I'm standing in the fading light of a Bolivian fall day, watching--along with much of the village of Tahana--as Anthony Harckham, with tools and wires in hand, heaves his 6-foot-plus Canadian frame onto the corrugated steel roof of a small, mud-walled home. With the glacial peaks of Mount Illampu, the northern bookend to Bolivia's Cordillera Real, as a backdrop, Anthony improvises a way to tack up a 15-by-20-centimeter solar panel with wood screws, and then he feeds wires from the panel under the eaves and into the home. I squeeze into the home's small living space to watch Anthony and his wife, Faith, connect the wires to a 12-volt lead-acid battery pack, which is wired through a switch box to a pair of lamps--transparent plastic boxes each jammed with a dozen white light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. One lamp hangs from a narrow ceiling beam, while a second is located in an adjoining lean-to that serves as a kitchen. The sun is all but gone when the Harckhams finally flip a toggle switch … [Read more...] about Lighting Up the Andes
Better homes and gardens cast
Back before home theater, before multimedia, before convergence, and yes, before the iPod, there was the specialty audio market. In fact, when it came to consumer electronics, specialty audio was the consumer electronics market. But with competition from video games, computers, the internet, and compressed audio, the specialty market has taken a hit over the years. These days the audio market is being kept afloat by the likes of ITunes and Windows Media, which to audiophiles–who cut their golden ears on the sound of LPs and later, high-resolution CDs–is a little like graduating from a Mercedes CL-Class to a VW Beetle. The latter fits into a lot more spaces but it?s not the most satisfying ride.Still, times change, and what once was known as the Stereophile Show for audiophiles has morphed into the Home Entertainment Show (HES) for techies featuring products, seminars and exhibits related to Stereophile?s sister publications and their industries: home theater, … [Read more...] about 2006 Home Entertainment Show Wrap-up
Pinterest on Monday announced new features and relationships with brands that will bring more functionality to its pins. The features, according to the social bookmarking company, will make the pins more "useful."blog post. Pins now show more information, so users have more than photos to help them determine interest. Product pins for clothing, furniture and other goods will include pricing, availability and information on where to buy the items. This information will be updated daily.Pinterest also added enhanced recipe pins that include details such as cooking time, ingredients and servings. Movie pins include content ratings, cast members and more details. An icon below pictures will identify those added details, which won't add clutter to pins.Brands and content partners provide updates to each of the new recipe, product and movie pins. Pinterest announced early partnerships with brands such as Anthropology, eBay, Etsy, Home Depot, Sephora, Shopify Shops, Sony, Target, Walmart and … [Read more...] about Pinterest Tacks On Brand-Friendly Features
At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.Ario — Dynamic light fixtureSunlight changes throughout the day, so why shouldn’t your indoor lights? Using research from Harvard Medical School, NASA, and the National Institutes of Health, Ario has created what it calls “the world’s first healthy connected lamp.” Like the sun, the lighting system changes light color and direction as the day goes on. Since light … [Read more...] about Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Aquaponic gardens and brainwave readers
Yesterday Facebook joined the slew of social services that offer embeddable content – and with that, the tide turned. Now Instagrams, tweets, and Facebook posts can all be built into sites and blogs … as can Spotify playlists, YouTube videos, and Google Maps. Almost anything even mildly interactive is embed-friendly.Is the screen capture button scared yet?It’s a living, breathing, changing thing, and it makes for better, more engaging content.The embeddable Web has been a long time coming, and Facebook’s acquiescence signals that it’s won. Now, you can be part-owner of a piece of content by giving it life somewhere else on the Internet other than where it originally came from. As a content producer, I’m obviously biased: being able to embed a tweet or a Facebook posts means that instead of my formerly static, “flat” sourcing – a screen-captured image or a my own typing up of a quote – I’m able to give the reader more. … [Read more...] about Facebook gets on board with embedding, and here’s why the Web is better for it
Ninety minutes. That’s precisely how long it took Microsoft to showcase more than 20 titles coming to the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms in the upcoming year. The company’s annual press conference at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the first briefing of the event aside from Bethesda’s inaugural appearance, was rooted as much in nostalgia as it was in the future of the Xbox console. The Redmond-based tech giant used the opportunity to talk about forthcoming indie offerings and blockbuster titles such Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, simultaneously peppering its conference with announcements pertaining to backwards comparability, customizable controllers, and an AR headset poised to place the block-imbued world of Minecraft before your very eyes. Related: Check out all the latest news and annoucements from E3 2015As expected, Microsoft placed much of its emphasis on exclusivity, emphasizing titles set to … [Read more...] about Games, hardware, and everything unveiled during Microsoft’s E3 conference
The 2015 McLaren 650S may well be the fastest car I’ve ever driven, and that’s no surprise. With a top speed of 207-mph, it’s one of the fastest cars on the planet.Standing in the courtyard of the hotel in Málaga, Spain, leaning against the fastest car I’ve ever driven, I glance over at my co-pilot.Slightly out of breath, he looks hypnotized by the orange supercar sitting before us. His eyes slowly wander from the car and onto my face.“Was I really going 275 kilometers per hour?” he asks.The next morning, I looked over from breakfast to see a childhood hero sitting at the adjacent table.“It was actually 273 … but who’s counting?” I reply with a chuckle.“You could’ve slowed me down,” he says. “We could’ve been arrested. Then again, that would’ve been such good press for both of us. We would’ve looked so cool …”“I know, Patrick, I know.” I reply, with a slow … [Read more...] about First Drive: 2015 McLaren 650S
When Google announced its fledgling Google TV platform last week, the first thing that sprang to mind was Nice. Google TV is going to be fantastic for Apple lovers.Why? Because Google and its supporting cast of industry players like Sony, Logitech, and Dish Network may finally be the competitive catalyst that can jab Apple with a stick and incite the company to innovate for the living room once again. Sure, the company has the somewhat successful Apple TV, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously downplayed the device to "hobby" status, which has been echoed in the company's financial reports to investors.The Apple TV has been a hobby, and frankly, it shows. Since it debuted three years ago, Apple has jazzed up the user interface, added a remote control app for the iPod touch and iPhone, tweaked the basic features a bit to make the Apple TV integrate better with iTunes, dropped the price and barely increased the storage capacity. It might sound like a lot, but these additions came over the … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Google TV Motivate Apple’s Amateur to Go Pro?
Whether you're talking about the Wii, the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3, the video game industry is on a record-setting pace for revenue in 2008. Consumers have scooped up billions of dollars worth of game consoles, accessories and big-budget titles. With sales set to top US$22 billion in 2008, according to The NPD Group, gaming looks as though it's weathering the ongoing economic downturn well.However, high-priced platforms and multi-million dollar games are not for everyone. There is an alternative to the realm of big-bucks publishers and monolithic developers like Electronic Arts -- open source gaming."In general, there is a rapidly and constantly growing list of games for Linux and open source software users," said Jay Lyman, an analyst at The 451 Group."While the degree of openness may limit the options for those seeking purely open source software, the general theme is more, better, and of course best of all, free," he told LinuxInsider .Open source game development is most … [Read more...] about OSS Gaming: Ready for the Big Leagues?
Welcome to the latest edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that mines the latest gadget announcements in search of the latest and greatest gizmos... or at least the ones that provoke enough interest to discuss.And what do you know? With another Apple Worldwide Developers Conference keynote in the book, there are plenty of Apple products over which we can cast our beady eye: Apple HomePod, a refreshed iMac Pro, and a new iPad Pro.These are not reviews, in part because some of these items are months away from hitting shelves. The ratings relate only to how much I'm interested in trying each product. The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod (pictured above), its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within.HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the … [Read more...] about GADGET DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home