Home Thermostats Get Sexy

On Thursday, October 27, 2011 0 comments

So what would a thermostat for your home heating and air look like if a guy left Apple and made it?

It would learn your preferred temperatures and schedule.

It would sense when you left the house or came back.

It would give you tips about your energy consumption.

It would be a wi-fi device and you could control it from anywhere.

It would be cool looking.

It would be simple to use.

Well Tony Fadell is that Apple guy and Nest is his company.

Nest replaces most home thermostats and runs $249 and professional installation for the first unit is $119 and $25 for each additional.

Katherine Boehret over at AllThingsD has written up some details about this forthcoming home technology.

Escort Live...not what you think!

On Wednesday, October 26, 2011 0 comments

Escort radar detectors are some of the best in the biz along side Beltronics and Valentine but Escort has a new trick up their sleeves to help motorists ward off the threat of speeding tickets. A new cloud service called Escort Live allows their latest Passport radar detectors to sync up with your Android or iPhone that syncs all participants together in a early-warning network. Essentially police radar setups are detected by one participant and other people approaching that location are notified on their smartphone.

Currently this is accomplished by users of the latest Passport radar detectors purchasing a new $79 smart power-cord that comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to pair with your smartphone. You also get a native application for your Android or iPhone and a subscription to the service through 2012 with the purchase of the SmartCord.

The SmartCord is compatible with a wide-range of the latest Passport detectors and Escort offers a new bundle set including detector and SmartCord but you can save a few bucks picking up the detector and $79 cord/subscription separately if you do the right shopping.

The Passport 8500 X50 ($250'ish) or Passport 9500ix ($460'ish) are both excellent radar detectors and you can purchase the $79 Android SmartCord set or the iPhone SmartCord set directly from Escort.

The current solution is only for traditional windshield/visor models. Escort is promising support for their integrated products in the first half of 2012.

If your anything like me...you can use all the help possible and this solution just might be worth it if you regularly have long commutes or enjoy driving. Since I have the Passport 9500ci integrated into my cars, I won't be doing a full review until next year.

Fisker Karma Becoming More Real

On Monday, October 24, 2011 0 comments

Fisker Karma

Fisker has just received EPA certification for their first car…the Karma which opens the doors (no pun intended) for the company to begin selling their cars. The Karma represents the first premium plug-in hybrid sedan. This $95,000 luxury sedan offers the option to toggle between an all-electric Stealth mode or fuel assisted Sport mode that leverages both the electric and 2.0 liter gasoline engine for a combined 403 horsepower.

The results is a car that gets up to 125 mph and 0-60 in 5.9 seconds. In Stealth mode the Karma can top out at 95 mph and 0-60 in 7.9 seconds. While Fisker had hoped for a better EPA rating, they squeaked out only a 32 mile range on battery only. To put that in perspective though, the average 40-mile commute each day with a fully charged battery each day will only need to visit a gas station every 1,000 miles and only use 9 gallons of gas a month!

Henrik Fisker is an accomplished automotive designer based on his work at BMW and most recently at Aston Martin. Fisker received a $529 million direct loan from the US government in 2010. The company has setup a 700 employee headquarters in Irvine, California and is getting some slack for manufacturing this first car out of Finland but already has plans to build future cars in the recently closed General Motors factory in Delaware. Henrik Fisker says that the government monies are being exclusively used in the US.

The goal of the company was to create an all-new car company from the ground up breaking all the old-school processes and rules that in theory has hinder the automotive industry from maturing and leveraging new technologies quicker.

Check out some footage from this pretty impressive first offering...

Stanford PhD Delivers New Focus "LATER" Camera

On Wednesday, October 19, 2011 0 comments

Today at an event in San Francisco, creator Ren Ng demonstrated his company's (Lytro) brand new camera architecture that allows a very bright F/2 lens with an 8x optical zoom to capture the entire viewable scene within a new file format. It is quick with instant capture...no shutter lag. Each picture is roughly 22 megabytes in size which would make it comparable to a RAW file captured in a high-end Digital SLR camera.

What is captured by the camera is quite different than traditional cameras today. Lytro's light-field technology creates a new, proprietary file called and LFP. Inside of this file is what Ng called "11 mega-rays" of data. Thus the camera's light-field sensor can capture more than 11,000 points of light in each picture. This data can then be processed currently on a Macintosh application to create 2D or 3D imagery, changes to the focus and outputted at an assortment of sizes.

Ng has won awards on this area of research and the Lytro company was formed with $50 million in funding to produce this camera. Ng says the camera will go on sale in early 2012 in a $399 (8 gigabyte - 350 pictures) and $499 (16 gigabyte - 750 pictures) formats.

There is a lot of unanswered questions but the demos today were impressive. There are supposedly a set of accessories like a tripod mount. There is no flash, no Windows support, no video capture, no evidence of GPS, no expandable memory and no wi-fi connectivity.

It is also unclear what the images look like at higher resolutions for print applications. Lytro keeps referring to high-def which basically refers to 1080p resolution. The demos today were outputted to TV's and Facebook at 1080x1080 resolution. The images can be shared online and even allow viewers to manipulate the pictures themselves.

While it has a long list of short-comings, the instant picture aspect is very enticing. You can preorder the camera here it you want to be the first on your block. I think I'll wait a bit.

Rest in Peace Steve

On Wednesday, October 5, 2011 0 comments

Steve Jobs Day?

On Sunday, October 2, 2011 0 comments

You can't help but talk about Steve Jobs if you study or care about great products and commercial executions. So what about a Steve Jobs day? Well it looks like that is just what could happen on October 14, 2011.

How will you celebrate the day? Break out your black turtleneck? Tell your favorite Jobs stories on Facebook or Twitter? Be sure to use the hashtag #stevejobsday

RSVP at stevejobsday2011.com

Long videogame loading screen? Great place to run an advertisement!

On Saturday, October 1, 2011 0 comments

Note the Star Wars Bluray disc set advertisement in the bottom right
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a new videogame for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It was a well made game with some awkward areas of gameplay...especially the uneven, choppy boss fights. But I enjoyed the story and felt the need to hack every locked doorway and safe in an effort to make sure I was prepared for the next challenge.

But one aspect of the game I was not a fan, was the long load times. And as you can see from the image with this article...it comes with advertising! So my conspiracy alarms go off and I'm almost tempted to suggest the incredibly long load times that crop up...a lot...are really there just to have advertising!

Obviously, that is not really the case but it did prove to be a good spot for an ad.

Which Kindle or iPad 2 is right for you?

On 0 comments

We expected an Android-powered Kindle eReader tablet from Amazon. What we didn't expect two additional model lines. To break down the 14 variations TheUnderstatement.com has posted a decision/flowchart to help you parse out the differences.

And here is a similar breakdown of the iPad 2 versions.

While we can recommend picking up one of the new Kindle versions. We'd strongly suggest holding off on an iPad purchase unless you can't wait until late Spring 2012. The rumored new display on the iPad 3 would make it worth the wait.