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IP Radio turns 15 - First out was the
Posted: January 12, 2015

Introduced at the Demo 2000 venture event the Kerbango Internet Radio became an "unknown" legend and we categorized it as an Internet Appliance. Stand-alone web access without a PC. Developed by a small group of people in Cupertino, CA, some of whom had come from Apple - just down the street, the cute retro-style radio made its debut onto the show circuit only to get bought up by 3Com in 2001 - Wow - and then ... >> Read more

Apple's new Weapon - iPad Pro
Posted: October 26, 2015

It's coming soon. With an Apple-made Stylus! I waited for this - the stylus - for the last 3 years. Can it hold up against Microsoft's Surface Pro 4?

It's all about the Mouse - From Mighty to Magic 2
Posted: October 24, 2015

We had them all over the years. The "Puck" Mouse that came with the first iMac, the oval [compromise] Mouse - still with just one button, making Apple's insistence on a one-button mouse a running joke within the group of Mac users. Then came the Mighty. Finally - we had not just 2 but 4 buttons. It still had to look like a one-button mouse, though.
We guess it was the advent of "multi-touch" that may finally satisfy everybody - from the largest to the smallest "mouse"holder.
Just like magic - and it almost is.

Magic Mouse
Enter the Magic Mouse for a Test Drive.
>> Read more

Today's Challenge: Batteries or Fuel Cells for Cars
Green Tech: Posted: October 28, 2009

"Top Gear" - a British TV Show that mainly reviews automotive technologies and test drives cars put two of them to the test. It's a comparison of technologies: battery vs. fuel cell and a comparison of car types: sports car vs. family sedan. Not really a fair compare, but hey, it's pretty good to provide for some good edu-tainment. >> Read more

What if your Phone is always charged?
Mobile Tech - Posted: October 25, 2009

I always had a certain problem with my cell phones. Too many times I did not plug them in in the evening, with the result of an almost empty phone in the morning! The iPhone helped a lot - we plug it in anyway to sync our music, contacts, data - right? Well - not always. Not every day. Buying additional chargers made it easier. Now I had a charger for the car, one for the office, one for the kitchen and one in the bedroom. It did make it easier to keep it charged - as long as I plugged it in. And that was the problem!

About a week ago it all changed. I was able to "retire" some of my chargers. I'm charging wirelessly now. I'm using a Powermat. And I'm not running on empty anymore.

Stay tuned for updates on how it changed my charging MO. We will have a full review. In the meantime, to find out what Powermat is click here "Powermat is rolling out the Mat".

Finally - a real Competitor for the iPhone
Mobile Tech - Posted: October 22, 2009

Is this just a repeat of the 2007 rumor: the Google phone? Well - so far just the rumor is back. Here is what we know: an Android-powered, Google-designed phone sold unlocked through retailers like Best Buy. No Carriers involved! Remember, those are the guys that cripple the devices they get from manufacturers, limit Bluetooth capabilities, disable WiFi, won't allow certain applications to run.
Google will allow us, the user, to define the feature set. We wonder though how easy it will be to find an excepting carrier and at what monthly cost. The price of the phone itself will probably be subsidized by Google with "advertisement"?

Updated: 11/20/09
Rumor has it that Google is talking at least with one carrier (AT&T) to negotiate a "data only" $20 a month contract for their "phone". Google Voice will be the Phone App on it. (GV turns the phone into an IP-phone - very much the same as what the Vonage modem is doing). This is going to be interesting - if it's not a rumor...

This entire story plays out against a background for the Motorola Droid phone coming up in November. Running on Android and sold and promoted by Verizon as an "iPhone killer" (again). Tells us that Verizon doesn't need a CDMA iPhone next year. We are not surprised - they are just lucky that Motorola - wait, didn't they quit making phones after the Razr - had a new design just in time - with Android 2.0 software! We will see how this will all play out in 2010.
More short term - it will be released the day after Halloween - or some. Is it trick or treat? The next 2 months will be interesting to watch. The really iPhone needs competition. We will keep you updated.

Apple to become one of the biggest digital Camera Makers
Personal Tech - Posted: October 21, 2009

Surprise, surprise? Not really. Just by looking at the sold numbers of iPhones (30 million by September 09) and the projected numbers of future iPhone's sales gives a pretty good hint. The total sales number for digital cameras in 2008 was about 100 million units. But the biggest roll-out has just started with the addition of a camera to the iPod Nano last month. Adding a camera to the iPod Touch in its next revision will tip the scale. And we see the same camera - if not better (see specs here) we find in the iPhone 3Gs being "inserted" into the iPod Touch.

Apple is shipping about 40 million of these little marvels a year. What can Sony, Olympus and Canon do? For the past few years their race is driven by adding bigger chips with higher resolution into their entry-level point-and-shot cameras. Eight to ten mega-pixels are standard; so are photo editing and YouTube uploading features.

As it turns out a 3-megapixel camera with an Internet connection is just fine for 95% of the shots. The good-enough factor kicks in and is amplified with an even more important fact: this camera is always with you - it's in the cell phone that we "lug" around with us anyway. A feature none of the [incumbent] camera manufacturers can beat.

So it looks like Apple did not just re-invent the phone when it introduced the iPhone in 2007; in its wake we see a sea change in digital camera world as well. How about gaming platforms? We heard even Microsoft is shaking in its [X-Box] boots. What's next? Mapping? In the works already. TV sets? Ha - another sector ripe for innovation. (Anybody who has checked the user interfaces of the latest HDTVs knows what I mean.)

Summing it up: I seem to "forget" my DSLR camera more and more. On short trips and vacations I have my multi-purpose device in my pocket. And with now on my iPhone - that's all I seem to need.

See an interesting article about the "run-away" success of the iPhone at

The New TV Visions of the Future: the Roku
Media Tech - Posted: October 14, 2009

We can almost call it a crowded field already. The delivery of movies to your home HD-Television set has been pioneered by Netflix. Subscribe to the service and depending on your commitment you either get one or up to three DVD's delivered to your house. About a year ago Netflix started experimenting with streaming movies directly to customer's, skipping the snail-mail delivery and the silver disc. Today the company has about 15,000 movies available for "instant" watching - and has affluent competitors in Amazon's On-Demand service and the one that started it all (in the US) - iTunes. All you need is an Internet broadband connection and a "box". >> Read more

This is My One Number - for now or forever ?
Media Tech -
posted: September 6, 2009

A closer Look at Google Voice
A few weeks ago I got a new phone number. It's going to be My One Number. The number I will put on my business card - the one and only number to reach me. It's a Google Voice number! Great concept of a virtual personal assistant that manages your incoming phone calls.

I had a service just like it 8 years ago. Unfortunately the company did not make. It did cost $20 per month on top of your standard phone bill. This time it is FREE and people put their names on a waiting list. Will it last this time ? Will Google be able to make the Economics of Free work for us?

In case you wonder, I already have three phone numbers: my home, the office, and a cell phone number! Why another? One without a real phone attached to it.

Let's take a look at what it is, what it does, what it doesn't, and whether it would work for you. >> Read more

What does Europe do so differently?
Posted: August 12, 2015

How can countries in Europe manage to come out of the recession sooner than the United States? With an average Gasoline Price of $7.50 a gallon ?

Is it true that the U.S. Economy would collapse if the Federal Government would increase the gasoline tax by just a dollar per gallon?

What if the taxes would push the price per gallon up to a casual $6.00 ?

That's about the price drivers in England, Germany and Italy had to pay on average 15 years ago.
Read on >>


A not so trivial Charge - Look Mom, no Wires !
Mobile Tech - posted: August 21, 2015

We are all used doing things a certain way. Some turn into habits over time and others we do because there is no better way. Until we find it. Here is an example and ultimate gadget of the sixties: the TV remote. Another is probably the DVD (over video tape) and then the DVR obsoleting the VCR. We improve our living space step by step. It's the repetitiveness of trivial tasks that drives us to innovate.
What's next? What's bugging us? Or better - what's begging for re-inventing?
More >>

The Pope Cannot Be Wrong
Green Tech Solar - posted: August 12, 2009

Location: Vatican, Rome, Italy
It is believed that the Vatican always had and has a good connection to the divine powers. Did it just get even better with the new Pope? - Pardon the segue way but is there a better way to herald the city-state's intend to harness the power of the sun for the better of their citizens? The pope has ambitious plans. Germany-born Benedict XVI wants to build Europe's largest Solar Power Plant and Germany-based SolarWorld AG will deliver it:
Check this - 100 Megawatts for about $660 Million by 2014. And they don't have to sell the St. Peter's Cathedral name to Fiat.

The installation will generate enough electricity that the surplus will be sold to the surrounding community, the city of Rome in this case, and making the Vatican more than compliant with the Kyoto treaty. And - as a side-effect - electricity will essentially become free. More >>

21 : 9 Aspect Ratio TV in the Out
TV Tech - posted: August 12, 2009
Updated: January 12, 2010

So you got your 16:9 HDTV. 1080p, surround sound and all. You wanted it and you needed it. Amazingly enough - even the old DVDs were all worth watching again. So for some time you just ignored those black bars on top and bottom of the screen. Then you started to play with zoom and picture size and realized you'd lose resolution or part of the image just to fill the screen!? Finally you gave up and try to ignore it again. Get ready - Philips introduced a new TV format - at a time when the "old" one had just become a commodity.
And now at the 2010 CES in Las Vegas Vizio stepped up and introduced their 58 inch 21 x 9 Cinema display. Read more >>

Protect Your Computer - and more?

Bluetooth Bits and Pieces - There are many ways to protect your data and your privacy on your PC. It all depends on the level of protection you are looking for. The good, old password protected screen saver doesn't hold water anymore. Biometric devices are "in vogue" - if you are willing to deal with another cabled device hooked up to your desktop system. There are a few laptops that have the sensor integrated and we will see better and more implementations in the future.

One thing's to say about technology and its users - variety and different approaches are important as they spur competition. New ideas lead to progress and solutions that increase user convenience - and only that leads to fast adaptation in the market place. Point made - here may be an idea that employs this approach: what if your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone acts like a key to your, car?

Anybody interested in making these devices for the house and car? Email us.

Saving Energy at Home - How?

Green Tech - posted: July 1, 2009

By knowing what you currently are consuming - measuring it wirelessly and displaying it conveniently in your living room.

Everybody who studied Edward Deming and his Continuous Quality Improvement principles knows that you can only improve your processes if you are able to measure them.
Difficult to do with your energy usage at home, when you get a bill once a month. Wouldn't it be nice to see the watts your new wide-screen LCD TV is using when you turn it on.
We let you keep guessing even with the image below.
But user's in the UK are very happy to get real-time usage information of their electricity consumption. >> Read more

Where 'Bigger is Better' and 'Small is Beautiful' meet.
Topic: Wind Energy - Location: Germany & Denmark
Green Tech - posted: July 1, 2009

When you thought the Airbus 380 was it - there are other areas the Europeans think big - really big as well. All seemingly driven by high oil prices... Remember 2008 - while we in the U.S. "enjoyed" prices at around $4.50 per gallon at its peak, Europeans had to dig deeper into their pockets: $7.50 to $8 per gallon. By the Way - that ratio between them and us hasn't changed, a gallon of super still costs $7.30 (8/01/09). They buy at the same price we buy and the difference is all going toward taxes (!) - not the puny 40 cents we contribute to our country's well being.
So what does that money buy them? The ability to improve their infrastructure and the environment by producing electricity without burning fossil fuels - on a massive scale (see picture after the break). More >>

How to protect your Digital Life?
PC Tech - posted: June 28, 2009

It becomes more and more important. We talked about it years ago when the "digital photo revolution" and then the mp3 files were taking over more and more space on our hard drives. In the years before we could use CDs and then DVD's to protect our files from the unavoidable demise of our disk drives. But with gigabytes to backup many of us gave up and started to use hope and prayers. On the other hand the value of our pictures increased exponentially. They are our lifetime memories. In the "good old days"we had our prints and negatives. Today's negatives are our hard drives - pun intended.
Those disks will fail. It's not IF but when - and it's always at the most inconvenient time. So get going. Backup, backup, backup. Inconvenient?? I'm doing it tomorrow. Those days are over. Here is an easy way out. More >>

Gasoline in Europe today: $7.85 per Gallon. Source

Quick Takes & Opinions:

"Form over Function" 10/26/15
Why has User Experience (UX) become so important lately? Because it has become the measuring stick of how users feels when they come to a website or an app on their smartphone and are presented with the "latest changes, the adoption of "metal" and the "upgrade" to IOS 7.

Because little by little tiny changes in the User Interface (be it on the PC or smart phone) add (?) to the experience and make things better (!?)

Are we kidding ourselfes when we adopt what some experienced 30-year old decided on - let's say what a button should look like?
Is it really better to replace a button that looked like a button with the word "Back" in last year's version of software with just the word "Back"? Or worse: with a <. Where are we going with this socalled "evolution"?

See - I grew up with the motto "If it ain't broke, break it." Meaning that everything can be made better. But in the last couple of years I have seen changes to user interfaces that do not make a device/user interface better or more intuitive.

I call it Management by Objective in which the objective is to "make a change, make it look different". Well - mission accomplished! Manager happy - customers confused. If I have to hunt or search for a way to return to a previous display or find the Log Out button for more than 3 seconds I lose my patience with the app (or page). And that is the archtypical definition of a UX Fail!

To be continued....

Tech Stuff to know...


PC Security Focus
How to protect your Data?  

Are you taking a casual approach to protecting your data on your PC or is it a critical item - but still on your to-do list?
What is out there that would help "the rest of us" to keep "prying eyes" of our systems and the data on our laptops secure?
At the "low-end" we have the "built-in" security of the Window screen saver. On the high-end we find expensive solutions that we might use for a while and then slack-off, because they are too awkward to use.

Good systems security on your PC, whether desktop of laptop, needs to be always-on AND easy too use. What this means is that it should be invisible to us and visible to everybody else. Implemented and working security can only be effective when it is used and applied in all situations - otherwise ...don't waste your money. It's all about convenience, convenience, convenience.






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