Speaking of solar power for your house, check this out!
I would love to get “off the grid” power-wise! Not because I hug a lot of trees, jut because I like being independent!
Ars Technica – By: Megan Geuss – “Solar panels are cheaper than ever these days, but installation costs can still be considerable for homeowners. More efficient solar panels can recapture the cost of their installation more quickly, so making panels that are better at converting sunlight into electricity is a key focus of solar research and development.
The silicon-based cells that make up a solar panel have a theoretical efficiency limit of 29 percent, but so far that number has proven elusive. Practical efficiency rates in the low-20-percent range have been considered very good for commercial solar panels. But researchers with Japanese chemical manufacturer Kaneka Corporation have built a solar cell with a photo conversion rate of 26.3 percent, breaking the previous record of 25.6 percent. Although it’s just a 2.7 percent increase in efficiency, improvements in commercially viable solar cell technology are increasingly hard-won.
Not only that, but the researchers noted in their paper that after they submitted their article to Nature Energy, they were able to further optimize their solar cell to achieve 26.6 percent efficiency. That result has been recognized by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
In the Nature Energy paper, the researchers described building a 180.4 cm2 cell using high-quality thin-film heterojunction (HJ)—that is, layering silicon within the cell to minimize band gaps where electron states can’t exist. Controlling heterojunctions is a known technique among solar cell builders—Panasonic uses it and will likely incorporate it into cells built for Tesla at the Solar City plant in Buffalo, and Kaneka has its own proprietary heterojunction techniques.
For this record-breaking solar cell, the Kaneka researchers also placed low-resistance electrodes toward the rear of the cell, which maximized the number of photons that collected inside the cell from the front. And, as is common on many solar cells, they coated the front of the cell with a layer of amorphous silicon and an anti-reflective layer to protect the cell’s components and collect photons more efficiently.
After describing the architecture of the solar cell, Kaneka researchers analyzed the energy losses that prevented the cell from reaching that 29-percent efficiency ideal, which could help future solar cell builders optimize their cells to get closer to the limit. Kaneka researchers estimated that overall efficiency was reduced by 0.5 percent due to resistive loss, 1 percent due to optical loss (the way the cell receives light), and 1.2 precent due to extrinsic recombination loss—where a free electron recombines with a positively charged hole rather than going on for current collection.
The paper noted that this solar cell was created using ‘industrial applicable’ processes, like plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), which deposits thin films onto a solid wafer from a gas state. While the solar cell may be vapor-ware in the sense that chemical vapor helps create them, the industry-friendly process reduces the likelihood that the high-efficiency architecture will end up as something we’d call vaporware more colloquially. (Thanks folks, I’ll be here all night.)
That said, the authors note that ‘further work is required before the individual cells can be assembled into a commercially available solar panel.’ But further work seems likely. Kaneka’s research was funded by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, abbreviated to NEDO, and according to IEEE Spectrum, the company will continue to work with NEDO to bring the levelized cost of solar cells down to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour by 2030.”
There may be a lot of ice on Mars!
Space – By Christine Lunsford – “Strange surface features sprawled around the bases of steep slopes on Mars point to the presence of ice on the planet’s surface, according to new data and imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Deposits of rock and sediment around these slopes are either ice-rich now or were sometime in the past, but ‘the source of the ice is unclear,’ NASA officials said in a statement. ‘There is some thought that it is deposited from the atmosphere during periods of high obliquity, also known as axial tilt.’
Characteristics like these are common around the planet’s mid-latitudes and tend to appear near gullies, or small ravines that have been worn away by the flow of water. These regions are typically also accompanied by tall, rocky ridges called moraines, which form in glacial regions and look like icy piles of soil and rock. [Latest Photos from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter]
Viscous flow features and steep slopes are especially huge in this composite, which was taken by MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), one of six high-resolution imaging science instruments on MRO.”
Our Friends at Cloudwards.net have an Info-graphic on “World Backup Day – 2017” (which is every day!) Check it out here:
World Backup Day 2017 – What’s a backup?
“Welcome to World Backup Day 2017. Wondering what a backup even is? Don’t worry, my grandma has no clue either. So, for the benefit of my mother’s mother, and you of course dear reader, let’s find out what a backup is.
Simply put, a backup is the digital copy of your data saved somewhere that’s not your internal hard drive. So, if you save your pictures to an USB flash drive, that’s a backup. Save your entire collection of funny cat videos to an external hard drive, that’s a backup. Using an online company’s software and servers to save your entire computer, that’s really good backup.
Why Should Anyone Backup?
The correct question to ask is, why shouldn’t you backup? Fact is, files are precious and we need them on hand for a lot of things. Whether it’s baby’s first steps or a work portfolio template, certain information needs to be secured against loss and damage.
Which is why backup exists. So use it, and feel free to kick back knowing even if Thor accidentally smashes his hammer into your laptop, the backup is keeping the data all safe and secure.
Sounds like common sense right? Turns out common sense isn’t as common as its namesake. Check out these statistic:
- 113 phone are stolen every minute of everyday—costing consumers 30 billion every year.
- 29% of all electronic losses happen by accident
- 1-in-10 PCs are currently infected with a virus
- Over 30% of people never backup
To help prevent anything listed above from happening to you, please backup.
Want to hear another surprising statistic? Check this out…
Women Backup Up Better Than Men
Well, misogynists out there might like to take a pitchfork to this fact, but according to a survey conducted by Airbackup, the fairer sex are fairly better at keeping backups compared to men. The study also concluded that women are better at not losing their electronics, however the survey reviews were taken from personal statements, so take that as you will.
chromosomes aside, there are things we should all do to ensure there is always an available copy of our data.
We should always endeavor to kick laziness in the butt and regularly backup our digital content, avoid using smartphones to process our data, and do so on an established routine. Because facts are facts, machines will fail, it a when and not if scenario. Human error is also lurking around the corner, backed up by cronies such as natural disaster, theft and sometimes plain bad luck.
But, it’s not just private citizens that need a way to secure their data, some would say business have the real raw and important data. And that stuff needs to be backed up proper before companies start losing customers and respect.
THE IMPACT OF DATA LOSS ON BUSINESSES
There was a recent incident where one bank employee misplaced over 1000 customers’ data on an memory stick that was not properly encrypted. Here’s an even more shocking story, a second-hand laptop sold via Ebay turned out to have the banking info of over 1 million customers.
An undisclosed retail company operating at a national level once lost 26,000 employee records due to a stolen laptop. So let’s not underestimate the importance of having a proper back up to data that’s constantly connected.
And don’t be in any doubt about the importance of data to business, over 90% that suffer from total loss of said data shut down within two-years. It’s insanely vital to the health of a company. Any company that suffers from a disaster or flood, and doesn’t have a proper backup plan, statistics show about 80% of them shutdown within a year. 43% that manage to survive never fully recover, and over 50% suffering from computer failure end up seeing the shutters within 5-years.
Basically, businesses need backup.
Don’t believe me? Let’s up the ante and go really crazy with statistics. The following sectors had to deal with a combined loss of thirteen million three hundred ninety-six thousand USD:
- Financial institutions
Whether small, large or medium, a badly staffed, under trained or simply out of luck (not much can be done if there’s a data center outage) IT staff can cause anywhere from 55,000 to over a million bucks in lost revenue.
How to Backup
Hopefully, all these facts and figures have helped changed your mind about backing up. Company, family or individual, we all hold various forms of data dear to us, and so there shouldn’t be reason why we don’t look after it.
Backup Type 1: USB Drive
USB Drive, also know as thumb drives, provide a quick and localized solution to backing things such as documents, photos and even a few songs. They’re not meant for heavy duty backups, and they can easily be lost or corrupted. But they’ll do just fine in a pinch for small amounts of data. They can also be encrypted and password protected.
Backup Type 2: External HDD
Basically the same concept as USB drives, external hard drives can offer anywhere from 250GB to 3 Terabytes (that’s 3,000 GB) of extra space, and they tend to be faster and more stable than a USB drive. Also, they work well as machines to use for incremental saves and recovery, with software like Time Machine.
But, HDDs are still psychical machines prone to accidents, viruses and what not. Encryption and password gates are also fully supported.
Backup Type 3: Online Backup
Now were dealing with Cloudwards.net‘s specialty area, online backup. We’ve got the best of the best reviewed, scored and ready for you to pick through. But still, a small intro is in order for first timers, as it’s not as straightforward as localized backups are.
Basically, it’s a monthly service that takes your data, transfers it via the internet to their own HDDs in some far off country or area which has a data center housing that HDD. The HDD is a part of a server that works tirelessly to backup all your data and its incremental updates.
Of course, how fast this process happens depends on a user’s internet speed. Uploading all your data initially could take days, weeks or months depending on your speed, the online backup company chosen and the amount of data being transferred. Some companies will ship customers an HDD to fill up, and then it gets shipped back and backed up quickly by the company.
Once the mother load is backed up, small alterations or new additions get backed up much faster. The good news is, backup software does not get in the way of daily computer usage, so have no fear that online backup will interfere with Reddit and YouTube time.
Fraud: The Silent Boogeyman Man
We’ve talked a lot about various unfortunate factors that can result in data loss. But we haven’t really touched on the issue of fraud. See, data such as your e-mails, social security, address, credit cards details are very valuable, both to yourself and to some rather unsavory kind of people.
And they hit companies hard, Dropbox, a major player in the cloud storage field has had more than enough to deal with lately, thanks to social engineering scams and online fraud. My point is, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Always stay on top of your security details and avoid uploading them online if you’re not absolutely sure they’ll be safe.
However, there are cloud storage providers and online backup companies that deal almost exclusively in securing and hiding important data. SpiderOak being a prime example. So if security with your online backup is a must have, there are solutions out there available. Feel free to peruse our reviews section to check them out, or e-mail us for a more direct approach.
The Cloud is Popular
Cloud storage and backup is the way to save, work and secure files. There’s no denying this fact. Dropbox alone has over 300 million customers and there are rivals out there trying very hard to surpass those figures. The industry made a combined $32 billion in 2013, and various reports estimate the figures will continue to skyrocket as the years go by.
The cloud is tomorrow in a nutshell, it’s how we will all interact, consume media, save work and just generally live our lives by. From maps, songs, movies to games—the cloud is the next big step.
So, we hope you enjoyed and learned something from our look into backing up, a rough overview of how it works and the realities and risks involved, plus a summary of the future.”
Wow! That is hot!
Las-Vegas Review Journal – By: Frank Jordans – “Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what’s being described as ‘the world’s largest artificial sun,’ a device they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuels.
The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights — officially known as ‘Synlight’ — in Juelich, about 20 miles west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that’s often in short supply in Germany at this time of year.
By focusing the entire array on a single 20-by-20 centimeter (8×8 inch) spot, scientists from the German Aerospace Center, or DLR , will be able to produce the equivalent of 10,000 times the amount of solar radiation that would normally shine on the same surface.
Creating such furnace-like conditions — with temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Celsius (5,432 Fahrenheit) — is key to testing novel ways of making hydrogen, according to Bernhard Hoffschmidt, the director of DLR’s Institute for Solar Research.
Many consider hydrogen to be the fuel of the future because it produces no carbon emissions when burned, meaning it doesn’t add to global warming. But while hydrogen is the most common element in the universe it is rare on Earth. One way to manufacture it is to split water into its two components — the other being oxygen — using electricity in a process called electrolysis.
Researchers hope to bypass the electricity stage by tapping into the enormous amount of energy that reaches Earth in the form of light from the sun.
Hoffschmidt said the dazzling display is designed to take experiments done in smaller labs to the next level, adding that once researchers have mastered hydrogen-making techniques with Synlight’s 350-kilowatt array, the process could be scaled up ten-fold on the way to reaching a level fit for industry. Experts say this could take about a decade, if there is sufficient industry support.
The goal is to eventually use actual sunlight rather than the artificial light produced at the Juelich experiment, which cost $3.8 million to build and requires as much electricity in four hours as a four-person household would use in a year.
Hoffschmidt conceded that hydrogen isn’t without its problems — for one thing it’s incredibly volatile — but by combining it with carbon monoxide produced from renewable sources, scientists would, for example, be able to make eco-friendly kerosene for the aviation industry.”
Do you want to “revive” an old PC and turn it into an Android software running powerhouse? Try Remix OS!
From the Remix OS Web Site:
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Remix OS began as a vision for a world in which the boundaries between mobile and PC would forever be eliminated. Join the millions of users who have already switched to Remix OS and become a part of the future of Android PC.
Remix OS gives you access to over 2+ million Android apps and games. Most are free and can be installed with a single click from any Android app store of your choice.
A key advantage to Remix OS’ Android app ecosystem is the flexibility to choose the apps that best fit your habits and preferences.
Think of Remix OS as the love-child between an intuitive PC desktop experience and Android apps + games. The multitude of features we’ve meticulously engineered into Remix OS are designed to bring you the best of both worlds – a complete fusion of mobile and PC.
Through our game-changing Remix OS for PC, you can experience Remix OS for yourself on your PC. The setup process is 3 quick and easy steps. Oh right, did we mention it was free?”
Technology just keeps converging!
Daily Mail – By: Stacy Libratore – “Apple is developing technology that transforms your iPhone into a MacBook.
The Cupertino company has received a patent for a system that connects a smartphone or an iPad to an ‘accessory device’, which has the same feel and look of a laptop.
A docking station for the handheld gadgets would sit where the trackpad or display are in a traditional laptop, providing users with a physical keyboard and larger screen.
The patent, entitled ‘Electronic accessory device’, was first spotted by Apple Insider.
The application describes an accessory device, the MacBook-like shell, having a docking port suitable for accepting a host device, an iPhone or iPad.
The laptop-like device would be fitted with ‘operational components and a communication port that facilitates formation of a communication channel between the host device and at least one of the operational components where the host device provides substantially all processing resources and has full access to the at least one operational component,’ reads the patent.
The accessory device appears to contain all of the hardware found in traditional laptops such as a large display, physical keyboard, GPU, ports and other necessary components.
But it can only function when a user places their smartphone or tablet into the docking station.
When using the iPhone compatible device, users place the handset where the trackpad would be and with the iPad, it would be positioned where a display sits in traditional laptops.”