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typewriter factory closes

Update: Contrary to the original reports, it seems there are still typewriters being made in China, Japan, and Indonesia. So rather than being the death of the typewriter, this is just another nail in the coffin.

You might want to be sitting down for this. It's time to say your goodbyes, because the world's last remaining typewriter factory, Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai, India, is closing its doors.

Although typewriters have long been obsolete in the West, they remained popular in India for a long time. However, Godrej & Boyce stopped production in 2009, and now its inventory has dwindled to just 500 machines, most of which are Arabic-language models, and no more will be made. It's a different tune than the company was singing back in the '90s, when it produced 50,000 typewriters a year, a third of India's total output of 150,000 units, India's Business Standard reports.

"From the early 2000s onward, computers started dominating," Godrej & Boyce's general manager of operations Milind Dukle told the Business Standard. "All the manufacturers of office typewriters stopped production, except us. [Until] 2009, we used to produce 10,000 to 12,000 machines a year."

When Godrej & Boyce opened in the 1950s, the Business Standard says the typewriter was a "symbol of independent and industrialized India." More than half a century later, one of the company's plants in Shirwal that closed in 2009 was morphed into a refrigerator factory.

Click to continue reading The typewriter is dead as the last factory closes its doors (Updated)


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Lithium-ion batteries planeThe U.S. House of Representatives has passed a law that would bar the Obama administration from limiting shipments of lithium-ion batteries by air.

The proposed rule by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the FAA would have eliminated exceptions for small lithium batteries, classifying them as "Class 9" hazardous cargo, and requiring a number of labeling and other safety regulations.

The House will have to reconcile its legislation with the Senate before President Obama can sign a unified joint bill, as Bloomberg noted.

There have been numerous incidents of batteries short-circuiting, and many of those have involved airplanes. (The last major battery incident involved Sony, in 2008; that recall then, however, did not cover airplanes.) The proposed rule noted that out of 21 and 44 incidents involving lithium batteries since 1991 involved passenger aircraft; of those, 16 involved carry-on luggage, and one involved checked baggage. Twenty-three incidents involved cargo aircraft, presumably in pallets of batteries being transported by air.

Click to continue reading US House bars limitating lithium-ion battery shipments on planes


AUSTIN - Just as SXSW attendees were landing in Austin and heading to their first conference sessions, news and images of the terrible tsunami that hit Japan were hitting the Web. Organizers acted quickly to create a site (sxsw4japan.org) that not only accepts contributions, but also enables attendees to do what they do best, share the news and create their own support networks.

The goals of sxsw4japan.org are simple:

  1. DONATE: Make a donation or text your donation to 90999
  2. SHARE: On the Web, on Twitter, mention it in your SXSW talks with #sxswcares and #sxsw4japan
  3. CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE: Start a page so your friends/family can donate to disaster relief.

The original goal of $10,000 has been doubled to $20,000. So far the site has raised more than $15,000 with two days remaining.

SXSW organizers are also encouraging attendees to like the Facebook page of DogBlessyou.org. The site, which is affiliated with the Annenberg Foundation, is donating $1 for every person who "likes" they page over the next few days.

Click to continue reading SXSW organizers rally to collect tsunami relief


As the devastating images of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan come in via cable news, newspapers, blogs, and homemade videos, tech giants like Google, Apple, Twitter, and more are donating funds and using the power of tech to help those in need.

In the wake of the earthquake, Google set up its Person Finder Web site to help people locate the missing or post data on those who had been found. In a Saturday blog post, Google Japan's Ken Miura said his team started working on Google's Crisis Response page within minutes of the quake.

Miura was in Tokyo, about 250 miles away from where the first quake hit, but the Google Japan office – located on the 26th floor – "started shaking slowly," he wrote.

"Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake's epicenter and scale," he wrote. Miura said he was a university student when the Kobe earthquake hit 16 years ago and he recalled "the immediate desire for information."

With that in mind, the team launched Person Finder in Japan within an hour of the earthquake, pulled together public information from local governments about affected areas, and posted tsunami warnings on the Google homepage.

Miura also said Google will donate $250,000 to Japanese relief agencies.

Click to continue reading Tech companies accepting donations for Japan quake relief


The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station for the last time this morning and started its two-day journey back to the Kennedy Space Center.

The shuttle fired its jets to separate from the ISS at 8:37am Eastern, NASA said. Discovery is scheduled to land at 11:58am on Wednesday; at this point, weather conditions are favorable.

Overall, the astronauts engaged in seven days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes worth of joint activities with the ISS crew. This is Discovery's 39th and final mission.

The crew received a special wake-up call at 3:23am this morning: the theme from "Star Trek" and a recorded message from actor William Shatner. "Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30 year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before," Shatner said.

Click to continue reading Discovery leaves International Space Station for the last time


Inamo restaurant E-Table digital dining and interactive menu

Inamo is a futuristic restaurant in the Soho district of London. The fusion of technology, and Asian-inspired interior design makes Inamo a destination restaurant on the bleeding edge of innovation. Inamo’s interactive dining experience is like nothing you've ever seen or tasted before. The illustrated food and drink menus are powered by E-Table technology, and Canon projectors display mouthwatering menu options on the Corian tables. The tables include round preview screens shaped like plates, allowing customers to interact with any menu item before placing an order.

Allowing customers to preview menu options is not the only trick in Inamo’s digital dining bag. Customers can watch the kitchen webcam, change the table background, watch movie trailers from Paramount Pictures UK, browse information about the local community, play games, watch short films, and even call the “I drank too much" taxi, directly from their E-table. 

Click to continue reading Inamo restaurant uses E-Table to offer a digital dining experience

Read More | Inamo via Dezeen.com


75 years of dc comics

75 Years of DC Comics from Paul Levitz  covers, well, 75 years of DC Comics through 2000 images in 720 pages. 

You can order it from Amazon now for $126, in all its 15 pound glory! 

Read More | Nerd Approved via The Awesomer


This is an entry from our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Check it out for suggestions on what to buy your loved, liked, and hated ones this holiday season!

powermat portable 2x travel powercube

We're big fans of what Powermat has to offer here at Gear Live HQ, and that's why we think it's appropriate to feature them in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. What you've got here is a little panel with a built-in battery pack that lets you wirelessly charge your mobile devices. It folds up and is small enough to throw in a bag, and won't take up much space at all on a desk. On a full charge, you can charge an iPhone five times. The Powermat Travel Mat comes with adapters that allow you to charge any USB device, Nintendo DS, a few proprietary phone connectors, and iOS devices. The cool part here is that you just set your device on the mat, and it starts charging.

They typically sell for $130, but Amazon's got 'em for $69 right now.

Read More | Powermat Travel Mat

tokyoflash optical illusion

New from Design Studios is a watch that will test your vision and make you look sophisticated at the same time. It’s so ‘00s to tell someone who struggles to read an analog clock that they can’t tell time, but with this tricky digital watch you can pretty much call anyone out. Hiding in plain sight within a green and black optical illusion, the time can be revealed to the less perceptive eye with the touch of a button. But don’t tell anyone the secret when they ask you for the time in the mall. Who knew that being nice to someone who doesn’t have a watch could be so much fun?

Read More | Tokyoflash

spray on shirt

Scientists at the Imperial College London have devised a way for you to give your clothes that authentic skin tight look that seems to be all the rage these days, with a product called Fabrican. With a simple spray can that looks like any old aerosol can, you will be able to spray a shirt directly onto your body. The amazing aspect of it all is the fact that the material is actually a cotton/polyester/plastic blend that dries up and can be removed from the skin in a non messy fashion. You can even wash it after you take it off and wear it again. We’ve got video of Fabrican in action after the jump.

Click to continue reading Fabrican Spray-on clothing

Read More | Fabrican

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