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Communications & IT

Developments in computing and communications

Meet Baxter

Written by , on January 17, 2013

"Baxter" is a new category of robot that its manufacturer, Rethink Robotics, says is capable of applying common sense behavior to manufacturing environments. Priced from $US22,000, the company says that the robots are versatile and safe enough to work shoulder-to-shoulder with people as well as being cheap enough to allow manufacturers to compete with manufacturers […]  Read more »

Process Captures CO2 & Makes Organic Material

Written by , on August 2, 2012

The Japanese electronics manufacturer, Panasonic, has announced that it has developed an artificial photosynthesis process which converts carbon dioxide to organic materials by illuminating them with sunlight at an efficiency which is comparable with plants used for biomass energy. The discovery has the potential to allow the development of simple and cheap systems for capturing […]  Read more »

Apple’s New Level of Built-in Obsolescence

Written by , on June 15, 2012

For a long time, Apple products were the most easily repaired and upgraded computers on the market. Apple's new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro goes to the opposite extreme.  The case is secured with proprietary pentalobe screws to prevent you from gaining access to anything inside. The RAM is soldered to the logic board. It can never […]  Read more »


Written by , on January 17, 2011

Why does this volume of ink need this much packaging? This is a HP 564 Colour  Ink Value Pack (which HP promotes as “avoiding wastage”) and a HP 564 Black Ink Value Pack, which contains the same ink as one HP 564XL cartridge but in three cartridges with three times the packaging plus a large […]  Read more »

Using Satellites to Save Water

Written by , on January 7, 2011

NASA researchers have developed a system to help farmers better manage irrigation systems. The system uses data from NASA satellites, local weather observations and wireless sensor networks installed in agricultural fields to calculate water requirements of crops in individual fields and provide farmers with the information immediately. Water requirements and forecasts can be accessed from […]  Read more »

The Surui Carbon Project

Written by , on December 11, 2010

Using Google Earth To Monitor the Amazon  Read more »

Smart Grid Using TV “white space”

Written by , on June 25, 2010

The Plumas and Sierra Counties in California are testing a smart grid using the television broadcasting system’s "white space". "White space" is the part of the broadcast spectrum left vacant when television broadcasting is switched from analogue to digital. It can transmit data significantly faster than the current standard Internet Wi-Fi, and can be broadcast […]  Read more »

How Much Electricity Does the Internet Really Use?

Written by , on June 22, 2010

The media is fond of quoting claims that the internet will soon be using more power than the airline industry, that it will consume half of all the electricity produced or that two Google searches release as much CO2 as boiling a kettle of water. The Google search myth arose from a Times article in […]  Read more »

PC Software to Cut Power Usage

Written by , on May 12, 2010

A company called MiserWare Inc, which is a spinoff from Virginia Tech, has launched a free program for Windows and Unix which is claimed to reduce power usage by 30%. The program, called Granola, saves energy by applying dynamic voltage and frequency scaling to the CPU of the system. When a user is reading a […]  Read more »

Worldwide Race for Smart Grids

Written by , on February 4, 2010

A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology to control appliances at consumers’ homes to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency. Many governments see it as a way of addressing energy independence, global warming and emergency resilience issues. The United States Department of Energy estimates that modernization […]  Read more »