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Making employees answer work e-mails past 6pm now illegal in France

The French government has just made it illegal for the country's tech and consultancy sectors to answer e-mails after 6pm. Not only that, but phoen calls and texts are also banned after 6pm.

 

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The reason behind this is that employer groups and work unions from France's tech and consultancy sectors signed a new, legally binding labor agreement that will see staff switching off their work phones after 6pm. Considering France has a strong workforce of 40 million, the agreement only affects just one million of those workers.

 

But, it reaches far and wide, including French-based parts of Google, Facebook and more. The law could be extended into other sectors, something that I think we'll see done soon. The law makers it illegal for employers to force their employees to work past 6pm, but also recommends workers try and resist the itch to look at work-related material once it passes 6pm.

Bentley plug-in hybrid concept heads to China

When I hear the Bentley name, I typically think of big and heavy cars packed with lots of luxury and power to give them surprising performance. Bentley isn't a name I would think about as offering hybrids. That will change with Bentley set to show off its plug-in hybrid tech in China this month.

 

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Bentley will be showing off the plug-in hybrid technology under the hood of its top of the line Mulsanne. While eventually the hybrid tech will be made available across almost all of Bentley's models, to start with the Mulsanne being used to show off the tech won't be offered to purchase.

 

Bentley will make the first commercial use of the hybrid tech in a new SUV set to hit the road in 2017. Bentley's plug-in hybrid system promises to improve performance by 25% while reducing emissions by 90%. Despite the bulk of most Bentley vehicles, the hybrid tech will be able to drive for at least 50km on electricity alone. The plug-in hybrid concept car will be unveiled on April 20 at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition.

GM says 8L90 8-speed auto trans will shift faster than a Porsche DCT

One of the most exciting cars that GM has produced in recent years is the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The 2015 Stingray will have a new automatic transmissions option that enthusiasts should like. It's not a dual-clutch transmission as you would find in other high-end cars; rather it is a more traditional automatic transmission with a torque converter.

 

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More than a few enthusiasts, though that would mean it was a slow shifting slush box that wouldn't be up to track or performance driving. GM is talking a bit about the 8L90 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters and claims that this transmission can shift faster at wide-open throttle than the dual-clutch unit in a Porsche 911.

 

GM says that the transmission is eight-hundredths of a second faster in shifts than the 911 DCT is. The same auto transmission is able to be smooth around town thanks to the torque converter. This transmission will be offered in the standard Stingray and the Z06. The normal Stingray will get a different torque converter and gear ratios than the Z06 will get.

Continue reading 'GM says 8L90 8-speed auto trans will shift faster than a Porsche DCT' (full post)

US Navy will deploy prototype laser on a ship later this summer

The US military has been working on directed energy weapons, which is a fancy way to say laser, for a long time. A successful test of a laser about a year ago showed that a weapon aboard a ship could be used to down a drone aircraft. The Navy has announced that its laser weapon will be deployed on a ship later this summer.

 

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The prototype laser weapon will be installed on the USS Ponce for at sea testing in the Persian Gulf. Military leaders are touting the laser weapon for its ability to engage targets at the speed of light and for having an unlimited magazine.

 

Previous tests have shown that the laser weapon can be used against targets on the water as well. The targets in recent tests have been tracked with a Phalanx Close-in Weapon that can hand tracking data over to the laser. Sailors control the laser with a video game like controller and have the ability to stop a threat or destroy it.

Continue reading 'US Navy will deploy prototype laser on a ship later this summer' (full post)

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype testing with Sebastian Vettel

Infiniti has been teasing a new sports car that it is working on called the Q50 Eau Rouge. The car has been seen at the car shows, but so far no real-world performance numbers have been offered. That will soon change when Infiniti unveils footage of F1 champ Sebastian Vettel running tests on a prototype.

 

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Vettel is the Infiniti Director of Performance and he will be shown behind the wheel of one of the 560hp Q50 Eau Rouge prototypes. The video will be shown at the 2014 Beijing Auto show. Vettel tested the car at the Millbrook Proving Grounds testing facility in the UK.

 

The car was put through a series of performance, handling, and precision driving tests. Infiniti says that the feedback that is received from Vettel will be used into the engineering for the next steps of the prototypes development program. For now, all we get is the teaser video you see here.

Continue reading 'Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype testing with Sebastian Vettel' (full post)

TigerDirect announces plans to add home decor and other items

If this release had been published on April 1, I would have thought it was a joke. I see no indication that TigerDirect's latest announcement is anything but real. Tiger has been a place where PC enthusiasts could go to buy hardware since before there was an internet.

 

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TigerDirect has now announced that it plans to expand its product offerings. This appears to be an effort to better compete with Amazon. TigerDirect has announced that it will begin selling home d├ęcor, furnishings, pool supplies, and luggage.

 

This means you can soon buy a new mainboard and video card and add a new comforter for your bed n a whim at checkout. This is the first time that the online and catalog seller will offer these product types. The new product offered will be from some of the big names in those industries. As long as they don't get away from the core tech products that we know them for, all is good.

Continue reading 'TigerDirect announces plans to add home decor and other items' (full post)

SIM-Drive's new SIM-HAL EV has electric motors for each wheel

There are many electric vehicles on the market today and none of them is particularly popular. The EV isn't exactly feasible for many people as their main car. Limited driving range means you can't easily take long trips and if you forget to plug in one night, you are in trouble.

 

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A Japanese firm called SIM-Drive has unveiled its latest EV car and it's a coupe. I hesitate to say that the car looks good, because it's just not that attractive to my eyes. The back end with the 80's style fins for the taillights is particularly unappealing. Looks aside, the EV system in the car is impressive.

 

Each of the wheels gets its own electric motor and each of those motors produce 87.17 hp and 457.28 lb-ft of torque. That means the EV has a total power output of 348.7 hp and an asphalt destroying 1829.15 lb-ft of torque total.

Continue reading 'SIM-Drive's new SIM-HAL EV has electric motors for each wheel' (full post)

Trion Supercars wants to build a $1 million Nemesis to European cars

There are plenty of insanely expensive supercars on the market today. Porsche, Ferrari, and McLaren all have cars only the richest of the 1% can afford. These cars have names like the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918. An American company wants to build a car that it thinks can compete with these European exotics.

 

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The company is called Trion Supercars and it wants to build its $1 million supercar in California. The company isn't giving up all the details on the car just yet, but we know a lot. It will be built using carbon fiber to save weight.

 

Power will come from a twin turbo V8 engine. Exactly what the source for that engine is, we don't know. If the company is to meet the 2000hp goal it has for the supercar, called the Nemesis, it had better be a stout V8. I'd wager we are talking a heavily modified Chevrolet V8.

Continue reading 'Trion Supercars wants to build a $1 million Nemesis to European cars' (full post)

Subaru Tribeca replacement rumored for diesel plug-in hybrid power

The Subaru Tribeca isn't exactly the best selling SUV that Subaru makes. When Subaru showed off its new concept car during the New York Auto Show in April called the Viziv 2, rumors surfaced that the concept car might be the next Tribeca. A new rumor going around suggests that the Tribeca name may be retired altogether.

 

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The concept car is now said to hint at future small and larger SUVs from Subaru. The source of the rumor is said to be "close: to Subaru. This source also says that the new SUV will be close to the Tribeca in size for the larger model. No additional details were offered on the rumored smaller SUV.

 

Another interesting tidbit is that the new SUV is tipped to be a plug-in hybrid using a diesel engine. The engine will reportedly be a 2.0L turbo boxer diesel producing 148hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. There is no indication of how much power the electric engine will add. There is a chance that the hybrid system will be similar to what was shown in the Viziv 2 with rear motor driven symmetrical AWD. The new SUV is tipped to be coming for late 2017 availability.

PL-01 tank concept is a Polish masterpiece

Many modern aircraft that are fielded by militaries from around the world have stealth attributes that make them harder to see on radar. The Navy is also working on stealth ships that are harder to be seen on radar as well. One thing we haven't seen too much of so far are land vehicles with stealth attributes.

 

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Poland is changing that with an awesome new tank concept called the PL-01. The tank has some very cool tech that is already possible and some concept tech that will be coming in the not so distant future. The tech that is available now is designed to help the tank reduce its infrared signature. This is done to confuse the tracking systems of weapons used against tanks on the battlefield.

 

The way the tank does this is with temperature controlled wafers on the outside of the tank near the armor that can match the infrared output of the surrounding terrain. To confuse the enemy even more, the wafer system can allow the tank to mimic the look of a car or other object when viewed in infrared.

Continue reading 'PL-01 tank concept is a Polish masterpiece' (full post)

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