One of the biggest breakthroughs in 1995 was the Windows 95 OS. There are kids now that have never used it nor heard of Windows 3 or 3.1 the networking component of Windows 3. We have taken huge steps over the last 17 years and what surprises then will be in store for us in 2013?
Technology in the cellular field seems to be leaving our ‘normal’ PC technology behind, in fact PCs were outsold by netbooks and notebooks last year but the gap between the smart phone devices sold and laptops is staggering. Yet, although we have these staggering sales of all devices in the mobile and home market (SOHO) the one component which seems to be left behind is the battery for laptops and cell phones. Yes with technology moving at a faster pace and processor power becoming mind-blowing the power absorbed by these devices just cannot be supplied by the batteries for any real use – how many of us have found to our dismay that just when you need your device that the battery has run down? Which leads me to the conclusion that 2013 is going to be the year of alternative power, batteries, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear all included.
Nuclear power still remains the cheapest and cleanest (short term) for our non-green scientific community, wind sits in our green advocate’s stable of products. Solar panels are still hideously expensive for their output power. Batteries that require an electrolyte change to restore full power remains a good option – batteries still require to be charged by in most parts of the world coal burning steam turbine generators. Regulations and technology are working hand in hand to reduce power consumption especially with consumer products or the vampire range (those sucking power whilst in standby). Lithium-Ion batteries still have a fixed shelf life and can only be used through x amount of charge/discharge cycles although in terms of efficiency and power to wieght ratio have also gone through some mammoth improvements. Like most batteries they are not very disposable friendly. The electronics and batteries used in hybrid motor vehicles are exorbitant in price yet the prime mover, the electric motor is cheap, much cheaper than the vast majority of four cycle engines used in motor cars and just that way more efficient. Everything then points to this bottle neck, the accumulator or the more commonly known battery.
In 2011 already MIT introuced us to a technology they are working on, the semi-solid flow cell. Not wanting to plagiarise the topic can be found here. For me this is interesting because I can see this is where we are headed – not necessarily the semi-solid flow cell because at this stage we have unwanted waste. (to a certain degree). There are scientists working on vehicle batteries which can be charged at about 100 times faster than the conventional battery types but those not in favour will always remind us where the power comes from to charge these batteries. To me, hydrogen remains a far better alternative although safety is always of large concern. The Hindenburg, much like the Titanic reminds us of this. With technological improvements many safety concerns need to be addressed and of course what recycleable advantages we end up with. So as sex still remains the hottest topic on the internet I am sure that green power is a very strong second and as it evolves so it will eventually become the top search only by means of the vast revenues that can be generated. Sex sells but nothing like new technology or medicine, which in it’s own right is also an offspring of modern technology. (not to forget cosmetics or getting some weight off fast).
From green to lean and mean, the Microsoft Surface. Many say it will be the Apple Killer. Microsoft have done some amazing things with Windows 8, Android is on everyone’s lips but you know what, much of this is hype. I was told Linux is very much on the scrapheap. Everyone is programming these days. Iron ships and wooden men. Where are the real programmers? With Linux of course. That’s an “only kidding” sentence. Real programmers like real men, evolve. Windows 8 was supposed engineered by something like 26 PhDs, so the proof in the pudding is the tasting thereof. And it is hot. Just like the Surface. I unfortunately only “played” with the first release but it is akin to the invention of the jet engine but as stated, too much media hype. Would I buy one? Certainly. Would I buy an iPad? Certainly. There is a dividing line, not a very thin one at that between hardcore Apple fanatics and those of Microsoft. Engineers in both camps don’t get paid millions for being chumps. Both different – both beautiful. I still prefer the jet engine.
Motor vehicles – the Koreans are edging into the market with extraordinary motor cars. I think Kia make beautiful looking vehicles. Makes one think how many German engineers they have on their team. I’ll put my neck out and say give China another ten years. But I’ll also stick my neck out and say that the good old USA is going to bounce back with a vengeance. If the philosophy is now to bring back good old innovation, hopefully to the industrial suburbs of Detroit, hopefully bringing European and Japanese technology into the fold we are going to be looking at some serious competition. The only thing that irritates me is the price, read “ripoff price” in some countries for American muscle cars. I would know – South Africa is a haven full of con artists. Second hand cars costing in some cases more than double the USA prices. Forget importation taxes and that crap. Somewhere, somehow, people are getting away with this without any public outcry.
I think that having a discussion around new stuff for 2013 is still very much “same old Same old”. Changing the clothing doesn’t change the man. Yes, technology has become part of our lives, yes we do need technology like we need electricity and the air we breathe. But I just don’t see anything with that much of a “WOW” factor. Let’s see a highly efficient battery that can run off air and cost 50c for 12V 1Ahr. That’s a WOW factor. Let’s see class D audio amplifiers at 20c per Watt. Let’s see a 1000cc motor car 100Km / liter selling for under U$ 2000. Let’s see motor vehicles without teething problems and 10 year warranty. Let us see reliability, promises that are fulfilled, peace, harmony and all our wishes get fulfilled.
May you have a great 2013!