All joking aside, it's not crazy to be completely stumped as to what this ergonomic stick could possibly do, let alone what it could do in the kitchen. For looking so complex, this thing has one simple function: to pump air. Well, that, and to look pretty. The stick is called the Lock & Lock: Rosaline Vacuum Sealer, designed to keep food fresh by removing the air that would otherwise allow bacteria to thrive and food to spoil. To use it, you place the stick into the top of any … Read more
Free music mixtape service Muxtape has temporarily been shut down due to pressure from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). There's not much more information about downtime besides a small note on the front page of Muxtape.com saying that "Muxtape will be unavailable for a brief period while we sort out a problem with the RIAA."
Presumably the RIAA had gotten wise to the considerable amount of music that was being hosted and played on the service, bringing it into the same tier as some of the streaming radio services that have had to pay … Read more
This golf cart-sized, cheetah-spotted buggy could be bad news for those guys who make a living driving up and down the fence lines of Podunk facilities around the country while drinking bad coffee.
The Guardium UGV (unmanned ground system) employs state-of-the-art technologies and any number of payloads to guard places like airports, energy plants and military bases-24/7, rain or shine and without the need for 7-11 pit stops.
It uses autonomous … Read more
"We're doing all the things we tell our clients not to do," admits a strategy director at a renowned design and innovation firm, "it is ironic." He's not alone with his assessment. Other employees of creative firms (let's just use this label as a catch-all for all design, innovation, marketing, brand, and advertising firms) secretly confess that while they go out preaching to their clients about the importance of open innovation, brand consistency, or a distinct, provocative marketing messages, it is the very absence of all of which that often severely hampers their … Read more
Jim Whitehurst is hitting his stride as Red Hat CEO, and does himself proud in this excellent ZDNet interview. Whitehurst was COO at Delta Air Lines prior to joining Red Hat, adding credibility to his take on the enterprise software game:I was a senior exec, and like every other senior exec I had a huge IT budget. Mine was as large as Red Hat's revenues last year. You sit there and say, "Why are my IT costs going up, but I'm getting less and less functionality?" Every IT professional says the same thing: my lights-on costs are going up. But wait a minute! I bought a laptop, and it cost me half as much as it did three years ago, and my costs are going up? I get the joke now.
If you look at the S&P 500, seven of the top twenty companies are tech, and other than Google, they're not high-growth. But they're just printing money because switching costs are so high. There's this incredible amount of residual goodwill to Red Hat because we're seen as an alternative to that. Oracle announced a 20-something percent price increase just as the economy starts heading south. How can you do that unless you're pretty sure nobody can switch? High switching costs led to infrastructure cost creep. Once you get hooked, you can't get off.
Bingo. In the case of Oracle, industry consolidation has put it into a position of such power over its customers that it has killed off much of its competition. IBM and others have done the same. Enterprises now get to choose between competing behemoths that have little incentive to lower prices.
Open source (and SaaS) may well be the only hope of bringing back meaningful competition to the enterprise software game. The problem, however, is that open source still lacks one trait that enterprise buyers, given their druthers, strongly prefer: Largesse. Who in open source can provide that security blanket?… Read more
At a meeting of the MIT Enterprise Forum on July 30, a company that includes two former iRobot employees announced that it's developing an autonomous robot capable of...organizing potted plants.
While that may sound like a strange and fruitless project to spend years working on, the robot actually fulfills an industry need that could end up making their Groton, Mass.-based company a lot of green, Harvest Automation CTO Joe Jones and CEO Charles Grinnell told me in a phone interview. (The company earlier was known as Q Robotics.)
Where's the big business in potted plants? Everything … Read more
Cory Doctorow writes far better op-ed pieces than fiction, and this one in The Guardian is a beautiful eulogy for the music industry. The music industry has struck a Faustian pact with ISPs to monitor copyright infringements, violating privacy and probably doing itself no favors with the public or its shareholders.
What it needs to do is simply work out an all-you-can-eat license for the ISPs that they could pass on to their customers. I'd happily have $10 or more added to my monthly cable Internet bill so that I can freely download songs. I currently buy them "by the drink" on iTunes, but a blanket license would be easier.
It would also return control to the music labels, control that they've ceded to Apple.
Under the new scheme, the rule of law is replaced by a cosy inter-industry deal. Whereas before, anyone who wanted your ISP to spy on your internet connection would have had to show evidence to a judge and get a court order, now any joker who claims to be an aggrieved copyright holder can do so.… Read more
HALF MOON BAY, Calif.--"Hey hey, my my, the state of PC music quality makes me wanna die."
So said singer-songwriter, Neil Young--though not in those exact words--to wrap up the Fortune Brainstorm conference today. Young's earnest entreaty to the technology execs gathered here didn't mince words as he pushed for more sophisticated digital-to-analog converters in PCs that deliver better sound quality."I don't know. We've been here three days and we've never heard the quality of music mentioned...which is what made music great," he said during a one-on-one … Read more
Zappos.com, the online retailer with free shipping both ways, has hired little orange robots to carry your shoes.
Actually, the company, which now sells more than just shoes, has just finished outfitting it's Kentucky warehouse with a robotic army to help fill orders, the company supplying the system announced Tuesday.
The Kiva Mobile Fulfillment System from Massachusetts-based Kiva Systems, is basically a team of autonomous, stout, orange robots that sort, store, and move inventory in warehouses. The robots essentially bring the assembly line to the warehouse worker to fill orders more quickly.
Instead of having people walking around … Read more
Virgin Media and the British Polyphonic Industry will work together to "educate" broadband customers on avoiding legal action while downloading music with peer-to-peer software, the organizations said Friday.
A joint release posted on the British Polyphonic Industry (BPI) Web site said Virgin Media broadband customers using their accounts to illegally share music will receive letters from Virgin Media and the BPI. Customer names and addresses will not be disclosed to the BPI--which is comparable to the Recording Industry Association of America--and the release says the letters will be of an "informative" nature.
According to the BPI, … Read more