February 6, 2008

Time to upgrade that monitor. Why not pick yourself up a nice 19″ widescreen? They’re cheaper than you think. The Samsung SyncMaster 920NW is a nice, narrow bezeled 19″ widescreen TFT-LCD. It features 1400 x 900 resolution, 700:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response time, and a 160 degree viewing angle. Right now Buy.com has the 920NW for a low $159.99 with free shipping.
I wanted to feature this so bad. Come on, a mechanical Venus Fly Trap that traps insects using motion activated sensors then sentences them to a Lucite Magneto-esque prison. Is someone trying to test me here? No such luck, Garmin had to go ahead and announced their new super fantastic nüvifone. Garmin, best known for their solid GPS-ness, sent a bit of a ripple out into the cell phone industry by crow barring some sweet mobile phoning into one of their GPS devices. Surprisingly, if it delivers what the press release promises, it looks to be a doozy. Besides all of the standard Garmin GPS goodness, the nüvifone features HSDPA (3.5G), full-blown messaging (email, text and IM), web browser, Google local search capability, and MP3 and MPEG4/AAC support. In addition, it sports a built-in camera that embeds each photo with the exact latitude and longitude reference of where the image was taken. On top of all of that, it also looks great. Click here for all the juicy details and the official press release. Here are some nice screenshots of the UI. The nüvifone will be available in Q3 2008. No pricing info yet.
In just about 180 days or so the 2008 Olympics will be up and running with all eyes on China, and boy, have they ever gone over the top. One of the many buildings getting quite a bit of attention is the Olympics’ Aquatic Center, also called the Water Cube. It is the world’s largest membrane structure building and will host swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming competitions. Its facilities were tested this past week during the China Open swimming championships and all the world got a look. Here are some great nighttime exterior shots . If you want to get a look inside, click here and then click the first photo in the second row titled “Photos: A look inside the ‘Water Cube'”. It’s quite amazing and definitely worth the look. It took over four years and is the only Olympic venue funded by $110 million in donations from ethnic Chinese living outside mainland China (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).
When it comes to children’s toys these days, it’s tough to find anything eco-friendly about them. Whether they are further filling the world’s landfills with their plastic, going through batteries like mad or being recalled, they don’t exactly get a gold star. So it was a nice surprise to hear someone doing something a little different. It all started a few years ago when fifteen Israeli design students from Tel Aviv’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design were asked by the Chinese-based company HaPe, to design toys with bamboo. Once in China, the students trained with local craftsmen and conducted focus groups with children to flesh out the designs. This relationship has blossomed into the “Eco-Play With Bamboo” conference and exhibition, which occurred this week in Israel and featured guest lecturers from Germany, France and China to discuss why using bamboo is a good material for your kids’ toys.
Ah, the Google phone rumor mill is cranking up again. Can you hear it? This time they’ve got Google partnering up with Dell to spawn the first Android phone, hoping to bring all of Google’s online services to mobile users. Android is a complete, open, and free mobile platform, developed by the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies. According to the rumor, this Dell/Google alliance will be announced next week at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona. The GSM Association (GSMA) is a global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 217 territories and countries of the world. Honestly, I’ve heard so many Gphone rumors; I’m not holding my breath.