Wednesday, February 04, 2015

drag2share: London has a real problem with thieves targeting keyless cars


Audi Start Button

If you own a new car, there's a good chance that it features some form of keyless security. Whether it helps unlock your car or lets you start it with the push of a button, it makes driving all that bit easier. That's unless it's the reason your car gets stolen. Police forces all over the UK are reporting a rise in keyless car thefts, but a new report released by the Metropolitan Police today suggests that it now accounts for over a quarter of all vehicle thefts across London.

According to the Met, 6,283 cars and vans were pinched in the capital last year by crooks without the owners' key. That works out at 17 vehicles a day. Gangs reportedly use devices (which are originally intended for mechanics) that "bypass the vehicle's electronic information as the owner locks it" or are physically breaking into cars to gain access to their OBD port, which then allows them to download the car's information and imprint it on a new key in no time at all.


ARM's latest processor design puts fast 4K graphics on your phone


You've probably heard no end of hype for 4K video on TVs and computers, and now it's about to invade your phone... at least, so long as ARM has its way. The company just took the wraps off of Cortex-A72, a processor reference design that promises a huge boost to computing power, especially when graphics come into play. Thanks to updates that include optimizations for an efficient 16-nanometer chipmaking process, 30 percent more memory performance and an 80 percent speedier graphics core (the Mali-T880), the A72 is about 3.5 times more powerful than ARM's earlier Cortex-A15. That's beefy enough to record 4K video at an extra-smooth 120 frames per second -- many current smartphones only manage 30FPS at best. You should get "console-class" gaming, too, and there's a promise of Google Now-style natural voice commands that don't depend on a distant server to interpret what you're saying.

The design should be more miserly across the board, too. It uses about 75 percent less energy than its A15 ancestor when it's at a similar performance level, and even the graphics use about 40 percent less power. And as you might expect, it's built to take advantage of both ARM's established big.LITTLE tech (which switches to lower-power CPU cores for lighter workloads) and 64-bit platforms like Android 5.0 Lollipop.

You'll have to be patient if you want to try any of this first-hand, though. Huawei (HiSilicon), MediaTek and Rockchip have already signed up to make A72-based processors, but ARM doesn't expect the first shipping hardware until sometime in 2016. This is more of a preview of what's possible than anything else. It's up to chip and phone builders to translate what ARM has made into something you'll appreciate, whether you're making 4K home movies or playing intensive shoot-em-ups.

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Source: ARM


Monday, February 02, 2015

'Doctor Who' coding game for kids arrives on tablets


'The Doctor and the Dalek'

You no longer have to fire up your computer just to give your children some programming lessons from Doctor Who. The BBC's educational coding game, The Doctor and the Dalek, is now available on iPads and Android tablets (both through Amazon and soon Google Play). You'll get largely the same instruction-based Boolean logic puzzles as before, but with a few new levels and new abilities for your one-of-a-kind Dalek companion. The catch? While the game is still free, it's only available in the UK for now -- here's hoping that the BBC makes it available worldwide so that more kids can help their favorite Gallifreyan.

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Source: BBC, Amazon, App Store


Raspberry Pi 2 announced with substantial hardware upgrades


While Raspberry Pi fans were told to expect a brand new board somewhere around 2017, it turns out that wasn't quite true. This is the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B: a substantial upgrade from the Model B+ that will go on sale later today for $35/£25. The new board has some fundamental upgrades that could well warrant the upgrade for existing Raspberry Pi dabblers -- that is, if smaller wasn't better. Raspberry Pi Foundation lead Eben Upton told The Register that the new Model B "is a usable PC now." A fact borne out by official support for Windows 10.

"You could use a Raspberry Pi 1 as a PC but you had to say 'this is a great PC in so far as it cost me 35 bucks'. We've removed the caveat that you had to be a bit forgiving with it. Now it's just good."

How much better? Well, the team's upgraded the processor on-board to a 900MHz quad-core chip and have loaded in 1GB of RAM, which the foundation reckons will offer at least six times the performance of the old Model B+. It may look the same, but the board (with that processor which has apparently been in development for years), also has a special a tweak connecting to the quad-core brains to ensure it handles the gig of RAM on board. Naturally, it'll be up to the Raspberry Pi community and makers to show what is possible with this sequel PC -- but we're assuming the specification bump will mean "a whole lot more". Older boards will likely get cheaper over time, but the Raspberry Pi 2 will still go on sale for the same price as last year's B+; $35/£25. Just like its predecessor, at launch, it's only available via a limited number of partner outlets on either side of the Atlantic.

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Via: The Register

Source: Raspberry Pi


A British company has invented a boiler that generates electricity as well as heat


Flow gallery

A British company has launched an innovative boiler that could totally change the way people pay for their energy and heat their homes.

The Flow boiler provides both hot water and heat for the flats and apartments it is installed in but, on top of that, it also produces electric energy that can power household appliances.

It aims at covering several energy needs with one single energy source, potentially allowing customers to generate their own power inside their homes. The more people will be able to generate electricity on their own, the less demand there will be on the national grid.

Flow believes that its boiler can reduce a household's emissions by 20%.

FLOW tech zone banner graphic By switching electricity sources from an external service to the Flow boiler, a family can save up to £80 a month, according to the developers.

Here is how it works: In a traditional boiler, gas is burned to heat water, which then passes through the home's pipes and radiators.

The Flow boiler instead uses the gas to heat a high-pressure liquid coolant that is sealed inside the system. The vapour created then moves through a dynamo called a "scroll expander," which spins and acts as a mini electric generator.

The hot vapor then moves through a heat exchanger, heating up the hot water for the house. The vapor returns to the boiler as the hot water is pumped around the house.

The Flow is using gas from the national grid to do two jobs (create heat and drive a turbine) where a normal boiler does one, in other words.

FLow tonyThe product was 10 years in development. Flow CEO Tony S tiff is looking forward to seeing how it performs in the market. "I think it is a game-changer for a family," he said to Business Insider. 

Stiff said that the company has stocked up interests for 15,000 boilers prior to launch, but the company has the capacity to produce 200,000 units per year. If that is the case, the company will be able to hire 700 people at its headquarters in Ipswich, the Ipswich Star reports.

The boilers are also produced in the UK: in Livingston, Scotland, by the American manufacturer Jabil.

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