Today’s Miscellaneous Geek News

Just a collection of interesting news items today. First up is a story about how cars are becoming increasingly filled with more gadgetry, and not the type installed by the manufacturer, but the stuff that the passengers bring in and/or install. A psych professor has studied the trend and feels that motorists are trying to compensate for being bored. Motorists aren’t supposed to be bored – they’re supposed to be fully engaged with driving the car, for pete’s sake. Driving standards are way too low IMHO. I’m all for gadgetry, even in the car, but the requirements for earning a driving license are way too low.

Speaking of driving, there was a joke about what side of the road folks in Malta drive on (punchline: in the shade), which leads me to the next story: 55.9% of Malta’s exports in 2004 were high-tech goods and services. By contrast, this number was less than 30% for the US, Japan and the UK. Of course, this has to be taken with a grain of salt given that Malta’s population is 400,000 and their economy is dominated by a few giant corporations. Those corporations could easily be in some non-tech industry. Still interesting.

If you’re a computer hardware geek, then you must have heard of the Western Digital Raptor hard drive. Originally geared for enterprises, the Raptor quickly became popular among end-users too. WD has followed up the Raptor with the Raptor X. The folks at TechReport are running a review on it, as well as Tom’s Hardware, and LegitReviews has some cool pics of the Raptor X in action. Incidentally, the Raptor X’s case has a clear cover, so you get to see the disk and head assembly. And if you don’t want to just rush out and buy one of these, you can see a roundup of SCSI drives over at digit-life.com.

Our last mini-news item is about the ongoing question of Samsung’s future, as the South Korean government considers whether or not they should chop the conglomerate up into smaller companies. The Samsung Group makes up 20% of South Korea’s exports and Samsung Electronics itself is worth over $100 billion.