Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Somfy Tahoma – Beyond Home Automation

Posted by Andrew at 7:00 PM on February 12, 2011

Steve Iommi chats to Todd and Tom about Somfy‘s new Tahoma system which takes home automation to the next level. It’s based round the concept of “scenes” – a scene might be “weekday-morning” which has certain set of actions, e.g. open blinds at 7.30am, whereas the “weekend-morning” opens the blinds at 8.30. With a whole a range of scenes, everything from blinds to thermostats can be controlled according to the day of the week and the activities of the owner.

As with all things these days, the Tahoma system is connected to the Internet via the homeowner’s Wifi, meaning that the owner can connect via a web browser back to the system to make any changes that might be needed, say, because of changes in the weather.

The underlying technology is the Z-Wave RF home automation wireless standard, so upgrading a home to for automation doesn’t involving lots of recabling. It’s simply a case of replacing the controllers with Z-Wave-compatible ones.

A basic Tahoma system can be professionally installed for under $2000.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

Horizon Portable Fuel Cell

Posted by Andrew at 4:51 PM on February 12, 2011

Tom interviews Kyle from Horizon Fuel Cell Technology which is introducing the world’s first consumer hydrogen fuel cell to the market. It’s been a long time coming and I think we’ll see more of these over the next few years.

Marketed as a USB charger for portable electronics, the hydrogen-filled HydroStik plugs into the MiniPak (the fuel cell) and generates electricity by combining with oxygen from the environment within the fuel cell. There’s a complementary home hydrogen generator, the HydroFill, that will re-fill the HydroStiks.  The MiniPak is hand-sized and each HydroStik will be able to re-charge a smartphone a couple of times.

The system will be priced at $99 for the MiniPak and two charged HydroStiks. The ‘Stiks alone are $9.99 and the HydroFill charger is expected to be in the $150-$200 range. Available towards the end of 2011.

Interview by Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

Gazelle – Convert Your Unwanted Gadgets Into Money

Posted by Andrew at 10:22 PM on February 8, 2011

Andy talks with Anthony Scarsella, Chief Gadgets Officer at Gazelle, purchasers of previously-enjoyed (second-hand) gadgets. Now over 4 year’s old, this is big business with over 250,000 gadgets models available for trade-in.

When compared to ebay or craigslist, Gazelle simply gives a superior customer experience. Free shipping is included, boxes are sometimes provided and there’s no question about whether the purchaser is reliable or not – payment is typically made in week or less. Gazelle provides an online chat where people can ask questions about models or condition.

Basically, there are three steps…first find your gadget on the Gazelle site and put in some information about condition and accessories. Gazelle will then make you an offer: if you accept, you ship the gadget to them. On receipt, Gazelle checks the gadget over and if it matches what you told them, they send you the money within 5-7 days. Easy-peasy.

Anthony reveals some of the economics of the market, including how sales of previous generation phones peak when new models are announced.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

[flowplayer src='http://cdn1.techpodcasts.com/ces/Gazelle.m4v' width=480 height=270 splash=http://www.geeknewscentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/gazelle.png]ed>

GE Southwest Skystream 600 Wind Turbine

Posted by tomwiles at 10:14 PM on February 8, 2011

Andy Cruise from GE Southwest Windpower discusses the GE Southwest Skystream 600 Wind Turbine. It is designed for consumers who have at least an extra half acre of land and of course, wind !!!

Interview by Scott Elliot of Geek News Central.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

GE EV Watt Car Charging Station

Posted by Andrew at 9:48 AM on February 4, 2011

Jeffrey Powers talks to David Wang and Joshua Caillavet of General Electric about the GE EV Watt station, which is a charging station for electric cars. This is a level 2 charger, operating from 240V, rather than 110V, giving shorter recharge times for EVs (electric vehicles), say 4 to 8 hours, rather than 15 to 18 hours associated with a level 1 charger.

Fortunately, common sense seems to have prevailed with electric cars and a charging connector standard has been agreed by the manufacturers, so there shouldn’t be any compatibility problems between chargers and EVs.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

[flowplayer src='http://blip.tv/file/get/Techpodcasts-CES2011LiveGE2652.m4v' width=480 height=270 splash=http://www.geeknewscentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/ge.png]

Ford Introduces The Ford Focus Electric

Posted by tomwiles at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2011

Sean from Ford introduces the all-electric version of the Ford Focus, which is set to be launched in 19 markets in late 2011. This is simply a remarkable vehicle. Esby takes you deep into the heart of the car to get a full rundown of all the features inside and out.  With the need in my family growing for an additional vehicle I could see the green Electric Ford Focus sitting in the driveway.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

Gazelle

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:13 PM on January 30, 2011

The newest shiniest gadget has just come out and you want it, but what do you do with the previous model. You could try to sell it on Ebay or Craigslist but there is an easier way it is called Gazelle. You can send your old electronics to Gazelle and they will either pay you or if the item is not worth anything they will recycle it for you. The way it works is you go to the site and enter the item you want to get rid of. They will ask you the condition of the item and if you have any charger, cables and CD’s that came with the device. Once you fill in the required information they will tell you how much they will pay for the device. On the same page you can see how much the gadget was going for over time. If you choose to accept their offer they will send you a shipping label. In some cases they will send you an box to ship the gadget or gadgets in. Place the item in the box and send it off to Gazelle.  Gazelle will send you an email letting you know they’ve received the item and they have to inspect it.

Once Gazelle finishes looking the item over, you will get another email letting you know if there were any problems and if the price they are going to pay is different then what was originally given. The price maybe lower or higher, if you don’t like the new price they will send the gadget back to you. They have multiple payment options, including Paypal, Amazon Gift Card or Walmart PrePaid Visa. I’ve used Gazelle myself and had a great experience. They kept in touch by email and notified me when there was a problem. It was easy and convenient with no hassle involved.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors.

Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

nPower PEG Personal Energy Generator

Posted by Andrew at 12:17 AM on January 27, 2011

The nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator) is a kinetic charger that generates electricity through the motion of your body, typically when you are walking or running. It stores the energy in a rechargeable battery which can then be used to charge your mobile phone, mp3 player or other portable device via USB. As a rough guide, a minute of motion gives a minute of mp3 listening on an iPod nano or similar player.

Available for $159.99 soon – it’s on back-order according to the website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors

Get your 14 day Free Trial of Audible Gold to start Listening to great Books!
Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.

The Xi3 Modular Microcomputer

Posted by tomwiles at 1:22 PM on January 23, 2011

David Politis of Xi3 Microcomputers (http://xi3.org/) presents the Xi3 Modular Computer. It is an extremely small form factor and operates on only 20 watts of power, yet contains a dual-core AMD Athlon x86 processor operating at 2 gigahertz. The standard model ships with 2 gigabytes of DDR 2 RAM and 8 gigabytes of solid SSD solid state drive memory.

The Xi3 is revolutionary in several different respects. Not only is the unit as small as possible, the motherboard is broken down into three modular, replaceable components. Thus it becomes possible to upgrade to the latest technologies such as USB 3.0 once it becomes widely available in the near future or to higher-performance future CPU processors.

Imagine the Xi3 as the heart of a high-performance, low-engergy-drain, absolutely silent-running Media Center PC. Since it’s x86 architecture running on a dual-core processor on a high-performance SSD drive it can easily boot Windows 7 Ultimate in 30 seconds flat.

Why didn’t someone think of this before?

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

Please Support our CES 2011 Sponsors

Get your 14 day Free Trial of Audible Gold to start Listening to great Books!
Save 25% on 4GH Hosting 1yr Subscriptions Save 25% Promo Code CES2.
Sponsor: The New Luxor, Las Vegas Deals Start @ $40.00 best rates guaranteed

So You Got An iPad for Christmas…

Posted by Andrew at 4:33 PM on January 18, 2011

If you got an iPad for Christmas, here’s what you did with it over the holidays, according to mobile telco Three.

- You had your iPad unwrapped and working by 10am on Christmas Day.

- You downloaded Maps, Skype, Angry Birds, ebay, YouTube and Sky Sports News apps.

- You visited Google search, iTunes and Facebook the most often, followed by ebay.  Were you selling unwanted presents or looking for the gift you didn’t get?

- While you were out and about and using 3G data, you were using GPS navigation, reading news websites and playing games.  You were also dreaming about your next holiday, surfing travel sites.

- But it wasn’t until Boxing Day that you really got to play with your new toy.

I know this isn’t exactly surprising but I think it captures in a snapshot the essence of consumer technology and activity at the end of 2010. Remember the iPad didn’t exist at Christmas 2009, Angry Birds wasn’t yet the phenomenon it was to become and no doubt 2011 will bring its own crazes and defining technology. It will be interesting to look back at this in a year’s time and see what’s changed.