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Innovation

  • Apple poised to introduce iCloud

    Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is taking a break from medical leave on Monday to preside over the opening of the company's annual conference for software developers. And in a break from Apple's usual practice of shrouding its events in an air of mystery, the California gadget-maker this time revealed ahead of time what it plans to announce at the event in San Francisco. Sort of. In a press release, Apple said Jobs and other executives will unveil the next generation of Lion, the software that powers Macintosh computers, and iOS 5, the next version of the mobile operating system for the...

  • Yahoo! Freshens its mail client

    Yahoo is not asleep at the email wheel - it's no longer the first pick it once was, but still manages to bring out new features and better functionality in it's every-few-years update cycle. This iteration is a winner, although the best features need a premium subscription. I like Yahoo Mail, and in theory there are some 284-millions users who agree with me, though many users will admit to creating numerous alternate accounts from different service providers as a trial or as an email backup facility. Yahoo tends to unveil revamped iterations of its mail service every couple of...

  • MeeGo still defiantly developing

    Meego is still kicking. It was dumped by Nokia and Microsoft, but a dedicated team is keeping the faith, and coding away furiously. The dev team has just released MeeGo 1.2 and things are looking very promising for this Linux-based smartphone/tablet/netbook/thingum operating system. Early reports are very positive – while it’s still a bit rough, MeeGo is coming together as a contender in the netbook and media device environment, perhaps even for mobiles if a manufacturer or two picks it up. LG has been very supportive, and both Panasonic and Huawei have made noises. Intel is also still in...

  • Chromebook awesome if it wasn’t from Google

    The Chromebook is slowly coming into focus. Currently manufactured by Acer and Samsung (what? no American laptop brands up for it?), key specs look like this: Chromebook Specifications (Acer/Samsung): 11.6 or 12.1” display (1280x800) 1.45 or 1.48kg (so pretty light) 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD 6 or 8.5 hours continuous usage (cough) Intel Atom dual-core processor Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and optional 3G HD Webcam HD audio support 2x USB 2.0 ports 4-in-1 memory card slot HDMI of mini-VGA port Chrome keyboard (interstingly, missing a CAPS LOCK key. Good.) Clickable trackpad Early reports say it’s much superior to the CR-48 prototype that a couple of US reviews got...

  • Intel Chip Fabrication Goes 3D-ish

    Intel says it has found a way to commercially produce integrated circuit chips in three dimensions, with “Tri-Gate” transistors that are built upwards as well as side-to-side. No, it’s not the Holy Grail of 3D chip fabrication where you can connect between layers laid on top of each other as well as within them, which would mean radically shorter and simpler signal paths for dramatically more speed, less power consumption. Rather, Tri-Gate means the channel the current passes through has appreciable height, not just width, allowing Intel to be able to commercially fabricate chips in a new 22-nanometer process, down a...

  • Who else wants a lower electricity bill?

    They say that the only requirement for real personal change is to develop self awareness. With the Efergy E2 power monitoring unit, you start to look at every appliance, every light switch, every lamp with suspicious eyes, because suddenly you’re constantly and painfully aware of how much electricity you’re using. And the beauty of the Efergy is that it makes you want to change your habits. I found that it became a bit of an obsession – watching the readout on the little white wireless box tick up and down on my bedside table as I got ready for bed, watching...

  • How stupidity can lead to innovation

    It sounds crazy, but it's true. There's a famous philosophical phrase that goes along the lines of "The more I know, the more I realise I don't know". I first came across it in my Philosophy II class as a freshed-faced student at Rhodes University. It speaks to the realisation that the more we discover about a subject, the more we uncover seemingly endless complexity and depth around that subject. So apply this to...