The Tesla Roadster — Electric becomes Sexy

The Tesla Roadster has been in the works since 2006. Transmission problems still plague them, but what matters is that this battery-powered vehicle goes from zero to sixty in under six seconds — impressive enough for an electric vehicle.

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Noiseless and Smokeless Tricycles? Possible!

TAKE NOTE: A tricycle is a motorcyle with an attached sidecar. In Manila, a tricycle is a tricycle, but in Cebu, a traysikad takes the name. Majority of registered tricycles are used as public conveyances.

Public commuters just like myself take a tricycle every so often. In the Philippines, tricycles are a ubiquitious mode of transportation – from the hinterlands of Mindanao to the urban landscapes of Makati. Tricycles serve as the link between bahay and palengke, or the subdivision’s gate and the lowly bungalow unit one has in the middle of nowhere.

Tricycle engines make so much noise that some homeowners’ associations have banned tricycles from entering their suburban villages. Aside from the noise, tricycles are also a very pollutive lot.

No study so far has been undertaken to measure how much impact a lone tricycle makes on the environment. Nevertheless, one can never fail to notice not only the noise pollution a tricycle makes, but also the belch a tricycle engine spews.

Finally, a local group has come forward to provide a battery-driven tricycle. The city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province about 580 kms. south of Manila, thru its mayor Edward Hagedorn, has launched Trikebayan, an electric tricycle converted from the gasoline version. A rechargeable 36-watt battery drives the noiseless, smokeless engine.

The electric tricycle can’t trod through the streets of Manila, though, since the unit is still not flood-proof. But that’s a small detail that can be easily remedied. At least, for now, despite all the electric vehicles coming our way, not only do we have an electric vehicle we can really have use for, but also we have something we can proudly say, this is Filipino-made.

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Filed under environment, Philippines, technology

Ask, and thou shall receive

ubuntu1.jpg

Here’s what I have received from Canonical after requesting for three (3) installer CDs — the package came through the post office, fortunately unscathed. There are three (3) CDs, as per my request (the third CD is inside). And to my delight, stickers!!! Wooohooo!!!

At the printing press, we’re seriously considering a shift towards open source software, considering the tremendous amount needed to invest in having closed-source, licensed software from monopolistic and hegemonistic software companies. We have no choice, though, about retaining a PC with Windows in it, since most of our clients use Microsoft Windows.

Not many have been enlightened by technology. Many are still, figuratively speaking, living in caves.

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Filed under free, Linux, Microsoft, open source, Philippines, technology, Ubuntu

Free yourself. Use open software.

There’s now more reason for Pinoys to use open software. The authorities have recently teamed up to strictly enforce the country’s Intellectual Property laws by monitoring and arresting users of pirated software. See news here.

The past several months have seen various computer shops, internet cafes, and even corporate offices being raided by authorities, their computers all confiscated in the name of Microsoft and Intellectual Property rights.

Using open software is not only a matter of financial incapability, but also a matter of standing up to prevailing monopolies and hegemonies. The open source community is a very vibrant and dynamic community, and already a product of this community has threatened Microsoft’s erstwhile browser — more and more of people I know prefer Mozilla Firefox over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. I will not jump into that debate, though, since I prefer using Opera in surfing the virtual world.

For technology to truly enable, empower, and enlighten us, technology must first be accessible to all, regardless of financial stature. Open source software gives us that option. It is not literally free, of course, since you also need to pay for your Internet access and the electricity needed to power your PC.

How much does a legal copy of Windows XP Home Edition cost now? And how much does a copy of Ubuntu Linux cost?

At PC Gilmore, a copy of Windows XP Home Edition OEM costs PhP4,050. On the other hand, one can request for installer CDs of Ubuntu Linux at their website for free. I myself have requested for three CDs — two installers for 32-bit machines, and one for a 64-bit machine. They came through the post office after two weeks, and only paid PhP35.00 for the transaction (See? We still need post offices).

For my graphic design needs, I have begun using GIMP and Inkscape for some of my projects. They are not as fully-featured as the so-called “industry standards,” but they’re not as greedy when it comes to PC memory. Thus, saving me a lot of time, power, and resources — I can do more with my inexpensive PC, and focus on creation and production than learning all those tips on making a feature/tool work.

Technology is supposed to unburden us, not burden us with more problems. Using open source software is a testament to our civilization’s innate ability to create and to share.

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Filed under Microsoft, open source, Opera, Philippines, technology

Guilt-free technology

This generation has seen more than what previous generations have ever seen in their combined lifetimes. Technology has not only seen advances make leaps, but humongous leaps that cross national borders, thus making the Earth one small village, all interconnected by the Internet and other forms of communication.

There is no doubt that we are here, at last, in the Information Age.

We have literally information at our fingertips. Overnight, an obscure term became a verb, synonymous with finding the needle of information in the haystack that is the World Wide Web. Today, many individuals are living their lives before the cathode ray tube (or an LCD monitor, perhaps), earning big time either through writing behind nom de plumes or by engaging in electronic commerce.

By their choice, thousands line before stores, waiting to have their turn on buying the newest, most technologically-advanced toys. Others, not by choice, many, many others, stay on the street since they have nowhere to go to.

As technology zooms past us, as hard drives begin to reach the petabyte mark, as processors become multiplied by two’s inside gaming CPUs, we forget that poor children still struggle to collect as many recyclable trash as possible at public markets.

Technology has its social and environmental costs, obviously. What pains me most is that most of us do not care. Global warming is here to stay, Mother Earth is dying right before our very eyes, yet we continue our journey towards annihilation.

Where will your Nokia N82 phone go to once its out of style? Or once its beyond use, beyond repair? How about your old iPods? I highly praise the efforts of the DTI and some private sectors to recycle old mobile phones by placing collection bins in stratetic places around the metropolis, but some idiots would rather place candy wrappers and used napkins in them bins.

When will technology enable us, empower us, and enlighten us about sustainable living?

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Filed under environment, Information Age, recycling, technology