This week in tech: 28 October-1 November

We covered Google Nexus, Lenovo Yoga, Toshiba re-printer, and much more

Today’s the day that Apple’s iPad Air went on sale in Australia (we just got our hands on the review unit this morning, so stay tuned for a review soon), but it’s also the day that Google’s Nexus 5 stock allocation in Australia partially sold out. It didn’t take long at all, but at least no one had to line up for it. The soonest a Nexus 5 will leave the warehouse, according to the Google Play store, is by 8 November, but that’s only if you go for the white version. Here’s some info on the latest model, which has a price of $399 for the 16GB version, and $449 for the 32GB version.

The Nexus 5 moves away from the glass construction used on its Nexus 4 predecessor. It’s constructed primarily from plastic instead, though Google says it has a "silky texture" rather than the cheap, glossy feel normally associated with entry-level smartphones. The device is available in black and white models, though as with the Nexus 4, the white model is only white on the back: the sides and front remain black.

Via Good Gear Guide.

Lenovo hands out yoga mats at Sydney launch

The other big news this was Lenovo finally bringing its Yoga line of products to Australia. It all starts with the Lenovo Yoga Android tablets, which are available in 8in and 10in models. In one of the more interesting product launches we’ve been to in recent times, we sat in a room and watched a webcast from the YouTube studios in the US as Ashton Kutcher (who is now a Lenovo product engineer, apparently), described why Lenovo is so great and why the new Yoga tablets are designed the way they are. We won’t lie; we think Lenovo is pretty great, too. [Disclosure: we got a free Yoga mat out of the launch -- Ed].

Lenovo today announced two new tablets running on Android 4.2. The new Yoga tablets are available in 10in and 8in sizes, and they are not typical of other tablets on the Australian market. The main difference is the built-in fold-out stand, which allows the tablet to be used effectively as a display device, or more easily as a typing device.

The other key element to the Yoga design is a cylindrical spine on which that fold-out stand is hinged. This cylinder, apart from being integral to the ergonomics of the tablet, also houses the batteries, which Lenovo said are based on the same technology that goes into its laptops.

Via Good Gear Guide.

Toshiba’s new printer will save you paper

Toshiba wants to help you become a little more eco friendly around the office. You know all those pages that you print just to read something because you're sick of looking at the screen, and then you throw them away? Well, if you had Toshiba’s E-Studio306LP printer and E-StudioRD30 eraser unit, you could erase those printouts and use the same paper for the next set of printouts that you plan on throwing away after you've read them. Toshiba said its technology can help save about 192000 sheets of paper over five years for a business that does 4000 prints per month (of non-sensitive, disposable information).

Toshiba has released a new type of printer that can be used to re-print on paper that has already been printed on. The E-Studio306LP is claimed to be the world’s first multifunction printer to use an erasable toner, which then allows paper printed with it to be fed into the E-StudioRD30, which is an eraser unit. It’s an offering that Toshiba hopes will be able to save companies money by reducing paper consumption, mainly through re-printing on the same paper.

Pages printed with the erasable toner come out in blue so that they can be easily differentiated from normal, non-erasable prints, and once you’re done with the erasable printout, you can feed it into the eraser unit, which then makes the paper blank again. Toshiba says that there is no waste from the erasing procedure; the paper passes through a fuser which makes the toner react in a way that makes it translucent. If you’ve printed on both sides of the paper, then both sides will be erased in one pass. As the paper is erased, it is also scanned and then electronically archived.

Via Good Gear Guide.

Apparently, Sony has a smart watch that some people like

With many people balking at the current ‘wearable technology’ movement, there are in fact some people out there who see the value in receiving notifications on their wrist, and, in the case of the Galaxy Gear, at least, taking photos with their wrist. Our reviewer liked the Sony SmartWatch 2 very much, though he did list almost as many cons as he did pros. Check it out. It’s a good read.

Smartwatches are based on one of the most widely adopted wearable technologies: the wristwatch, or colloquially, just ‘watch’. I say ‘one of the most’, because we can’t forget glasses: another tremendously successful wearable technology that’s only now being given a ‘smart’ revamp by the likes of Google.

That’s not to say smartwatches are anywhere near the ‘smartphone’ level of usefulness or adoption yet. In fact, I completely rubbished Sony’s first smartwatch, the MN2, when it arrived in New Zealand late last year. “Amazingly cool, but hardly the height of practicality”, I said. “2 out of 5 stars.”

Via PC World New Zealand.

Are teens getting sick of Facebook?

Here’s an interesting report from CMO that suggests Facebook use among teens is declining.

Facebook's popularity might be on the decline among some teenagers, the company signaled Wednesday.

For younger teenagers, Facebook has seen a decline in the number of daily users, the company reported during its third-quarter earnings call. Overall, usage among U.S. teens was stable between the second and third quarters, but the decrease in daily usage for some was noted early in the prepared remarks of Facebook's chief financial officer, David Ebersman.

It was one of the first times that the social network has identified a decrease in its teenage users. Youth engagement on Facebook is hard to measure because self-reported age data is usually unreliable for younger users, the company said. But, "we wanted to share [the figure] because we get a lot of questions about teens," Ebersman said.

Via CMO.

BoM seeks more FLOPS

For the Bureau of Meteorology, 57,472 Intel Xeon CPU cores aren’t enough. The Bureau has put out a tender signalling that it wants a new supercomputer, and one that can do up to 1.2 petaFLOPS (or two computers that can do 600 teraFLOPS each).

“The Bureau will need to replace its existing HPC system in 2016 to meet the requirements of the current and future meteorological, oceanographic, hydrological and environmental services through deterministic and probabilistic numerical prediction and analysis systems from weather to climate time-scales. The Bureau’s computational and storage infrastructure is critical to the delivery of these services,” BoM said in its RFT documents.

Via Computerworld.

Video of the week

Here’s the video of Ashton Kutcher presenting Lenovo’s new Yoga Android tablets. As far as product keynotes are concerned, it was quite engaging. (Ashton starts at about the 3min 25sec mark).

Bonus video

The NBA tipped off this week in the United States, and since we have at least one basketball fan on staff who will be dedicating his life to NBA LeaguePass for the next half a year or so, we thought we would highlight one of the better technological innovations in the NBA’s coverage over the last couple of seasons: it’s the Phantom series of slow motion videos. This video is from the opening night game between the Bulls and the Heat.

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Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

Good Gear Guide


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