Issue 715

Monday, 3rd September 2018
It's my wife's birthday today and I want to spend some time with her instead of worry about this tech news garbage, so I paid Jacob Bates (remember him from when I was on holiday a few months ago?) to do it today instead! I wrote the "Not News, But Still Cool" stuff a few days ago, but for the fresh gear, Jacob's your sherpa today.

In This Issue


Not News, But Still Cool

One of the issues with owning an EV is where to charge it. If you've got a garage, you're set - but if you're an apartment dweller, there may not be enough supply to the apartment complex to power your EV charger and the apartments at the same time. A bloke in Canada had this problem and invented a solution he's calling a Demand Charge Controller. This box measures the apartment complex's power usage and if it's under the complex's supply limit, will feed the excess limit to your EV charger. If the usage increases, it'll decrease the juice going to your EV charger so the apartments get priority. Nifty little unit.

Xioami is selling mechanical keyboards now! The Xiaomi Gaming Keyboard is a full sized 104-key unit, with "TTC Red switches (with a 3-mm travel distance)", a "Sonix microcontroller featuring a 32-bit Cortex-M0 core as well as a USB interface supporting a 1000 Hz polling rate" and support for 33-key rollover. No programmable keys or macros for the super hardcore gamers though. It's well built, with an aluminum chassis and PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) keycaps for extra durability. It's even got RGB LED backlighting. The best feature, as usual with Xiaomi, is the price - $81 delivered to AU from Gearbest. A keyboard like this would normally go for around $150.

Remember those obikes littered around Australian cities that ended up in various bodies of water? I think they're all gone now, but someone cracked an ofo bike's electronics box open to see what's inside. There's a 3G modem and bluetooth and GNSS receiver - that's obvious. But what interested me was the Vodafone NL SIM card, despite the bike being in Australia. I guess it's cheaper than a local SIM? And a D-sized, non-rechargeable battery using a lithium thionyl chloride chemistry that claims to have a 19Ah capacity. In a D-sized cell! A LiPo battery this size would be ~3Ah? I guess Ofo plans to simply replace the battery whenever it craps out (a dynamo powers it when the bike is ridden)? Weird decision not to place a rechargeable battery in there.

That's it, see ya tomorrow!