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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I'll have Two Pounds of Regular Please

November 06, 2006, 10:02 AM PST
Your future fuel tank
Posted by: Wayne Cunningham

Quantum's ultra-light fuel tank handles 10,000psi.
Quantum's ultra-light fuel tank handles 10,000psi.
[+] Enlarge photo
We reported earlier on GM's new Equinox fuel cell car that it plans to put on the road next year. Green Car Congress has a story about GM signing up Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide as its hydrogen fuel tank supplier. GM's 100 planned Equinoxes will get Quantum's tanks, which are made of lightweight materials and can hold 10,000 psi of pressure. The tanks come with valves that monitor pressure and have safety cut-offs, which would be activated if a crash is detected. Each Equinox will have three tanks, holding nine and a quarter lbs. of hydrogen. That's right, in the future we'll be measuring our fuel by the pound, not by the gallon.

Cutting edge Electronics

Samsung is experimenting with ways to drop the cost and increase the performance of LCD TVs by adding carbon nanotubes.

The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the laboratory arm of the South Korean industrial giant, has come up with a 15-inch prototype LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen that employs an array of carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes replace more-conventional light sources, such as bulbs or light-emitting diodes, to illuminate images on the screen, said Jin Taek Han, a senior researcher at the lab.

The prototype essentially represents the marriage of two separate avenues of TV technology and could help dramatically lower the cost of LCD TVs in the future. Samsung has already been experimenting with carbon nanotube TVs called field-emitter displays, or FEDs.

Additionally, the nanotubes could lower energy consumption and improve picture quality, he said. It takes a traditional LCD 15 milliseconds to render a picture. It takes the LCD with carbon nanotubes as a backlight just four milliseconds to do so.

Samsung's goal is to create an LCD with a carbon backlight that lasts 30,000 hours and puts out 60 to 70 lumens per watt, about the same as for a traditional tube TV.

Han added that the work is in the initial stages. For all of their unusual properties, carbon nanotubes remain difficult to mass-manufacture. Tubes grown in the same batch will have different electrical properties, for instance. The Samsung lab, which has an annual budget of $300 million and employs about 1,000 researchers, is also looking into how the properties of nanotubes can be enhanced or controlled with different dopants--elements added to a semiconductor to modify its electrical conductivity. And in the end, these types of screens might be best suited for small formats, such as cell phone screens.

Ok all you Firefox lovers look what's around the corner!

Adobe will donate software to run JavaScript programs in the Firefox Web browser, the largest code contribution yet to the open-source Mozilla Foundation.

On Tuesday, Adobe is expected to announce the donation in conjunction with the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. The code will form the basis for a new open-source project called Tamarin, which will be governed and manned by developers from Adobe and Mozilla.

Adobe will provide the same software, called the ActionScript Virtual Machine, which it uses to run script code in the Adobe Flash Player 9.

This virtual machine is expected to be built into future versions of the Firefox browser by the first half of 2008, said Frank Hecker, the executive director of the Mozilla Foundation.

The scripting language for Adobe's Flash Player virtual machine runs programs written in ActionScript, which is based on an Ecma International standard called ECMAScript Edition 4. Widely used JavaScript and Microsoft JScript also comply with that standard, said Kevin Lynch, chief software architect at Adobe.

The latest version of Adobe's script "engine," released in June this year with Flash Player 9, uses a just-in-time compiler to run programs ten times faster than previous versions, he said.

Lynch said the deal with Mozilla is the biggest Adobe has done with open source. The move furthers the company's plan to allow developers to mix and match programming technologies, including AJAX-style Web development and Flash for media and animation, he said.

"We can bring together the broader HTML and Flash developer communities around this common language implementation," Lynch said. "Using the same language engine is a huge step."

Hecker said that having a high-quality script engine is "extremely important" to its open-source projects, which include both the FireFox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client. Much of Firefox and many extensions are written in JavaScript, he noted.

The Tamarin project code will form the basis for the next generation of SpiderMonkey, the existing JavaScript in the Firefox browser, Hecker said.


Anonymous cassie-b said...

I must say - it's hard to keep up. So many new and hopefully better things happening.


10:19 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I agree with Cassie-b. I have even less time on my hands to keep up with technology these days.

Hope you had a good hump day.

((( hugs )))

10:57 AM  

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