Someday, in the probably-too-distant future, our kitchens will be completely automated above and beyond anything we can now imagine. Our meals will be prepared at the press of a button, and instead of passable microwaveable food, the meals will actually be nutritious and delicious. While whatever magical all-in-one unit that would create these meals out of thin air might not yet exist, appliance makers are doing all they can, now, to cram every conceivable appliance into one unit.
Microsoft, for all its faults, has significantly lowered the bar to IT development, offering tools like Visual Studio that help make average developers more productive. Linux, on the contrary, has been supercharged with powerful capabilities, but has often required significant experience to harness that power.Enter Novell's SUSE Studio Online, a cool new way to develop software and virtual appliances online. I wrote about SUSE Studio Online back in January 2009 when it was still in alpha stage, but Novell has now officially released this tool that "enables ISVs to customize a fully supported, mission-critical operating system and … Read more
Google sells hardware, too, and announced Tuesday that its Google Search Appliance can now find documents by the billions.
Google Search Appliance 6.0 (GSA) is the company's product for helping enterprises locate and manage the reams of internal corporate data that doesn't get indexed by Google's search bots, but which needs to be found by managers and employees. The latest version is all about scaling, or the ability to link dozens of these appliances to allow even the biggest companies to search their networks for presentations, spreadsheets, and other documents.
There are two hardware models that … Read more
Going "green" is a huge movement, with companies around the world releasing products that have less and less of an environmental impact--or, at least, that's what they want us to believe. As consumers' interest in eco-friendly products gets higher, so does the temptation to embellish a product's green credentials.
According to The Mainichi Daily News, Hitachi Appliances, a subsidiary of Hitachi and currently Japan's biggest refrigerator maker, seems to be the first company to have fallen for the temptation to claim a product is green when it isn't.
Of nine refrigerator models the company released between September and November of last year, including the "Eiyo Ikiiki Shinku Chirudo V" and the "Big & Slim 60", six are not eco-friendly at all and the other three are far from the level of eco-friendliness the company advertised them to be.… Read more
A start-up founded by former Sun Microsystems computer scientists is tapping IBM and Intel hardware to accelerate the enormous server workloads of burgeoning Web 2.0 businesses.
Menlo Park, Calif.-based Schooner Information Technology announced Monday that it is readying a server appliance based on Intel's newest Nehalem processors and its solid-state drives. The first products are due by the end of May with volume shipments in the third quarter of 2009.
Hewlett-Packard and Fusion-io said recently that they are working on analogous technology and had achieved extremely high performance using Fusion-io's solid-state drives running on HP servers.
Schooner Information Technology's President and CEO John R. Busch was formerly research director of computer system architecture and analysis at Sun laboratories. Chairman and CTO Tom McWilliams was a lead engineer at Sun, working on server architecture and advanced CAD tools. Prior to that, McWilliams was a director in the MIPS division of Silicon Graphics. Both men were involved in moving Sun to multicore server architectures, according to Busch.
The company is funded by CMEA Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The current total investment is $15 million.
In a phone interview Monday, CEO Busch explained that the company has set out to fuse standalone high-performance server technologies into a faster organic whole. "Computer companies are pretty much selling boxes while others are selling networking. They're basically just selling component technologies," he said. "If you just speed up the processor or speed up the interconnect or add in flash drives, it will have a small effect."
"The observation I had when we started the company was that we really need to make a shift and we really need to put the middleware application and (our) new operating environment together with these technologies--tightly coupled with parallel flash memory and with Intel multicore processors. As opposed to loosely coupled, in order to bring their real inherent benefits through," Busch said. … Read more
Microwave ovens are overrated. Oh, sure, they can do some things really well, but for other tasks, they fall quite short. Personally, I like an appliance that is capable of doing more than softening butter and popping popcorn. (OK, I know that's an understatement, but bear with me.) Considering how manufacturers love to integrate several appliances into one (usually with toasters, it would seem), it should come as no surprise that the ubiquitous microwave oven is finally starting to diversify.
You can always count on an exhibition to inspire companies to create and display some pretty cool stuff, and the International Housewares Show in Chicago is no exception. Among Haier's showings this year is the new Piano Black line of small appliances.
The blue LED illumination looks good, but it's the features, like cool-to-the-touch handles, that will really win you over. This is a full line of appliances, including a cordless electric water kettle in standard and dome shapes, digital toasters in a variety of configurations, a food processor and blender combination, a citrus juicer, and more.
I'… Read more
Linux gets a great deal of credit and attention in the desktop and server markets, where it's visible and gaining market share. However, too often, we overlook the power of the Linux platform when it's hidden inside appliances, the so-called embedded market where Linux has long played a dominant role (and where I got my career start in open source at Lineo).
In embedded, Linux dwarfs Microsoft. It's time we took notice.
The most recent Linux-focused IDC market-sizing report came out in spring 2008 at the Linux Foundation's annual summit. The numbers are remarkable:Server operating … Read more
There are a lot of toasters out there. For every personal aesthetic, there seems to be a corresponding toaster. Toasters range from the bright and shiny to gimmicky multitaskers made out of plastic. Machines are available for those that prefer design, and there are toasters out there that tout convenience. Combination appliances are great fun, and at times actually do save time and money (consider the toaster oven, for example). But sometimes you just want a toaster that toasts.
The Maui Electric Company and General Electric are joining up to test a unique smart-grid technology on the Hawaiian island's electrical grid.
The Maui, Hawaii, project includes the usual smart-grid tech: developing a substation with battery storage capability to remove and store excess electricity generated from connected wind and solar energy sources. The electricity supply is then released from the substation to the main power grid when it's needed during peak usage times.
Many companies are interested in smart-grid energy technology. Google wants users to confront their home energy use appliance by appliance. IBM is jockeying to be a key supplier for smart-grid tech … Read more