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Technology NEWSPAPERS are fighting to regain control of how their stories appear online. The World Association of Newspapers announced last week it is developing an automated system for granting search engines permission to use their content. The move follows a Belgian court ruling this month in which Google was found guilty of infringing the copyright of Belgian newspapers by publishing verbatim excerpts of their stories in search results on its news site. The WAN’s new system, Automated Content Access Protocol, converts print publishers’ terms of use into a form that the search engines’ robotic “crawlers” can understand. It says the system, to be launched this year, will help avoid future legal clashes between search engines and publishers. SENDING an email in one of the 24 script-based languages spoken in India, such as Hindi or Kannada, is difficult because the appropriate keyboards are hard to come by . Now a web service called QuillPad is being launched that will let millions of Indians send emails in their mother tongue. To use QuillPad, you write messages phonetically using the 248 cities around the world will have a municipal Wi-Fi service by the end of 2006. By 2010 there will be an expected 1500 networks A drawback of the portable gadget revolution is having to carry the chargers needed to keep them going. Even gadgets that use AA-size batteries use a variety of chargers. Now Moixa Energy of the UK has come up with an ingenious alternative: an AA battery that does away with the need for a charger by using a USB socket. Nearly all computer equipment and even some hi-fis and video players now have USB ports for connecting peripherals such as memory sticks or digital cameras. These ports supply 5 volts to whatever is connected. To recharge Moixa’s nickel metal hydride battery, you flip open its top and plug it into the USB socket. A circuit inside lowers the supply to around 1.4 volts, and a sensor detects the temperature rise when the battery is charged and switches off the power. It takes 5 hours to fully charge the battery from flat, but 10 minutes is sufficient to deliver enough charge to keep a wireless mouse running for the rest of the day, for instance. There is a penalty when charging from a laptop, however. Moixa’s tests show that this drains around 10 per cent of the laptop battery’s power. The USB batteries go on sale in the UK in mid-October, and then roll out across Europe, with a US launch later. A pair will cost a hefty £13, but Moixa director Chris Wright hopes to cut that. Mobile phones may be next. “We’ve already built a prototype cellphone battery with USB charger,” says Wright. “So if you talk for an hour and need to charge your phone, you simply find the nearest USB socket and plug it in.” COMPUTER AS POWER PLANT Latin alphabet on a standard QWERTY keyboard, and watch the words appear in one of five chosen language scripts. The software generates script symbols that match the sound of the phonetically spelt word, getting it right around 95 per cent of the time. Until now, the only software that could do this required the user to learn a complex set of rules to translate keystrokes into script symbols. QuillPad will soon cater for all 24 of India’s major languages. Many people don’t use the out-of-copyright books available on websites because they take so long to print out. An ink-jet printer that might one day print up to 1000 pages a minute could change that. The College of Judea and Samaria in the Israeli settlement of Ariel, in occupied Palestine, says the device it is developing will print an entire page in one pass, without a print head having to move back and forth across the page. Californian inventor David Schwartz has filed a patent (US 2006/0182300) on a hyper- sensitive microphone. Instead of using sound waves to force a heavy diaphragm to move, it fires a laser beam through a volume of moist air. Incoming sound waves make water droplets in the air vibrate, which modifies the laser beam’s strength in sync with the sound – in other words, making it act as a microphone. GIZMO Risks will outweigh benefits Benefits will outweigh risks Benefits and risks will be about equal Not sure 49% 26% 18% 7% NANOTECH, NO THANKS Nearly half of a sample of 1000 US citizens thought the risks of nanotechnology too great Composer David Baker, who wants the audience to use their phones during the debut performance of Concertino for Cellular Phones and Orchestra at the Chicago Sinfonietta music festival next month. Green and red lights will tell people when to turn their phones on and off (Reuters, 22 September) “There’s just no way to replicate 1000 cellphones going off at once” Any port will doUSBCELL www.newscientist.com 30 September 2006 | NewScientist | 29 SOURCE: IN-STAT SOURCE: WOODROW WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR SCHOLARS Search engines beware Online ‘quill’ lets you email in Hindi

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Page 1: Computer as power plant

Technology

NEWSPAPERS are fighting to

regain control of how their

stories appear online. The World

Association of Newspapers

announced last week it is

developing an automated system

for granting search engines

permission to use their content.

The move follows a Belgian court

ruling this month in which

Google was found guilty of

infringing the copyright of

Belgian newspapers by publishing

verbatim excerpts of their stories

in search results on its news site.

The WAN’s new system,

Automated Content Access

Protocol, converts print

publishers’ terms of use into a

form that the search engines’

robotic “crawlers” can understand.

It says the system, to be launched

this year, will help avoid future

legal clashes between search

engines and publishers.

SENDING an email in one of

the 24 script-based languages

spoken in India, such as Hindi or

Kannada, is difficult because the

appropriate keyboards are hard to

come by . Now a web service called

QuillPad is being launched that

will let millions of Indians send

emails in their mother tongue.

To use QuillPad, you write

messages phonetically using the

248cities around the world will have a municipal Wi-Fi service by the end of 2006. By 2010 there will be an expected 1500 networks

A drawback of the portable gadget

revolution is having to carry the

chargers needed to keep them going.

Even gadgets that use AA-size batteries

use a variety of chargers. Now Moixa

Energy of the UK has come up with an

ingenious alternative: an AA battery

that does away with the need for a

charger by using a USB socket.

Nearly all computer equipment and

even some hi-fis and video players

now have USB ports for connecting

peripherals such as memory sticks or

digital cameras. These ports supply

5 volts to whatever is connected.

To recharge Moixa’s nickel metal

hydride battery, you flip open its top

and plug it into the USB socket. A circuit

inside lowers the supply to around

1.4 volts, and a sensor detects the

temperature rise when the battery is

charged and switches off the power.

It takes 5 hours to fully charge the

battery from flat, but 10 minutes is

sufficient to deliver enough charge to

keep a wireless mouse running for the

rest of the day, for instance. There is a

penalty when charging from a laptop,

however. Moixa’s tests show that this

drains around 10 per cent of the laptop

battery’s power.

The USB batteries go on sale in the

UK in mid-October, and then roll out

across Europe, with a US launch later. A

pair will cost a hefty £13, but Moixa

director Chris Wright hopes to cut that.

Mobile phones may be next. “We’ve

already built a prototype cellphone

battery with USB charger,” says Wright.

“So if you talk for an hour and need to

charge your phone, you simply find the

nearest USB socket and plug it in.”

COMPUTER AS POWER PLANT

Latin alphabet on a standard

QWERTY keyboard, and watch

the words appear in one of five

chosen language scripts. The

software generates script symbols

that match the sound of the

phonetically spelt word , getting

it right around 95 per cent of the

time. Until now, the only software

that could do this required the

user to learn a complex set of

rules to translate keystrokes into

script symbols.

QuillPad will soon cater for all

24 of India’s major languages.

Many people don’t use the out-of-copyright books available on websites because they

take so long to print out. An ink-jet printer that might one day print up to 1000 pages

a minute could change that. The College of Judea and Samaria in the Israeli settlement

of Ariel, in occupied Palestine, says the device it is developing will print an entire page

in one pass, without a print head having to move back and forth across the page.

Californian inventor David Schwartz has filed a patent (US 2006/0182300) on a hyper-

sensitive microphone. Instead of using sound waves to force a heavy diaphragm to

move, it fires a laser beam through a volume of moist air. Incoming sound waves

make water droplets in the air vibrate, which modifies the laser beam’s strength in

sync with the sound – in other words, making it act as a microphone.

GIZMO

Risks will outweigh

benefits

Benefits will

outweigh risks

Benefits and

risks will be

about equal

Not sure

49%

26%

18%7%

NANOTECH, NO THANKS

Nearly half of a sample of 1000 US citizens

thought the risks of nanotechnology too great

Composer David Baker, who wants the audience to use their phones during the debut performance of Concertino for Cellular Phones and Orchestra at the

Chicago Sinfonietta music festival next month. Green and red lights will tell people when to turn their phones on and off (Reuters, 22 September)

“There’s just no way to replicate 1000 cellphones going off at once”

–Any port will do–USB

CELL

www.newscientist.com 30 September 2006 | NewScientist | 29

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Search engines

beware

Online ‘quill’ lets

you email in Hindi

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