Tech News

The Lexus Hoverboard Is Dumb, Epson Kills Ink Cartridges… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 05-08-2015

Another disappointing hoverboard, endless printer ink, Apple Music makes the charts, Netflix plans more launches, proof that you are terrible at driving, and Homestar Runner loves Flash.


The Lexus Hoverboard Is Real, Kinda

As promised, Lexus has unveiled its Hoverboard to the world, in a video titled Slide. However, while it is indeed a working hoverboard capable of floating an inch off the ground, its limitations mean the Lexus Hoverboard is a huge disappointment.

The Lexus Hoverboard looks like a bulky skateboard without wheels. It hovers just above the ground thanks to containing a series of superconductors which are continuously cooled by liquid nitrogen. Hence the visually impressive vapor which could be seen in the teaser posted at the end of June Google Play Music for Free, Amazon Offers Echo to Everyone, & More... [Tech News Digest] Free Google Play Music, Amazon shouts about Echo, Samsung hates Windows Updates, Google adds Undo Send to Gmail, Seinfeld lands on Hulu, and Lexus teases a real hoverboard, possibly. Read More . So far, so good.

Unfortunately, using superconductors means the Lexus Hoverboard only works on a specially created custom skate park in Barcelona, Spain. The skate park includes 200 meters of magnetic track, installed at what must have been phenomenal cost. The liquid nitrogen is also only effective at freezing temperatures, meaning the Hoverboard only works for 10-20 minutes before crapping out.

This would all be fair enough if the Hoverboard was actually useful, but even pro-skateboarder Ross McGouran had trouble getting the thing to work properly. Hence the multiple cuts in the video above. Last but not least is the fact the Lexus hoverboard is only ever meant to be a promotional prop, and you’re never going to be able to buy one.

See, I told you it was dumb.


Epson Swaps Cartridges for Tanks

Printers are one of the most annoying pieces of consumer technology This Annoying Life: 8 Technologies Guaranteed to Frustrate Technology is meant to improve our lives. To take the weight off our shoulders. To do the dirty work and save us from suffering stress. But that isn't always the case. Read More in existence. They often refuse to work, they’re made to be disposable, and the ink cartridges most of them eat for breakfast are unnecessarily expensive. It’s about time we found an alternative.

Epson may have just done so, with the announcement of a series of printers called EcoTank. They look the same as ordinary printers How To Pick The Best Printer For Your Budget & Workload So much for the paperless office! The integration of information technology has seemingly increased the amount of paper printing we have to do. So pretty much everyone with a computer needs a printer at some... Read More , and cost slightly more upfront, but the big difference is the amount of ink they’re capable of holding.

The EcoTank printers feature four-chambered reservoirs which you fill with ink from the plastic containers included. According to the Wall Street Journal, once filled, the EcoTank is capable of printing up to 35 black-and-white pages and 60 color pages every week for two years.


After that impressive amount of time and work, replacement canisters can be purchased for around $50. This is not only cheaper than traditional cartridges, but should affordable enough to dissuade ordinary consumers from dumping their old printer in landfill Thou Shalt Consume: The Story of Consumer Electronics [Feature] Every year, exhibitions around the world present new high tech devices; expensive toys that come with many promises. They aim to make our lives easier, more fun, super connected, and of course they are status... Read More .

The EcoTank printers aren’t cheap to buy, with prices starting at $379. But that higher initial asking price is surely preferable to being stung for costly ink cartridges How To Save Printer Ink & Make It Last Longer Read More for many years to come.

Apple Music Beats Billboard Charts

The Billboard charts now include data from Apple Music. This means that every time you listen to that terrible new Taylor Swift song Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Apple Music Taylor Swift recently persuaded Apple to pay artists for songs streamed during free trials of Apple Music. But she's wrong. Again. Read More , you’re helping her dictate the Billboard 200 and Hot 100. Apple Music has joined other streaming music services such as Spotify, Tidal, and Rdio in helping shape the charts.

It has also been revealed that Apple has struck a deal with the music labels to expand on its curated radio offering. This means Apple could launch five more Apple Music stations along similar lines to Beats 1. That is if anyone carries on listening once the 3-month free trial of Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More comes to an end.


Netflix Finally Lands in Asia

Netflix has announced it will launch in Japan on September 2nd, finally gaining a foothold in Asia. The company announced its plans to launch in Japan The FCC Preserves Net Neutrality, Hackers Attack Health Insurer [Tech News Digest] Net Neutrality rules, Anthem suffers health setback, BT buys EE, tweets on Google, Netflix lands in Japan, and the biggest Super Bowl commercials get remade in LEGO. Read More way back in February, but it has taken this long for Netflix to figure out the complexities of launching in a new region.

Next on the agenda are Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Iceland, all of which are expected to launch before the end of the year. The Czech Republic will be added early next year, with Netflix committed to disrupting everything The End of Ownership: Netflix, Spotify, and The Streaming Generation Streaming media is convenient, but you're giving up something important: ownership of digital media. Read More by being available in more than 200 countries by the end of 2016.

Self-Driving Cars Win Error-Prone

It’s looking increasingly likely that one day (relatively) soon self-driving cars will ferry us all to work and back How Self-Driving Cars Will Change Transportation Forever As we move into 2015, the question is no longer whether self-driving cars will replace manually driven cars, but how quickly they'll take over. Read More on a daily basis. This prospect may fill you with dread, either because you like driving or you have safety concerns.

There isn’t much anyone can do about the former, but Google and others are actively trying to figure out the latter. A simple online game called Error-Prone should help too, as it shows just how much more efficient self-driving cars are than us error-prone humans.


Essentially, the only way to win is to not play at all. So why not play Angry Birds 2 instead?!

Homestar Runner Tackles Flash

And finally, even Homestar Runner is tackling the tricky issue of Adobe Flash. Flash has been under increasing attack Die Flash Die: The Ongoing History of Tech Companies Trying to Kill Flash Flash has been in decline for a long time, but when will it die? Read More of late, with multiple companies threatening its very existence. Which has Strong Bad worried.

This isn’t surprising really, as the Homestar Runner website relies heavily on Flash. So Strong Bad’s fears that the death of Flash means the death of him and his cronies are somewhat justified. Still, there’s always HTML5, so there’s no need to panic quite yet. [H/T A.V. Club]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you as disappointed as I am by the Lexus Hoverboard? Is it time to ditch printer ink cartridges? Are you actively using Apple Music? Will you be subscribing to Netflix in one of its new regions? How well did you do at Error-Prone?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Related topics: Adobe Flash, Apple Music, Netflix, Online Games, Printing, Self-Driving Car.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Those new printers are still going to be useless as tits on a boar hog. The ink will be that vegetable extract crap that fades on the paper after a couple of months so that anything you try to save on paper becomes worthless in just a short while.

    The only way to have a decent printer is to have a laser printer.

  2. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I have had 5 Epson printer in the last 5 years and apart from costing a fortune in ink, they have all packed up except one, which is/was a very expensive one (600 euros) for photo printing. One of them, a DX5000 acually had a software counter built in and ater a certain amount of prints, reported that it needed servicing and would'nt work again!! Epson used to be the best (or only 40 years ago) printers on the market, now there are cheapo and dreadful. Apart from the Epsom photo printer which I use for just that, I use Brother (I have 2 and a labeler) and there are SO much better. Send it a job, it just does it, no fuss, no head cleaning, (useing a pint of ink), and one set of cartriges in 6 months. And it was not that expensive.

  3. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Netflix has been available in Australia for last six months, but it offers a significantly smaller library. For example, sadly do not provide Aussies the classic film noir genre, so apparently some subscribers are accessing these via VPN on USA Netflix.

  4. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 2:02 am

    started running an epson modified to use ink tanks about six years ago it worked beautifully and if the epson made ones can match it i am willing to spend $400 dollars to buy a new one. 4 sets of cartridges for my hp all in one is nearly 400 dollars.

  5. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 at 10:34 am

    I was reading this tech digest, looking at multiple 'The flash plugin has crashed' instead of videos and wondering why my favourite progressive blog website was still using Flash :) and you finished the tech digest with an article about flash lol

  6. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Something must be wrong with the Lexus board. Hoverboards don't work on water. :)

  7. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I ditched Epson printers some time ago after they switched to chips on their cartridges. If the chip said you were out of _any_ ink, you couldn't print at all. No override, no choosing a different color to get by - you had to buy a new cartridge. While the tank idea is interesting, if they pull the same nonsense there and claim you're empty without being empty I won't support it. At least in a Canon printer I can see how much ink is left and choose to override so I can continue to print even if the printer thinks the cartridge should be empty.

    I really like the concept, but don't trust Epson to do the right thing by its customers until I see some sort of proof that this could work.