Posted on Leave a comment

Dutch solar road makes enough energy to power household

You may remember a previous article on my web site about solar roadways. Well looks like somebody has succeeded.

 

 

Engineers in the Netherlands say a novel solar road surface that generates electricity and can be driven over has proved more successful than expected.

Last year they built a 70-metre test track along a bike path near the Dutch town of Krommenie on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

In the first six months since it was installed, the panels beneath the road have generated over 3,000kwh. This is enough to provide a single-person household with electricity for a year.

“If we translate this to an annual yield, we expect more than the 70kWh per square metre per year,” says Sten de Wit, spokesman for SolaRoad,   which has been developed by a public-private partnership.


RELATED: Netherlands rolls out ‘SolaRoad’


“We predicted [this] as an upper limit in the laboratory stage. We can therefore conclude that it was a successful first half-year.”

The project took cheap mass-produced solar panels and sandwiched them between layers of glass, silicon rubber and concrete.

“This version can have a fire brigade truck of 12 tonnes without any damage,” said Arian de Bondt, a director at Ooms Civiel, one of consortium of companies working together on the pilot project.

“We were working on panels for big buses and large vehicles in the long run.”

The solar panels are connected to smart meters, which optimise their output and feed the electricity to street lighting or into the grid.

“If one panel is broken or in shadow or dirt, it will only switch off that PV panel,” said Jan-Hendrik Kremer, Renewable Energy Systems consultant at technology company Imtech.

Five years of research

The research group spent the last five years developing the technology but during the first six months of the trial a small section of a coating, designed to give grip to the smooth glass surface without blocking the sun, delaminated.

This was due to temperature fluctuations causing the coating to shrink. The team is now working on an improved version of the coating. More than 150,000 cyclists have ridden over the panels so far.

“We made a set of coatings, which are robust enough to deal with the traffic loads but also give traction to the vehicles passing by,” said Stan Klerks, a scientist at Dutch research group TNO.

He said the slabs also had to “transfer as much light as possible on to the solar cells so the solar cells can do their work”.

The group behind the project is now in talks with local councils in the Netherlands to see if the technology can be rolled out in other provinces. A cooperation agreement has also been signed with the US State of California.

“Solar panels on roofs are designed to have a lifetime, which is typically 20/25 years,” said de Wit.

“This is the type of lifetime that we also want for these types of slabs. If you have a payback time of 15 years then afterwards you also have some payback of the road itself so that makes the road cheaper in the end.”

Source: Dutch solar road makes enough energy to power household – Al Jazeera English

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Microsoft is calling Windows 10 ‘the last version of Windows’

“Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10.” That was the message from Microsoft employee Jerry Nixon, a developer evangelist speaking at the company’s Ignite conference this week. Nixon was explaining how Microsoft was launching Windows 8.1 last year, but in the background it was developing Windows 10. Now, Microsoft employees can talk freely about future updates to Windows 10 because there’s no secret update in the works coming next. It’s all just Windows 10. While it immediately sounds like Microsoft is killing off Windows and not doing future versions, the reality is a little more complex. The future is “Windows as a service.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT WINDOWS AS A SERVICE

Microsoft has been discussing the idea of Windows as a service, but the company hasn’t really explained exactly how that will play out with future versions of Windows. That might be because there won’t really be any future major versions of Windows in the foreseeable future. Microsoft has altered the way it engineers and delivers Windows, and the initial result is Windows 10. Instead of big releases, there will be regular improvements and updates. Part of this is achieved by splitting up operating system components like the Start Menu and built-in apps to be separate parts that can be updated independently to the entire Windows core operating system. It’s a big undertaking, but it’s something Microsoft has been actively working on for Windows 10 to ensure it spans across multiple device types.

While we’ll witness the results in the coming months, Microsoft is already in launch mode for a number of its apps and services that power Windows 10. The software company is testing preview builds of Window 10 with willing participants, and apps like Xbox and Mail have been engineered for regularly monthly updates. Even Office for Windows 10 will also get regular updates, much like a mobile version, instead of the big bang release every few years.

WINDOWS ISN’T DEAD, BUT THE IDEA OF VERSION NUMBERS COULD BE

When I reached out to Microsoft about Nixon’s comments, the company didn’t dismiss them at all. “Recent comments at Ignite about Windows 10 are reflective of the way Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner, with continuous value for our consumer and business customers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We aren’t speaking to future branding at this time, but customers can be confident Windows 10 will remain up-to-date and power a variety of devices from PCs to phones to Surface Hub to HoloLens and Xbox. We look forward to a long future of Windows innovations.”

With Windows 10, it’s time to start thinking of Windows as something that won’t see a big launch or major upgrade every few years anymore. Much like how Google’s Chrome browser gets updated regularly with version numbers nobody really pays attention to, Microsoft’s approach will likely result in a similar outcome. This is really the idea of Windows as a service, and the notion that Windows 10 could be the last major version of Windows. Microsoft could opt for Windows 11 or Windows 12 in future, but if people upgrade to Windows 10 and the regular updates do the trick then everyone will just settle for just “Windows” without even worrying about the version number.

Source: Why Microsoft is calling Windows 10 ‘the last version of Windows’ | The Verge

Posted on Leave a comment

Microsoft answers the question, ‘Why Windows Phone?’

With no flagships announced, software that is on other platforms and a weak app store for the better part of a year, many consumers have asked what is the value proposition of Windows Phone. Up until last week, Microsoft did not have an answer that they were publicly willing to share but now we know how the company will respond to this question going forward.

Continuum for phones, that is coming with Windows 10, is Microsoft’s ace up the sleeve. The feature, which requires new hardware and will be arriving in new devices this summer, is the ‘killer’ feature that you can only get on Windows 10 for phones and it will not be easily replicated by any other player in the market.

What this feature allows you to do is take your phone, connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and use the device like a desktop PC. This isn’t a watered down experience either, because of how Universal apps are designed, you can run all the Office apps just like you would on the desktop with most of the features being present as well. While we know this may not be a feature everyone will use on day one, it’s easy to see how this functionality will one day replace your laptop.

Looking at how quickly smartphones have progressed over the past 10 years, it’s fair to say that the devices of today are at least as powerful, if not more so, than the laptops of ten, maybe even five years ago. If you think about where the smart phone is headed in the next five years or so, you can only imagine how much horsepower will be under the glass in future devices.

Phone Continuum will likely never replace developer machines or those used for video/photo editing but for some users who only need email, chat and web browsing, this scenario is a very real solution to consolidating their technology.

There are other reasons to choose Microsoft’s mobile platform like Cortana and the many new security features that offer a better ecosystem when you are already using a Windows PC. But for a quick, one sentence answer that is easily directed at consumers, Continuum is the marketing word of choice as it is not only new but forward-looking as well.

When it comes to ‘killer’ features, Cortana, while better than Siri and on equal footing to Google Now, has competitors that now exists but Continuum is unmatched. Yes, there were earlier devices that tried to replicate this experience but they were limited to a few handsets and the apps were simply phone apps on a larger screen; they never gained much attention.

While Microsoft hopes that its new iOS/Android app porting strategy will fill out its store and they will consistently update Cortana, Continuum is the new show pony for the platform.

Source: Microsoft answers the question, ‘Why Windows Phone?’

Posted on Leave a comment

Court says Skype’s name is too similar to Sky’s

Video chat software Skype’s name is so similar to the broadcaster Sky’s that the public is likely to be confused between the two, an EU court has ruled.

The judgement prevents Microsoft from registering a trademark for Skype’s name and bubble-design logo.

The US company intends to appeal against the decision.

Judges at the General Court of the European Union said: “Conceptually, the figurative element conveys no concept, except perhaps that of a cloud.”

“[That] would further increase the likelihood of the element ‘Sky’ being recognised within the word element ‘Skype’, for clouds are to be found ‘in the sky’ and thus may readily be associated with the word ‘sky’.”

Sky logo
Sky first challenged Skype’s trademark application before the video chat service was bought by Microsoft

Microsoft had brought the case to challenge an earlier ruling by the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation of Internal Markets, which, following a 2005 complaint by the broadcaster, also said Skype branding was too similar to Sky’s to be granted an EU-wide trademark.

This is not the first legal clash between the two companies.

In 2014, Microsoft changed the name of its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive after the High Court in London ruled Sky’s trademark had been infringed.

However, a spokeswoman for Microsoft said it was not now facing the prospect of another imminent rebrand.

“The case was not a legal challenge to Skype’s use of the mark, it was only against the registration,” she told BBC News.

“We’re confident that no confusion exists between these brands and services and will appeal. This decision does not require us to alter product names in any way.”

Microsoft believes it still had the means to prevent anyone else from trying to call their product Skype.

Smartpen battle

In theory, Sky could now try to pursue Microsoft for a licensing fee even if it did not want to block the use of Skype’s name outright.

However, the firm did not directly address this point in a statement released following the ruling.

“Sky notes today’s decision from the General Court of the European Union,” it said.

“This relates to a long-running dispute with Skype over the extension of its trademark applications to cover a broad range of goods and services that overlap with Sky’s own trademark registrations – including, but not limited to, TV related products and services.

“Our intention has been to protect the Sky brand with our research showing that similarities in name and logo have the potential to confuse customers.”

Livescribe
Sky previously threatened legal action against Livescribe

Sky has acted in the past against another US company to protect its identity.

In 2012 it threatened to sue the smartpen-maker Livescribe for trademark infringement.

The American company opted not to fight the case and instead changed the name of the product in question from the Sky Wifi to the Livescribe Wifi pen in the UK, while retaining the original name elsewhere.

Source – Court Says Skypes Name is too Close to Skys – BBC News

Posted on Leave a comment

Microsoft to KILL OFF PATCH TUESDAY

 

satya_ignite_stairs

Ignite 2015 Microsoft has shown off some of the new security mechanisms embedded in Windows 10, and a change to its software updates that Windows supremo Terry Myerson reckons will shame Google.

“Google takes no responsibility to update customer devices, and refuses to take responsibility to update their devices, leaving end users and businesses increasingly exposed every day they use an Android device,” Myerson said during his Ignite keynote in Chicago today, referring to the tardy rolloutof operating system updates for Android gadgets.

“Google ships a big pile of [pause for effect] code, with no commitment to update your device,” he added to chuckles from the audience.

Myerson promised that with the new version of Windows, Microsoft will release security updates to PCs, tablets and phones 24/7, as well as pushing other software “innovations,” effectively putting an end to the need for a Patch Tuesday once a month. Continue reading Microsoft to KILL OFF PATCH TUESDAY

Posted on Leave a comment

40 Proven Ways to A Healthier, Happier You Everyday of Your Life

The happiest people I know appreciate what they have, keep an open mind to new ideas and ventures, use their leisure time as a means of self development, and love good music, good books, good pictures, good company and good conversation. In other words, they do small things every day to nurture their happiness.

It’s a lot easier than it sounds. Anything that helps you feel more positive and joyful is self-nurturing. The result? A happier, healthier you. Here are 40 simple ideas to get you started with nurturing your happiness. Continue reading 40 Proven Ways to A Healthier, Happier You Everyday of Your Life