Technology Sector

New small-scale generator produces alternating current by stretching zinc oxide wires

Washington, Nov 10 : Researchers have developed a new type of small-scale electric power generator able to produce alternating current by the stretching and releasing of zinc oxide wires.

These zinc oxide wires are encapsulated in a flexible plastic substrate with two ends bonded.

The new "flexible charge pump" generator is the fourth generation of devices designed to produce electrical current by using the piezoelectric properties of zinc oxide structures to harvest mechanical energy from the environment.

The new generator can produce an oscillating output voltage of up to 45 millivolts, converting nearly seven percent of the mechanical energy applied directly to the zinc oxide wires into electricity.

Safety rules for space tourists would ensure safe travel

London, Nov 10 : With plans underway for passenger space travel becoming a reality by the middle of next decade, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has started developing safety rules for civilian space flight.

According to a report in New Scientist, EASA has decided to develop the new rules after Sweden built a spaceport from which Virgin Galactic may offer flights into the aurora borealis, a major attraction for people.

“Both (Virgin’s) carrier aircraft and the rocket-powered aeroplane/glider would meet the definition of an aircraft, and therefore fall under EASA’s scope,” said a spokesman.

Dictionary attacks and brute force: Clever password protection

Darmstadt - Hackers are always refining their methods of sniffing out other people's passwords. That's why experts advise that you always select tough-to-crack passwords. That means using different passwords for different web sites. Luckily, special programs are available to help you remember them all.

"There are two prime ways to steal users' passwords," explains Ruben Wolf from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Multi-functional printers can scan and copy, too

Berlin  - Multi-functional devices are the Swiss army knives of the peripherals world. They can print, copy and scan all in one package. There are downsides, though. If one function breaks, the whole device has to be brought in for repairs. The devices won't win prizes based on their prowess in the individual disciplines, either -their value is as a package.

Potential buyers should decide beforehand how they intend using the device.

More and more spam carries infected attachments

Mainz, Germany  - Spam is losing none of its annoyance and is becoming even more dangerous, according to analysts at Sophos - a German security software firm.

During the third quarter, one out of every 416 e-mails contained a potentially dangerous attachment compared with one in every 3,333 e-mails in the second quarter, Sophos said.

The increase can be linked to a large series of malware-spam attacks over the summer. Fake mails were doctored to appear as if they were coming from delivery company UPS and designed to steal money or online identities. All the bigger attacks targeted computers running Windows.

More online worlds to explore on release of November's new games

Hamburg  - Fans of online role-playing games will have even more worlds to explore this autumn when game publishers release expanded versions the most popular titles.

World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Everquest are all set to release expansion packs this autumn. The Chronicles of Spellborn marks the introduction of at least one brand new online world. And for players who want to stay offline, there will be an apocalyptic world to explore in Fallout 3. If you just want to race a car, there's Need for Speed - Undercover.