by Morris Visitor Publications. Like many publications, they occlude part of the title with a 'cutout' of the main image. These two covers are good examples of why you should be very careful which areas of type you exclude.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Polar Bear Ice Tray

black+blum reports: [edited]

A polar bear that lives in your freezer... how cool is that? Simple to fill, easy to load into your freezer and to decant individual cubes without having to touch the ice. Because it is sealed, it stops the ice from absorbing the odours and crumbs of other foods in your freezer.

Price: £9.99 (free shipping in the UK)

Friday, April 05, 2013

Solar panels becoming viable?

The Verge reports: [edited]

Solar energy has a reputation as being a clean energy source but hasn't earned it — at least not up until now. That's because the power used to manufacture solar panels still comes mainly from electricity generated by fossil fuels.

But a new study from Stanford researchers says that the balance may be tipping: all the solar panels online around the world last year produced enough energy to make up for the energy it took to make them, researchers are able to say with more than 50 percent confidence.

The future looks even brighter, according to the study, with researchers projecting that the industry will be generating enough power between 2015 and 2020 to offset all of the historic creation costs.

There are some important caveats to that future outlook, including that installation and materials costs continue to drop at the rapid rate they have been. Still, the researchers are optimistic solar has finally turned an important corner on its way to becoming a more mainstream energy source.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Forecast reports: [edited]

How is Forecast different from other weather services?

Maps and rain animations: We’ve taken radar animations and expanded them to allow you to scrub up to a week into the future to see how storm systems will develop and evolve world-wide.

Down to the minute forecasts, for your exact location: We can predict when it will rain or snow — down to the minute — at your exact location anywhere we have radar coverage (currently the United States, the UK, Ireland, parts of Canada, and Puerto Rico, with more countries coming soon).

Intelligent text summaries: Most people don’t really care about things like wind speed and humidity unless it’s exceptional for their location. Using the historical data, we know what “exceptional” is for any time and place, and roll it up into the summaries.

It works on all your devices: There’s a web interface for your laptop and a mobile version for your iPhone, Android phone, or tablet. You can install Forecast directly on your phone simply by visiting on your device and adding it to your home screen. It’s completely free.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

BionicOpter Dragonfly Drone

Engadget reports: [edited]

Festo's 17.3-inch long dragonfly drone can flutter through the air in any direction, and even hover, just like its biological inspiration. Its four carbon fibre and foil wings beat up to 20 times per-second, propelling it through the air as if it were swimming rather than flying.

Piloting the robo-bug is achieved through a smartphone app, but an on-board ARM-based microcontroller makes small adjustments to ensure stability during flight.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Free Font - Exo

Font Squirrel is hosting this 'technical' sans serif family, available in a very useful nine weights from thin to black, with complementary italic versions.