The idea of Wi-Fi locators built into laptops always struck us as a somewhat Catch-22 solution: You have to pull out the computer, wait for it to boot up, and say a Hail Mary or two before finding out if you're even remotely near a hot spot. That's why we appreciate something so disarmingly logical as a locator technology that's embedded directly into the laptop bag.
I've written here before about emergency locators, those gizmos that can help rescuers find you if you become lost in the wilderness.
The tragic death of CNET's own James Kim and the disappearances of Microsoft's Jim Gray and famed adventurer Steve Fossett have convinced me that anyone who travels outside populated areas ought to carry one of these devices.
Following that earlier post, I was contacted by SPOT Inc., makers of the SPOT Satellite Messenger, which began shipping through major outdoor retailers this fall. They offered me a SPOT messenger for review, and I happily accepted. It … Read more
Greater availability of silicon germanium chips and better reliability in bad weather will make radar technology favored over other automotive obstacle detection technologies, according to an ABI Research report released Wednesday.
There are four major types of obstacle detection technologies currently used in vehicles for applications like blind spot detection and parking assistance. Radar will probably win out over sonar, lidar, and cameras, said David Alexander, principle analyst at ABI Research, who specializes in telematics and automotive research .
As part of its Open Content Platform, CNET Networks has created a variety of HTML widgets from five of its Web properties--CNET, GameSpot, Chow, BNET, and TV.com--that anyone can stick on his or her own Web site. After completing a short registration form, publishers can get CNET technology videos (widget), GameSpot game reviews (widget), TV.com interviews and features (widget), business-oriented arcticles and videos from BNET (widget), and food-oriented features from Chow (widget).
The HTML widgets come in a variety of shapes and flavors. Some widgets, such as CNET Personal Tech, TV.com, and Gamespot, serve their content in a standard 300x550 size. BNET provides articles and videos for business managers in three sizes--160x800, 300x500, and 500x360. Most prolifically, there are two different shapes (160x800 and 300x550) of four types of widgets from the food-focused Web site Chow--recipes, stories, videos, and message boards, including localized message board widgets for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.… Read more
The Wi-Fi detector shirt takes geek-wear to a whole new level. The image on the front of this shirt isn't static: The glowing bars light up according to how strong an 802.11b/g signal is when detected.
It requires a battery pack to work, and that's sewn inside the shirt. Three AAA batteries are required, so it will add to your weight a little.
But instead of looking really dumb walking around with an open laptop when searching for a hotspot, you can now look dumb by just looking at your own chest. And for those wondering, … Read more
Despite many signs pointing to a release of Google's presentation service at last week's Office 2.0 Conference (coverage), the only thing we got were some new tweaks to Docs and Spreadsheets that went largely under the radar. This morning, The Inquirer is claiming that things are stirring in the depths of Google's Mountain View headquarters, and the app is set to launch "any day now." They're also claiming that the app will be integrating technology from both of Google's slide show and presentation acquisitions Tonic Systems and Zenter, which the company bought … Read more
On Friday, 30 years to the day after the first Star Wars hit theaters, the film's official Web site, StarWars.com, will relaunch with a new design. One of the hallmarks of the new site is a feature that invites fans to remix video and music clips from all six Star Wars movies, as well as add their own homemade videos. They'll then be able to share them on the Star Wars site with other fans and to embed the mashups in their blogs or profiles on social-networking sites.
Car makers are increasingly looking backward in their visual safety features--as in Webcam screens built into their rear-view mirrors in an effort to eliminate blind spots once and for all. While we're all in favor of the idea, for some reason we have a feeling that the cost of such add-ons will involve bodily appendages such as arms and legs.
But SkyMall, of all places, is offering a "Wireless Backup Camera" that plugs into the license plate light socket and feeds video to a 2.5-inch color display that can be fastened to a visor or the … Read more
Webware is a media sponsor of the SFBeta mixer that's on tonight. I'm looking forward to finding some new companies there to cover. Most of the official presenting companies are not new to Webware, so I'm hoping that somewhere in the crowd I'll find the CEO of some tiny, unknown, and very cool start-up. Wish me luck.
The official presenters get demo table space, but there's a changeover halfway through the evening since there are more presenters than tables available. With any luck, there will be a CEO stare-down--or worse!--when the first shift of … Read more
Bridging the gap between podcasting and music discovery is SpotDJ, a Web service and iTunes plug-in (download SpotDJ for Windows or Mac) that lets listeners record audio clips, or "spots," about their favorite songs or musical artists.
The site has the grassroots appeal of letting amateur DJs like Greg expound upon the libertarianism of Oingo Boingo while also providing inside information from artists themselves, from The Donnas to Taylor Hicks. I recently was lucky enough to be given a tour of the service by CEO and co-founder Kevin Barenblat.
Essentially, SpotDJ analyzes your iTunes or iPod playlists and … Read more