CES Unveiled 2013 highlights

6 January 2013 by Steve Blum
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Now your plants can talk to you.

Three different approaches to home automation and a sleek wearable video eyepiece and camera stood out from from the crowd tonight at CES Unveiled. More than 70 companies demonstrated new products at the annual pre-show press event. Mostly, it was headphones, speakers, big displays, mobile phone cases and various other accessories.

The new OLPC XO 4 tablet/computer was a delight, more about that here.

The other standouts were…

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The easy job was inventing wearable computing

It takes mojo to make the glasses and cuffs work, baby.

Expect entrepreneurs to bring the best not-ready-for-prime-time wearable computing concepts to CES.

Samsung's flexible touch screen and Google's Glass project could be ready for market as early as CES 2014. The prototypes that'll be floated next week will show us if they've narrowed the gap between the clunky toys that are available today and the sleek artwork that designers have been teasing us with for years.… More

Software isn't rocket science

30 December 2012 by Steve Blum

Parallel processing, Apollo style.

There’s more software in your car “than on the first spacecraft in the Seventies” according to Sanjay Poonen president of technology and innovation products at SAP, a keynoter at MobileCon 2012.

Actually, your phone – smart or not – has more code in it. Maybe even your wristwatch. The two Apollo guidance computers (one each in the Command and Lunar Modules) that went to the Moon each had the rough equivalent of 4 KB of what we’d call RAM and 64 KB of ROM.… More

Five Geek ways to celebrate Boxing Day

25 December 2012 by Steve Blum
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Like a calm, sunny morning after a hurricane, Boxing Day is a time to wallow in the luxury of nothing so urgent to do as yesterday and dream of the future without worrying about tomorrow.

Some don’t look at it that way, preferring instead to run frantically around the beach tidying up. Let them be.

The day after Christmas is a day off work in much of the erstwhile British Empire, originally an occasion to give gifts to people who work for you: a Christmas box of hand-me-down clothes and left over food bestowed on grateful servants by the lord of the manor.… More

The weather is here

22 December 2012 by Steve Blum
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A stormy morning on Monterey Bay got me thinking about Blueseed, a plan to anchor a high-tech haven twelve nautical miles off the San Mateo County coast, in international waters.

It looks like a floating city in conceptual images, but if it actually puts to sea version 1.0 would have to be a converted cruise ship. If it takes off, then maybe enough capital will be there for custom ship building. For now, they’re working with a six-figure seed fund.… More

Oh, you mean a Maxwell Smart home

“Chaos is an opportunity for people like me,” said Tom Kadlec, one of the founders of The Homeworks Group. They do the hard work of integrating and managing home automation systems for about a thousand subscribers. Both he and his partner have electrical engineering degrees, which is great for them but not so good for the home handyman who majored in, say, political science.

Come quick, 99. I’m surrounded by ARMed phones.

Protocol agnostic and easy to use: home automation needs heavy helpings of both if it’s to ever find its secret sauce.… More

Smokey and the Crowdsource Bandit

Burt Reynolds made a couple of good movies and several bad ones featuring fast cars, CB radios and a determined, but dim-witted, police pursuit. A 21st Century remake of Smokey and the Bandit or Cannonball Run would feature Escort Inc’s SmartCord-enabled radar detectors, which can pull in real time radar/lidar trap information from every similarly equipped car on the road and display it on a smartphone screen.

They call it “social networking for the road”. Sheriff Buford T.… More

What the gods would destroy they first give to corporate brand managers


That’s a TikiTag there.

Took a first look at TikiTag. It’s perfect for Santa Cruz. It could put geeks on the beach. If we can save it from the suits.

Saw it at the Showstoppers event at CES last month, and the TikiTag people were kind enough to send me a demo kit.

Technically, it’s simple. The kit contains a USB-enabled RFID reader and ten sticky RFID tags. Download the app from the website, set up an account, plug in the reader, swipe a tag and something happens.… More

Eye contact is next teeping opportunity

Telepresence is to teleconferencing as dining is to eating. One is a mechanical process, the other transforms the simple act into a complete social experience. Or so the hope goes.

Also known as teeping, the idea is to create a completely immersive environment where you forget that the person you’re talking with is not physically present. Cisco is pushing this technology hard, but hasn’t crossed the line from teleconference to telepresence.


Teeping opportunity

I spent some time in a Cisco telepresence demo room this week, during a small business symposium co-hosted by the TIA and Cisco.… More