January 17, 2007

the get it
LCD TV prices are falling faster than Michael Richard’s approval rating. When it comes to LCDs, Sharp’s AQUOS line is the measuring stick by which all others are measured. This week Newegg is featuring the 32″ Sharp AQUOUS LC32D50U HDTV for a low $799! This unit features a fast 6ms response time, built-in ATSC/QAM/NTSC Tuners and detachable stereo speakers. The built-in tuners allow you to pick up over-the-air High Definition signals without the need for a cable box. In addition, it also comes with inputs for HDMI and DVI. 3 Business Day Shipping will cost you $49.
the gizmo
We don’t need no stinking wires. One of the more mysterious technologies debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show 2007 was eCoupled Technology by Fulton Innovation. eCoupled uses the principle of inductive coupling to charge electronic devices sans wires. Basically, inductive coupling transfers energy from one device to another through a shared magnetic field. It isn’t a new concept, however, according to Fulton, this new incarnation uses “resonance-seeking circuitry that dynamically seeks and optimizes power transfer under multiple, varying load conditions and spatial configurations”. It’s all very black magic; however, this video is a good start. Also, here is a video from CES 2007 with a cheesy marketing guy. Fulton Innovation has formed alliances with Motorola, Visteon, Herman Miller and Mobility Electronics, so you should see this coming down the pipe soon in some new products.
the gorgeous
Apple wasn’t the only company showcasing chunky glass-n-aluminum goodness this past week, Philips also got into the act. Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2007, Philips unveiled the HTS8100 SoundBar and garnered a CNET Best of CES 2007 for home audio award. Don’t be fooled by the slim size of this unit, Philips claims the SoundBar will deliver a “full 5.1-surround sound experience through a one-piece, fully integrated, home theater system”. It features a new proprietary technology ill-named Ambisound with five amplifiers crow barred into this single unit. Philips has also accomplished quite a feat by including a built-in DVD player that offers up 1080p upconversion using HDMI and Faroudja DCDi circuitry.
the green

A waterless urinal? Yikes, it conjures up all sorts of unpleasant thoughts. Yet your average washroom urinal flushes over 151,000 liters of fresh water a year. The UK based company eco-cube has developed a cube system that uses natural organic microbes to handle all of the traditional unpleasantness normally associated with this bodily function. This includes lime scale, uric scale, ammonic scale and the elimination, not the masking, of odors. It works in conjunction with a biodegradable washroom cleaner which also acts as a booster for the blue eco cubes. In addition to not requiring any modifications to the existing plumbing, this product claims to promote a healthier and more hygienic environment. With the drier environment, the unfriendly bacteria are deprived of the moisture needed to form permanent colonies. Let’s see, 100% biodegradable, no capital equipment costs, eliminates odors, improves hygiene and reduces unnecessary water consumption by 98%, what are we waiting for?

the gossip
Feelin’ like an indentured servant to your cell phone company? Well if you signed a contract with Verizon or Cingular, you’re in luck. It’s time to go over the wall without having to pay an early termination fee. You see, after you sign your contract, the provider cannot change the terms. Recently both Verizon and Cingular have changed their rates on text messaging from $.10 to $.15. This type of change constitutes a change in terms and allows consumers to escape the contract. Obviously these companies are keeping quiet about this and some consumers have reported resistance while attempting this move. If you have problems with Cingular, The Consumerist has even provided a script here to assist you.