DIY solar batteries *nearly* work


There’s something so wonderfully simple about this concept that I wish it would work better than it does. Ni-MH batteries that have a flexible photovoltaic cell wrapped around them, so that they recharge by just being left on a windowsill.

Unfortunately, the solar cells currently only charge the battery with a tiny, weak trickle, but if they were built into a proper unit, combined with capacitors and the electronics to up the efficiency of the energy conversion, then they could do considerably better.

On a related note, how many devices do you have that still use traditional batteries? Very few, I’d wager – perhaps just a TV remote and a set of portable speakers. Everything’s rechargable these days, and a jolly good thing too.

eBay Nutcase of the Week: eBay itself, for removing kids WWII board game that "incited racial hatred"


Poor old Paul Ramsier found himself accused of inciting racial hatred – by trying to sell an old World War II-themed board game on everyone’s favourite online junk shop.

Paul’s descent into the world of inadvertent racial hatred started when he realised his old Escape from Colditz board game was worth quite a bit nowadays, so he listed it up on eBay. The auction hit the lofty heights of £20, before eBay yanked the sale…

Sony boss surrenders pay bonus, as company braces for job cuts amid sales slump


Sir Howard Stringer, the Sony boss whose company reforms were doing a great job until the global financial crisis stopped everyone buying second BRAVIAS for the bedroom on their credit cards, will be turning down his bonus this year as Sony reveals its first annual loss in 14 years.

“The massive economic upheaval being experienced across the globe is sparing no one in the consumer electronics world,” Stringer said, as he revealed a forecast loss of $1.7bn for the year – and said Sony would look to making more job cuts on top of the already-announced 16,000 staff its planning…

Apple still not down with the "netbook" scene – insists software is more important than hardware

Still oblivious to the fact that over 90% of the western world’s disposable income is being spent on cheap netbooks right now*, Apple has once again underlined its reluctance to join the miniaturisation scene – because smaller computers aren’t necessarily better. Or usable.


“We think the products there are inferior and will not provide the experience to customers that they’re happy with,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, on the subject of netbooks, while presumably still laughing from watching a Vaio P spend three minutes booting up Vista

DIGG THIS: Micro-blogging citizen journalism toy Twitter beats granddad Digg in traffic war


Internet traffic tracker Hitwise has reported a readership boom kicking off for mini-blog portal Twitter, with the number of visits to the “citizen journalism” gonzo reportage site topping that of Digg for the first time.

The graph generated by Hitwise – stolen by us and shown to the left there – tells the story of Twitter’s unstoppable rise, with recent high-profile Twitter events pushing user numbers to new highs…

Intel shrinking its Atom processor range – 60% smaller "Pineview" model coming soon


The super-cheap, super-small, super-popular Intel Atom processor that’s in everyone’s new laptop right now, is set for a redesign – with Intel rolling out a smaller version with more built-in functionality during the second half of 2009.

The new chip, codenamed Pineview, includes an “integrated graphics processor” and on-board memory controller, according to a report…

Track Obama's inauguration day LIVE, thanks to everyone in America live-blogging like mad


We saw last month exactly how modern internet technology is kicking the hell out of traditional news media when it comes to on-the-spot reporting – and today’s the perfect day so see America EXPLODE in a sea of sickeningly patriotic citizen journalism.

Numerous dedicated Flickr groups have popped up to catalogue Obama’s special day, as people hanging around in Washington right at this very moment use up all their data allowance for January by uploading evocative photos of children waving flags live from the scene…

Nintendo full of itself – claims 99% of US video game growth is down to Wii and DS

It’s like the last days of the Roman Empire in Nintendo’s American HQ. Fresh from selling a record-breaking 3m DS units and 2m Wiis in America during December alone, the power-crazed toy company has now claimed it’s two machines are responsible for 99% of the growth the game industry saw during 2008.

Nintendo sent out a graph. This might mark the precise moment in time the company got too big for its boots.


The stat behind this ludicrous claim is that the US games industry took $3.35 billion…