Ever wish you didn't have to get your hands anywhere near those icky-smelling flakes of fish food? Well, here's an answer to your problem. An Egyptian professor, Mohamad Abou El-Nasr, won third prize at last week's Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, Calif. for creating a home aquarium that allows the owner to remotely control it from anywhere in the world. With the Wi-Quarium, you can adjust the heat, water filter, and lights in the tank, as well as feed the fish on command. You can also watch them on a webcam and obtain e-mail reports of … Read more
Intel announced today the winners of its Intel Core Processor Challenge, a competition with a total of $1 million in prize money that encouraged computer manufacturers to use its Viiv processor technology to create a high-performance, media-savvy machine. The winners, well, aren't particularly earth-shattering.
You do have to keep in mind that these are legitimate working PCs, not trippy concept designs created under the influence of what-have-you. So when Intel talks about the "best mix of style, acoustics, functionality and features for digital home entertainment," you have to take that with a grain of (pragmatic) salt.
The … Read more
Netvibes, maker of the single-page aggregator (or metagator) that I favor, is making an aggressive announcement at the Web 2.0 Expo. The company is launching the "Netvibes Universes" project. It's a simple technical improvement to the current service, but it's a bit of a business coup.
Netvibes Universes allows content creators to create custom Netvibes aggregation pages. What's technically new is that content owners can now customize the look and feel of their pages, and publish them as standalone Web pages with semifriendly URLs (for example: www.netvibes.com/icecube). Fully friendly URLS--in other words, custom Web addresses--will come later.
The business coup is that Netvibes signed up over 100 publishing partners, including recording artists like Mandy Moore and 50 Cent, and major media like Time, USA Today, and The Washington Post. All their Netvibes pages will be available on Monday.
It's hard to say if the Universes pages be better than their publishers' own home pages. They are different. A custom-designed home page can really stand out, but with more people finding content through "side doors" like blog posts, Digg, and aggregators like Netvibes, the front pages of content sites matter less than they used to. It makes sense, then, for some publishers to use off-the-shelf services like Universes to publish front pages that are almost as attractive, and far easier to modify, than all the individually coded front pages that sites now support.
Netvibes told me that it will make the Universes functionality available to all its users by June. At the moment, it's possible for ordinary Netvibes users to share a Netvibes page only with other users, and you can't customize the page nor specify a standalone URL for it.
In related news, Netvibes competitor Pageflakes is releasing its Flurry feature at Web 2.0 Expo. By interviewing you about your location and your interests, this update makes it even easier to get started with the service. I interviewed Pageflakes CEO Dan Cohen in February. It's a great product--I'd use it if I wasn't already hooked on Netvibes.
Both Netvibes and Pageflakes make better start pages than the majors (Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google), although in the long run that won't matter because the big guys can easily grab the lion's share of traffic. For that reason I think Netvibes' direction is very smart. Instead of focusing on making a better product for individuals, the company is now embarking on a business-to-business strategy, too, and hopes to reach new users not only directly, but through its business clients.
Read on for more preview screenshots from Netvibes.
There are some very enterprising members on AVS Forum. Poster "Ohgami" did some digging around the Internet to find some new information about Onkyo's upcoming receivers and happened to stumble upon specs for the entire 2007 lineup. Read all the details of his Onkyo receiver search (plus a very detailed post), or we've edited down the most important info below. We're not 100 percent sure this information is correct, and of course Onkyo has the ability to change the specs before the products are actually released, but we'll find out for sure at Onkyo'… Read more
I should start off with a disclaimer: The title of this post may be biased. I am inclined to perceive just about any dishwasher as a dishwasher of awesomeness, since (like many New Yorkers) I don't have one. Consequently, I see the dishwasher as some sort of magical mystery device. Take that as you will.
But this one, the Fisher & Paykel Double DishDrawer, is still cooler than most, in my opinion. Why? Because it tackles both energy efficiency and space efficiency in one clever design move. Instead of being one big, water-guzzling machine that doesn't always fill … Read more
On-screen instruction for household activities has been around for years, especially in the kitchen for cooking and such. So Bernina got the bright idea to apply the concept to other domestic chores--namely, sewing.
Its "Artista 730E" has a color touchscreen built right into the machine at eye level and is loaded with Windows software, according to Chip Chick, to help with sewing patterns, quilting and embroidery. It even has a "stitch library" that includes 850 stich types and more than 100 embroidery patterns.
All of this is well and good, but don't think you'll … Read more
Sorry, Mike, I just couldn't resist. Looks like Hello Kitty is stalking you in the kitchen, too, thanks to this slow cooking crock pot. It's predictably pink and is decorated with lovely little depictions of Hello Kitty and food. It's supposed to make cooking easier, but really, it's just for the aesthetic touch.
Try pairing it with your pink George Foreman grill, which regrettably doesn't have Hello Kitty imprinted on it. But that's what stickers are for!
The Lounge Light Projector might resemble a can of WD-40 more than anything else, but it's actually a lamp affixed to a battery that can keep whatever-you-want lit up for 150 hours. (That's the battery life. The bulb itself lasts a whopping 100,000 hours.)
Plus, to use one of my favorite expressions, it's color-changey! But if that annoys you too much, you can push a "color hold" button on the Lounge Light Projector to "freeze" the gadget on a color that you like.
It'd be cool if you could get a … Read more
Yes, to many of you this will look stupid. But if you're an urban apartment-dweller like me, there's a good chance that you saw this gadget and immediately said "OMIGOD, I NEED THAT." Our suburban brethren often don't realize that many apartments in New York, San Francisco, London, Tokyo, etc. don't have dishwashers due to space constraints. As a result, we've become very well acquainted with every brand of dish soap on the market (hello, Method Home!), the merits of relying on take-out Chinese food, as well as the deep drama involved in … Read more
SDI Technologies, the company that brings you the iHome line of iPod speaker systems and clock radios, also has a licensing deal with Timex to create forward-thinking clock radios. The Timex TM 80BR, a clock radio that plays MP3 and WMA files from thumbdrives and SD memory cards, is one such model, and it's apparently going to be available very soon.
Aside from the SD slot, the flash drive port, and the included remote, there isn't anything terribly exciting about it. At its core it's just an inexpensive dual-alarm, AM/FM clock radio. But some people get … Read more