Archive for August, 2008

Only 10 days left to save the world

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

LARGE HADRON COLLIDER: Critics say it could create black holes

Sun

A last-minute legal challenge has been launched against the world’s biggest and most expensive scientific experiment, amid claims that the research could bring about the end of the world.

Critics of the Large Hadron Collider — a machine due to be switched on in 10 days’ time — have lodged a lawsuit at the European Court for Human Rights against the 20 countries funding the project.

The device is designed to replicate the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, and its creators hope it will unlock the secrets of how the universe began. However, opponents fear the machine, which will smash subatomic particles together at high speed and generate temperatures of more than a trillion degrees centigrade, might create a miniature black hole that could tear the earth apart.

The legal battle comes as the European Nuclear Research Centre (CERN), in Geneva, prepares to send the first beam of particles around the machine at the official opening, on Sept. 10, although it will be weeks before the first collision.

Opponents of the project had hoped to obtain an injunction from the court that would block the collider from being turned on at all, but the court rejected the application on Friday morning. However, the court will rule on allegations that the experiment violates the right to life under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Prof. Otto Rossler, a German chemist at the Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen, who is one of the most vocal opponents of the project and who was one of the scientists who submitted the complaint to the court, said: “CERN itself has admitted that mini-black holes could be created when the particles collide, but it doesn’t consider this a risk.

“My own calculations have shown that it is quite plausible that these little black holes survive and will grow exponentially and eat the planet from the inside.”

Prof. Rossler claims that, in the worst-case scenario, the earth could be sucked insideout within four years of a black hole forming. But a safety report published earlier this year by experts at CERN and reviewed by a group of external scientists said there was little theoretical chance of the collider producing black holes that would be capable of posing a danger to the earth, as cosmic rays that hit the planet routinely produce higher energy collisions than will be possible in the collider.

New development offers active lifestyle for those who cycle, hike, ski

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Love the outdoors? Get closer to nature

Kate Webb
Province

The Branches development is close to three mountain parks, Lynn Valley Shopping Centre, the new Library Square and a wide choice of North Vancouver schools.

The family-sized units have two bathrooms.

North Vancouver‘s Lynn Valley is an outdoor playground that beckons to those who have ever frolicked in its lush forests or cycled its sublime slopes.

That’s the reason Polygon senior marketing vice-president Ralph Archibald thinks so many buyers at Branches, a new condo development sprouting on the North Shore, are Lynn Valley locals.

“A lot of our buyers have been people who grew up here and now want to come back,” said Archibald. “Lynn Valley is a real hidden jewel. This whole area is about hiking, it’s about mountain biking, it’s about sports in the winter. The whole North Shore has that outdoor enthusiast vibe to it.”

True to its tree-lined location, Branches is all about feeling at one with nature. The Pacific Northwest architecture stands out with warm wood panelling in the lobby, flat-panel birch suite entry doors, electric fireplaces with limestone tiles and two soothing designer colour schemes, Walnut and Honey, from which to choose.

“You’ve got the use of a lot of natural elements in here,” said Archibald. “You’ve got stone granite countertops and real wood cabinets, which really fits in with the whole outdoor feel.”

The laminate wood floors and maple, shaker-style cabinets are contemporary, while still giving off a cottage-type feel.

Appliances included are all top-of-the-line, from the Whirlpool Energy Star dishwasher and gas range stove to the Fisher & Paykel fridge. The stainless steel undermounted sink is conveniently set in the middle of a large slab of counter space and right across from a granite-topped kitchen island — which means big fun for serious cooks.

There are four layouts to choose from, each designed with a different client in mind.

The Birch Series, the most popular and also the most in-supply, offers a large master bedroom overlooking a patio with side-by-side ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet and a second bedroom next door.

That extra bedroom also has a view of the more formal deck space, which is accessible through a door in the living room.

The Cedar and Dogwood Series are what Archibald calls the “mingles” plans (made for singles who live together), because the two bedrooms are built at opposite ends of the apartment for maximum privacy.

The kitchen in the Dogwood layout scheme is outfitted with a quaint dining nook separated from the deck or patio by an oversized window, which means it will provide a perfect view for owners first thing in the morning while sipping their coffee.

The Fir Series is decidedly the most suitable for families. With three bedrooms — the master suite distanced from the two smaller bedrooms by the open concept living and dining room — two bathrooms, and nearly 1,100 square feet of space, these flats could easily accommodate a growing brood.

Just as Branches is inspired by its serene setting, its developers have committed to minimizing its impact on its surrounding ecosystem and environment.

Just a few examples are the area

in the courtyard that has been set aside for composting, a storm-water management plan to limit the potential pollution of natural water flows, and the bathrooms with

low-flow faucets and dual flush

toilets to reduce water use.

Perhaps the biggest pollution saver of all, however, is that Branches is located just at the edge of the Lynn Valley Shopping Centre and the new Library Square, which means residents will never have to get in a car to run their daily errands.

The possibilities for peaceful, nearby pastimes are endless. Lynn Canyon Park, the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, Mount

Seymour Provincial Park and the Karen Magnussen Recreation

Centre are all within close range of the site, in addition to a wide

choice of schools.

When it’s time for a taste of city life, the SeaBus to downtown Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay Market are just a 10-minute drive, or an easy jaunt on public transit.

After just a couple of months on the market, Branches is 65 per cent sold out of its first phase. Move-ins begin in February 2009.

[email protected]e.com

BRANCHES

What: Three new, four-storey buildings with 134 condo units.

Where: 2601 Whiteley Court, North Vancouver.

Developer: Polygon

Sizes: Two to three bedrooms, from 890 sq. ft. to 1,101 sq. ft.

Prices: $429,900 to $559,900

Open: Presentation centre with display vignettes open from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday to Thursday

at 217-1233 Lynn Valley Rd.

More information:

www.polyhomes.com

© The Vancouver Province 2008

 

Check your insurance before disaster strikes

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Tony Gioventu
Province

Dear Condo Smarts:

I have a very short question. Our home was totally damaged by a fire in a neighbour’s unit earlier this spring. Repairs and rebuilding have been going well, but we have been unable to live in our unit since and are in temporary housing paid by our insurance until the restoration is complete.

We received a notice from our strata corporation advising that we had not paid our strata fees since the March fire and that a lien may be imposed if we don’t pay. They have agreed to wait until we are back in our home to pay the fees. However, do we have to pay our fees even though we are unable to live in our townhouse because of someone else’s fire? — Lillian Mason, Okanagan Kootenay region

Dear Lillian:

Unfortunately, there are some things that never go away regardless of the circumstances. Taxes, mortgages and strata fees are all part of the cost of owning property. Strata fees are the simplest form of taxes in that they are collected for the operation of your strata, the same way we pay municipal taxes for the operation of our local governments. Your strata council is acting generously because it is a bylaw requirement to pay your strata fees each month and they have an obligation to enforce the bylaws.

This column is a good opportunity to remind everyone who lives in or owns a strata to double check their insurance policies. The strata must ensure they are insured for full replacement value and that requires routine certified appraisals to meet your insurer’s requirements. If you are underinsured, your insurer may only be obligated to pay half of your claim. Owners, landlords, tenants and occupants should ensure they have a condominium/strata homeowner policy to protect their personal property, any betterments to the strata lot and underinsurance.

In the event you find yourself paying a deductible or the insurance is insufficient to cover a loss, your homeowner insurance is the final safety net. Like Lillian, make sure your policy covers you for outside living expenses in case your home is uninhabitable. When buying a homeowner policy, bring your strata policy with you so your insurance broker is aware of the limitations of the strata coverage.

Tony Gioventu, is executive director of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association (www.choa.bc.ca ). E-mail: [email protected]

© The Vancouver Province 2008

 

Bell and Telus in 3G deal

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

David George-Cosh
Sun

Touch phones featuring larger screens have few buttons and show computer-like Internet, multimedia tools and speakerphones. Clockwise from top: Samsung’s Instinct, the HTC Touch Diamond and Apple’s iPhone. Photograph by : Steve Makris/Edmonton Journal

BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. are set to announce an upgrade to a next- generation wireless network next week that will allow the companies to provide the same popular mobile devices, such as the iPhone 3G, that industry leader Rogers Communications Inc. offers, sources have told the Financial Post.

Multiple sources in the telecom industry said Bell Canada and Telus are expected to share the costs of upgrading from their current code division multiple access (CDMA) networks to the globally adopted high speed packet access (HSPA) network. It is estimated to cost the two companies as much as $1 billion and take about one year to install.

The announcement will put pressure on Rogers and not just because its two entrenched competitors will be able to offer a similar high-speed network. As well, new wireless companies may now choose to negotiate with Bell or Telus for roaming agreements, giving the two incumbent telcos a revenue boost.

The new network will allow the companies to support such popular mobile devices as Apple Inc.’s iPhone 3G and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry Bold, which are already offered by Rogers but so far unavailable to Bell and Telus customers due to incompatible networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks, one of the largest telecommunication-equipment makers in the world, is said to be the vendor that will provide Bell Canada and Telus with the HSPA network upgrade.

Sources said Bell and Telus won’t offer so-called “2G” GSM devices to avoid their customers paying roaming charges that would eventually go to Rogers, the only wireless provider in Canada with a GSM network.

Genuity Capital Markets equity analyst Dvai Ghose said avoiding a GSM network build-out will help the companies save capital expenditure costs while being able to tap into the “plethora” of new HSPA devices that will become available to cellphone users in the next year.

“It may not be an immediate reason to do it for the cost savings, but there’s a more immediate reason to do it for the iconic devices,” Ghose said.

Representatives from Bell Canada and Telus declined to comment on the possibility of a unified network upgrade.

The timing of the network announcement may be no accident.

This Wednesday will be the due date that wireless companies will have to pay Industry Canada after the conclusion of Ottawa‘s spectrum auction in July.

After more than one month of bidding by 15 companies, several new potential cellphone companies emerged, among them Quebecor Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises (DAVE) Wireless Inc. and Globalive Communications Corp., which appears positioned to become Canada‘s next national wireless carrier.

According to Industry Canada, to encourage competition in the $14-billion industry, any new entrant will be allowed to roam on an incumbent operator’s network for five years while building out its own infrastructure.

Although the new entrants have not released details of their cellphone businesses, analysts say DAVE Wireless and Globalive have stated their wish to pursue a low-cost voice-centric model to appeal to the roughly one-third of Canadians who do not have cellphones.

“If you want any of the new entrants’ roaming revenue, you pretty much have to be on HSPA,” Ghose said. “This is important in the near to medium term (for Bell and Telus) to offset the loss of market share they will have.”

However, telecom consultant Iain Grant of the Seaboard Group disagreed. He said wireless companies focusing on voice packages, not data, will not necessarily need an HSPA network to roam on.

© CanWest News Service 2008

 

Many shades of Green in real estate

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

The demand for green homes is on the rise and many realtors are stepping up to face the challenge

Marta Gold
Sun

Jessica Deverill in front of her Edmonton house, which she bought with help from a green realtor. She wanted a home in a sustainable neighbourhood, close to bus routes, shopping, and with room for a big garden. Photograph by : Chris Schwarz, Canwest News Service

‘Green realtor” sounds like the punchline of a bad joke involving aliens, nausea or inexperience.

In fact, it’s a label increasingly being applied to agents with a keen eye on sustainable homes and energy efficiency — and is a growing niche market.

While some realtors specialize in condos, second homes or acreages, green realtors focus on green homes. Their clients are looking for environmentally friendly houses or seeking to retrofit older homes, either to live in themselves or sell to green buyers.

Christy Boulter — a longtime environmental activist — brought that passion to her work when she began selling real estate in Edmonton. Now she helps like-minded clients find homes with environmentally friendly features, or ones that can be renovated, along with advice on how to make changes.

“It truly has transformed to a lifestyle from a trend,” says Boulter, whose father has been an organic farmer in B.C. for many years.

Most of her clients are “hardworking, average Edmontonians” who can’t always afford some of the fancier, green homes being marketed by a few local builders. “I encourage them to check out sustainable options in renovating their ’50s bungalows,” she says.

Simple changes such as updating appliances, improving insulation and replacing windows can all make a big difference, says Boulter.

That’s what Christina Hunter and Dan Moreau found when they bought their bungalow with Boulter as their agent. “It needed a little bit more work than we originally anticipated, but in the end, I think it will be great,” says Hunter, 24.

They’ve renovated the bathroom, installing an energy-efficient shower head and low-flow toilet. They’re adding extra insulation and are working on the yard, to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

“For Dan and I, the ultimate goal is an acreage, and we’ll do everything we can to go off-grid,” she says. That would include their own wind turbine, solar panels and well. “It’s not to be against ‘the man,’ it’s just to be self-sufficient and to be carbon-neutral,” she adds.

Though the couple already felt well-informed about green options before they chose Boulter as their realtor, “it was great knowing that she was on the same wavelength as us,” says Hunter.

For 30-year-old home buyer Jessica Deverill, a green home meant one in a central neighbourhood, close to bus routes and shopping. She turned to Boulter to help find the right house, which they did. The house has the shops of Little Italy nearby, good bus service and is central enough that she can ride her bike. The house also has fruit trees and a yard big enough for a large vegetable garden and small greenhouse.

Rodney Gietz, a green agent for Bison Realty in Edmonton, says most of his clients are already knowledgeable about the environment and sustainability. One of the key changes he recommends, particularly in resale homes, is improving the efficiency of the heating and electrical systems.

Green clients are often looking for nice, big gardens, Gietz adds. “That’s a major goal of people who want to live sustainably. Plus it’s a physical activity and an activity of the soul.”

It’s not just hardcore environmentalists who are increasingly interested in green home options.

A survey last fall done by Royal LePage found 72 per cent of Canadians said they would look for a greener home in their next home purchase. And 63 per cent said they’d be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly home.

Green realty, while still a fledgling specialty in Alberta, is becoming a growing trend in British Columbia and Ontario, says James Rodgers, head of the Green Realty Association in B.C.

But “green” can come in a variety of shades, he cautions. “At this point, you don’t know what you’re getting. Different realtors have a different take on things.”

The training available is still fairly limited, though that is quickly changing.

Still, “the potential for greenwashing is great,” he adds. As the economy shifts and housing inventories increase, more realtors are looking to distinguish themselves, some by adopting green personas, says Rodgers.

Clients should ask green realtors exactly what their name means. Some donate part of their commission to related non-profit groups. Others specialize in energy efficiency, or are more knowledgeable about environmental health, for example.

Make sure your needs, as a client, fit with the realtor’s area of expertise, Rodgers advises.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

Emergency preparedness

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Sun

What would you do if you had to flee your home on short notice?

Emergency preparedness experts say it’s wise to put together a supply kit that will get you and your family — and your pets — through the first 72 hours.

Here’s a snapshot of some the items you should include, ideally in a backpack with wheels that’s stored near an exit door.

- A first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, as well as a radio with batteries.

- Toilet paper and personal supplies, including medications.

- Photocopies of important papers, such as ID and personal documents.

- Canned food — for you and your pets — and bottled water, as well as a can opener.

- Shoes and a change of clothes.

- Blankets or sleeping bags.

- Extra car keys and cash.

For more information, visit redcross.ca and getprepared.ca

STILL SPEAKING OF PREPAREDNESS…

Remember that smoke detectors save lives — period.

Since 1997, new homes have been required to have smoke detectors hard-wired into the electrical system. Check that you have at least one detector on every level. And if they’re hard-wired, check that they have a battery backup in case the power goes out.

When buying detectors, ensure they’re CSA or ULC approved. Consider detectors that use a voice instead of a beep, as they may wake children more effectively.

Emergency preparedness experts also say it’s important to have fire extinguishers on hand, and to know how to use them. They should be placed in every vulnerable room — including kitchens, workshops and garages — and be easily reachable.

Extinguishers should be used only if a fire is small, if there is a clear exit, and when everyone has evacuated and 911 called.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Emergency preparedness

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Sun

What would you do if you had to flee your home on short notice?

Emergency preparedness experts say it’s wise to put together a supply kit that will get you and your family — and your pets — through the first 72 hours.

Here’s a snapshot of some the items you should include, ideally in a backpack with wheels that’s stored near an exit door.

- A first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, as well as a radio with batteries.

- Toilet paper and personal supplies, including medications.

- Photocopies of important papers, such as ID and personal documents.

- Canned food — for you and your pets — and bottled water, as well as a can opener.

- Shoes and a change of clothes.

- Blankets or sleeping bags.

- Extra car keys and cash.

For more information, visit redcross.ca and getprepared.ca

STILL SPEAKING OF PREPAREDNESS…

Remember that smoke detectors save lives — period.

Since 1997, new homes have been required to have smoke detectors hard-wired into the electrical system. Check that you have at least one detector on every level. And if they’re hard-wired, check that they have a battery backup in case the power goes out.

When buying detectors, ensure they’re CSA or ULC approved. Consider detectors that use a voice instead of a beep, as they may wake children more effectively.

Emergency preparedness experts also say it’s important to have fire extinguishers on hand, and to know how to use them. They should be placed in every vulnerable room — including kitchens, workshops and garages — and be easily reachable.

Extinguishers should be used only if a fire is small, if there is a clear exit, and when everyone has evacuated and 911 called.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

Three Harbour Green signals imminent completion of historic Coal Harbour transformation

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Barbara Gunn
Sun

At Three Harbour Green the average per-square asking price is $2,000. At Two Harbour Green it was less than $1,000. At One harbour Green, about $850. construction costs have doubled over the years, the developer reports.

A Three Harbour Green address will be a testimonial to Italian mastery of the decorative arts, the developer promises. ‘If you want design, you have to go to Italy,’ Aspac’s Lance Brown comments. ‘That’s not knocking anywhere else, but if you really want to show quality, the Italians are still unsurpassed.’

Three-to-a-floor residency makes for expansive living space – doubly so when in glass homes in which the ceilings are 10 feet above the floor.

Three Harbour Green is a Vancouver milepost, the “last spike” in the transformation of Coal Harbour from transcontinental railway terminus to what the developer is calling the city’s most prestigious waterfront neighbourhood.

By 2012, and the completion of construction of Three Harbour Green, Coal Harbour’s last available site will have been filled in and the area will have fully realize its vision — as a vibrant, people-friendly community that one Aspac executive says is drawing worldwide attention.

“We have so many visitors from overseas planning departments,” says Lance Brown, an Aspac vice-president. “I’ve hosted people from China, from Russia, Europe, the States, from South America . . . And they all want to come and see Coal Harbour. They all say: ‘Show me how you do this on your waterfront.’ They’re all absolutely amazed by it.”

The redevelopment story Brown is describing began in 1993, when Aspac, in partnership with Marathon Realty, began to transform some 47 acres of waterfront between the Westin Bayshore and Canada Place – lands that were once the site of the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The vision called for a new, upscale neighbourhood, one that would combine residential, hotel, commercial and retail purposes with large tracts of green space.

Next month, work will begin on the final phase of that vision.

Three Harbour Green — the last of three residential towers that will comprise Aspac’s Harbour Green Place neighbourhood — will begin to rise at the corner of Thurlow and Cordova, the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre next door.

When that tower is finished, says Brown, it will be unlike anything Vancouver will ever see again.

“This is the last opportunity for anybody to have waterfront down here,” he says. “If you want to get in Coal Harbour, on waterfront, this is the last chance to purchase new. The resale market is always going to be there, but if you want to have a new one, this is it. There’ll be nothing following.”

There’s no question that the penthouse — it will be a two-level, four-bedroom residence that will have more than 8,000 square feet of living space, 24-foot ceilings and a full rooftop deck — will be what Brown calls “a one-off.”

“When we started out, our penthouses were sort of 3,500 feet. That’s now a standard suite for us. They’re getting bigger, and bigger. And with this one, we thought, well, it’s our last building, so let’s throw everything at it…

“The price is a little over $22 million, so yes, somebody’s going to pick themselves up a nice home.”

The penthouses in the first two Harbour Green towers, One Harbour Green and Two Harbour Green, set record prices a few years back — they went for $6.02 million and $7.75 million, respectively, when they were purchased in 2003 and 2005 — and Brown says the penthouse in the third tower is also attracting a lot of attention, even though Aspac has so far introduced the homes to private clients only.

“Penthouse buyers are a different breed from normal human beings, so they do take their time,” he says. “They’ll hunt around a bit. There are only so many of these. I mean, if you look at the whole of downtown Vancouver, and you look at the number of penthouses that are actually sitting on the water — they’re very few and far between.”

Most of those who purchased in the first two Harbour Green towers — Brown says they’re part of a “very different crowd” — are individuals who have properties elsewhere, both within B.C. and around the globe.

“We’ve had purchasers who have a house in White Rock or Lion’s Bay or the Sunshine Coast, or even the Vancouver area. … And we have people who have houses in London and Madrid and Hong Kong – and here — and they kind of move between them. Lovely lifestyle, if you can get it.”

For those who appreciate truly top-end touches, there’s no doubt that the lifestyle at Three Harbour Green will be lovely. The views of Stanley Park, the North Shore mountains and Coal Harbour will be expansive, of course, and the access to the neighbourhood’s amenities — it includes a new community centre, children’s water park, marina and extended seawall — are certain to add to the appeal of Coal Harbour residency.

But it will be the interior finishings of the units — there will be eight townhomes and 73 condos including the penthouse — that Brown suggests will truly distinguish the homes.

“All the finishings, everything, is coming from Italy,” he says. “The kitchens are by Snaidero. The lime [cabinetry] is called Venus, which is designed by Pininfarina, the guy who designs Ferraris. . . . The closets are by another Italian company, called MOVE. The bathroom vanities are by another Italian company, called L’O di Giotto.

“Virtually everything in the suite, everything that’s fixed, is from Italy. … It’s the best. If you want design, you have to go to Italy. That’s not knocking anywhere else, but if you really want to show quality, the Italians are still unsurpassed.”

(Those finishes will undoubtedly be embraced by the one Italian buyer — Brown won’t reveal his name — who has “bought in every single project we’ve ever had.”)

Residents of the homes will have access to a 24-hour concierge, as well as two amenity centres, which will house a 70-foot indoor pool, gymnasium, squash court, theatre and “virtual golf” simulator, among other things.

Homes will have full-height windows, ceilings that rise at least 10 feet and balconies with gas fireplaces. Most of the levels will have a maximum of three homes, providing for what Brown calls “very, very expansive living.”

The residences are priced at just under $2,000 a square foot, which compares with an average of less than $1,000 for Two Harbour Green and about $850 for One Harbour Green. “During that time frame, our construction costs have gone up by around 100 per cent and land costs by at least that amount,” notes Brown.

Now that the transformation of Coal Harbour is nearing completion, Brown says the redevelopment has surpassed all expectations.

“It’s the end of a long road for us,” he says. “We’ve been at this for 15 years, and it’s going to take another four years to get this complete, so it’s a 20-year journey from start to finish. . . .

“I don’t think anybody could have envisaged how successful the development of Coal Harbour has been . . . I’ve lived in cities around the world, and I can’t think of anything that compares with Coal Harbour anywhere on the planet.”

- – -

NEW HOMES: PROJECT PROFILE

Three Harbour Green

Project location: Coal Harbour, Vancouver

Project size: 81 apartments and townhouses, 32-storey building

Residence size: 1,880 sq. ft. – 8,010 sq. ft., 2 – 4 bedrooms

Prices: From $2.5 million

Presentation centre: 18th floor, 1055 West Hastings, by appointment only

Phone: 604-683-3388

Web: www.harbourgreenplace.com

Developer: Aspac Developments

Architect: IBI HB Architects

Interior design: BBA Design Consultants

Occupancy: 2012

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Tech Toys – Don’t weigh yourself down

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Sun

Wind NB U100, MSI Computer Corp

VAOI FW notebook computer, Sony

MOTOROKR U9, Motorola

Wind NB U100, MSI Computer Corp., $600

A lightweight, 10-inch notebook with an Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor, this mini “netbook” weighs 2.6 pounds and has a keyboard that is 80 per cent of the size of a regular notebook computer. A six-cell battery gives it 5.5 hours of running time; it has an 80-GB hard drive, and includes a webcam and Bluetooth connectivity. Three USB ports and a four-in-one card reader complete the package that packs a lot into a notebook that’s easy to carry around.

www.msimobile.com.

- – -

VAOI FW notebook computer, Sony, starting at $1,100

If your back-to-school budget is pretty hefty, Sony’s new multimedia notebook gives you all you need for serious studies, plus the premium edition plays Blu-ray disc high definition when connected to a compatible HDTV. It also records, stores and plays back your personal content on high-capacity BD (Blu-ray disc) media. The FW lineup has four models, starting with the VGN-FW140D) with DVD-RW drive from $1,100, the VGN-FW160D including BD-ROM (read) optical drive starting at $1,350, the VGN-FW170D from $1,400 and the premium model, the VGN-FW180D which includes a BD-R (record/read) optical drive, four GB RAM, and a 320GB hard disk drive for $1,700.

www.sonystyle.ca

- – -

LCD HDTV/DVD Combo, Westinghouse Digital, from $650

I love the LCD TV in our kitchen but I’d like a high-def, DVD version even more and Westinghouse has them, starting with the 26-inch SK-26H590D for $620 and $750 for the 32-inch SK-32H570D. The 40-inch VK-40F580D is the only 1080 HDTV/DVD combo available and it’s priced at $1,000. www.westinghousedigital.com

- – -

MOTOROKR U9, Motorola, $75 with three-year Fido agreement

From Motorola’s ROKR music phones, the U9 has stereo Bluetooth, “speaker independent” voice recognition for dialling and talking phone features for hands- free operations, a two megapixel camera with four time zoom and high-speed USB 2.0 to upload music from your PC. www.fido.ca.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

 

Want a reprint of a photo, looking for an article, cut out & lost, want to re search a topic covered in the newspaper, want a reproduction of a newspaper page

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Sun

Download Document