School technology agency Becta has been earmarked for closure by November and all 240 jobs at the agency will be lost. The closure has allowed the government to cut £65m a year from its budget, however Becta has argued that they have saved schools money over the years through changes to infrastructure and hardware. Previous polls conducted among teachers have found that almost half agree that Becta was valuable. Meanwhile Chris Keates of the teaching union NASUWT has said that the demise of Becta was a false economy and that if schools are left to their own devices they may purchase systems which are not suitable or overpriced.
There is also major concern over the fate of the Home Access programme which offers laptops and broadband to under-privileged children. The people behind the scheme say that it is currently still open but that they are coming to the end of the funds allocated. Further government cuts will also affect the department for Business, Innovation and Skills which has had its funding cut. While some projects will no longer receive funding the government has said they will still invest in web technology.
Australian scientists have developed a transistor with just 7 atoms which could be used to create smaller and more powerful computers. The transistors could become part of computer chips which could be 100 times smaller than existing chips. The scientists say that this could be the first step towards a solid state quantum computer. This could lead to an exponential increase in processing power. However the transistor was handmade and the process is along way from becoming commercially viable.
The Northwest Regional Development Agency has a grant of £2m to hand out to small businesses who aim to develop carbon saving technologies. Businesses working in areas such as recycling, air pollution, water pollution, energy generation an land re-mediation will be able to apply. Companies can apply for between £20,000 and £250,000 to cover up to 40% of the costs of their technology. Steven Broomhead from the NWDA comments that the grant will allow businesses in the area to grow in a sector where both business and government are hoping to achieve great things.
O2 has been named the Best Technology Services provider at the Which? Awards this week. Rivals Plusnet and the Untility Warehouse came in second and third place. O2 was recognised for their broadband and mobile services and for their consistent customers satisfaction ratings. They also received 5 out of 5 stars for value for money - the only broadband provider to do so.
Shoppers have been warned that they could face long queues when the iPad finally hits the shops this Friday. Apple's flagship store on Regent Street in London will be selling the iPad for between £429 and £699. Apple have said that so many people have pre-ordered the gadget that they cannot guarantee delivery for those who place new orders. PC World and Currys will also stock the iPad for 60 days in an exclusive deal. Demand is expected to be high. The iPad sold more than one million units within the first 4 weeks of going on sale in the US.
Dell has joined other manufacturers in offering a tablet style gadget. Called The Streak, the gadget is also known as the Mini 5 and is the first in a long line of planned products. It has been suggested that Dell has a 7inch and a 10 inch version planned for the future. He gadget is larger than a smartphone but smaller than the iPad, prompting experts to question its position in the market. While the number of tablet devices which are being launched may indicate that the iPad has prompted copycat ideas, experts have pointed out that development takes some time and they would have been working on them at the same time.
Lovers of ice lollies will be able to indulge in their favourite snack in just seven minutes after the release of a gadget which can freeze them in a flash. The machine known as the Zoku costs £40 and is stocked by Lakeland. The Zoku is placed in the freezer and a mix of chemicals allows it to freeze the ice lollies in less than 7 minutes. The casing is aluminium allowing for easy withdrawal of the lollies once they are made. Food and juice which is frozen quickly will retain nutrients and colour according to the manufacturers.
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