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This, they say, “provides depth to the content displayed for a more life-like viewing experience… consumers will enjoy the Curved OLED TV for its immersive panorama effect, which is currently not possible with conventional flat-panel TVs. When watching captivating content such as vast landscapes and scenes from nature on the Curved OLED TV, they will feel like they are surrounded by the beautiful scenery.”Sweeping vistas and arty photos do look good, it’s true, but enough to justify the camber? Not really, and of course neither company demo’d their sets showing ordinary telly programmes. LG, as you can see, even put a line of them side-by-side, the better to enhance the impact. Still, points to both for trying ever harder to show they can build screens better than everyone else. And each other.Interestingly, the Ubuntu side of things worked with the touchscreen and disengaged the keyboard when folded up in tablet mode. The trackpad did remain active but unfortunately, no virtual keyboard appeared for typing when used like this – perhaps there’s a workaround, but it wasn’t obvious. The biggest disappointment was that Ubuntu didn’t recognise the Wi-Fi hardware and, having no Ethernet either, hampered the usefulness of a Linux Yoga instal.

Following on from intense customisation and quirky installations from kith and kin, I gave the OneKey Recovery a whirl and it was all done in less than 15mins – 6mins for the first copy phase and another 7mins for the remaining installation from a reboot. No doubt the Samsung 128GB SSD helps here but it’s a pity it’s not bigger though, as there’s less than 65GB free out of the box. It’s plenty for a tablet, but having half your storage allocation devoted to a default set-up and recovery partition, is less than ideal. I can see that SD card slot coming in handy here.Incidentally, the start up time from cold is pretty darned swift. In 7secs and you’re at the login screen so you can be up and running within 15secs if you’re quick with the swipe and type. The Core i7 Ivy Bridge CPU is no slouch, although all the GPU tasks are handled by the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. Tests with PCMark 7 notched up a respectable score of 4131 and if you’re curious about battery life, it’s a shade under 6hrs with casual use, with the more gruelling PowerMark test clocking up a rating of 2hrs 45mins.Now all the bendy modes of the Yoga are intended to suit different scenarios. Tent mode or Adho Mukha Svanasana (that’s downward dog for the rest of you) works well for presentation and is quite good for reading too. Although the speakers – they play through the keyboard – won’t get such an airing. You can lie the keyboard flat in Stand mode (Bhujangasana or cobra pose) too, which is supposed to be best for movies. I guess it might soften the audio output which, even running Dolby Home Theatre 4, processing is rather harsh and gutless.

I tweaked the Dolby Profile settings for ages here but the speakers just don’t have the low end frequency response to warm things up no matter what Dolby’s graphic and intelligent equalisers can deliver. The surround virtualiser spatial treatments were effective though, but can sacrifice what little bottom end there is, if overdone.One of the more bizarre aspects of Windows 8 showed itself during the movie and audio tests. If you use the Metro Movie app, then you can’t make any adjustments with the Dolby control panel. As soon as you swap over from the Movie app playing in Metro to the Dolby app showing on the Desktop, playback ceases. The workaround is to use Windows Media Player instead if you want to perform both tasks, which you would really. Visually though, movies look fine on the screen, with good viewing angles and the positioning options are helpful in cramped conditions.

When used as a tablet, you’re going to notice the 1.54kg of the Lenovo IdeaPad 13. If you’re slobbing about at home, this isn’t going to be too troublesome, but it can seem unwieldy when whisked out on a train carriage or even casual browsing at a desk. Unless you’re engrossed in one of the art or instrument apps and have it flat on your lap, you’re more likely to use its touchscreen features when propped up in one of its asanas.While I didn’t expect to become a Windows 8 convert, I’m certainly less of a sceptic and I’ll admit I enjoyed using the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, but I’m not convinced working on it is going to be plain sailing. Without hardware like this, Microsoft’s big idea seems utterly confusing, but here it all fits rather nice and simply. To say it makes perfect sense would be pushing it, but with additions like Lenovo’s QuickLaunch, migration is less irksome and quite a relief if you need to upgrade.As an Ultrabook it’s a fast starter, slim and has a screen resolution that will suit most bemoaning the limitations of 1366 x 768-pixels. Yet, like all x86 touchscreen convertibles, it could do with a couple hours more on battery life. It seems a bit pricey too, but to use Windows 8 effectively a touchscreen is a must and that has to be paid for. Niggles aside, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 certainly has plenty of appeal for those looking to buy a convertible Ultrabook, just how practical it is as a tablet with those exposed keys, remains to be seen.

Well, with fewer and fewer folk favouring monochrome e-readers over colour tablets, E Ink has had to find other roles for its low-power displays. It’s now finding a home in timepieces, two of which stood out at CES this year. First, Central Standard Timing’s CST-01 is, the company claims, the world’s thinnest watch: it’s less than a millimetre front to back, including the battery and Seiko controller chip. When it ships in September, the 12g metal band will come with a magnetic charger unit.For CST, E Ink allows its watch to be very thin indeed; for Pebble the appeal is the display’s adaptability: it can be used to show pretty much any kind of information, not just the time. Pebble’s E Ink “smartwatch” taps into your smartphone over Bluetooth to be a handy secondary notification display, to relay GPS information and to operate as a remote control for music player apps and such.

Pebble may be the darling of bloggers and crowdfunding fans, but it’s idea isn’t new – Sony Ericsson was offering Bluetooth-connected phone-linked watches back in 2007 and Microsoft’s Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) watch line was launched in 2003. But maybe the time’s now right for the tech: in addition to Pebble, Italian offering i’m Watch updated its £400 Android-based smartwatch, and both impressed CES visitors.At least Lenovo didn’t try and pitch its 27-inch touchscreen as a tablet. No, this boy is a 28mm-thick “table PC” – it’s intended to be laid flat and used in much the same way as Microsoft’s original, pre-tablet Surface was, though it also has a kickstand if you want to put it upright for regular apps. The screen has a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is poor for a panel as large as this, and I hope the 39-inch prototype it also showed off will sport a considerably higher resolution than Full HD when it finally arrives.Not that the Horizon 27 will be out any time soon: “early summer”, said Lenovo, though it has said it will price the entry-level version at $1699 (£1058). That will get you a Core i3 CPU, but pay more and you can have a Core i7, an Nvidia GeForce GT 260M graphics chip and a terabyte of on-board storage.

Lenovo sees the Horizon as the modern answer to the boardgame – it demo’d the machine running Monopoly of all things – and said Electronics Arts and Ubisoft are busily converting titles to run on the Horizon’s touchscreen.As Australia’s heat-wave returns, I’ll be in the Blue Mountains in NSW, surrounded by eight hectares – around 20 acres – of mostly uncleared bush, contemplating both the benefits and shortcomings of modern emergency services communications.Here with two smartphones and a laptop with a mobile broadband connection, there are plenty of ways to watch what’s going on. However, they all fall short in some fashion or other.The laptop is useful for checking new fire updates posted at (since I’m in NSW) the Rural Fire Service’s incident map. However, it’s rash to rely solely on that site. If an emergency breaks out, it can struggle (Victoria’s Country Fire Authority site crashed under a heavy load on January 3). There are alternatives. Google offers a mirror here, and there are individuals’ efforts like this (which is mapping fire advisories from all states).

The problem is that people don’t sit at their computers all the time. Sure, the sites can be browsed from a mobile, but that’s inconvenient and illegal if you’re driving a car.Which brings me to the second modern emergency advisory: the mobile phone. SMS alerts are sent to people living in the path of a catastrophic fire.The system works, but it has its own limitations. Coverage outside Australia’s big cities can be spotty. If you live away from mobile coverage, the SMS alerts might not reach you. If you’re a tourist passing through a danger zone, you probably won’t even be on the alert list.This is known: Victoria’s acting premier has made a public statement that people should not rely solely on SMS alerts. He’s been backed up by that state’s Fire Services Commissioner.Another issue that affects both Websites and SMS alerts is the timeliness of the information. We don’t have live, 24-7 remote sensing. Satellites like MODIS can tell us lots about the progress of a fire on a daily basis, but live information comes from people on the ground.

These are the same people whose main preoccupation is fighting the fire – which is why I was interested in the idea of using UAVs to help map fires in real time.Even drone-gathered information would, however, have to get from the ground to the public – which will mean someone has to check it for accuracy before release. Since we don’t have the drones yet, we’re stuck with today’s approaches.As well as the people actually standing in front of the fire-front (raise a hat to all bushfire volunteers!), there are aerial spotters in planes and choppers, fixed watchers in towers, and (where they’ve been installed) remote cameras.Information from hundreds of fires has to be collated at headquarters, checked (because nobody wants to spark a panic or, worse, send evacuees in the wrong direction), and published, with appropriate decision-making by senior personnel and contact with police and other authorities.On hot, windy, days like those we’re currently experiencing in Australia, any of the hundreds of fires still burning could take off suddenly. It’s not hyperbolic to state that a fire can escalate to a catastrophe in minutes rather than hours. A strong wind can also send glowing embers many kilometers from the fire-front.

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