Saturday, August 25, 2007

Online banking boom for over 55s

The recent boom in internet banking has been greatest for people aged over 55, a report suggests, with 3.6 million of them banking online last year.

The Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) said between 2001 and 2006 the number of internet bank users in this age group rose by 350%.

This compared to a 175% rise in the total number of adults banking online.

That means 17 million adults in the UK banked online last year, compared with 6.2 million in 2001.

'Easy to use'

"While younger people continue to make up the majority of online banking users, the greatest proportion of new internet bankers are the over 55s," said Sandra Quinn, from Apacs.

"As a group they have come to embrace the ease and efficiency that online banking offers," she added.

However the growth of telephone banking has slowed down, Apacs noted.

Last December telephone bank customers were outstripped by their online counterparts for the first time, with nearly 16 million adults now doing some of their banking via the phone.

"Our research shows that more and more people are turning to the internet rather than the phone to manage their finances," Sandra Quinn said.

The age group among whom online bank users are most numerous is now 35-44 year olds.

Last year 4.2 million of them had an account of this sort, closely followed by 25-34 year olds, 4.1 million of whom banked online.

Technology News by BBC News

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Unique quantum effect found in silicon nanocrystals

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), collaborating with Innovalight, Inc., have shown that a new and important effect called Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) occurs efficiently in silicon nanocrystals. MEG results in the formation of more than one electron per absorbed photon.

Silicon is the dominant semiconductor material used in present day solar cells, representing more than 93 percent of the photovoltaic cell market. Until this discovery, MEG had been reported over the past two years to occur only in nanocrystals (also called quantum dots) of semiconductor materials that are not presently used in commercial solar cells, and which contained environmentally harmful materials (such as lead).

The new result opens the door to the potential application of MEG for greatly enhancing the conversion efficiency of solar cells based on silicon because more of the sun's energy is converted to electricity. This is a key step toward making solar energy more cost-competitive with conventional power sources.In a paper written by the American Chemical Society, an NREL team reported that silicon nanocrystals, or quantum dots, obtained from Innovalight can produce more than one electron from single photons of sunlight that have wavelengths less than 420 nm.

When today's photovoltaic solar cells absorb a photon of sunlight, about 50 percent of the incident energy is lost as heat. MEG provides a way to convert some of this energy lost as heat into additional electricity.The silicon nanocrystals produced by Innovalight, Inc., a thin-film solar cell developer, were studied at NREL as part of a collaboration between NREL and Innovalight scientists.The findings represent an important extension of the range of semiconductor materials that exhibit MEG and are a further confirmation of pioneering work by Nozik, who in 1997 predicted that semiconductor quantum dots could exhibit efficient electron multiplication and hence increase the efficiency of solar cells.

To date, all experiments showing the production of more than one electron per absorbed photon have been based on various types of optical spectroscopy. In a solar cell device it is necessary to extract the electrons produced in the quantum dots and pass them through an external circuit to generate electrical power.

Such experiments are currently underway at NREL, Innovalight and other laboratories to demonstrate that MEG can indeed lead to enhanced solar cell efficiencies. Calculations at NREL by Mark Hanna and Nozik have shown that the maximum theoretical efficiency of quantum dot solar cells exhibiting optimal MEG is about 44 percent with normal unconcentrated sunlight and 68 percent with sunlight concentrated by a factor of 500 with special lenses or mirrors.

Today's conventional solar cells that produce one electron per photon have maximum efficiencies of 33 percent and 40 percent, respectively, under the same solar conditions.In addition to efficiently extracting the electrons from the quantum dots in solar cells, future research is directed toward producing MEG at wavelengths that have a greater overlap with the solar spectrum, as well as producing a much sharper onset of the MEG processes with decreasing wavelength of the photons.

Unique quantum effect found in silicon nanocrystals by David Ridsdale

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nokia admits mobile battery issue

Nokia is offering to replace 46 million batteries for its mobile phones after reports of overheating while charging.

The problems are confined to BL-5C batteries made by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006.

More than 250 million BL-5C batteries made for Nokia by other manufacturers are not affected, the company said.

The mobile giant said there had been 100 reports of overheating, and that the problem battery had been used inside more than 50 different phones.

In a statement, the company said: "Nokia has identified that in very rare cases the affected batteries could potentially experience over heating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge."

Nokia said there had been no reports of "serious injuries or property damage" as a result of the overheating.

Customers can check on the Nokia website if the battery in their mobile phone is affected.

"Concerned consumers may want to monitor a mobile device while charging that contains a BL-5C battery subject to this product advisory," the company said.

"I think this will hurt Nokia's brand a lot and that's the most precious asset Nokia has," Jyske analyst Soren Linde Nielsen told Reuters news agency.

Mobile Technology by BBC News

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Comcast Provides Video On Demand And Other Technologies Of The Future

If you've been trying to get the home entertainment technology of the future in your home right now, you might want to take a look at digital cable service from Comcast. That's because Comcast has updated cable TV with a variety of new technologies including video on demand. Video on demand is basically the ability to watch a TV show, movie, or sporting event when you want to watch it. There are several different types of technology that can bring you video on demand. For example, the videos that you can stream from the Internet- like news clips and TV shows- are one example of video on demand. Another example of video on demand can be seen in the form of videos from video sharing sites like YouTube. At this point though, the video that's available over the Internet is quite limited and for that reason it isn't a very good source of video on demand.

Digital video recorders (which are also offered by Comcast by the way) provide another form of video on demand. Digital video recorders can easily be programmed to record any type of TV program that comes into your home- be it a TV show, a movie, a sporting event, a news cast, or a block of music videos. All of that video is then stored on a hard disk that's built into the unit. Later, the owner of the digital video recorder can access his or her choice of the videos on the the hard disk. That said though, a digital video recorder doesn't offer true video on demand because you have to decide what you want to watch ahead of time in order to built the library of videos to choose among.

While digital video recorders and Internet downloads have their places in the realm of video on demand, Comcast offers a true version of the technology through it's On Demand service and Premiums On Demand subscription. On Demand is a type of pay per view service that comes with all of Comcast's programming packages and allows you to choose a movie from a large selection of recently released movie and pay for it from the comfort of your own home- just like with normal pay per view. The major difference is that you can start watching it as soon as you've ordered it and you can fast forward and rewind within the movie.

Premiums On Demand is a special subscription service that you pay a little bit extra for, but will allow you unlimited access to its features. Premiums On Demand provides yo with access to content from channels like Cinemax, The Movie Channel, and HBO. It's a good way to watch what you want to watch and when you want to watch it.

Of course, Comcast provides you with lots of other types of cutting edge technology as well as video on demand. For example, HDTV is another technology that will undoubtedly be more and more prevalent in the years and decades to come. That's because it offers a superior picture and sound quality when compared to normal TV. Thankfully, Comcast offers a variety of HDTV channels and will probably offer even more in the years to come.

Comcast is definitely looking out for the future of TV.

A leader in technology reporting, Julia Hall has published articles about the latest digital devices and gadgets for over ten years. After graduating from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, Julia turned down huge salaries from some of the most recognized fortune 500 companies in the world to pursue his dream of becoming a leading consumer advocate. Julia uses her expertise to cut through the too good to be true deals offered by high tech companies to reveal the real steals and the real duds that we're bombarded with daily. If you enjoy staying on the cutting edge of technology, whether for business or pleasure, but find yourself occassionaly confused by the overwhelming information out there let Julia be your guide.

Article Source:

Comcast Provides Video On Demand And Other Technologies Of The Future By Julia Hall

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Data Recovery Services Explained

Data Recovery is essentially a specialized service supplied by qualified technical companies to recover lost data that is stored on media. Data loss can occur in a number of different environments, the most common being human error. Human error is simply accidental deletion of important files or documents. Other factors such as software/hardware problems or virus attacks are also common causes of data loss. However, with the expertise and experience of Data Recovery Companies, this lost data can, very often, be recovered.

Data is stored on storage devices such as hard drives, CD’s, DVD’s, memory cards, memory sticks and more. Unfortunately, not all these are infallible; this means that sometimes, unforeseen data loss can happen, through damaged data, corrupt files or hardware/software failures. A data recovery company employs a team of skilled technicians who can use a number of techniques, software and tools to recover your lost data. In some cases, the operator or system user can retrieve lost data by performing a number of tasks or using software, however they run the risk of permanently erasing and overwriting your important lost data.

There are a number of serious data recovery occurrences which require the professional expertise of skilled data recovery companies, such as hard disk failures, which could be mechanical. In addition, data recovery companies should be called in if you experience data loss due to RAID errors. The reassuring factor about any type of data loss is that most – up to 99% - of lost data files are retrievable.

The most valuable advice you can get when using any form of modern technology which requires a memory storage device, is that the user should back – up important files and data onto CD’s or DVD’s. By ensuring your important data is backed up, you can rest assured that for any unforeseen data loss disaster, you would have a copy. Therefore, if you deal with important files for your business or company, or perhaps your files are important to you personally, it may save you time, money, stress in the unfortunate event of data loss.

Data Recovery Companies are skilled and have the technical resources to successfully recover your lost data. Therefore, in any unfortunate event of data loss, you can be reassured that your files have a good chance of being recovered. In some cases, data loss can cost companies and businesses a large amount of money and in personal terms, individuals can lose important data, such as family photos and more. So, if you think your lost data is vital to your business or personal life, consider using the expert services of a professional, experienced data recovery company.

Phil Smulian writes for Data Detect Australia, an expert in disk recovery, who will help you with raid data recovery
Article Source:

Data Recovery Services Explained By Phil Smulian

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Things You Should Know About Data Recovery Tools

Ask yourself this question: What is one of the most widely used devices today by people for work, entertainment, and communication? If you answered the computer, then you are right on track.

The computer is a very convenient device that you can use to store virtually any types of files. From documents to spreadsheets to music and basically any types of data, it will be able to serve you a great deal of convenience and efficiency.

We really can't help but marvel at the technology we have today. However, although the computer is a very convenient tool, you need to understand its storage components as it is considered to be one of the major players in a computer system. The hard disk drive is where you store most of your files and with today's technology hard disk drives today can store virtually millions of documents and hundreds of full length movies.

However, efficient as it may be, you have to consider the fact that hard disk drives are just like any machines where it is subjected to fail sometime in the future. In fact, it is a very sensitive device where a simple fluctuation of electricity may cause damage. It is so sensitive that even static electricity can cause damage.

This is the reason why data recovery is very important. Always remember that no matter how much care you put in your hard drive, it will eventually fail sometime in the near future. Although it may not be tomorrow, you should ask yourself if you are willing to wait for that time to come before taking any actions.

Surely you want to take the necessary precautions just in case data loss happens or hard disk drive failure happens to you.

Today, there are quite a lot of tools available for data recovery. Data recovery is a method to recover lost data from hard disk drives that failed or that was damaged. Today's modern operating systems are now integrating data recovery software as part of the program. You will see that with Microsoft Windows, it will come with a chkdsk facility. With Apple Mac OS X, you will have the disk utility and with the Linux operating system, you will have the fsck utility.

All these programs are effective data recovery tools that come with the operating system. However, you have to remember that these tools can only repair minor inconsistencies in the hard disk drive. With major problems, or a large scale data loss, you will need a much powerful data recovery tool. Usually, these third party software programs can be purchased over the internet and most are far more powerful than built in data recovery utilities when it comes to recovering data from a damaged hard disk drive. Basically, data recovery tools use two techniques to recover lost data. The first is through consistency checking where it performs a scan on the logical structure of the hard disk drive. This way, it will also make sure that it is consistent with the specification.

Secondly, the data recovery tool will analyze the file system and uses hints and recover bits of the undamaged files and put it together to rebuild the destroyed file.

Today, there are quite a lot of data recovery tools available in the market. All you need to do is look for one that is easy to use and one that is effective in recovering lost data.

Sandra Stammberger owns and operates Data Recovery Tools
Article Source:

Things You Should Know About Data Recovery Tools By Sandra Maria Stammberger