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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Google Maps enhanced with Weather Channel Data


Planning a trip using Google Maps just got a little easier and useful. Google teamed up with The Weather Channel to create interactive layers that overlay weather data and radar information on top of Google Maps.

To use the feature click on the Google Maps' My Maps tab and select The Weather Channel feature to begin exploring.

The new service allows you to see current weather conditions and forecasts at a glance from across the globe as you view Google Maps. Everything from severe weather alerts, cloud coverage, and more can also be added to your view.


Major points of interest have a small bubble that displays current temperature and weather conditions. Click on a bubble and it expands to a larger bubble that provides links to a 10-day forecast, video forecasts for the region, and specialty forecasts (for example a "fishing forecast"). Any bubble that is outlined red and has red text signifies a severe weather alert.

(click image for a bigger view)

Services similar to this have existed in the past, even ones that use the Google Maps' API, but this is the first sponsored by Google.

While some weather-heads may enjoy seeing the temperature and other info about a lot of different cities at any given time, this service will really shine when it works with Google Maps' directions feature.

Imagine how cool it would be to plan a multi-day road trip using Google Maps and then have Google anticipate the weather along the way - possibly suggest an alternate route based on blue skies.

Apple IPhone version 1.3 update

iPhone Software v1.1.3 enhances Maps, SMS, more...

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 01:00 PM EST

At the Macworld Expo on Tuesday Apple announced a free software update for its iPhone handset that allows users to automatically find their location using the redesigned Maps application; text message multiple people in one message; create Web Clips for their favorite websites; customize their home screen; and watch movies rented from the new iTunes Movie Rentals right on their iPhone.

New iPhones shipping from the factory will include the software update and existing iPhone customers will automatically get the update for free when they sync their iPhone with iTunes, the company said.

"iPhone doesn't stand still -- we're making it better and better all the time," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "We've delighted millions of users with this revolutionary and magical product and it's great to share these improvements with them."

Maps, one of the most popular and helpful applications on iPhone, has a new interface that is simpler and easier to use and adds incredible new features such as the ability to find your location automatically. With just the tap of a button, iPhone can now triangulate your position using nearby Wi-Fi base stations or cellular towers. You can use this as a starting or ending point for directions or to find local points of interest. The new hybrid map view combines map view and satellite view so you can see major street names overlaid on satellite imagery.

Users can now also create Web Clips -- icons on the home screen that take you directly to your favorite websites, including to the exact spot you have zoomed into. Web Clips are a great way to easily track websites that you frequently check such as news, blogs, sports sites and movie listings. In addition, users can now customize their home screen by repositioning any of the icons, and even create up to nine different home screens that they can easily flick between.

watch video here

iPhone's new software update also adds the ability to send the same SMS text message to multiple people, and iPhone saves a history of your text messages, so with one tap you can send a new message to the same group.

iPhone Software

With Apple's new iTunes Movie Rentals, movie fans can rent movies on their computer, easily and quickly transfer them to their iPhone, and watch them anywhere on iPhone's 3.5 inch screen. Users can also now navigate forward or backward through their movies by chapters, select alternate language tracks and view subtitles, if available.

Pricing & Availability

The iPhone software update 1.1.3 is available immediately for free via iTunes 7.5 or later for all existing iPhone customers in the US, UK, Germany and France. New iPhone products shipping from the factory will include the software update and existing iPhone customers will automatically get the update for free when they sync their iPhone with iTunes.

Apple Time Capsule

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Time Capsule802.11n

Automatic wireless backup for your Mac.

Introducing Time Capsule. Automatic wireless backup for your Mac. Available in 500GB and 1TB models.

Time Machine screens

Automatic backup

Time Capsule is a revolutionary backup device that works wirelessly with Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard. It automatically backs up everything, so you no longer have to worry about losing your digital life.
Learn more

Wi-Fi icon

Wi-Fi base station

Time Capsule is also a full-featured 802.11n Wi-Fi base station. Every computer in your house can work off a wireless network at blazing speeds. And they can back up wirelessly to the same Time Capsule.
Learn more

Nuclear Reactors made from Carbon Fiber?

Don't laugh, a researcher at Clemson shows Promise to remove the reactor bottleneck.

Carbon fibers that are only one-10th the size of a human hair but three times stronger than steel may hold up to the intense heat and radiation of next-generation nuclear power generators, providing a safety mechanism. The “Gen IV” power-generating reactors are being designed to provide low-cost electricity, but with a built-in safety mechanism current reactors do not have.

The Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded Clemson University chemical engineering professor Amod Ogale, deputy director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers and Films (CAEFF), a $450,000 grant to research carbon fibers embedded into a carbon matrix that do not melt in extreme temperatures for potential use in Gen IV power generators. About 20 percent of electricity produced in the United States is from nuclear sources.

“One proposed design of the next generation of nuclear plants will consist of a helium-cooled generator that will operate in the range of 1,200 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit,” Ogale said. “A critical safety requirement for this reactor is that it can shut down safely in the event of a malfunction where coolant flow is interrupted. Steel alloys currently used internally in reactors melt at the peak temperature of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, where carbon-fiber composites do not.”

Carbon-fiber composites already are used successfully in jetliner brake systems because of their ability to withstand high temperatures without melting. However, their performance in a nuclear environment is not adequately understood.

Ogale and his team will study the neutron-radiation damage effects on carbon fibers.

His prior research has shown that including carbon nanotubes (large molecules of carbon that are tube-shaped and 30 nanometers in size) in carbon fibers leads to the development of a more uniform texture that improves the properties of the ultra-thin carbon fibers.

In his research, Ogale expects to generate high graphitic crystallinity, a solid-ordered pattern that is evenly distributed so that any changes in fiber properties due to radiation can be minimized.

Irradiation experiments will be conducted in collaboration with researchers at Oak Ridge National Labs. South Carolina State University researchers also will participate in the study.

“This research will lead to a fundamental understanding of how the nanotubes set themselves up to provide radiation-damage tolerance to carbon fibers,” said Ogal

Power Pipe water heat recovery

Drainwater Heat Recovery System

Power-PipeTM works on the principle of gravity film exchange, a principal that takes advantage of ultra-high heat transfer rates and the thermal-conductive properties of copper.

The Power-PipeTM is an all-copper section of drainpipe. As water falls down a vertical section of drain pipe, it clings to the inner surface in a very thin film. The heat from this film is transferred easily and efficiently to the cold water circulating in the Power-PipeTM around the outside of the drain pipe.

The incoming cold water is preheated before going into the water heater and plumbing fixtures thereby saving money and energy while increasing shower-capacity. The 60 inch unit can bring the cold water temperature up from 10 degrees C to as much as 24 degrees C in the wintertime.

Power-PipeTM raises the temperature of incoming cold water by recycling free heat from waste water going down the drain. Approximately 80% to 90% of all hot water energy goes down the drain, allowing the Power-PipeTM to recycle as much as 60% of the wasted heat. The more hot water you use, the more energy you save. This is especially beneficial in large process heating applications.

The Power-PipeTM is completely passive, having no moving parts or heating elements so there's nothing to wear out, and the self-cleaning design assures maintenance-free operation. It will fit into almost any house, replacing a section of drainpipe in the basement.

Click here to see a photo of a Power-PipeTM installed.

New Apple MacBook - AIR

The World's thinnest notebook MacBook Air
It's real. The fabled MacBook Air actually exists. It's ultra-thin, can have a normal hard drive or a solid state one and, except for a couple ports, it's all about wireless connectivity. It's a stunning .16 inches thick at the bottom and .76 inches on the top. The black keyboard (reminds me of some of those black-over-aluminum Braun designs) is LED backlit, sightly recessed MacBook-style, with rounded edges all around. The latch is magnetic and has a gorgeous 13.3-inch screen with ambient-light sensor and, get this, multitouch trackpad. Check the full specs, 20-image gallery and continuous updates after the jump:

MacBook Air




The MacBook Air is all "green": bromide and PVR free, packaging is 56% smaller and mercury and arsenic-free glass. Looks like Al Gore will be getting one to fly in his private jet.

Amazingly enough, it's only $1,799.


Technical specs

• .16 to .75-inch thickness on top
• 12.8 x 8.94 inches
• 3 pounds
• 5 hours of battery life with everything running

• Intel Core 2 Duo Processor at 1.6 or 1.8GHz, motherboard the length of a pencil.
• 800MHz frontside bus.
• 2GB RAM 667MHz DDR2 standard.

• 13.3-inch screen, LED backlit.
• 1,280 x 800 pixels
• Micro-DVI adapter (for DVI, VGA, composite and S-Video output)
• Intel GMA X3100 Graphics processor with 144MB RAM shared

• 1.8-inch 80GB HD or 64GB Solid State Drive (no moving pieces, but for a stunning $1,300 price increase!)
• Multitouch trackpad with gestures. Pans, zooms, rotates, etc.
• 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1.
• Optional external HD for $99, USB-bus powered.
• Full backlit keyboard.
• One USB 2.0, one audio port, one Micro-DVI


This Aussie kid is great - Watch more free videos

This kid owned that reporter. Good for him. I wouldn’t take off the glasses either. I mean who does this chick think she is? Dude threw a party and it got out of hand. Big deal. It’s happens to the best of us. That’ why Newport invented noise violations. To be honest, I actually didn’t think he was being a jerk at all until the reporter became infatuated with him taking off the sunglasses. She left him with no choice but to be defiant

2009 Cadillac CTS V fastest sedan in the world according to GM

So we have told you everything about the 2009 CTS-V. So what was Bob Lutz going to talk about at the official press conference?

Well, how about this bit of bravado: We believe it to be the fastest four-door sedan in the world.

Wow. We chatted after the conference with a GM guy we know and said, "You know an M5 will do the quarter in 12.7 seconds, right? And an S65 AMG will do it in 12.6, right?"

"Yup," he said. "We're faster."

Looking forward to verifying that one at the earliest opportunity. -- Daniel Pund, Senior Editor, Detroit

The Chismillionaire of Sedans- Maserati Collezione Cento

The Maserati Quattroporte "Collezione Cento" is undoubtedly decked out in the coolest outfit.

Maserati even points out that its flagship is "dressed for the occasion in a sophisticated Italian outfit." Details include a new ivory exterior paint job, underscored by 20-inch wheels with polished rims. The cabin gets ritzy leather seats with diamond-shaped stitching and matching buttons, calling to mind the ultra-coordinated outfits of such fashion mavens as Jacqueline Kennedy. In the cabin there are mother-of-pearl inlays.

But it's not all about glitz. Technology takes center stage in the Collezione Cento. Backseat passengers get what Maserati calls a "multimedia paradise." The upscale entertainment system is housed in the rear armrest and bundles such goodies as an iPod docking station, a SIM card port and a USB port. The armrest also has a built-in keypad for Internet browsing and e-mail access. Two large touchscreens are set into the back of the front seats.

Maserati says it's only building 100 of these beauties.

What this means to you: This is the epitome of cool Italian charm. — Anita Lienert, Corresponden

Chismillionaire Detroit Auto Show Report- Ferrari 430 BioFuel

You don't often use the words "Ferrari" and "tree hugger" in the same sentence. But the Italian marque seems to be headed in a decidedly green direction with the debut of its Ferrari F430 Spider Biofuel at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.

The unveiling of the Spider Biofuel was done with very little fanfare, which led some industry observers to question just how dedicated Ferrari is to going green in a big way. Ferrari said it took the wraps off its green prototype "in recognition of growing interest in North America in alternative sources of energy." It said the "ultimate aim" is to cut fuel consumption and emissions on the car by 40 percent by 2012.

Ferrari's green machine shows that the company "can offer the technological solutions the market demands without impinging on the distinctly sporty, high-performance character and supreme driving pleasure of the unique cars it builds at Maranello," it said in a statement.

Ferrari says technical characteristics have remained unchanged with respect to a standard production engine on this prototype. "The use of this type of biofuel and the modifications made have resulted in a significant increase in maximum power output (plus-10 horsepower at the same rpm) and torque (plus-4 percent), yet overall weight was unchanged," the company said in a statement. The Spider Biofuel delivers a 5 percent drop in CO2 emissions, according to the automaker.

Chismillionaire Detroit Auto Show Report- Corvette ZR1

Here, finally, is the real story.

"Greater Than 620 Horsepower"
All right, so there's one thing that we can't put a final figure to and that's the important one: the ZR1's power output.

But Ron Meegan, the assistant chief engineer for the new 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1's supercharged V8 (and formerly a member of the original ZR-1's engine team from 1990-'95), says he expects that once the new car's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is certified, it will produce "greater than 620 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 595 pound-feet of torque in the 3,600-to-4,000-rpm range, depending on some last-minute tuning items."

So even GM doesn't have a final power figure yet. Although you can be sure that if Meegan's superiors allowed him to mention any figure to us, they're not worried about making those numbers. Remember, when the current-generation Z06 was unveiled, it came with a claim of 500 hp, and when the production car arrived it had a rating of 505 hp.

Whether the ZR1 is rated at 625 hp or 633 hp or whatever, it won't just be the most powerful Corvette production vehicle ever (including ones measured by the grossly overstated "SAE gross" figures of pre-1972), it won't even be close. The power produced by the ZR1's LS9 engine will be roughly the equivalent of three 1980s-era Corvette small-block V8s bolted together. It'll produce more power than the Corvette C6.R that races at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Nordschleife on Chrome Rims, Y'all
ZR1 chief engineer Tadge Juechter says, "If a buyer really wants them, he can get chrome wheels on it," although he's letting us know that he would never do such a thing and he thinks you shouldn't either. But the ZR1 isn't a racecar.

Think of the Corvette lineup in Porsche 911 terms. The base coupe and convertible Corvette are analogous to the standard Carrera and Carrera S. The Z06 is the GT3 — the loud, hard-core choice of the performance junkie. The ZR1 is the Porsche Turbo. It's devastatingly fast, but it's also intended to be civilized. It's available with a head-up instrument display, power-adjustable seats, high-end audio and Delphi's smooth-riding MagneRide suspension dampers. It's no raw-boned racer. Hell, at 3,300 to 3,400 pounds, the ZR1 is almost 300 pounds heavier than a Z06.

Juechter adds, "It's sort of like the Turbo but for less money and with performance — more like the Carrera GT."

That's big talk. But, while Chevrolet is not yet making specific performance claims, Juechter notes that the ZR1 will be faster, quicker and more responsive in every way than a Z06. "You won't see a huge difference in 0-60 mph because even the Z06 is traction-limited through most of that," he says. "But in the quarter-mile and tests from zero to 100 mph to zero, there will be big differences."

And just to up the ZR1's chest-puffing quotient, Juechter notes this car "will be able to take the production-car track record at any racetrack." Ex-squeeze me? And no, the company has not done an officially timed run at the Nürburgring yet.

As for top speed, Juechter says only that the 200-mph speedometer of the standard and Z06 Corvettes has been replaced with a 220-mph unit, because the standard one is "grossly inadequate."

Hot Wheels
By now you probably have noticed that the ZR1 looks like, well, a C6 Corvette. The silhouette is, of course, the same and the overall dimensions are essentially identical to a Z06.

But there's a goodly helping of racecar bluster applied to this vehicle. It's hard to miss the hole in the hood that measures roughly 19 by 16 inches, for example. A clear polycarbonate window lets you see the intercooler cover with its fancy script. This is the ZR1's signature styling flourish. Truth be told, it's a bit Hot Wheels for our tastes. The hood is made from carbon fiber, and while the exterior has been painted, the underside retains its carbon-fiber's undressed matte finish.

The front fenders with their ZR1-specific twin-port gills are also made from carbon fiber. The prominent aerodynamic front splitter is — you guessed it! — carbon fiber. It sticks out proud of the nose by 4 inches at the edges, making it a dandy place to rest your Hummel figurine collection. Clear-coated carbon rocker extensions make the vehicle look almost subterranean. The top and B-pillar are covered in clear-coated panels of the stuff as well. This car will look wicked in black.

According to Juechter, GM has used a special super-secret additive to the clear coat to protect the unpainted carbon from the sun's ultraviolet rays. (UV rays can break down the resin that helps give carbon fiber its stiffness.) He claims that the substance costs $60,000 per gallon. But since the clearcoat needs only 3 percent of the stuff, the resulting clearcoat costs merely an absurd $2,000 per gallon. This mystery material was originally designed to protect circuit boards from UV. Juechter acknowledges only that the substance has no chemical similarity to mayonnaise and says, "We should probably not imply that it is edible anyway."

The front aero splitter is matched in the rear by a spoiler of a relatively modest height that is taller at the edges than in the center, a measure to combine an optimum balance between a decrease in aerodynamic lift and an increase in aerodynamic drag.

The wheels are a new design produced by Speedline, measuring 20-by-12 inches in the rear and 19-by-10 inches up front. They are covered (barely) by Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires, specifically formulated for this vehicle. At 335/R2520, the rear tires resemble something you might find in a steamroller; the fronts are a not-much-more-modest 285/R3019.

The interior is essentially identical to the regular Corvette. ZR1 badging and a boost gauge in place of the voltmeter are the only changes to the cabin.

Chismillionaire Detroit Auto Show Report- Land Rover LRX Concept

What's special about it?
Part eco-SUV, part upscale compact crossover coupe. Yes, this neatly describes the Land Rover LRX concept.

It's Gerry McGovern's first new concept since becoming Land Rover's latest design director. He calls the LRX different, relevant, engaging and exciting, among other things. "LRX has a highly desirable identity and the design alludes strongly to its capability, while clearly underlining our forward-looking philosophy — it's a Land Rover that would be comfortable on Bond Street or Fifth Avenue, but wouldn't flinch at getting its wheels dirty," explains McGovern.

So with that marketingspeak out of the way, we'll try to explain the idea of a compact crossover coupe. The LRX concept is physically smaller than the current LR2 (Land Rover has not provided any specifications), and like the LR2, the LRX is not designed for serious off-road excursions. It has full-time all-wheel drive and hill-descent control, but its 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires suggest that anything more than a flat dirt road might be a problem.

Its two-door configuration also limits the LRX's appeal as a practical SUV, but Land Rover doesn't see this as a problem. It says the LRX has been conceived as a premium vehicle that will appeal to the luxury and executive sector, where presence is more important that practicality. In other words, the LRX is for customers who want a smaller Land Rover that has all the style of the full-size Range Rover.

Chismillionaire Detroit Auto Show Report- Ford F150

What's special about it?
It's not too much of a stretch to say that the introduction of the 2009 Ford F-150 pickup is the only introduction at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show that really matters.

For exactly 1 billion years, the F-150 has been the biggest-selling vehicle in these here United States. This remains the case despite improvements to the Ford's most potent competitors from Dodge and GM, not to mention the concerted efforts of Nissan and Toyota.

If it's any indication of how competitive the truck market has become, consider that it's been only five years since the F-150 was last completely redesigned. It used to be that a pickup — the symbol of utilitarian consistency — could go a decade without a complete overhaul. Now the pickup product cycle is essentially identical to that of the midsize sedan.

For the new F-150, Ford has decided that pickups should be ever more brutish-looking. The result is a nearly flat monolithic face that towers above all who dare approach it. Specifically, Ford stole a page from its own design book for pickup trucks and plastered a version of the company's cartoonishly humongous Super Duty grille across the F-150. The grille is flanked by headlights that recall the Ford Edge. Consider the tall, nearly flat body sides, outside mirrors that are supposed to look like they're mounted on two fat struts and a tall cargo-box side; no one is likely to call the new truck wimpy.