screen-shot-2015-01-05-at-2-08-48-pmThis afternoon in Las Vegas, Samsung announced a new storage product, the SSD T1, which can store up to a terabyte of content in a device the size of a business card and weighs about an ounce.

The SSD T1 also comes in smaller, 256 gigabyte and 500 gigabytes versions. The device will retail for between $179 and $599, depending on how much storage capacity you need. The T1 ships this month.

In an age when cloud storage is both ubiquitous and free, you might find it odd that Samsung is working to sell what appears to be a USB memory stick on steroids. But uploading content over Wi-Fi networks can be laborious, and LTE networks are even worse. So sometimes when it comes to lots of data, going old school can be the better option.

(The old joke about underestimating the bandwidth of a car full of hard drives skipping down a highway is apropos here.)

It will be interesting to see if markets outside of the creative professions, which often deal with large files that need to be moved around, and shared, find the T1 attractive.

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Bill-Gates“I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyor belt and drop into a large bin,” Gates, the Microsoft cofounder and billionaire philanthropist, wrote in a blog post on Monday. “They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.”

The jarring juxtaposition is intentional. Gates intends to get the word out to the masses about the machine, which is part of a Gates Foundation effort to improve sanitation in poor countries. “The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle,” Gates continued. “And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.”

As the video below explains, the machine, called the Janicki Omniprocessor, turns sewer sludge into electricity, clean drinking water and ash. The machine, named after Janicki Bioenergy CEO Peter Janicki, dries the waste and then burns it, creating steam that powers an engine that creates electricity. Meanwhile, the water removed from the sludge is filtered, creating clean water.

The machine addresses a major inefficiency in the developing world. Some 2 billion people use latrines that aren’t properly drained. That waste contaminates water, which leads to the death of more than 700,000 children each year, Gates wrote in the post.

This isn’t the first time Gates has meditated on the link between poor sanitation and disease. Since 2011, Gates has been pushing for a redesign of the toilet that was off the grid and lacked piped-in water, a sewer connection or outside electricity, but might convert the waste into fuel or fertilizer. Such a device would eliminate the type of contamination that occurs in the developing world.

At the moment, the Janicki Omniprocessor is being used in a pilot project in Senegal. Gates would like to see the idea spread across the developing world to reinvent the sewage treatment plant. Most modern plants don’t use the waste as energy, but instead store the dried human waste in deserts and are powered by diesel or some other non-renewable energy source.

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p01m5n0b-360x202Darlings, you’ll want to set down the champagne before you hear this. Then, you’ll want to pick it up, down it, and pour another glass.

Jennifer Saunders, 56, has announced that an Ab Fab feature is most certainly happening in 2015.

Saunders, who also plays mother-of-the-century and PR diva extraordinaire Edina in the show, has finished writing a script for a movie that has apparently been in the works since the series first went off the air in 1995.

She told the Sunday People, “I’ve finished the first draft. I’m feeling euphoric. My proper New Year’s resolution is to do the film, otherwise it’ll be a pointless year of procrastination.”

Edina’s daughter Saffy, played by Julia Sawalha, 46, has naturally been written into the script. By now she must be a doctor or something, but she’ll never be too old to shake her head at Mum’s antics.

Jen joked she would like to see Angelina Jolie, 39, replacing Joanna Lumley, 68, as Patsy and an orangutan playing her part.

“That would be funny, Angelina Jolie and an orangutan.”

We’re not sure what Jen was smoking when she made those casting decisions, but we’ll be perfectly happy with the original cast, thank you.

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