Rooting around in the fascinating stuff at the bottom of a draw labelled 'Engineering - Junk Miscellaneous'. Delving amongst the delightful...

Tech news by

Buy a posh HDMI cable?

I am still trying to have a go with Imaginations Technology’s response to Raspberry Pi: the MIPS (rather than ARM)-based Creator CI20.

Each time I try, I find one more piece of the jigsaw missing.

This time, it was the HDMI cable – the thing in a bag I…

Read More

Component video?

Oh I need to catch up.

As someone without a TV, I have not had to deal with connecting DVD players and such like for a long time.

Before the end of last week, I could recognise Scart, HDMI, and even s-video connections, and even say ‘composite video’ and…

Read More

Now why didn’t I think of that

A friend of mine got a really neat accessory for his wood-burning stove at Christmas.

It is a Seebeck-effect (which many websites insist on calling Peltier-effect) fan that blows warm air into the room from the top of the stove, powered by heat from the stove top…

Read More

He invented the modern electric kettle, and 399 other things

Thanks to the Radio 4 programme Midweek, I now know who invented the bi-metallic snap mechanism that makes modern plastic kettles possible – and has 400 patents to his name.

He is Manxman John Taylor, and the company he forged – Strix – now turns over more than £100m per year.


Read More

Natural fibres replace carbon fibres

One of Germany’s brilliant Fraunhofer research labs – the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research – is using natural fibres to replace expensive carbon fibres as a way to get composites into ordinary cars.

According to the Institute, the fibres, made from hemp, flax, cotton and wood, are not as strong or…

Read More

Film: The Imitation Game

I saw the biographical Alan Turing film Imitation Game at the cinema, and enjoyed it.

Benedict Cumberbatch is easily as good as he is in Cabin Pressure – which I could listen to for hours.

I have no idea how accurately Turing is portrayed emotionally, but it is great to have…

Read More

Watch with a cunning rotary slide rule

The wise Mr Kurt has bought to my attention a watch with, delightfully, a built-in rotary slide rule – that is actually useful because it looks like it is marked out for unit conversion, lbs to kg, or miles to km, for example.

The watch in the picture is a…

Read More

Drive has discs and flash

Toshiba has combined a hard drive with a flash drive in a standard 2.5in drive housing, somehow getting the two to work together usefully.

“They deliver better performance compared to a traditional hard disc drive because the drives NAND is used as the secondary cache during operation. This means…

Read More

The Greenwich time signal once lived in a Surrey beauty spot

At one time, some of the most accurate clocks in the world snuggled in the folds of Surrey beauty spot Leith Hill.

Why, because some of the most accurate compasses in the world were already there.

Just before World War Two, a duplicate of the famous Greenwich Observatory was set…

Read More

That photo-relay thing again

Have I mentioned a have a soft-spot for photo-relays?

Here is another one – the tiny (2.45 x 1.45 x 1.30mm) G3VM-21UR1/10/11 from Omron handles 20V and 1A, with an on-resistance of 180mΩ (220mΩ max) at a forward current of 5mA though…

Read More