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Toshiba Dynario fuel-cell: the battery revolution

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I must have missed the initial announcement of this technology so I actually did a bit of a double take and few searches to make sure that someone wasn’t trying to pull a fast one.

It’s legit. Basically you can recharge any device that makes use of USB for that function. I guess you could power it directly as well.

When your cell (we call them batteries) starts running low, just whip out a little bottle of concentrated methanol and fill the 14ml fuel tank to keep on going. Basically like refueling your car, just a little smaller.

This is first generation stuff, just imagine what this technology will be like in a few years ! Assuming anyone actually buys it.

Never again will you need to search for an electrical socket when you are out in the wilderness trying to be one with nature…

We can hardly believe it but the day has finally arrived: Toshiba just launched the first Dynario fuel-cell for portable consumer electronics. That’s right, the long promised and highly anticipated direct methanol fuel-cell (DMFC) with dedicated fuel cartridge for on-the-go refueling will go on sale October 29th in Japan for ¥29,800 (about $328) plus another ¥3,150 (about $34) for a set of five, 50ml fuel cartridges. Dynario takes about 20 seconds to fill its 14ml fuel tank with an injection of a concentrated methanol solution at which point its ready to charge USB-connected devices. Dynarios hybrid structure uses a lithium-ion battery to store enough electricity to charge two typical cellphones, according to Tosh. That works out to be about $1 per recharge, if our calculations are correct, based on the fuel costs alone. We assume the battery can be charged via wall socket power too but this isnt explicitly stated in the press release. The first run consists of only 3,000 units after which Toshiba will gauge consumer reaction before extending the launch outside of Japan. Boy oh boy, a new age in portability has begun.

(Via Engadget.)

[techjunkie] to get a new look

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Later today [techjunkie] will start making using of a new theme. As much as I enjoy the current theme, I’m running into a few limitations that appear to be taken care of automatically in other themes.

Please let me know if you don’t like the new theme once it’s up. If you love it, feel free to let me know as well.

So don’t be surprised the next time you visit the site.

Google maps now has SA direction information

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Anyone that regularly uses Google Maps or Google Earth would have noticed that the level of detail and the correctness of the detail for South Africa has been improving significantly over the past few months.

The first thing I noticed in Google Earth was the addition of some 3D buildings to the Cape Town CBD area. Shortly afterwards there was a marked improvement on the amount of street level data that was available.

I’ve also seen the Google Streetview car driving around Cape Town a number of times. I assume all the fuss is to provide tourists with decent mapping information when they arrive in their droves for the World Cup next year.

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Today I caught a tweet (thanks @kishyr) saying that direction information is also working in Google maps. I quickly tried it out myself and I’m happy to announce that it is working and appears to work pretty darn well. It even sensibly calculates different directions based on whether you are in a motor vehicle or on foot. The transit direction information doesn’t work yet, but then again neither does our public transport system.

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Above are screenshots from my iPhone 3GS detailing directions from the Cape Town CBD (my current location) to Hout Bay for a motor vehicle. When I change to “on foot”, it redirects you along Victoria road all along the coast.

Good work Google ! But remember, don’t be evil.

Barnes & Noble Nook aims right between the eyes

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Talk about blowing the competition out of the water !

Looks like the Nook has all the features we’ve been begging for in the Kindle. I won’t go into detail about the features, Engadget sums it all up very nicely below.

My only questions are how large the book selection will be, what will the books cost and will it be available in South Africa ?

Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader leaks a bit early: $259, pre-orders are live (video): “

Looks like all those whispers were true — the ‘Android-based’ nook is alive and well, and it’s calling itself the planet’s ‘most advanced e-book reader.’ Measuring 7.7- x 4.9- x 0.5-inches and weighing 11.2 ounces, the device includes a top e-ink display from Vizplex and a color touchscreen (3.5-inches) below, which supports one-touch control and swipe-to-browse books with full-color covers. The rechargeable battery takes 3.5 hours to go from zero to full if using a wall outlet, and B&N claims that itll last for up to ten days if you flick the wireless to ‘off.’ Speaking of which, inbuilt WiFi (802.11b/g) and AT&T 3G is included, not to mention 2GB of internal storage, a microSD expansion slot, MP3 player, built-in mono speaker, 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, a micro USB port and support for EPUB, PDF and MP3. The nook also supports bookmarking, making notes, and highlighting passages, and the LendMe feature allows users to lend books for up to a fortnight at a time to other e-readers, cellphones or computers.

B&N also tells us that you can pick up where you left off (with markings and highlights in tact) on your iPhone or BlackBerry using its free eReader software, which just so happens to be the same app that allows sharing to iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, PC or Mac. As expected, the company will also let you sample ebooks before you buy, and youll enjoy free WiFi each and every time you sashay into a Barnes & Noble retail location. Its available to pre-order as we speak for $259, with initial shipments expected to happen at the end of November. Introductory video is after the break, along with a few highlights about accessories and features.

Update: Aw snap, B&N just yanked everything related to nook from its website. Thankfully for you, everything youd ever need to know is right here.

Update 2: Looks like it’s back! Though, the landing page itself still seems down. Hurray for backdoors!

(Via Engadget.)

WolframAlpha hits the App Store for a whopping $50

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Wow. This is special. An app that costs $50 that bascially does what the website does for free. Let’s see how quickly the price of this app drops. Alternatively, I’m willing to bet that a pissed off developer will release an app that does almost the same thing for free.

Idiots.

WolframAlpha hits the App Store for a whopping $50: “

WolframAlpha, the computational searchable database that went live as a website a few months ago is now an iPhone app.  ‘Fantastic!’ you might say.  Youll take it?  Just one thing though:  It is $50!  And it doesnt do much that the Web page doesnt.  Is there something we dont understand here?

WolframAlfa $50 App Store link – via TechCrunch.

World Wide Web creator sorry for the ‘//’ and other things that don’t matter

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I found this pretty amusing. I mean really, what was he thinking when he decided to add the “//” to a URL.

If nothing else, hopefully it taught the world the difference between a forward and a backslash…

World Wide Web creator sorry for the ‘//’ and other things that don’t matter: “

Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the World Wide Web, recently said that his only real regret about the whole shebang is forcing people to type out the (essentially unnecessary) double slash after the ‘http:’ in URLs. Speaking at a symposium on the future of technology, he noted (in reference to the dreaded marks) the paper, trees and human labor that could have been spared without them. Hey Tim: don’t sweat it! You’ve done us enough good turns that we’re willing to overlook it.

(Via Engadget.)

Silicon Cape overview video

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An overview of what happened at the Silicon Cape event in a short Zoopy video.

You can also see Helen Zille’s and Dr Mamphela Ramphele’s presentation on the Zoopy site.

ZA News turns to technology to work around SABC bull$h!+

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Although this is not directly technology related, I thought it was a great example of how technology and the Internet were able to bypass a quagmire of political bull and get a “controversial” TV show “on the air”.

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ZA News was created by local cartoonist and satirist Zapiro (Jonathon Shapiro) and is a satirical view on South African politics. It was supposed to air on the SABC earlier this year (link to the front page article on the Star) but due to all kinds of political bumbling at the SABC it never saw the light of day.

On the 5th of October 2009, the Mail and Guardian decided to start streaming the show from their website as it was clearly never going to make it onto local TV. Check the inaugural episode below:

Although they won’t have as big a local audience as they would have had airing it on SABC, they now have the whole world as a potential audience.

The show cracks me up. The visuals provided by puppets alone is enough to make anyone that knows anything about South African politics wet themselves.

Make it part of your daily comic relief.

Love your work M&G and Zapiro. High fives all round.

SABC, you still suck.

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