June 6, 2007

Time to throw out that old fashioned, radiation-emitting tube TV and treat yourself to a new plasma. Panasonic consistently receives high ratings for their plasmas and this model is no exception. The Panasonic TH-50PX600U 50″ has a high 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 1366 x 768 resolution, two HDMI inputs, three component inputs, and a VGA-style PC input. It also has an integrated CableCard slot and HDTV tuner, which means you can receive over-the-air HDTV and digital cable without an external set-top box. Get this great set for the bargain price of $1399 with free shipping. Come on folks, a 50″ TV for $1399, that’s just crazy!
This week Microsoft began to show the results of a secret project that they have been working on for the past 5 years. Codenamed Milan, the product behind the new project is called Surface. It is a new computing environment that allows the user to directly interact with a touch-sensitive 30-inch tabletop setup without using anything but your digits. No keyboard, mouse or external ports needed, just your fingers. Want to pull off the latest photos from your digital camera? Just set it on top and drag and drop your photos. This technology also works with cell phones and MP3 players. Think about dragging and dropping driving directions or contact info directly into your phone. Words can’t do it justice, take the time to check out some of the video. In addition to the official Microsoft Surface link below, I have included a few other videos from other publications. Here is a video from Popular Mechanics and one from the Today Show. Surface will become available in the 4th quarter of 2007.
You know here at the Hit List, I like me some watch. Every time I think I’ve seen the most original interpretation of a timepiece, along comes something new. Roger Kellenberger, a Swiss design student, studying Industrial Design in Berlin, has come up with quite an original concept. No traditional hour, minute or second hand, not even a face! Instead an illuminated rotating disk “marks” time with nothing but air where you would normally expect to see the face. The M60M also features a beautiful spring-loaded latch which according to Kellenberger, operates like a “snowboard soft binding for the wrist” which allows it to be worn tight or loose. No word yet on pricing or availability.
Looking to green-up your office? This week Hewlett-Packard, in conjunction with the Green Electronics Council, announced that their new rp5700 Business Desktop PC is the first to receive the “gold” status of the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). What is “gold” status? I’m glad you asked. EPEAT-registered products are designated as “bronze,” “silver” or “gold” depending on the number of environmental features they possess, such as reduced levels of hazardous materials, improved energy efficiency, and ease of upgrade and recycle. HP claims that the new rp5700 is made of up components that are 95% recyclable. In addition, it uses 80% less energy than the standard desktop. Besides its lessened impact on the environment, that efficiency also translates into a longer life, thus decreasing IT costs.
Google’s new Street View is less than 1 week old and it is already causing quite a stir. Mary Kalin-Casey was a bit shocked when she zoomed in on her street using the new feature. There, for everyone to see was her cat Monty! Feeling her privacy had been invaded, she requested that the shot be removed. Google’s response was that “Street View only features imagery taken on public property,” and “This imagery is no different from what any person can readily capture or see walking down the street.” Here is the shot of Monty. That’s a cat?? Is that what that is? It looks like one of those pictures that you have to stare at until the image appears. To capture the 360-degree view, Google is using vehicles equipped with this scary 11-camera thingamajig affixed to the top. Here is a link to a collection of some of the more “interesting” shots from the Street View project. It features everything from accidents to public urination.