IBM has devised a new device in collaboration with eMeter which is based on a smart grid. This device has been developed under their smarter planet strategy. This technology helps in intelligent power management of the house and is available to the public.
A smart grid uses two-way digital technology to deliver electricity to customers’ homes and to control appliances to increase energy efficiency and reduce power use. A smart grid includes an intelligent monitoring system that keeps track of all electricity flowing in the system, new power lines to reduce the power lost during transmission and the ability to integrate alternative sources of electricity such as solar and wind.
Smart grid can be used to regulate power to a device. For example, we can program/control the fans to work only for the hours we stay in the room. This makes power management easier and more efficient. The US government has already laid out plans for implementing this in public utilities at large firms. IBM aims to provide this service to smaller utilities, which are not covered by the government plan.
The eMeter smart grid appliance is completely built with IBM hardware and software. This device monitors two-way energy flow and strikes out a balance between all active devices.
The product is expected to be available by the second quarter of this year.
Millions of views on a video is okay but even a few comments can make it annoying for some people. YouTube does have an option to block comments in works but how about if you can do it more easily. If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, there is a great extension that can block all the YouTube comments for you.
Once you have installed the extension from here, browse YouTube like you normally do and you won’t even notice that the comments section has completely disappeared. The extension works seamlessly without making it obvious that the comments have actually been blocked. In addition to keeping out the useless banter between users, blocking the comments also makes the page shorter and hence easier to scroll.
The extension was introduced very recently so might have a few bugs but overall seems to be a very useful and productive add-on. If you are looking for some more useful Chrome extensions, here are some really good ones that we have covered in the past. On the other hand, if you are a Firefox user and want to manage YouTube comments better, here is a great add-on for that.
Looks like Google’s brawl with China does not have a limited impact. Google’s apparently courageous act of stopping censorship of results in China despite a possible loss of half a billion dollars, is encouraging other companies to stand up against the questionable regulations proposed by the Chinese government.
GoDaddy, the largest domain registrar in the world, says they will no longer register domains in China due to a new requirement for excessive personal information. Reportedly, a new domain registration applicant in China also has to provide a photograph now in addition to lots of other information. Authorities in China claim that these regulations will help in better monitoring, however, it is quite apparent that all China wants to monitor is anything said against it. There have been numerous incidents of websites being shutdown due to having questionable content without providing any detailed explanations to the website owner or hosting provider. Most of these websites had information about topics like Tianmen Square or Human Rights.
As more and more companies like Google and GoDaddy cease or limit their operations in China, the issue will take a much more serious political turn with the two governments getting involved. Google’s Sergey Brin along with thousands of other people are already requesting the US government to take this issue up with China at the government level.
Welcome to Webby Wednesdays – a brief compilation of some useful web services which we found useful during the course of this week.
Creately: Create and Collaborate on Online Diagrams
Do you find yourself helpless when you have to make a proposal to some distant client? May be the customer is unable to understand your idea and approach, and a mere IM chat produces less results. That’s when you need Creately – a new web service which let’s you create diagrams, flow charts and strategy diagrams online.
There are lot of similar tools out there but what sets Creately apart is the easy to use interface and a wide range of already available templates. You can quickly create project diagrams, business strategies and let other members collaborate on the diagram from any part of the world.
The site supports a lot of objects and logical blocks which can be added in your diagram with little effort. You can revert back to an earlier state of the diagram anytime, because Creately saves revision history of all your charts.
Here is a wonderful screencast which briefly describes the useful features of Creately:
Lifeyo: Build Websites The Easy way
Want to create a small website for your company or business? Don’t have enough knowledge or expertise on coding and customization? Check out Lifeyo – a website which makes it super easy to create blogs and websites. Neither you need to find a web hosting service and manage the web server on your own, nor you need to install any kind of software to run your website.
All you get is an easy to use interface to build pages and content for your blog or website. The entire management of your site remains in Lifeyo’s hands and you need not worry about database failures, scheduled backups and losing your site due to technical glitches.
Lifeyo provides a free domain name such as abc.lifeyo.com, but if you want to have a custom domain name, you have to pay them $50 a year. This is quite cheap, as compared to other hosting providers who will provide you with more space but at the cost of more pricing.
InfoSpinner: Find The Geographical Location of an IP Address
IP address stands for internet protocol address and it can be used to find the geographical location of a person who is using the internet from some part of the world. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if you could track the location of a specific IP address directly on Google Maps?
Enter InfoSpinner – a simple yet useful web service which can be used to find the geographical location of IP addresses on Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and Windows Live.
Apart from the name of the city, this site can also be used to find out the zip code, latitude, longitude, country of origin etc. So if you are receiving spam comments in your blog from a particular IP, you can check in which city the spammer lives.
SleepingTime: Find When your Twitter Friends Sleep
You may wonder whether some of the tweeples, who post hundreds of tweets every day ever go to bed? Sleepingtime can tell when your Twitter friends sleep. Just enter the Twitter username of the friend and the site returns a predicted sleeping pattern of the friend.
The tool analyzes the tweeting pattern of your friend and combines it with the time zone information from the profile to predict the sleeping time of a user. However, the site does not work for private accounts.
On each wednesday, we will come up with a brief roundup of new web tools which provide value and add something extra to your daily technology. Stay tuned!
It seems that even Verizon is trying to enter the App store race. Today in the CTIA annual wireless trade show, Verizon Wireless stated that it is going to open it’s own App Store as soon as March 29.
Verizon is the biggest US mobile operator and holds a major portion of today’s smartphones. It has many Androids under it. As such, this new idea may prove to be a big hit for Verizon.
Verizon also claims that their App Store will be more convenient to users as they will be able to pay for their Apps directly via their phone bills. Other App Stores require a seperate account for handling such transfers.
[Windows Only] When it comes to desktop music players, Foobar is my software of choice. It’s got features, it’s got speed and it can be customized like a ball of soft clay. Previously, I have written about how to turn the minimalistic interface of Foobar into something more expressive, and here’s something adding to it.
If you use Google Talk as your primary Internet Messenger and prefer Foobar for listening to music, you would have noticed that when setting the status in Google Talk, the Show Current Music Trackfeature doesn’t work. Well, it is not really supposed to work as such. Apparently, Google Talk only supports iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Yahoo Music Jukebox. The small number of supported players is actually justified because given the state and construction of every music player, the developers would have to utilize and bring to work a different API for each media player, which is not a viable option provided the large number of music players available.
So what does a user of a lesser known media player like Foobar do? Given the extensiveness of the audio player in question here, it is pretty easy. All it needs is a plugin, a little hack and minor registry editing.
Blogger Siddharth from UberUllu.com shows you how to make the task at hand happen. You should read the post over there, but I will explain briefly how it works. First you get a plugin, or component in foo-speak and install it to your Foobar. Next you’ll need a registry hack. And then you will need to create an empty playlist file in the Foobar directory. Now since Google Talk happens to support Winamp, when you choose the Show Current Music Trackoption, it will look for Winamp on your system. The registry hack that was applied earlier now deceives Google Talk into believing that Winamp is actually located in your Foobar installation folder. The Foobar component that was installed emulates a Winamp 2.x window so that other plugins and applications (Google talk in this case) can work with Foobar without any trouble. The empty playlist file probably facilitates the process.
So ultimately, now you can update all your contacts with the music track you are tuning into.
Motorola recently announced its Android powered smartphone, Motorola i1 on the airwaves of wireless carrier Sprint. Motorola i1 is the world’s first push-to-talk Android powered smartphone. Motorola i1 is also the first iDEN device which includes some amazing features such as 3.1 inches touch screen, Wi-Fi, optimized web browsing with the latest Opera Mini 5 browser and a push-to-talk experience.
Motorola remains focused on delivering differentiated Android experiences within our product portfolio. With the Motorola i1, we’re excited to offer iDEN users the opportunity to enjoy a feature-rich smartphone with push-to-talk, whether it’s for work or play, said Mark Shockley, senior vice president, Motorola Mobile Devices.
As the first Nextel Direct Connect Android smartphone, Motorola i1 with Wi-Fi offers a powerful tool for our customers with access to thousands of applications in the Android Market. With rugged durability, a full touchscreen and 5.0 megapixel camera, Motorola i1 gives push-to-talk customers a compelling smartphone that can withstand some of the harshest environments, said Fared Adib, vice president Product Development, Sprint.
Motorola i1 is a powerful smartphone that runs on Android operating system. It features a 3.1 inches touchscreen display with 320 x 480 pixels resolution, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, MicroSD card slot, 32GB expandable memory, VGA video recording, audio and video player, Bluetooth, A-GPS, GPRS/EDGE connectivity, document viewer and much more.
This handset will be available in North America during summer. The price of this handset is not announced yet. You can pre-register this handset at Sprint’s website.
As hackers get smarter, computers get more powerful; nation’s security is at stake. The same is true for your own personal and financial information transmitted by phone or over the internet.
The work of hackers is surely not going to be easy any more, with the invention of laser security system.
Two Israeli scientists have made use of existing fibre optic and computer technology. It is found that by transmitting binary lock-and-key information in the form of light pulses, the device ensures that only the sender and receiver, and absolutely nobody else can unlock a key.
The data can reach over 3,000 miles without any serious parts of the signal being lost.It is done by transmitting the signal in a binary code (the key bearer) in the form of 1s and 0s, but using light and lasers instead of numbers.
T-Mobile started selling HTC HD2 phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5 in stores earlier today, however, it looks like the phone was so popular that T-Mobile retail stores have run out of stock in the first few hours itself.
I came across several forum users who said that T-Mobile stores were sold out as early as 9:30AM in some places. Others were able to purchase the phone from Walmart, however, more and more users are returning empty handed from the T-Mobile stores.
TMO News also came across sources who said that the HTC HD2 were sold out across most of the retail stores. However, some stores still have the device in stock, so you might want to rush to the store before they sell out too.
Everything aside, if you do not get your hands on the HTC HD2, you can always order it online at the T-Mobile store and pick it up in-store after they have restocked in a day or two.
X380 has some interesting features for a low-end phone including MP3 ringtones, loud stereo speaker, wireless FM radio, expandable memory of up-to 2GB, music player, support for multiple (dual) GSM SIM cards, color display and a torch.
According to ET, the phone will be targeted at tier II and tier III cities and will be priced at Rs. 1,399 which is pretty cheap considering the features it has. The phone will sell through over 200 distributors across the country.
Zen Mobiles MD Deepesh Gupta said:
With the launch of X380, Zen Mobiles has introduced a multimedia featured affordable handset to the Indian mobile users revolutionizing the market for handsets. Presently, we are targeting tier-II and tier-III cities since major chunk of growth lies in this sector only
The statement is definitely true considering that it packs all these features into the phone. Would you purchase the Zen Mobiles X380? You will find more information about the handset here.