April 9, 2008

Thinking of upgrading your mouse? Look no further. Buy.com is offering a super low price on the Logitech VX Revolution Cordless Laser Mouse. This mouse is so feature packed, it makes your old mouse look like a pet rock. I won’t bore you with all the details, just the most important one; Buy.com is basically giving this mouse away for the low price of $34.99 after rebate. That is less than half the price everyone else is charging. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Dell and Radio Shack both have it for $79.99 and Staples lists it at $99.98!
Boy, it’s hard to believe that just a short time ago folks were walking around with video cameras equipped with shoulder supports. You remember those, don’t you? On top of the fact that you were basically carrying the equivalent of a car battery on your shoulder, the video quality wasn’t anything to write home about either. Well, we’ve come a long way. This week Sony released a new model that is being dubbed the world’s smallest full HD camcorder. The new titanium-bodied Sony HDR-TG1 is a diminutive 1.3-inches wide by 4.7-inches tall by 2.5-inches deep and is capable of recording 1920 x 1080 HD video and 4-megapixel digital photos! The media is stored directly to Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo™ or PRO Duo Mark2 media cards. In addition, the HDR-TG1 features a high-quality Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 10x optical zoom lens, Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel surround sound, face detection technology, and a unique processing engine that automatically adjusts under- or over-exposed areas in a picture. Click here for a gallery of the HDR-TG1.
I have to admit, it’s sort of sad to see all of these companies clamoring to develop something to compete with the Jesus phone. For the most part, it has been nothing but an exercise in futility, however, I think some of the smoke is starting to clear. This is especially true when you see a product like Lenovo’s new Ideapad U8. Packaged in a beautiful ergonomic design, this feature-rich “internet device” looks to be a real player. All the specs are still yet to be confirmed but we do know that it will be running the new micro-sized Intel Atom chip, has a 4.8 inch touchscreen, supports 3G, EDGE, has GPS, hand written note taking, and support for MS Office applications. More importantly, in the photos it looks to have a full phone keypad which hopefully means it will be capable of making calls. Check out the video for the full marketing experience.
Already putting those new CFLs to shame, some smart boys over at Luxim labs have created a light bulb, not much bigger than a Flintstone chewable, that is more powerful than a modern day streetlight. Utilizing some serious scientific voodoo, the Argon gas filled LiFi bulbs transform the contents into plasma as electricity is focused through it. This process allows virtually all of the energy to be converted to light instead of heat as a conventional bulb does. At 140 lumens/watt, these bulbs are 10 times more efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs, twice as efficient as current high-end LEDs, and also beat CFLs, most of which are around 50-80 lumens/watt. Moreover, they are not plagued with the issue of unattractive light like most high-efficiency light sources. The color rendering index (CRI) for the LiFi is 91 (max is 100). This is the index that measures the ability of a light source to reproduce colors naturally. In addition, the lifetime for the LiFi bulb is estimated at 20,000 hours! Page down and watch the video, it’s truly amazing.
The stage was set, one sponsor, three computers, three different operating systems and a boatload of hackers. This year at the CanSecWest Applied Security Conference, a MacBook Air running Mac OS X, a Fujitsu laptop running Vista SP1 and a Sony Vaio running Linux were all pitted against each other in a nerd Battle Royale. The rules were simple, hack into one of the systems, run your own software and the computer was yours for the taking. Well, the results are in; The MacBook Air fell on day two, with the Fujitsu biting the dust on day three and the Linux-sourced Sony left crying “Adrienne” in the center of the ring, undefeated. There were a few attempts to break the Linux but none succeeded. Terri Forslof, a manager of security response with TippingPoint said “I was surprised that it didn’t go.”

As someone who sells light bulbs for a living, I find this advancement to be exciting. Currently, we sell quite a few compact fluorescent bulbs, but many of our customers have concerns about their mercury content. If this technology were to become scaled down to a size that could be utilized by the average consumer, it would be far more efficient (in terms of lumens per watt) than compact fluorescents, and presumably less toxic.

Most CFLs today on the market contain less than 5mgs of mercury and there are CFL options out there that contain as little as 1.5mgs of mercury- which can hardly be called a “significant amounts of mercury” considering that many item in your home contain 100s of times more of mercury including your computer. Mercury levels in CFLs can never be “nonexistent” since mercury is a necessary component of a CFL and there is no other known element that is capable of replacing it. But CFLs actually prevent more mercury from entering the environment. According to the Union of Concerned Scientist, “a coal-fired power plant will emit about four times more mercury to keep an incandescent bulb glowing, compared with a CFL of the same light output”.