Horizon highlights – Farewell 2008 edition

Our regular roundup of sci-tech stories from across the Web includes: Should electric cars get new federal funds? What should you know before powering up your new computer? Should we look back on 2008 as a good year for technology? Let’s kick it off:

Accelerate: Electric-car battery makers seek federal funds
"In the race to make the lithium-ion batteries that will run the electric cars of the future, the United States is losing to Asian countries, and start-ups and big companies need to band together to build a lithium-ion battery industry in the United States, says Jim Greenberger." [via NYTimes]

Frugal life: The best Web sites to help you scrimp through the recession
"With a historic recession affecting virtually every industry, we are all Amish now, and frugality has become a necessity. In search of tips on austere living, a couple of months ago I stumbled upon Wise Bread, an entertaining two-year-old group blog and user forum whose slogan is 'Living large on a small budget.' From there, an entire frugal world opened up to me—Frugal Dad, Frugal Village, About.com's Frugal Living blog, and many personal journals documenting lives of cultivated asceticism." [via Slate]

Letter from: Will London's underground fortress of silence be breached by cellphones?
"London's subway has its drawbacks: A lack of air conditioning makes it unbearably hot in summer and temporary line closures are frequent. However, in a country with more cellular phones than people (74 million mobiles for 60 million citizens), one major plus for a lot of riders of London's 'Tube' is the lack of cellphone reception on large underground sections in the city center. So it was with a sense of horror that many – myself included – greeted the news that even this subterranean refuge could soon succumb to the din of ring tones and other people's loud conversations." [via CSMonitor World]

Boot up: Readying your new computer
"New home computers should come with the same warning label as many toys: Some assembly required. A fresh-out-of-the-box Windows or Macintosh machine may be able to get you on the Web, play your MP3s and collect your photos, but it can perform those tasks better with a little extra setup. Here's what to do with a new computer running Windows Vista or Mac OS X Leopard, the current versions of each operating system." [via The Washington Post]

Round up: The year in computing
"Computer interfaces, wireless devices, memory, and microprocessors were all hot topics in 2008." [via Technology Review]

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