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Technology World News – September 15, 2009

printedcircuit.JPGFrom the always-exciting world of high tech:

Apple Unveils New iPods, Software. On Wednesday, September 9, Apple introduced a new lineup of iPods as well as upgraded software for its iTunes, iPhone and iPod Touch services. The upgraded iPod Nano includes a built-in video camera and microphone, as well as a slightly larger display. The high-end 16GB version is priced at $179, a $20 price cut from the previous flagship model. The stripped-down iPod Shuffle now comes in a new variety of colors and has a lower entry price of just $59. Owners of the iPhone and iPod Touch will be able to download free Apple’s new OS 3.1, which includes the “Genius” feature that recommends new music and application selections based on previous purchases. Also, Apple’s iTunes 9 software purportedly allows users to better organize applications using a drag-and-drop feature. The highlight of Apple’s presentation was the keynote address delivered by company co-founder Steve Jobs, who had not been seen in public since October 2008, just prior to undergoing liver transplant surgery. He quipped to the audience, “I’m still vertical.”

EPA Turned Off by Big Screen TVs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to granting its coveted “Energy Star” sticker to big screen digital TVs monitors. These monitors tend to be big electricity guzzlers, consuming an average of 4 percent of a typical household’s monthly power bill, according to the EPA. To qualify for an “Energy Star,” the EPA wants digital TV energy efficiency increased 40 percent by May 2010, and 65 percent by May 2012. And no screen larger than 50 inches will qualify under any circumstances, due to their inherent thirst for power.

Twitter—Profitable? Until now, the wildly popular Twitter microblogging site has managed to snare tens of millions of users, but has yet to demonstrate any actual commercial capability. That may soon change. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone recently announced that the company is completing development of an analytics dashboard to which companies will be able to subscribe. The purpose of the dashboard? To measure what people are tweeting about them. (Naturally.) Twitter is expected to start selling subscriptions to its service by year’s end.

Cordless Electricity May Be On Its Way. WiTricity, a commercial spinoff of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research, believes it won’t be long before laptop computers, telephones and even electric automobiles will be powered without benefit of a cord or cable. “Broadcast power” has been a dream of engineers since the days of 19th century inventor Nikola Tesla, but until now it has been limited to low-power, low-distance applications (like electric toothbrushes that are charged by sitting atop a plastic cradle). Now, WiTricity believes a new technology it calls “magnetically coupled resonance” will be able to cheaply—and safely—create electricity at a distance by use of certain magnetic frequencies. One would only need a “broadcast” unit plugged into a wall socket and “receiver units” either attached to or built into anything from laptop computers to electric automobiles to charge them up and make them work. Not only will magnetically coupled resonance do away with pesky power cords, but will also eliminate the need for disposable batteries, WiTricity believes, which will be of great benefit to the environment.

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