Sweet Jesus, according to Slashdot the British Royal Navy submarines are now running Microsoft Windows. Hardly a week goes by without huge security scares involving Microsoft products so surely it’s crazy to see that our fleet of NUCLEAR submarines will now be running Windows 2000 network servers and XP workstations.
I understand that they are trumpeting a huge cost saving (which will come almost entirely from the use of commodity hardware replacing the specialist and extremely expensive custom hardware of old) but surely a Linux/Unix based system would have been cheaper and much, much more secure. I mean, Windows 2000 and XP are a hackers dream and a security nightmare, surely Vista/Windows 7 with their much heralded improvements in security should have been the OS of choice if it absolutely HAD to involve Microsoft.
My God, we’re talking of nuclear submarines here, I’m breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking of what could go wrong…
Brilliant post over at Counter Notions regarding how we take what the iPhone has give us for granted. To all the people who have jumped on the Apple slaying bandwagon of late, read the article here
from Counter Notions…
But it’s sobering to remember that a single device by a company with zero experience in the industry and against all odds caused such a tidal wave of change. Change didn’t come because of Nokia, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, RIM or any other player in the market for the past 15 years bet their company on it. Android and webOS weren’t there before the iPhone.
With the much anticipated Chevrolet Volt, GM has hit upon exactly the right solution to the problem of how we are going to power our cars.
The hybrid Volt uses electric motors to turn the wheels, with energy being stored in Lithium Ion batteries similar to the ones in an ordinary laptop and a petrol engine to keep it topped up when you are away from a socket. It has enough power to travel 40 miles on battery power alone. This is enough to cover most daily journeys and a recharge using a standard 240V power supply takes around 3 hours.
The clever part is that the battery can be charged on the go using the 1.4 litre petrol engine. It doesn’t power the wheels and only acts as a generator to charge the batteries. This gives it the same kind of range as any normal petrol car and addresses the main problem of driving electric vehicles, their pathetically short range.
Internal combustion engines run most efficiently when kept revving within a set range. This rarely happens though as in order to accelerate we need to cycle through the gears, constantly changing the speed of the engine as we go. Using the engine as a generator means that it can find its sweet spot for efficiency and stay at that speed all the time.
And remember this is just the start. The next generation will probably give you 100 miles between charges (how many people do more than 100 miles in a day?). The on-board combustion engine will become smaller and even more efficient and after a couple of generations will likely disappear altogether as superfast charging batteries become mainstream. These will take just as long to charge as we take to fill up with petrol today.
Of course it will take huge infrastructure investment to build the charging stations and the electricity capacity to power it all but it will be worth every penny if it can take away our reliance on middle east oil.
World peace AND clean air, surely that’s a goal worth chasing?