January 24, 2007

Okay, we’re going to keep it simple this week.  No fuss, no muss.  Buy.com is offering a Kingston Technology 2GB Secure Digital memory card plus a USB external card reader for $19.95 with free shipping.  Kingston Technology new TravelLite SD/MMC Reader is designed for today popular SD and MMC Flash memory cards and provides quick and easy transfer of data between a PC or Mac computer and other digital devices… Blah, blah, blah, you don’t need to know this, you just need to know that it’s a good memory card for your camera, PDA or cell phone and it only costs $19.95. 
Replace that old clock and calendar on your desk with the new WidgetStation from Emtrace.  It is a beautifully designed “widget” that can report and display all types of information using different information providers via the web.  It connects up using Wi-Fi, USB or Ethernet.  Beyond simple things like displaying the time, think weather, stock quotes, stories, etc.  Emtrace plans on delivering more of these information “widgets” over time.  I would imagine, if this becomes successful, it would lead to third party developers contributing also.  On the left side it contains a monochrome LCD and on the right, a full color LCD. Here is a nicer pic than what appears on their site.  No release date or price has been announced, however, this is not vaporware, it garnered an award at CES 2007 and here is a video (in Spanish) showing it in action.     
Remember the User Interface that Tom Cruise used in Minority Report?  Well, it is becoming a reality.  Jefferson Han, a research scientist for New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has developed what he calls the “interface-free” touch driven computer screen.  This isn’t your bank’s ATM or airport ticket kiosk, this is a mind-blowing multi-touch interface.  “Touch is one of the most intuitive things in the world,” Han says. “Instead of being one step removed, like you are with a mouse and keyboard, you have direct manipulation. It’s a completely natural reaction–to see an object and want to touch it.”  It is impossible for me to even begin to describe it here.  You have to check out a video demoing its capabilities here.  Ignore the opening Fast Company commercial and try to watch the whole thing through (it will start automatically after the commercial, don’t click the ‘Play Video’ icon, it will replay the commercial).  Your patience will be rewarded.
Do you know that the country of China produces 450 billion pairs of chopsticks a year?  And that is just for domestic consumption.  The sad thing is that this production downs the equivalent of 25 million trees and the chopsticks are usually disposed of after a single use!  This has become such an issue, China has imposed a 5% consumption tax on chopsticks.  “This is part of the government’s strategy of rebalancing growth and reducing energy demand,” said Ben Simpfendorfer, a strategist with the Royal Bank of Scotland in Hong Kong.  Bambu, the environmentally conscious company that produces all of those great bamboo products, has introduced SnapStix.  These chopsticks are shaped from 100% organically grown bamboo, use no bleaches or dyes, are reusable and have a unique design that includes a built-in chopstick rest.  Just two snaps and you are ready to go! You can pick them up here for $1.99.
Germaphobes, you should not continue reading, this is sure to ruin your day.  Dial-a-Phone, a mobile phone retailer, conducted a study basically proving that there are more bacteria on your cell phone than the average toilet seat!  In fact, the cell phone came in dead last behind your average door handle, keyboard, bottom of a shoe and toilet seat.  Apparently the combination of the close proximity to your mouth and the warmth of our pockets, handbags or brief cases, is the perfect breeding ground for this type of bacteria.  And what type of bacteria is that?  It’s our good ole friend, staphylococcus aureus.  This bacterium is toxic to humans and can cause infections.  What is one to do?  They suggest a regular cleaning with an antibacterial wipe will do the trick.  Mmmm… iStaphylococcus toilet phone.