Author Archives: Nigel

Full Name: Nigel Powell Website:
Info: Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don't we all?
Free Software May 8, 2021 posted by Nigel

Watomatic – automatic tool helps you switch away from WhatsApp

The latest moves by Facebook to tie WhatsApp users more closely to Facebook haven’t gone down too well on the net. The result is a fair number of people who are planning or who have already left WhatsApp for more private shores. The problem is, how to let your contacts know you now prefer to use Signal, Telegram or any of the other more private messaging apps? Step up the free open source Watomatic app. This nifty little tool lets…

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Watomatic – automatic tool helps you switch away from WhatsApp
cool tech May 3, 2021 posted by Nigel

Ringo DIY mobile phone – build it yourself for fun and profit

What better way to motivate youngsters to take up electrical engineering than getting them to build something themselves? This Ringo DIY Mobile Phone is a neat little open source package, which comes with everything needed to build a mobile phone from scratch. Well almost scratch. You do have to do a bit of soldering, but the boards come ready made. So no clean rooms required.

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Ringo DIY mobile phone – build it yourself for fun and profit
Eco Friendly April 21, 2021 posted by Nigel

PDK – new kind of plastic can be recycled for ever, at a price

Scientists have come up with a new form of plastic which can be recycled back to a pristine state for resuse a huge number of times. This makes it a big contender to help stop the mountain of plastic trash we waste every day. The new material, PDK – which stands for polydiketoenamines – come with a penalty though. It’s very expensive to make. Something to do with one particular chemical component which costs a lot. However once PDK is…

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PDK – new kind of plastic can be recycled for ever, at a price
Eco Friendly April 14, 2021 posted by Nigel

Eat Just chicken – world’s first lab cultured meat gets go ahead in Singapore

So the race is on to wean us all off meat and turn us into happy little plant eaters. Leading the charge is Beyond Meat (disclosure: recently tried their Beyond Burger and it is astonishingly good), closely followed by a bunch of alternatives. Among the most interesting is California based Eat Just, which recently announced that it’s lab cultured chicken had won approval for commercial use in Singapore. Why Singapore? We’re not sure. Anyway the bottom line is that our…

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Eat Just chicken – world’s first lab cultured meat gets go ahead in Singapore
Eco Friendly April 7, 2021 posted by Nigel

Biofil – The world’s first chip-fat powered EV charger?

Trust the Aussies to do something different. What you’re looking at here is a ‘standard’ 50kW DC electric vehicle fast charger. What makes the Biofil different is the fact that it’s hooked up to a biodiesel electric generator. Which uses the waste cooking fat from the service station (or rest stop for you Americans) fryers to do the deed. The problem is simple. Many of Australia’s roadside restaurants are so remote they’re off grid, which makes it hard to offer…

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Biofil – The world’s first chip-fat powered EV charger?
Eco Friendly April 5, 2021 posted by Nigel

Hempearth – world’s first plane made from hemp aims to fly high

Hempearth, a Canadian cannabis company, has announced plans to build an airplane using hemp as a key component.  There’s little argument that hemp is the wonder plant of the ages. Despite being associated with its naughty cousin, marijuana, hemp has been put to thousands of vital uses over the ages. Not only has it been used for rope, but also fabric, medicine and a super food. But this latest incarnation is taking things to a whole new level.

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Hempearth – world’s first plane made from hemp aims to fly high
Eco Friendly April 2, 2021 posted by Nigel

Gocycle G4 – the world’s most stylish e-bike continues the trend

Twelve years ago next month, we first reported on a new electric bike which was making waves. The designer, Richard Thorpe, had come out of F1 motor racing design and applied those principles to making the most stylish and downright ‘cool’ e-bike the world had ever seen. It weighed 16kgs, had a range of up to 20 miles and a price tag of £1158.  We road tested it, and then followed up a year later with a comparison test between…

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Gocycle G4 – the world’s most stylish e-bike continues the trend
Eco Friendly March 22, 2021 posted by Nigel

Evanesto – from plastic pots to compost lots

There’s just too much plastic in the world. We’re drowning in it. But an enterprising French company hopes to change all that with the invention of a compound called Evanesto. The enzyme based material is added to conventional PLA plastic at the manufacturing stage, which then turns it into something which can be composted in less than 200 days. Proper compost. The company, called Carbiolice, claim that the enzymes can be used for all forms of plastic packaging, tableware or…

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Evanesto – from plastic pots to compost lots
Eco Friendly March 8, 2021 posted by Nigel

ZedPods – modular pre built homes designed to be installed above car parks

Zedpods are a clever new take on modular, ready made housing. The blocks are prefabricated in a huge factory warehouse in central England, then shipped on-site for assembly.  What makes them extra interesting is the fact that one version is designed to sit on top of car parks, using a stilt type system. This leaves the car par open for use by the public, while offering affordable eco housing above. Very neat. The first installation has already gone up in…

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ZedPods – modular pre built homes designed to be installed above car parks
Eco Friendly February 25, 2021 posted by Nigel

Kill The ECT – before it kills the planet

If you haven’t heard of the Energy Charter Treaty, that should be no surprise. It’s a semi-secret international treaty which grants corporations in the energy sector enormous power to sue states at international investment tribunals for billions of dollars, for example, if a government decides to stop new oil or gas pipelines or to phase out coal.  And boy are they using it. It was set up in the mid 90s and in the last decade alone there have been…

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Kill The ECT – before it kills the planet
Eco Friendly February 15, 2021 posted by Nigel

SQ4D: First robot printed house goes on the open market. Say hello to a new era…?

There’s been no shortage of news about the rise and rise of 3D printed homes over the past few years. But now we have the first commericial real estate sale of one. In New York. no less. The SQ4D 3D printed house has been listed on Zillow.com for a hair under $300,000. Which is apparently less than half the price of its neighbours.  Of course we’re wondering whether being in the middle of a mega pandemic could have some effect,…

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SQ4D: First robot printed house goes on the open market. Say hello to a new era…?
Electric Cars January 28, 2021 posted by Nigel

Nissan Winter Camper shows how not to launch a new EV

The newly announced Nissan Winter Camper Van is a classic case of marketing over reality. For one thing any EV maker which thinks that 124 miles of range is enough to justify a high price and glossy photos, deserves to be beaten over the head with a wet mackerel. The base NV200 EV is a great short range city van, as we showed in our launch review, but the range of this camper in winter will probably drop to around…

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Nissan Winter Camper shows how not to launch a new EV