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Month: March 2014

Good Deals: Scan’s clearance sale has a few gems

Good Deals: Scan’s clearance sale has a few gems

Scan Clearance pickingsScan put up their annual clearance sale offers this evening, which will of course be valid as from tomorrow, and after poring over their selection the following caught my eye:

1. Corsair Vengeance K60 Performance USB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – €89.95

This deal is so good I’m seriously thinking about picking one up for myself – and I don’t even need one!  Mechanical keyboards are all the rage amongst serious gamers and writers, and this Corsair keyboard’s gotten pretty good reviews.  And considering that it’s got serious typing credentials for the price of an advanced gaming keyboard, going for this should be a no brainer.

2. 22″ LG 22EN33S Full HD LED Monitor – €115.00

Getting an external monitor is the best thing you can do to get more out of your laptop, and at this price you can’t get many decent FullHD monitors.  It’s of decent size and reviews are favourable, and the price is cheap, but the only downside is that it’s got a single VGA port for input.

3. Asus VivoTab RT – €395.00

The problem with Windows tablets is the price – they’re way too expensive.  This one’s now affordable, but the specs are a generation behind, the screen’s kind of low res, and you’ve got Windows RT.   However, if you’re looking for a decent sized Windows tablet you can’t go cheaper than this.

4. Canon HF-DC1 High Power Flash – €50.00

Looking to give you point and shoot a little extra kick?  This is the answer for you.  Doesn’t seem to be compatible with anything outside Canon’s PowerShot line up, but if you want to get more out of your point and shoot this is a decently-priced upgrade.

If you think I’ve missed anything or know of some good deals happening, comment here or drop us a line at deals/[at]/techno-speak.com!

The Maserati Alfieri Concept

The Maserati Alfieri Concept

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Last week the Geneva Motor Show opened its doors to the public, and while I was not expecting much from the Italian automakers, other than the Ferrari California T and a couple of hotter Alfa Romeo hatchbacks, Maserati has gone and created another masterpiece to replace its aging GranTourismo.

Aging? That gorgeous two-door, four-seater coupe cannot be more than three years old! Well much to my surprise, the GranTourismo was actually unveiled to the world in 2007. It is seven years old! I honestly had not realised, the car still looks as fresh as the day it was unveiled to the world.

So, despite its looks, its time to start thinking about a replacement, and come up with something that will add a fresh dose of excitement into the line-up.  A new coupe, to usher in its latest crop of engines and gearboxes, something to keep the kids interested in Maseratis.

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Here is what they have come up with. The Alfieri Concept. Yes, unfortunately still a concept, and the only unfortunate thing about it. However, do not fret, because having watched the press launch of this car, it is clear that all the heads of the Fiat group want this car to make production, most of all the head of Maserati himself, Harald Wester, a sharp suited, unassuming German who clearly knows what makes a Maserati, and knows how to push the brand forward.

If you have a spare twenty minutes, I suggest you watch the entire press conference. He shows off the car with a certain style and elegance that is not seen outside the Fiat Group. Anyways, here is the car. It is a a sharp looking thing, with its long bonnet, low front, short tail and gorgeous headlights, this machine just begs to be driven.  There is not a single line which I do not like about this car.  The man himself, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, the same man who penned the current Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the Peugeot 406 Coupe, and the Ferrari 456. Clearly, this man knows his way around a pen and paper. His latest design shows the world, that this guy is still churning out some great designs. Ian Callum may be good, but Ramaciotti is better.

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Now lets get to the technical bits. What exactly is powering this bad boy? Well the actual concept uses the same underpinnings as the GranTourismo MC Stradale, with the same 4.7 litre V8 engine and ceramic brakes. It also has the same gearbox as the MC Stradale.  If this car does see the light of day, expect it to be powered by the latest generation of V6 and V8 engines currently powering the Ghibli and Quattroporte, probably using the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox too. However, it might be the case that they will use the MC Shift from the MC Stradale, to make it feel a little sportier.  Insiders are also claiming that if this car does make it into production, they want it to weigh about 1400 kg, which is about 300 kg lighter than the GranTourismo, and about 150 kg lighter than a Jaguar F-Type, one of its key rivals. Pricing will be around the region of £60,000, again F-Type money.

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All I will say is, this car needs to go into production. As soon as possible.

If the moon were only 1 pixel: a map of the solar system

If the moon were only 1 pixel: a map of the solar system

If the moon were one pixel COVERThings are really far apart.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how far the planets are from one another?  In a textbook space doesn’t look like that big a deal, does it?  Only it is a big deal, and just within our solar system space is just that: space.  Vast distances of absolute nothingness.

It’s just really hard to comprehend the distances involved, only now it’s a little easier.  Josh Worth created this map of the solar system on his site.  Check it out, and try not feel lonely.

PS: Do you know what’s really scary?  The fact that despite all that emptiness asteroid still pass incredibly close to Earth  – indeed just last night one shot by so close it was actually closer to us than the Moon was.

Also, obligatory Carl Sagan video:

In the REFLECT Project, Maine inmates write letters to their younger selves

In the REFLECT Project, Maine inmates write letters to their younger selves

Cover

Trent Bell is a commercial photographer best known for his architectural photography. His work has been published in a number of prestigious publications such as the New York Times, Design New England, and Conde Nast Traveler.

“Our bad choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret…but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”

However, in early 2013 a friend of Bell’s was sentenced to 36 years in prison. He was a husband, a father, an educated professional, and after the sentencing Bell was haunted by how easily one’s life can take a turn for the worst. Bell recalls times when his son would look up and smile to him, and Bell would reflect on the finality of his friend’s situation.

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Citroen C4 Cactus; Simple but not Budget?

Citroen C4 Cactus; Simple but not Budget?

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Citroën is set to embark on a new strategy for their C-line cars, that of creating good everyday cars with useful features for everyday use, without any frills .

This does not mean budget like Dacia, the cars will be reasonably priced and supposedly have the range of features expected in today’s world, such as air con, electric windows, satnav and so on, but no extra features like lane departure warning and radar guided cupholders. Fair enough, a car for people who want a car. A thing which takes you from A to B, comfortably. So not a car to set the pulse racing then.

 The C-line needs to be something different to the hugely popular DS-line , but still be interesting and relevant enough to sell.Citroen argues that there is a market for cheap cars which are honest workhorses for those individuals who see cars as white goods. They regard cars as a means to an end, nothing more, nothing less. They do not go out for drives, they do not take the time to get to know their car. They use it like a washing machine. When it works they use it, when it stops working, they replace it. There is no emotional involvement.

It therefore makes sense for Citroen to tackle this segment of the market in the same way that Volkswagen does with Skoda. Outside the world of petrolheads, the DS, the 2CV, the SM, the Mehari and the Traction Avant mean nothing. Probably to those outside the car world, Citroen means nothing, and I am willing to bet that Citroen want to utilise that to their advantage, and create another image for themselves.Time will tell whether they prove successful or not, but as ideas go, this is an interesting one.

So how does this strategy start? The first car to attempt this new milestone in Citroen’s history is the C4 Cactus. Silly name I know, but bear with me. As I just said there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the car,no massaging seats, no massive turbocharged engine. it’s just a car. As my dear mother likes to say, four wheels and an engine. It does have these bumpers with air pockets, designed to protect the car against rebellious trolleys in supermarket car parks, and the back pillar resembles that of the DS3. Both these details are quite interesting I suppose, though not interesting enough to make me want to buy this car.

Dig beneath the surface, and things become rather interesting. This car weighs 965kg, or 60kg less than a Ford Fiesta. Citroen is on a mission with this car to remove any unnecessary stuff within the car. The dashboard is designed with simplicity and elegance in mind. There is no rev counter, no centre console, the rear seats do not split and rear windows don’t even open. Why have they done this, you might be asking. All in the pursuit of saving weight. The engine line-up is quite a modest one, with the most powerful petrol engine producing 108bhp. However, because it is so light, the power-to-weight ratio is quite high. Also, in keeping the power output low, costs will be kept at a minimum too. In the UK, this car will have a starting price of about 13,000 sterling, about the same price as a mid-range Ford Fiesta.

Citroen-C4-Cactus-2014-interior

The Citroen boss also said that the C-line will not have powerful engines like the DS line, in a bid to keep costs low. He argues that a more powerful engine would require bigger brakes, re-tuning the suspension and so on, adding to the costs, and thus raising the showroom price, and price is key when you want to attract customers.

Another fascinating feature is that this car might also introduce a new method of car ownership, whereby one may rent the car for a period of time at a fixed rate. Whether this will work or not, I have my doubts, I want to own my cars, not rent them. Then again I am not exactly the type of buyer they are looking for, so my opinion on this particular matter does not really count.

I am quite fascinated to see how this new direction pans out for Citroen. It is quite a no nonsense approach to cars, something that Citroen used to do brilliantly with cars like the 2CV. I do hope it works out for them, and then the money they make off these cars can be put to making wacky cars.. Like say a Citroen DS5 Coupe with the Hybrid four-wheel drive system and a retractable glass roof maybe? I would very much like to see that.

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Dropbox updating their Terms to keep you from suing them

Dropbox updating their Terms to keep you from suing them

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All, however, is not lost.

As detailed on the company blog Dropbox has updated its Terms of Service and Privacy policy and the most notable, and dangerous, addition is an Arbitration clause.  This states that should any legal action need to be taken by you, the user, you can’t take Dropbox to court but the matter will be settled by an arbiter of the company’s choosing.

  • Arbitration. We’re adding arbitration clauses to our Terms of Service and Dropbox for Business online agreement. Arbitration is a faster and more efficient way to resolve legal disputes, and it provides a good alternative to things like state or federal courts, where the process could take months or even years. If you prefer to opt out of arbitration in the Terms of Service, there’s no need to fax us or trek to the post office — just fill out this quick online form.

Now, I’m not law expert and I’m not entirely sure if it effects us outside the EU, but if you do want to reserve the right to sue them if something goes wrong you have to fill in this online form.  Should you fill it in?  Should you keep things as is?  I don’t know and that’s entirely up to you to decide, but you’ve got 30 days as from the 20th of February to fill in the form I linked earlier in the paragraph.

Source: Dropbox Blog