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Paul Ridden

Music

The evolution of the guitar synth peaks with the GR-55 from Roland

In the late seventies, Roland took the sonic palette available to keyboard players and opened it up to guitarists, with the introduction on the GR-500. It was quite simply a marvel, but is positively primitive when compared to the latest evolutionary leap taken by the company with the GR-55 guitar synthesizer. Featuring a pair of independent synthesizer sound engines and a Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) engine, the device makes hundreds of different sounds available to the player – anything from pianos to strings, drums to synths, various acoustic and electric guitar and bass emulations, as well as numerous amplifiers.Read More

Home Entertainment

Logitech's new Z906 THX-Certified Surround Sound speakers

Logitech has announced that its veteran digital 5.1 speaker system, the highly regarded Z-5500, is to be retired and replaced by a newer model at the end of the month. On the face of it, the upgrades to the new Z906 system appear to be purely cosmetic. It offers similar specs to its ancestor but loses out slightly on the total RMS output, although Logitech says that it will still shake your house. The system benefits from multi-source simultaneous digital and analog input, wire-free remote and room-filling Dolby and DTS surround sound technology.Read More

Urban Transport

Like a Swiss Army Knife you can ride: The Voltitude folding electric bike

Last January, we said that the Robrady-designed db0 was one of the best folding electric bikes we'd seen. The Swiss entry into the market has turned its back on this traditional bicycle-with-motor design in favor of a folding pedal-electric assist scooter. Users are said to be able to fold or unfold the Voltitude bike in about one second, and with one hand, thanks to its unique EasyFold system. Swiss and EU legislation limits the electric assist to 15.5 mph (25 kph), although some frantic footwork could see it achieve faster speeds if required, and the onboard battery is good for between 12 and 25 miles (20 to 40 km) between charges.Read More

Science

New model explains mystery of missing sunspots

Direct observation of sunspots has, more or less, been going on continuously since they were first observed in the seventeenth century. So, you can imagine the puzzled expressions on the faces of astronomers the world over when the phenomena all-but disappeared from view for a couple of years recently. Now, research sponsored by NASA and the government of India has produced the first computer model that explains the prolonged cyclic minima during 2008 - 2009. The simulations suggest that plasma currents deep inside the sun interfered with the formation of sunspots.Read More

Computers

Behold the beast: the AMD Radeon HD 6990 graphics card

Not too long ago, we were all salivating at the release of NVIDIA's GTX 580 graphics card and scrambling to make the most of the world's fastest Direct X GPU. Now AMD has bounced back with the announcement that its new Radeon HD 6990 card has beaten NVIDIA's 3DMark 11 performance score in industry standard benchmark testing for a single graphics card. AMD says that its new powerhouse GPU is able to automatically unlock higher clock speeds, features technology aimed at giving gamers the best possible visual experience, and supports a number of different display options, including expanding the field of view over five monitors with Eyefinity technology.Read More

Mobile Technology

Olivetti announces Italy's first Android Tablet: the OliPad 100

My very first electronic typewriter was made by Olivetti. It was a sturdy beast and quite the reliable performer. So, it's good to see that the Telecom Italia-owned company is keeping up with the times as it announces the release of Italy's first tablet computer – the OliPad 100. The 10-inch Android tablet is powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 platform, has Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi, and sports SD card expansion if its 16GB of onboard memory proves to be too restrictive.Read More

Bicycles

EADS Airbike made of steel-strength nylon

Engineers from the Bristol wing of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) have announced the development of the first bicycle using Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) technology. The manufacturing process involves "growing" the components from a fine nylon powder, similar in concept to 3D printing. Said to be as strong as steel, the end product is claimed to contain only a fraction of the source material used by traditional machining, and the process results in much less waste. It also has the potential to take manufacture to precisely where the component or product is needed, instead of being confined to factories often located a great distance away.Read More

Environment

Treepods air-scrubbers could clean up Boston

Heading away from the use of polluting fossil fuels towards sustainable clean energy, we are discovering more and more novel ways to use or harness the wind. Even though solar panels have become almost commonplace, we're still seeing the technology being pushed into new ground. More projects are surfacing that harvest energy from the oceans. Meanwhile, we're also coming up with inventive ways to monitor pollution. Now an initiative from Mario Caceres and Cristian Canonico of the Influx Studio in Paris, working with SHIFTboston, is looking to roll out a man-made forest of air-cleaning Treepods throughout Boston ... which are powered by solar and kinetic energy.Read More

Computers

Pure PC's Luxury DARWINmachine high-end gaming PC

While the various flavors of games console have introduced gaming to the living room, the weapon of choice for most serious gamers is the PC. Not many would settle for an off-the-shelf gaming PC like the one in front of me, opting for a self build or custom model instead. Those who fall in the latter group will definitely be interested in the Luxury edition gaming PC from Pure PC. Benefiting from an open design that's said to help dissipate heat without the need for too many noisy fans, the high-end gaming rig is powered by a Core i7 chip which can be overclocked to 5GHz, at least two NVIDIA graphics cards and up to 24GB of memory. There's a choice of twin SSD or dual HDD storage, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectivity and a Blu-ray burner. So how much would such a system cost? Read on to find out ...Read More

Digital Cameras

Snap a 16MP photo and shoot 1080p movies simultaneously with the Olympus SZ-30MR

Having to stop shooting high definition movies to a take a still image is somewhat frustrating, and can lead to a rather disjointed digital record of an otherwise enjoyable or important moment. There is no such restriction with the SZ-30MR super-zoom from Olympus. Thanks to a dual image processor, users will be able to record full HD movies and snap a full resolution image at the same time. The camera also benefits from fast burst shooting, dual image stabilization and tracking autofocus.Read More

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