Wednesday, May 21, 2008

To Feed Empty Stomachs Or To Feed Empty Fuel Tanks?

The entire world is waiting with abated breath for the fuel to touch the record price of $200 a barrel. Elsewhere a growing emphasis is being laid on growing fuel crops to combat the fuel demand. Environmentalists have jumped into the bandwagon pointing out the advantages of using alternative fuels and reducing the guilt of humanity.

Riots from people belonging to the lower economic strata in most of the nations have started to grab headlines. The cause: unable to afford a square meal due to the rising food prices. Reason: growing fuel crops is a lucrative business.

To be caught between the “Devil” and the “Deep Blue Sea” comes to mind portraying the situation in which most of the nations are in. What is their priority? To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks?

The farmers are being offered incentives to grow fuel crops. Corn which serves both as a food crop and a fuel crop has put the American Government in a quandary as to which purpose it has to serve. White House and the United Nations have acknowledged that the rising food prices is due to the diversion of corn into ethanol.

The rising fuel cost has resulted in a heavy emphasis being laid on increasing ethanol production. But at what cost? Empty stomachs? How does one justify offering farm subsidies for fuel crops at a time when the nation is facing acute food shortage.

The ethanol industry has responded to the impending crisis by squarely laying the onus on biotechnology to come up with the goods. Some of them have chosen to dismiss the entire brouhaha saying that the current ethanol industry is too small a portion of the global oil market to have a meaningful impact or offset higher food prices.

To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks? Is there a choice?

At the time of publishing this article, fuel prices had breached $130 dollar bracket. Meanwhile rising food prices has lead to unrest and violence in the third world countries.

For more in depth analysis, please check out the article by Joshua Boak

Prefer Gadgets With Bluetooth? These Will Certainly Rank High In The List

With every gadget maker including Bluetooth functionality in the gadgets they make, no wonder, from toasters to watches, refrigerators to picture frames, they are all Bluetooth enabled.

That being said, here are two cool gadgets that function mainly using Bluetooth technology.

Virtual Laser Keyboard

This one comes straight off some alien mother ship and small enough to fit snugly into one’s palm, weighing about two ounces. The virtual laser keyboard (VKB) projects a full size QWERTY keyboard. Seen the movie Die Hard 4.0 where the kid uses a foldable rubber keyboard. This VKB goes one step further by projecting the keyboard itself onto a flat surface. As you type on the laser projection, detection technology based on optical recognition enables the user to tap the images of the keys, complete with realistic tapping sounds, which feed into the compatible Bluetooth-enabled PDA, Smartphone, laptop or PC. The company claims that this is more convenient to use than the foldable rubber ones.

The drawbacks are that it requires a non-reflective, opaque flat surface for projection of the keyboard and offers an illumination of 600 lux. It supports Bluetooth v1.1 class 2 while most of the modern devices sport a v2.0 Bluetooth spec.

It costs about $160.

MBW – 150 Bluetooth Watch from Sony Erickson

Like any other watch, apart from the fact that it vibrates when you receive a call on your Sony Erickson mobile phone and also lets you switch tracks and adjust the volume on the phone via Bluetooth. The OLED display in the watch shows the track currently playing on your phone. When one moves out of the range of the phone (which is approx 10 meters), the phone tells you that you are out of range.

The phone is set in stainless steel covered with mineral crystal glass and is water resistant to boot!

This device supports Bluetooth 2.0 and costs about $400.

Source: Sony Erickson, Golan Technology.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two Seater “Green” Plane For Jetsetters Looking For A Way To Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

People who clock up flying miles faster than the “Doctor” on his Yamaha M1 and are worried about how much they are polluting the air, fret not, cause Pipistrel has come with a two-seater, electric-powered commercial jet which it plans to mass produce at the end of the year.

Hope all you CEO’s and “rich enough to afford a private jet” people out there do take notice that Taurus Electro gliders from Pipistrel costs $133,000. You can now jet around the globe and sport the “green” label too, which is the latest thing to show off considering the hordes of celebrities lining up in front of hybrid car maker’s doors to buy their products; cause they wanna go green.

Enough of me ranting about erasing the guilt of humanity and lets get to the features and specs of this aircraft. Ivo Boscarol of owner of Pipistrel based in Slovenia has come with a worthy successor for Sinus, a microlight motorglider named Taurus. Taurus according to Pipistrel is a fully equipped aircraft with a separate ventilation system for each pilot and side-by-side seating arrangement; featuring a fully retractable engine and glide ratio of at least 1:40; also featuring a total rescue ballistic parachute system which saves the aircraft and both pilots, all instruments, radio etc. at a reasonable price. Whew!

The “green” part comes here. The internal combustion engine is substituted with its electric counterpart. Pipistrel says that “Using the latest findings in the fields of batteries and charge storage as well as the recent developments of synchronous electric motors with small mass and high specific torque, the flight of electric-powered aircraft can now become a reality.”

Pipistrel has not delved deeper into the technicalities of the engine on its website and I could not get my hands on any aviation magazine which has featured Taurus Electro Glider. Hence, please visit Pipistrel website for more details or contact them. My job is done here. I have just provided a spark and you guys reading the posting have to make the fire. Oops! Not too environment friendly is it? Lets hope Taurus Electro Glider lives up to its expectations.

Source: Pipistrel.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Motorola RAZR2 V9 Now In Ferrari Overalls

I came across an article on which mentioned that Motorola is now going one step further with its Ferrari Limited edition phones. The latest model from Motorola’s stable to receive the “Scarlet makeover” is the Motorola RAZR2 V9.

There will be no changes in the phone specifications and initially will go sale in Latin America and Asia. Motorola has a Luxury Edition of its RAZR2 with a gold and snakeskin theme which was recently released in India.

Any guesses how much the Prancing Horse edition of the RAZR2 is going to blow a hole? Let me know.

Image Source:,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What’s Your Geek Rating? Take The Blog Readability Test And Find Out Now.

Hey all you blogger’s out there. Want to know whether your postings is for people with the geek bent of a mind or plain Jane’s and Jack’s can read and understand them? There is this site offering a tool that somehow determines the intellectual level that is required for reader’s reading your posts. So why don’t you find out now. Just enter your blog URL at: and put a badge on your blog proclaiming the rating your blog gets.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Carl Icahn Goes Blogging

Carl Icahn the famous activist investor cum billionaire has set up his blog known as The Icahn Report. The blog has been created but there are no signs of activity yet. Icahn has said that the blog will go live in about two weeks time which means we can hopefully see some posts on “Corporate Governance.”

Touch Diamond From HTC

The latest release from HTC is a shiny black touchscreen phone with a diamond faceted back, leading to the moniker “Touch Diamond.” It features a high-definition touchscreen, 3D software, 3.2 megapixel camera and a fast mobile broadband. It is the latest in its series of Touch smartphones featuring 3G.

HTC has managed to pull wool over Apple’s eyes quite easily considering that last year it had launched ahead of Apple’s iPhone and now beating Apple to unveil a 3G model in the smartphone range. Apple’s 3G iPhone is expected in the next few months. HTC currently ranks fifth among the smart phone manufacturers.

The Touch Diamond is a tad smaller than the iPhone with dimensions of 102mm × 51mm × 11.33mm and includes a circular navigation wheel to help users through its menus. It features a 528MHz CPU which runs on a Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system. The Touch Diamond works on WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) networks and offers data rates up to 7.2Mbps using HSPA (High Speed Packet Access). It also features Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b/g for wireless Internet access) and a glass screen with about four times better resolution than HTC's previous Touch phones. It currently offers a resolution of 2.8-inch, 640 pixel × 480 pixel. The 3.2 mp camera supports auto focus and video calling.

It also contains goody features such as the specialized versions of YouTube and Google Maps. One can flip through photos on the phone in a kind of 3D effect, thanks to the upgraded TouchFlo software. TouchFLO 3D provides animated access to people, messaging, email, photos, music, weather and more. Built-in sensors automatically rotate the phone's screen based on the user's grip. The phone features customized Opera browser software as well. Turning the device sideways automatically rotates the web page view from a portrait to landscape view. Advanced wireless and auto sensor screen pivoting are a nice touch. It uses a 900mAh battery and boasts of a talk time of up to 4 hours and standby time well over 300 hours.

The only sore point in otherwise a great phone is its storage capacity. Touch Diamond boasts of only 4GB (256 MB flash and 192 MB RAM) memory when compared to the iPhone's 8GB or 16GB. It also lacks a dedicated point for headphone jack just like the Motorola Razr.

Here’s a summary of its features:

· Size: 102 x 51 x 11.33mm
· Weight: 110 g
· Connectivity: WCDMA / HSPA: 900/2100MHz. HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA
· Operating system: Windows Mobile® 6.1 Professional
· Display: 2.8-inch VGA touch screen
· Camera: 3.2MP, with video calling
· Internal memory: 4 GB Internal Storage, 256 MB flash, 192 MB RAM,
· Bluetooth: 2.0 with EDR
· Wireless: WiFi 802.11b/g
· Interface: HTC ExtUSBTM (mini-USB and audio jack in one; USB 2.0 High-Speed)
· Battery: 900 mAh
· Talk time: GSM: up to 4 hours
· Standby time: GSM: up to 300 hours/100 hours with push email
· Chipset: Qualcomm® MSM 7201ATM 528MHz

Source: InfoWorld, Forbes, HTC

Samsung Proclaims i200 Is The World’s Slimmest Phone

The i200 features Windows mobile 6.1 operating system, a measly 2 mp camera, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP and weighs 102.2 g. Surprised at the weight specification but what caught my eye was that sporting a width of 11.8mm its no way the “World’s Slimmest Phone. It does support Mobile printing, but that’s become a standard anyway. It lacks an infrared port. It supports Micro SD (Transflash). Oh yes, did I forget to mention that it also has the full suite of Office applications. Otherwise it would not be a “Smartphone,” would it?

Gordon Kelly of Trusted says that the i200 is no better than the ageing Motorola Q9 (11.8mm), far fatter than HTC's Touch Diamond (10.7mm) and is even bested by Apple's soon-to-be-business-worthy iPhone (11.6mm).

Image Source: Mobile

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Red Dragon Breathes Fire At The Summit Of Mount Everest

The Beijing Olympic slogan proudly proclaims “One World One Dream.” According to them it reflects the essence and the universal values of the Olympic spirit and the core and soul of the three concepts -- "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics.”

I have absolutely no problems with what they have stated above, except for a tiny thought gnawing away at my conscience. It has to do with the term “Green Olympics.”

China is pulling out all stops with respect to the massive PR exercise involving a 50 member team that will take the Olympic Torch to the summit of Mount Everest. It is sad to see that most of the newspapers are focusing on the political issue revolving around the ethnicity of the climbers. Does any one care about the fragile ecosystem surrounding the world’s highest peak?

The pristine environment surrounding the peak has been constantly battered by the pollution and garbage left behind the climbers. Since it was first climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, Everest has been climbed more than 3,000 times.

Since then it has been reported that about 50 tonnes of rubbish has been strewn across the mountain.

For China it might seem as the ultimate statement to show case grandeur by taking the torch to the summit. But what about the after effects of 50 climbers climbing the mountain accompanied by a huge media contingent. What about all the gas they are going to burn to keep themselves warm in the tents? What about all the oxygen cylinders that are going to be left behind? The very concept of taking a flame to the summit beats the idea of conserving the ecosystem of a niche environment found at the Everest. When they are at it they might even make a huge bonfire at the peak and dance around it, for they care two hoots about preserving the fragile ecosystem.

Did some one say “Green Olympics?” I can only see a giant fire breathing dragon looking down with impunity from the summit of Mount Everest.

Source: The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,, The Guardian

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Disappearing Ink To Prevent Trees From Disappearing From The Face Of Earth

I stumbled across an interesting piece of news on Michael Kanellos had written about vanishing ink to help in the recycling of paper. It was too good an invitation to ignore and I started digging for information on this topic.

Xerox Research Centre and Palo Alto Research Center Inc. (PARC) have come up with a concept to make the printed words and images last only a day, so that the paper can be used again and again. They say that the technology is still in a preliminary state.

This piece of paper is blank, but about eight hours ago it said,
'Reusable Paper. Xerox Parc Inside Innovation at Xerox' in block purple letters
(Credit: Michael Kanellos/CNET Networks)

Xerox has filed for patents on the technology, which it calls "erasable paper."

Meanwhile, PARC are researching on a device capable of writing the images onto the special paper. A prototype printer that creates the image on the paper using a light bar that provides a specific wavelength of light as a writing source. The written image fades naturally over time or can be immediately erased by exposing it to heat.

Paul Smith, Manager of XRCC's new materials design and synthesis lab says “Self-erasing documents for short-term use offers the best of both worlds."

Xerox also has apart from temporary documents, solid ink printing technology, which generates 90 percent less waste than comparable laser printers; more energy-efficient printers, copiers and multifunction devices; and other paper-saving innovations. Erasing the guilt of humanity are we?

Though this is an old news dated November 27, 2006, I stumbled across an even older piece of news regarding “decolorable printing ink” from Toshiba Corporation. It had developed a prototype decolorable ink in September 1998, culminating in the launch of “e-blueTM.” The innovative ink that is entirely free of carbon and that decolors when exposed to a high level of heat. The toner prints words and images on standard plain paper in blue to distinguish it from carbon-black-based toner. The erasing machine removes words and images printed with the decolorable toner on plain paper, in batches of approximately 400-500 A4-sized pages, or 200-250 A3-sized pages, in three hours.

Toshiba also offers a e-blueTM pen and marker which contains decolorable ink that can be erased by the erasing machine and can be used to write on documents that are printed by e-blueTM toner.

Both these concepts have pro’s and con’s. In case of Xerox corporation, the printed words disappears after a day. There is a time limit. However, the technology has absolutely no energy wastages. Meanwhile, in case of Toshiba corporation, the words can be erased according to our convenience but at the cost of using a eraser which again uses electricity contributing energy wastage.

The choice is yours.

Source:, Xerox Research Centre, Palo Alto Research Center Inc., Toshiba Corporation

This Keyboard Gives A New Meaning To The Phrase “Lap-Top,” Literally….

Erik De Nijs has woven a laptop into a pair of pants (looks like jeans) and was featured in the concepts section of the website Vous Pensez. Well geeks are going to love these pair of pants which also has a pair of speakers built into the knees. The mouse can be stuffed into one of the back pockets and the website also adds that for gamers, there is a joystick controller located just behind the front zipper.

Do check out the concepts section of the website, which features some really crazy and cool concepts.

Source: Vous Pensez