Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Last Minute Gift Ideas for 2007

Tommy and Rumble
Originally uploaded by gadget.
If you are up early in the Midwest, or chillin' in the cold Northeast; browse-into on December 20th, 2007. I'll be a guest on Tommy & Rumble - on 99 FM - Hampton Virginia's rock station. This is my second time talking to the guys (but don't ask me which one of the guys is the Rumble) about gadgets and finally last minute holiday gifts for people who have everything. Like me. Tune in early - they are on from 5:30-10am Eastern time, and my segment will run a couple times... While I sleep in perpetual 60 degree California. Look, somebody's got to do it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PC Magazine Productivity Expo

It's time again for the PC Magazine Productivity Online Expo, which opens Thursday, October 25th (9:30AM - 6:00 ET/6:30AM - 3:00PM PT)

I'll be speaking on PC Magazine's online trade show, the Mobility Technology Online Expo. There will be a cast of other experts and characters speaking on how you can achieve excellence in the latest in mobile computing and connectivity.

My topics are: Productivity for Road Warriors: On-Demand ApplicationsFor low monthly fees, providers of on-demand applications keep small- and medium-size business from having to pay large up-front costs to keep mobile workers productive. And the good news is that the quality of on-demand applications has risen dramatically in recent years. In this interactive webcast, experts from PC Magazine and leaders from top on-demand application companies will show you how to optimize on-demand solutions for any kind of business.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Neiman Marcus Gifts 2007 Fantasy Gifts

2008 Lexus IS F
Originally uploaded by gadget.

Neiman Marcus dropped their 2007 Fantasy Gifts catalog insert with over-the-top ideas for the holidays on us this week. My favorite vehicle is the $68k Lexus IS F with a 400 HP V8 under the hood and quad pipes sending a growling note out the back. You get this car, a concept gone production from Steve Millen, plus Skip Barber racing school with accommodations for one extravagant price. The rocket racing team (A.K.A. Red Bull Air Race) is even a little more pricey for me at $2m with just one year of support, and I'd probably get disoriented flying those little jets every-which-way.

For technology the interactive Swami at $75k is clever to visually recognize members of your family and carry on conversations; plus it comes with an unknown model of laptop to run his virtual brain. I predict that WowWee will have this in stores for the 2008 holiday season for $100. What I do like however is the $100k Interactive Touch Media Wall from Jeff Han - AKA the visual and user interface from Minority Report. Think of it as a huge 8 foot by 3 foot iPhone as the keyboard floating letters and pinch and flick features are replicated with it. Remember, that the software you run must be compatible with this wall, so do not expect Excel to interact like the demo video here is - otherwise your fingers will work like a human mouse. But with their proprietary software, it looks like a great way to slide photos around, do some cropping and show your rich friends how well your stock portfolio is doing...

Finally, stay away from the $110k chocolate his and hers portraits. That will just attract ants into your mansion.

BTW: I'll take the wall inside and the Lex outside. :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

San Francisco is the #1 City for Singles

This August, I was tapped by a freelancer at Forbes for an interview of the best spots to date in San Francisco. Since I live in and love this great city, I was up for the challenge. However, by the time the story was posted it was changed to a brief with bachelor and bachelorette picks plus some rankings on culture and cost of living amongst many great cities. take on San Francisco as a dating city.

This year, San Francisco beat out New York for top honors and I have to agree. The hustle and bustle of NYC can kill its inhabitants and the weather buries them under snow, rain or humidity for many months of the year. I love to visit New York, but see it tear too many people to shreds. San Francisco is nice and easy, and breezy. Literally.

For my part, Instead of recreating my "top dat spots" Violet Blue, author, sex columnist and all around vixen, headed to one of my picks, "Dateway" the Marina location of the Safeway grocery chain, where she and a girlfriend tested the isles for love. Her gal pal picked up a local with a Berkeley sweatshirt and she headed to a speed dating event at the Crush Lab. And scored too.

So there it is, the 2007 Best City for Singles. San Francisco, California. It's good to be perched in the middle of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Go Mobile already with the Mobility Online Expo

On Thursday the 27th, early in the morning (8am) on the West coast I'll be speaking on PC Magazine's online trade show, the Mobility Technology Online Expo. There will be a cast of other experts and characters speaking on how you can achieve excellence in the latest in mobile computing and connectivity.

Topics include:
  • Portable computing devices, including Tablets, UMPCs, Notebooks and Handheld PCs
    Cutting-edge cell phones and PDAs, plus essential applications for them
  • Mobile software-as-a-service applications for online storage, field sales force automation, and more

  • Virtual/online telephony solutions such as hosted PBXs, e-faxing, and VoIP

  • Mobile VoIP solutions, including cell phones, plus VoIP services
    EVDO, EDGE, 802.11 and other wireless communications standards

  • Popular mobile applications for business use, including GPS and mobile browsing

So point your browsers to: and tune into our PowerPoint and audio cast!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

DEMO fall 2007 with Chris Shipley

This week brings us the DEMO fall 2007 conference in San Diego. There are a hundreds of people comprised of VC's, PR folks and companies eager to display their technologies, and big companies who are eager to SEE new technologies - which must have never been released in order to launch at DEMO.

So far its off to a great start - my favorites are Motion DSP with a multi-frame video frame aggregator - to give high quality stills from video (spook/security agencies will love this.) Digital Fountain uses Amazon's S3 service to improve video quality from steaming sites. With much more to come.

Comanies presenting for DEMOfall 2007 are as follows:
360desktop, Pty Ltd.; Victoria, Australia; Advanta; Spring House, PA;
AgendiZe; Grapevine, TX;
Apprema, Inc.; Sunnyvale, CA;
Attendi, Inc.; New York, NY;
BatchBlue Software, LLC; Barrington, RI; CashView, Inc.; Palo Alto, CA;
Check Point Software Technologies, Ltd.; Redwood City, CA;
ClipBlast!; Agoura Hills, CA;
coComment; Geneva, Switzerland;
CodaSystem France S.A.; Paris, France; CornerWorld; Dallas, TX;
Digital Fountain; Fremont, CA;
Diigo, Inc.; Reno, NV;
DimDim, Inc.; Burlington, MA;
earthmine, Inc.; Berkeley, CA;
EncryptaKey; Cypress, CA;
Exalead, Inc.; New York, NY;
FastCall411, Inc.; Hollywood, CA;
Fluid Innovation, Inc.; Austin, TX;
Fusion-io; Salt Lake City, UT;
Generate, Inc.; Maynard, MA;
Glam Media; Brisbane, CA;
Global Communications, Inc.; Houston, TX; Global Mobile Technologies, LLP; San Francisco, CA;
Graspr, Inc.; Sunnyvale, CA;
iForem, Inc.; Redwood Shores, CA;
InstaColl; Bangalore, India;
Jasper Wireless; Sunnyvale, CA;
kannuu, Inc.; Dallas, TX;
LiveMocha, Inc.; Bellevue, WA;
LogMeIn, Inc.; Woburn, MA;
LongJump; Sunnyvale, CA;
matchmine, LLC; Needham, MA;
MetaRADAR, Inc.; San Bruno, CA;
mig33; Burlingame, CA;
MotionDSP, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;
mSpoke, Inc.; Pittsburgh, PA;
MuseStorm, Ltd.; Yahud, Israel;
Myndnet; East Palo Alto, CA;
Myxer; Deerfield Beach, FL;
Ncursion; Carlsbad, CA;
PeopleJam, Inc.; Los Angeles, CA;
Phreesia, Inc.; New York, NY;
PlanHQ; Wellington, New Zealand;
Prolify, Inc.; Waltham, MA;
Propel Software Corporation; San Jose, CA;
Proxure; San Luis Obispo, CA;
Pudding Media, Inc.; San Jose, CA;
Quire, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;
Qumranet; Santa Clara, CA;
Real Time Content, Ltd.; Ipswich, England;
RedSquare Ventures, Ltd.; Moscow, Russia;
RelevantMind, Corp.; Berkeley, CA;
SceneCaster; Richmond Hill, Canada;
SpaceTime; New York, NY;
spigit; Pleasanton, CA;
Sway, Inc.; Middleton, WI;
|Talari Networks, Inc.; Cupertino, CA;
Trovix; Mountain View, CA;
Truphone; London, England;
Tubes Networks, Inc.; Boston, MA;
Tungle Corporation; Montreal, Canada;
Vello; Mountain View, CA;
Vitarati, Inc.; San Luis Obispo, CA;
Vyro Games, Ltd.; Dublin, Ireland;
WMS Gaming; Waukegan, IL;
Your Truman Show, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
Yuuguu, Ltd.; Manchester, England;

Friday, September 07, 2007

Free VoIP on your home phone

Supura SPA-3000
Originally uploaded by gadget.
The Late Summer 2007 Alt Vehicles issue #11 of Make Magazine has a story that you'll love if you were a former customer of SunRocket. This how-to shows you what you need to get a Washington State phone number and terminate it on the Sipura device here, or any unlocked VoIP adapter, or software. By doing so you can then receive all the calls you want for free, or make toll-free calls with NO MONTHLY CHARGE. Nada, zip, zilch.

The caveat is that you cannot make calls to other home or mobile numbers, nor Skype for now. If you have broadband (duh) and need a phone line to authenticate your TiVo or satellite box, activate credit cards or give your parents a way to call you that doesn't use up your cell phone minutes, then this is the story for you!

Got broadband? Add phone service for $0/month:

Oh, if you get your friends on Free World Dialup and THEN you can call each other and get off of Ma Bell's back!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mercedes-Benz Search and Send is a very cool failure.

Mercedes-Benz Search and Send
Originally uploaded by gadget.
These guys were SO close with this innovative service that reminds me of the "send to phone" browser plug-in for Firefox. Close, however but no cigar. Look, I love the redesigned C-Class. MBZ did a great job capturing the essence of the expensive S in this platform that even I could maybe afford (like my old 90's E-Class.) My question is how could they release a GPS feature which requires a second step "pull" of the address by the owner seated in the car after the first action or the "push" from the desktop - which could come from the owner, an executive admin, or significant other who asks for an errand run.

Engineers frequently screw up the user experience - as proved with this image above showing the steps for the Mercedes-Benz Search and Send:
1. Search for the location you want to find on your laptop (good idea #1 - we do that today often)
2. Send the directions to your device (good idea #2 - we email stuff to people from the web)
3. Download at the touch of a button (really BAD idea - who thinks to dial a voice service to get the data that has already been sent via a PC?)
4. Directions pop up on the navigation system (great idea #3 - but a SMS text message could do that automatically today.)

Consumers are overwhelmed with electronics and you need to know that "multi-steps means multi-failure points" causing products to fail in the marketplace. Case in point: it was Apple who created a better ripping and purchasing software program, that we all know as iTunes, along with a playing device that auto-synced the player which won the battle of the portable players. They were not the first in the market - by a long shot, Apple just made the experience better.

Search and Send should not be the forgotten technology that it will soon become. I have seen my friend's Germany based Autobahn cruising Porsche factory audio system receive and send text messages - just by putting your SIM into the head-unit, even "way back" in 2003. The Search and Send feature of their summer 2007 vehicles should have the ability to receive this map destination information as a SMS based text message that is automatically queued within the cellular network and pops up on-screen once the car is turned on. This is technically a closed solution with the Mercedes-Benz Telematics system via a partnership with Yahoo Maps and Google Maps, so creating a parsed single or even multiple SMS (to get over the 160 character limitation) message system would have been trivial.

Very cool, nice try, but it's doomed to failure. There is always version 2.0 however.

Friday, July 27, 2007

iPhone losing its luster and $500 notebook computers

Sony laptop and Apple iPhone on a floating house.Since I get called upon as a guest expert by the media in the consumer electronic space, I am going to make an effort to share the outlet details here so that you can tune into the net streams....

On Saturday, July 28th '07, I'll be making a second audible appearance on WCCO Radio's Esma Murphy show at 10:10 Central time. Last time we spoke about the iPhone where I weighed in on my opinion that "Americans love tactile feedback" and do not want to look at their thumbs on a screen in order to type. We will do some follow-up on that topic, as a few of the originally heavy users of the iPhone have grown less enamored by the $600 device and are longing for the "clickity click" of their Blackberries.

Don't get me wrong as this keyboard is truly revolutionary in nature - it auto-heals or picks the correct letter that it thinks you mean to type via a real-time dictionary; It can remove buttons that are not needed depending upon the field you are typing in - for example, the space bar is converted into www, "/" and .com during input of URL's; finally as you type, letters "rise up" out of the on-screen keyboard area to above your thumbs to show you what key was registered. The only lacking feature that kept me away was a way for my thumbs to "know" where they were. Even with the virtual click of the speaker, which is a nice way to audibly recognize input, it lacks that "touch factor" that Americans love about buttons. As a feature, what if you could choose between clicks of the speaker or mini-vibrations of the silent ringer alert? Could this benefit from a type of haptic response? Sounds novel and interesting to me!

For the Saturday radio show, also on deck is a chat about sub $500 laptops and what can you get for that bargain price. Back to school season is coming in a week or two and notebooks are cheaper, and of course more powerful than ever. They are also heavy in this price point, at around 6 pounds, so paying a little more saves you a pound or two. Most people keep their laptops plugged in at home anyway...

If you want to hear more, tune into on July 28th at 10:10pm in the central time zone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Killer cellphone and Kyte

I decided to check out the new web video posting service, tonight. To do my premier test, I took an MPEG video that I had lying around and uploaded it to their service. It was pretty straightforward, and I was also able to add a viewer poll to the video. I wish that I could pop the poll up at the end, I don't like it covering the video, but the service is new, and I didn't tinker with it much...

This video is from a email that circulated in late 2000 and shows a Yogoslavian or Croatian made four chamber .22 caliber gun. It is encased in a chassis resembling a mobile phone and buttons on the keypad are used to fire the rounds.

Note that these have not been found on U.S. soil, only Eastern Europe, and airport screeners have been trained to look for these weapons. This story is really only a test, but I wanted to throw a gadget into it that would make you think twice about why things like this even make their way out of people's minds and into the world.