New iPod Touch to Include GPS?

Music, Technology 1 Comment »

Early in 2008 Apple announced the launch of the 32GB iPod Touch to the extremely popular 8GB and 16 GB range. Knowing the new iPod Touch is due to be launched in the future is not breaking news, however some sources are reporting that there are new clues suggesting significant developments will be made in the new model.

It is being reported today that there are references being made to an Apple iPod Touch 2,1, which would insinuate a big step forward in the devices capabilities.

Currently the iPod Touch models are know as 1,1 the same group as the first generation iPhone. With the addition of models carrying extra capacity the group number is not usually altered, as was the case in January with the launch of the 32GB version.

Instead these numbers are often changed when the device launched has new features, such as the iPhons’s 3G model is now know as 1,2.

This certainly goes a long way to argue that the new iPod Touch will carry more features. What features these might be remain guarded, but with the recent launch of the new iPhone ant iPod Touch developments are bound not to overshadow that.

Some are expecting the addition of GPS with potentially a 64GB memory.

Google Pulls Out of Digg Acquisition

search, Social Networking 1 Comment »

Just a quick post today to update on the Google/ Digg acquisition.

It turns out that we missed this late last week but Google has officially pulled out of its proposed purchase of Digg for $200 million.

The rumour had been circulating for months that Google was looking to add social bookmarking site Digg to its catalogue of acquisitions. The proposal was worrying for Microsoft who only last year signed a three year advertising deal with Digg which would have been extinguished.

“Sources close to the companies suggested that some issue that came up during technical due diligence was to blame”.
and that “that the issue was more personality driven, and that Google decided after spending more time with Digg’s top team that there just wasn’t a fit.”

Many had debated the proposed acquisition with Google having a varied track record when it came to buying popular social networks. YouTube was one success story with the purchase of Jaiku as big a failure user-sign ups having been closed for the last 10 months.

Cuil to Take on Google

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Former employees of search giant Google today launched a rival search engine called Cuil which founders claim does a better and more comprehensive job of indexing information online.

The engine is constructed to index content on the web in relation to the context surrounding to web page, and concepts driving search requests.

Needless to say that due to the shear size of Google Cuil cannot hope to match and defeat Google immediately, and many analysts believe it will struggle to put a dent in Googles 70% US market share in the long term too.

The name was conceived from the Gaelic word for Knowledge and Hazel and is pronounced ‘cool’. Results are also displayed in a magazine format with a introduction paragraph as opposed to a list format in Google with a text snippet summarising the page.

One of the corner stones in the search engines marketing strategy is that is doesn’t retain any information on what users search for, a policy of Google’s that has resulted in several high profile cases, as governments request these logs of user search data.

Already Cuil boasts to have indexed over 120 billion web pages and is claimed that is more than Google users to deliver the most relevant pages for any given search query. This is however improvable as Google has stopped publically releasing how many pages it indexes.

“The time may be right for a challenger,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land. Competing with Google is still a very daunting task, as Microsoft will tell you.”

Renewable Energy Proposals for the River Severn

Eco Friendly No Comments »

Due to the popularity of the single article The Shelf posted on the Hydrogen Age at the beginning of the month, marking the launch of a new eco friendly section, we have brought you news on the latest green projects bidding to harness energy from the Severn estuary in South Wales.

Over the next 24 months ten rivals eco friendly schemes will be studied and narrowed down until one successful renewable energy scheme will be funded, harnessing the natural energy of the Severn.

Among the contenders for the project are six barrages, two lagoon proposals, a tidal fence and a tidal reef.

Environmentalist, bird charities, engineers and opposition politicians have all welcomed to array of projects that will be part of the multi million pound feasibility study, and will each state the proffered scheme.

Business Minister John Hutton spoke of the scheme – “Harnessing the power of the Severn Estuary could be an engineering project of breathtaking scale and we will look at the full range of technologies and locations.”

The ten proposals are as follows:

1. A giant outer barrage that will stretch from Minehead in Devon to Aberthaw in Glamorgen, with critics fearing the projects size could become impractical. That said the project is among the top energy providers and it is estimated it could produce 20 terawatt hours of power annually.

As well as being popular for the amount of energy the project is expected to produce, the project is favoured by conservationists as it would be better than other for bird life as well as protect Somerset from flooding such as that seen across the county in 2007. It is however expected to be an expensive project and could prove difficult to build in such deep waters.

2. The Cardiff Weston Barrage would stretch from Lavernock Point in Sully to Brean Down in Somerset and could cost an estimated £15 billion to build. The project could produce a fifth of Britain’s electricity generating 17 terawatt hours a year and is thus far the best studied option based on proven technology.

The project however is unlikely to gain the support of environmentalists as it is expected to damage rare bird breeding mudflats in the Severn estuary and disrupt shipping in the Bristol Channel.

3. The Cardiff Weston Barrage II would stretch from Lavernock Point in Sully to Hinkley in Somerset costing more than the 15 billion predicted for the first Cardiff Weston Barrage. Avoiding breeding grounds this option may be preferred; however it is based on unproven technology but includes more turbines which would produce more power.

4. The Inner shoots Barrage would be located near the second Severn crossing costing 10% of the Cardiff Weston Barrage at £1.5 billion. It would provide 2.5 terawatt hours of electricity annually, a seventh of the second barrage.

At a cheaper cost to both investors and the environment it may be a popular option, however the energy produced isn’t as clean as that in other proposals.

5. The Beachley Barrage will stretch from Beachley to Aust near the first Severn Bridge and is similar to the inner barrage.

6. The Tidal Fence will stretch from Lavernock Point in Sully to Brean Down in Somerset and cost £3.5 billion, producing 1.3 GW of electricity, 1% of Britain’s needs.

There are questions about the unproven tidal stream power, and critics say it is not ideally suited to the Severn estuary.

7. The Fleming lagoon would be constructed between three sites two up against the Welsh coast, one against the English coast. With an unclear price an estimated 6.5 terawatt hours of electricity would be produced but the scheme is backed by Friends of the Earth who say the scheme is less environmentally destructive.

The drawback to this scheme seems to be the fact it is founded upon as yet unproven technology.

8. Tidal lagoons if chosen could be situated in several places in the Estuary or Swansea Bay, with the cost believed to be comparable to offshore wind power. This option is potentially cheaper and would cause less damage to bird habitats than other schemes.

9. There is a Tidal reef proposal but as yet the details of the scheme are very vague, but it would be based on tidal stream technology that would cause less damage to bird habitats. This scheme doesn’t however take advantage of the massive tidal range of the Severn Estuary.

10. The Severn Lake Scheme would stretch from Lavernock Point in Sully to Brean Down in Somerset at a cost of £650 million. Cheaper that other scheme the Severn Lake Scheme is estimates to generate up to 20% of the UK’s power, but there are doubts about the efficiency of the scheme.

ISP’s to Combat Music Piracy

Music, Piracy 1 Comment »

Today it was announced that Internet Service Providers have finally agreed plans with the music industry that will aim to tackle piracy online.

The Shelf first discussed the proposed plans back in February in an article titled ‘Government Turns Up Heat On ISP’s and Online Piracy’ which discussed how the government was steadily growing impatient with ISP and the music industries failure to come to such an agreement, threatening that if both parties failed to come to agreement legislation would be introduced to curb online Music Piracy

Negotiated by the government, the deal has seen BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse all sign up and will mean hundreds of thousands of letters could now be sent to users suspected of illegally sharing music online.

The music industry is pushing for measures that would see users who ignore written warning having their connections disabled; however ISP’s are unwilling to enforce such measures.

The plan is “a first step, and a very big step, in what we all acknowledge is going to be quite a long process” said Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of British Music Rights.

In contrast to the US which has seen thousands of lawsuits launched against alleged file sharers, over the last couple of years the BPI has been focused on educational efforts to prevent music piracy online, with limited legal action being taken against copyright infringers.

As part of the deal, drawn up by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR), ISP will be expected to ensure customers realise that file sharing online is illegal, and take measures to tackle repeated infringements.

The government is still considering plans to give ISPs a legal requirement to tackle copyright infringers.

Recently BT and Virgin have been reported to have been sending letters to customers on behalf of the BPI, a controversial move that many say puts the BPI in the role of net police, a role they don’t belong in.

It is currently he BPI who works out who it thinks is illegally file sharing by trawling file sharing websites and tracing back the IP addresses of users.

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