April 18, 2007

If you are looking for a new monitor or LCD TV these days, it is definitely a buyer’s market. These prices are getting ridiculous. This week I am featuring the KDS K22MDWB 22-inch widescreen LCD Monitor. This widescreen monitor has an aspect ratio of 16:10, has fast 5ms response time, 700:1 contrast ratio, integrated speakers and is wall mountable. In addition to the VGA connection for computer use, this monitor also has a DVI HDCP connection which allows you to directly connect a DVD player or set-top box. CompUSA is offering this great monitor for $229 with free shipping.
What I like about Belkin’s new WiFi-enabled USB hub is its evil twin like appearance to the new AppleTV. All kidding aside, this gadget is a real winner. Imagine taking all of your USB devices, this includes printers, iPods, external hard drives, etc and making them wirelessly available to all the computers on your network, just as if they were attached. The Belkin hub has a total of five USB 2.0 ports, with two up front and three in the back. In addition, it comes bundled with software that allows computers connected to the network to interact with your USB devices as if they were directly connected to the computer. The hub in turn, connects to your network and transparently provides a high speed 802.11n wireless bridge to all connected USB devices. The new hub will be available for sale in the US in June for around $130 with a Mac version coming in August. 
As most of you know, each week I normally reserve this space to showcase a beautifully designed product. However, this week will be a bit different. This week I am featuring a video that hopefully is a glimpse of things to come. It was produced by Intel and shows just how some of the gadgets in the not-too-distant future will be integrated into our lives. Not only is the technology remarkable, the designs are just fantastic. As great as the iPhone is, some of these products make it look like an old  8-track player. It is not very long, but is well worth the look. Soon you will be asking, “why can’t my TV understand me?”
In an effort to provide a testbed for high throughput solar, architect Rolf Disch put his money where his mouth is. He designed a house for himself that redefines green living. This house actually generates more energy than it consumes. Not satisfied with just putting a sun tracking solar panel that rotates on the roof, he actually designed the house to rotate! That’s right, the entire house is built on a vertical axis that rotates much like those cake stands in diner bakery display cases. During the winter, the triple-glazed glass in the front is pointed toward the sun to provide warmth and in the summer it is reversed where the heavily insulated backside shields the interior from the same. In addition, Rolf has designed his roof balcony railing to do double-duty as solar vacuum tubes to heat water for use throughout the house. Okay, so it is not the most beautifully house (although the interior shots don’t look bad), but it makes you think about how the outer skin of a structure can be more of an active participant in the overall design.
Last week, Hao Kuo Chi, a Geek Squad employee, attempted to provide a new service that wasn’t exactly on the Geek Squad Home Service list. Apparently, Sarah Vasquez and her mother, Natalie Fornaciari didn’t sign up for the cell-phone-shower-recording. However, that didn’t dissuade Hao, he started up the video camera in his cell phone and set it up to shoot Vasquez. The phone was spotted and as a result, she and her mother filed a lawsuit against Hao, Geek Squad and Best Buy, who recommended Geek Squad in the first place, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligent hiring, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Of course, they will be seeking general, compensatory and punitive damages. To add insult to injury, after the woman’s sister removed the memory card from the phone, the tech attempted to get it back by offering discounted services.