Monday, October 29, 2007

New PoliceDevice: Shake, Rattle and Roll

SOURCE: Washington Post

With his lights and sirens blaring, D.C. police officer Lou Schneider raced to an emergency call, past dozens of startled onlookers standing on the crowded streets of the city's Chinatown area.

The ground beneath Schneider's patrol car literally was quivering.

"You know when this is coming up behind you," said Schneider, one of a few dozen D.C. officers who are using the department's newest sirens -- the ones that people can feel as well as hear.

"It vibrates everything," he said.

Meet the Rumbler.

The high-tech blaster is being used along with the traditional siren. It is aimed at grabbing people's attention and getting them to make room for officers responding to emergencies, helping police navigate through traffic faster and safer. People can feel it from about 200 feet away.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Technology's pipeline becomes lifeline for fire victims

SAN FRANCISCO — Technology is proving crucial as Southern California residents fight raging wildfires.

They're using text messages, video, blogs, Google maps and databases to describe the chaos, find missing people and share strategies.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

What is Blog Action Day
Encourages bloggers to write on one specific topic on a specified day of the year.

Where to buy Recyclable Products

BTC ELEMENTS Reclaimed Harley Tube Tops, Rebuilt Levi Skirts, Vintage Kimono Purses, Recycled Cashmere Tops, Reclaimed Furniture

CHECK GALLERY CHECKS Are Printed with Soy-Based Ink on Recycled Paper. Check Gallery isAmerica’s Leading Environmentally-Friendly Bank Check Printer.

DAX STORES 100% Recycled Plastic Lumber Patio Furniture, Adirondack and Traditional Styles

EARTH FRIENDLY GOODS Recycled Vegan Hemp Shoes, Bags, and Accessories

ECO-ARTWARE.COM Gifts from Recycled, Reused and Natural Materials for All Occasions and Pocketbooks

KENCODE COMPUTING Save $$, Reduce Waste. Have Your Inkjet Cartridges Professionally Refilled.

KWYTZA CHOPSTICK ART Products Made with Recycled Bamboo Chopsticks

Recyclable Art (ideas)

Recyclable List

Aluminum Cans
Beverage Containers
Brown Paper Bags
Cereal Boxes
Dry Cardboard
Dry Cartons
Empty Aerosol Cans
Juice Bottles
Junk Mail
Magazines / Catalogs
Milk Jugs
Paper Bags
Pie Tins
Plastic Bottles
Plastic Products #1 - #7
Steel & Tin Cans
Telephone Books
Water/Soda Bottles
White/Mixed Paper


Auto Parts
Disposable Diapers
Drinking Glasses
Pet Waste
Plastic Bags
Plastic Toys
Plumbing Parts
Pyrex Glass
Rubber Products
Waxed & Soiled Paper
Window Glass
Window Glass/Mirrors

Where Can I Recycle?

1-800-CLEAN-UP or Web Site

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

High-Tech Shopping Carts

U.S. technology services company EDS outlined a concept that would create a grocery cart that would warn shoppers them if they're buying too much junk food. The high-tech cart will be fitted with a computer screen and barcode scanner. This way a shopper can scan each product's individual code to give customers information about calories, nutrition, ethical sourcing and the environment.

On behalf of EDS, international food and grocery expert IGD conducted a study of grocery consumers.

· 95% of people want nutritional information
· 93% want ethical information
· 92% look for environmental information

Other survey information:
· 22% of people want information on country of origin of fresh products (fruit, vegetables and meat). A similar number
. 21% want information about locally and regionally sourced produce
· 19% of people requested information on whether their products were free range
· 15% of people wanted to see a Fairtrade logo on the fruit and vegetables that they buy
· 78% of people say they prefer to get information from on-pack labelling.
· 46% of shoppers want retailers to cut back on unnecessary packaging.

EDS says the screens would reduce the need for extensive packaging which would help stores to tackle environmental concerns and provide consumers with products that have less packaging. In addition, the barcode readers will calculate the nutritional content and ingredients.

It’s high-time that the humble barcode is recognised as a practical and cost-effective solution to consumers’ thirst for information. RFID chips will have an important role to play in the future as information about individual items becomes more important. But retailers don’t need to wait for RFID chips to come down in price before responding to consumer information demands. We want to work with retailers to give shoppers the information they need to make informed choices sooner rather than later.

- Sion Roberts, EMEA Industry Leader for Consumer Industries & Retail, EDS

However with connivance comes commercialism. Imaging grabbing a cart to do a quick grocery shop for a week worth of work lunch and snacks and hearing a lovely voice tell you that there's a nice white wine in Aisle 6 that would go perfectly with your park picnic lunch meat. Or “jazz up your lunch with your favorite brand of salami which just happens to be on sale and, by the way, it's been six weeks since you bought toilet paper.”

Other companies including Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard are also working on similar shopping cart consumer assistance technology products. IBM's Dan Hopping said a shopping cart could eventually be outfitted to interact with the shelves so a shopper could see an ad or an offer about chicken noodle soup just as he heads into the soup section.

Kathryn Cullen, a technology specialist at Kurt Salmon Associates, a retail-consulting firm, said "This is a very sensitive topic. I may not want the store to be broadcasting what I bought last time I was in here. You're getting closer and closer to being inside my home. On the other hand, consumers have a history of eventually acceding to such intrusion for the sake of convenience. “

The Concierge system provides shoppers with a wireless, touchscreen computer which can provide interactive advertising and other content to shoppers. The system can be set up to automatically display relevant products after scanning a bar-coded frequent shopper card. It can also scan products in the cart, letting shoppers keep track of their shopping list and their current cart total. The Concierge can also be set up to allow for self-checkout in your cart, and can be outfitted with a wireless credit/debit card reader to facilitate purchases without waiting in line. Other features include an live product search, store directory and a recipe database.

One company has found a way to do what parents cannot – keep their children quiet at the grocery store. TV Kart is a creation from Publix Super Markets in Atlanta, Georgia which are still testing out a new high-tech shopping cart for kids while their parents are doing the grocery shopping.

The TV Kart is a small, car-shaped cart with a TV screen that plays children's shows, such as The Wiggles and Bob the Builder. The carts are electric and have brakes built in, but parents will have to pay $1 to use them - for the convenience of keeping their children quiet and oh I don’t know avoid the dirty looks and nasty comments from other shoppers? Could I pay a parent to use it?

In contrast, it's only a small jump from children's TV programming to advertising - and once the kid is in the cart, the battle cry to get the parents to buy whatever the child wants is nearly won.

On the horizon, is the day when every product is tagged with an RFID, or radio frequency identification chip, instead of a bar code. The chips, which would no longer have to be scanned, would allow shoppers to leave the store without checking out at all and get the bill on their credit card or store account.

The next ten years should be interesting as technology advances in new and exciting ways to advertise commercial products to us in new and fancier ways.

Information Engineer

Monday, October 8, 2007

SaY Phone: A Phone For Klutz

Most of us know the dreaded feeling when we drop our phone. Or at least I do because I seem to drop it often… Yea I’m a klutz and I always wish cell phone manufactures would build a phone that was more durable, one that could take the beating of my lifestyle. Throw in a backpack, toss into the car center organizer, and drop it from juggling too many objects at once while trying to talk on the phone.

One company has figured out that a durable phone needed to be made and so SAY came up with the SaY phone. The SaY phone has a rubberized exterior that makes it resistant to drops and bumps. It features include a 4 mega pixel camera and a pair of stereo speakers to annoy everyone with your latest MP3 Justin Timberlake ringtone.

No idea how much the phone is and I couldn't locate a shopping area to learn the price. But if it's affordable, I'm a buyer!

SOURCE: Yanko Design

Monday, October 1, 2007

BetaVoltaic Power-Cells

Laptops may potentially have a continuous power battery that will last longer than the laptop itself by 30 years … and do it without a single recharge. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is funding a research project regarding a new battery technology. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.

The new battery technology doesn’t use a chemical processes to produce energy which mean it does not produce any hazardous waste. How it works is a little beyond my technology ‘know how’ but the size of the batteries looks to be quite small and thin. An absorbent silicon material is used to collect the hydrogen isotope tritium, which is generated in the process. The reaction is non-thermal which means laptops and other small devices like mobile phones will run much cooler than with traditional batteries such as the lithium-ion power batteries. The reason the battery lasts so long is that neutron beta-decay into protons is the world's most concentrated source of electricity, truly demonstrating Einstein’s theory E=MC2

Environmentalists should be thrilled at the prospects of the new technology. When the new batteries eventually run out of power they are non-toxic.

Source: Next Energy News