The Weekly – 7.9.12

The Weekly – 7.19.12

 

This week we look – again – at solar power, see the inverse of that is put to use keeping my Bud Light Lime cold, see a pivot that doesn’t suck, and look at potentially the worst product ever developed. 

 

Solar Power – with a twist

I am in love with this project.  They have created geothermal generation to handle the baseload power needs required to enable people to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians in the wee hours of the night while using solar to handle the daytime peak loads generated by our air conditioners running at full blast.  These hybrid systems overcome the challenge of solar-only power and one can imagine the great potential for other baseload generation hybrids such as wave and gravity fed hydro. This is a great article and good primer on solar and geothermal power in general if you’re interested.

 

Screw Metal Detectors at Airports – We’re About to be Lasered

Oh yes.  Imagine a new system which can figure out if you’re carrying anything verboten even as you approach the security checkpoint at SeaTac.  Sure, there will be a ton of people who claim “this is a violation of privacy” to which I will respond “take Amtrak.”  Anything to get me through security faster is golden for me.  From the article: “The machine is ten million times faster—and one million times more sensitive – than any currently available system.”  Booyeah.      

 

Now I Can Enjoy my Bud Light Lime Anywhere

It’s not just Stephen Colbert who loves the BL^2.  And now thanks to science and a relentless pursuit of making things cold, a new self-chilling can is out that can reduce temps by 30 degrees.  Never again will I have skunky beer.

 

Trying to Break into a System?  Try these passwords.

Terrifying. That is all I can say.  People, please, please.  As a former security guy I know people use weak passwords quite often but this is ridiculous.  At least now you know what to try – kind of RSTNL and E on Wheel of Fortune.

 

Pivots aren’t all Lame

One of my favorite web apps in recent memory was Greplin that allowed you to search all your online services from a single interface.  It didn’t include Hotmail or Exchange so I could never really get into it, but the notion of being able to search and catalog your entire digital identity was beyond appealing and useful for those in the G ecosystem.  Well Greplin has now become Cue and aims to become a very personal assistant.  Cue tries to solve the problem of information overload with its founders saying, “The average person receives 63,000 words a day through e-mail, social networks, and other accounts.”  Trying to keep up with that deluge is proving to be nearly impossible for the connected person.  So Cue does it for you – parsing through all your incoming text and making sense of what’s important.  Get an email about a flight you’re taking?  Cue can automatically remind you of the details and associated communications you’ve had about it.  It’s really a stunning piece of tech.

 

Google Becoming Mad Cow Disease

Ok, maybe that isn’t quite an accurate recap of the headline, but you get the idea.  The article is about “Google becoming more than just a search engine, which should both excite and scare people. WIthin the next three to five years Google will become a digital assistant, that could ideally diagnose your child’s illness early based on where she’s been, how alert she is, and her skin’s temperature, then drive your car to her school to bring her home while you’re at work. Shankland states that as appealing as tomorrow’s Google sounds, it comes at the cost of Google needing to know everything that makes him who he is, and that Google and it’s users need to decide if it’s time to shift from ad-supported free services to paid services.”

 

Sony Creates the Worst Product Ever

Oh how this product sounded so good on paper.  A Dick Tracy watch that I would actually wear (save for the required Android integration).  A beautiful OLED display, connectivity to my social networks, easy to see email and other notifications, a host of applications on my wrist – what is not to like about this miniature marvel?  It’s like what SPOT should have been.  Except it isn’t.  Apparently it’s the worst thing ever made.  Pity.  Reminds me of this very NSFW Onion story on Sony a few years ago…

New Storage Tech Means Terabytes on a Chip

Ah germanium telluride, how I love thee.  This article might set the record for dorkiness but the net is there is a new technology being developed to allow you to store terabytes – literally – on a thumbnail size chip.

 

Dark Knight Rises

You know where I will be this weekend – the Boeing IMAX seeing the Dark Knight Rises.  When Chris Nolan did the second film he wanted to shoot much of it in IMAX.  A few problems – each reel of IMAX film lasts only 3 minutes and is enormous.  The cameras are twice as heavy as normal cameras meaning all the equipment used to dolly and film chase scenes had to be custom fabbed.  And the format is unforgiving of errors with each frame of film being as large as your hand.  So he only shot a few scenes of the Dark Knight using the format.  So what does he do with this film?  Films almost half of it in IMAX.  That, my friends, is chutzpah.

 

Til next week!

Stefan

 

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