ShinyShiny snippets: Wind is main source of electricity for first time in UK

Wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas for the first time in the UK.
In the first three months of this year a third of the country’s electricity came from wind farms, research from Imperial College London have shown. National Grid has also confirmed that April saw a record period of solar energy generation. By 2035 the UK aims for all of its electricity to have net zero emissions. “There are still many hurdles to reaching a completely fossil fuel-free grid, but wind out-supplying gas for the first time is a genuine milestone event,” said Iain Staffell, energy researcher at Imperial College and lead author of the report. BBC 

Twitter is officially beginning to roll out support for encrypted direct messages (DMs) on the platform, more than six months after its chief executive Elon Musk confirmed plans for the feature in November 2022. The “Phase 1” of the initiative will appear as separate conversations alongside existing direct messages on users’ inboxes. Encrypted chats carry a lock icon badge to visually differentiate them. That said, the opt-in feature is currently limited to verified users or affiliates to a verified organization. It’s also essential both the sender and recipient are on the latest versions of the Twitter apps across Android, iOS, and desktop web. Hacker News 

Campaigners have warned that Vodafone turning off its 3G network will lead to people with older and more basic phones falling into “digital poverty.” Vodafone will be the first UK telecoms firm to stop providing 3G when it begins a nationwide phase-out in June. This will free up radio frequencies for faster 4G and 5G services, it says. Vodafone says it is working to support vulnerable customers, but campaign group Digital Poverty Alliance has criticised the switch-off. Vodafone UK’s chief network officer, Andrea Dona, said 3G use had “dropped significantly” – with less than 4% of its customers’ data being used on its 3G network, compared with more than 30% in 2016. BBC 

Autonomous buses were demonstrated on the Forth Road Bridge
on Thursday ahead of going into passenger service in what’s being billed as the most complex test of the technology anywhere in the world. From 15th May 2023, the project’s fleet of five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV autonomous buses will operate a scheduled passenger service seven days a week on Stagecoach’s new AB1 route. Buses will depart Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife for Edinburgh Park interchange every 30 minutes. Tech Digest 

Bard, Google’s experimental tool that allows users to collaborate with generative AI in a way similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has removed its waitlist process and is now welcoming users from over 180 countries to try it out. The news was announced at Google I/O 2023 alongside the confirmation that Bard is now available in Japanese and Korean. Furthermore, Google is planning on supporting 40 languages in the near future and will be expanding access to Bard in even more countries and territories. IGN

Google has announced its first folding smartphone
, with a market-leading starting price of £1,749. That puts the Pixel Fold well ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, the world’s most expensive foldable handset, which comes in at £1,649. Like its competitor, Google‘s effort has a familiar smartphone form factor when closed but opens up into more of a tablet design with a 7.6-inch screen. Google said the Pixel Fold would be the thinnest foldable available when it launches next month, with pre-orders beginning today following its announcement at the company’s I/O event in California. Sky News 

Chris Price