Friday, January 11, 2008

And finally the Aptera A1 a Truly weird but great specs

Too weird for me, but really cool specs:

All Electric Model 120 Mile range
Hybrid Model 300 MPG

Extreme aerodynamics, light weight and high safety rating.

And another first, a solar powered tempature control system.

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Lightning Autos, a British version of Tesla?

Ligtning Motors is similar to the American Tesla corporation, producing high performance, all electric sports cars.

The Lightning GT/GTS is slated for initial deliveries to end customers in 2008.

Some key specs: 0-60 4 seconds, horse power: 700 BHP(GTS version), crusing range 250 Miles(GT Version), recharge time about 10 minutes.

Uses nanotube based lithium ion batteries that Lightning claims have higher energy density, faster recharge times, last longer (12 years versus 3-4 years) and last but far from least, are much safer (i.e. less likely to burst into flame).

Each car is custom made, so supply is extremely limited, but like the Tesla, it proves that the technology is nearly ready for true plug-in electric cars.

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Sensible Hybrid and GM -- not an oxymoron


IS being shown at the detroit auto show, and is promised to be a production car. The availability has not been worked out, due to the need to select the supplier for it's lithium ion batteries.

The Volt looks like a very pragmatic compromise. Depending on your commute length, the Volt is either a Electric Vehicle or a Hybrid Vehicle.

The Volt is expected to have a range of about 40 miles running on batteries. As the batteries start to get low, a 71 HP turbo charged engine automatically starts and recharges the batteries. Driving range on a tank of gas is 640 Miles. I commute roughly 60 miles round trip which would yield a 150 MPG equivalent fuel efficiency. Maybe a sunny spot and an electric solar panel could trickle charge the car during the day to improve that further.

But for most people their daily driving would be covered by the 40 mile range of the batteries and they would only see gas stations on trips.

The base vehicle is all electric, there is no mechanical connection between the engine and the drive train.

Another plus is that engine works on any combination of ethanol and gasoline, keeping future fuel options open.

I didn't expect to ever say this, but my next car may be a GM Hybrid... If they get it to market.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

LTB Q-BEAN-STB Wireless Stereo Headphone

I've been looking off and on for a decent wireless headphone solution for listening to TV at home without disturbing my family.

Last week, I found the LTB Q-BEAN-STB -- A wireless adapter that plugs into the headset of your Audio Video system and broadcasts true stereo to a small reciever.

The receiver is worn on a lanyard around the neck or pinned to clothing. You then plug your normal Stereo headphones into the receiver.

My package arrived last week and this weekend during the football games was my first chance to give it a try.

The BEAN has a rechargable battery. The base station is either powered by the same cable that charges the BEAN or by 3 AAA batteries.

My initial impression is very positive. The bean works well, sound quality for TV was excellent, and there were no interruptions anywhere in my house. The AV system is located on the main floor in the front of the house, and I was able to go upstairs and to the basement without any interference.

Two big thumbs up.

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Excel 2007 Very slow to open external files

Excel opens external files very slowly

If you open an Excel 2007 file by double clicking on a desktop icon, or explorer or from an outlook attachment, the file opens very slowly -- 30 seconds or more...

This is caused by a bad setting in the windows Explorer file type. To fix it in Windows XP try the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer (explorer.exe)
  2. Select Tools | Folder Options from the menu
  3. Go to the file types tab
  4. Select the XLS file type (for Excel 97-2003 files)
  5. Click the Advanced button
  6. Select Open
  7. Click the Edit Button
  8. In the Application used to perform action, change the text from:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE" /e
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"

Note the double quotes around the %1, they are required.

Nolw repeat steps 4-8 for the xlsx file type (Excel 2007 files)

Tags: excel, bug

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Electric Powered Dragsters

Electric powered vehicles are starting to make a dent in the lower and mid tiers of racing.

This article mentions a motorcycle powered by lithium ion batteries with a 0-60 time of 1 second.

The technology is feasible now, so here's hoping that by the time I need my next car in a few years, there will be a true plug in Electric or dual fuel that supports plug-in electric car available.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Bio Reactive Generator turns trash to electricity

Researchers at Purdue university have built a bioreactive generator that takes in trash and produces electricity. The US Army is interested because it can both reduce the trash generated in field ops and can provide the electricity needed to run critical equipment.

It's still pretty small scale for now, but it provides two bangs for the buck, so I hope this gets funded and moves forward.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Google Does Philanthropy Right

Google's latest philanthropic efforts are impressive to my eyes.

Google is attempting taking actual direct, steps to attempt to jump start plug-in hybrid cars, and is applying some of the creative genius that they company is famous for, not just throwing money at existing charities.

First, Google installed Solar Panels on the roofs of all of it's campus buildings. The panels will generate roughly 1/3rd of Google's total power needs. This is a normal sort of step and although commendable, it's pretty pedestrian for a company trying to either look or be green.'s (the philanthropic arm of Google) latest program is aimed at promoting plug-in Hybrid cars. Plug-in hybrids differ from normal hybrid's in that they can charge the batteries directly from a wall socket power source instead of charging only from the gas half of the hybrid engine. While a normal hybrid can get very good mileage, it still requires gasoline for every mile that it is driven.

A plug-in hybrid can satisfy all normal driving without burning any gasoline. The gas part of the engine is only needed for extended trips.

Normal Hybrids are more aimed at allowing car companies to meet federal miles per gallon regulations than they are at solving the global energy problems. Don't get me wrong, hybrids are practical and make a very positive contribution to the broader energy problems.

Plug-in Hybrids are a much more direct attack on the energy problem. They not only increase the average miles per gallon, but they can eliminate the gallons completely from the equation for normal driving patterns.

And Google's additional twist is that the plug in hybrid cars can act as batteries for the electrical power network, allowing excess electrical energy to be stored and reused rather than discarded. The power network currently does not have an effective mechanism to store power for peak needs so it has to over generate.

Millons of Plug In Hybrid cars could store energy in their batteries during off peak times, and feed some of that energy back into the power grid at peak times.

I don't have any clue if enough energy could be stored in cars to really effect power distribution. But, I give Google kudos for attacking the energy problem with a combination of pragmatism and innovation.

Corporate philanthropy for our leading Corporate innovators should be about more than throwing money at existing charity organizations. They should employ some of their most valuable assets (their creativity) not just their money.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Brief instructions on using the I-Roast 2 coffee roaster

A couple of weeks ago, I started another newbie on the route to home roasting.

He roasted his first batch over the weekend and burnt the first batch to an expresso roast by accident.

So, to help anyone out there who is new to the I-Roast. Please do not assume that you can choose Pre-Set 1 or Pre-Set 2, hit the roast button and then walk away. The actual roast you get will vary from machine to machine, but it is likely to be a very dark roast.

Instead, press the pre-set 1, and set a timer for 5 and 1/2 minutes. When the timer goes off, run (don't walk) back to your roaster and sit with it until it reaches the roast that you want. Then manually hit the cool button.

I've set up various custom roasting programs, but the variance in roast is pretty significant and seems to vary based on the bean density, the bean size, the amount of beans in the hopper, the temperature and the humididty.

After you are experienced, you may want to try your hand at roasting programs, but as a newbie make sure you keep an eye on your roast.

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Intriguing early stage technology to convert waste heat to electricity

It's a long way from practical, but scientists at the University of Utah have
created technology that takes waste heat and converts it first into sound and then into electricity.

Not immediately relevant, but still an interesting thought. May eventually have applications in solar panels, electronics cooling...

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