Power Sockets with USB Charging

Last week I was at a trade show for electrical wholesalers and I came across these single and double power sockets with a USB charging point built-in.

Power Sockets with USB

As soon as I saw them, I thought, “Those would be handy…” and then I saw the price…£62.74 for the single and £76.60 for the double socket and they’re trade prices too (ex VAT). In US money that’s $99 and $120 respectively. As Todd would say, “Are these guys smoking crack!?” Who in their right mind would pay that kind of money for a built-in USB socket and a single USB socket at that? I can only hope that it’s a pricing error or a multi-pack.

With a bit of searching, I subsequently found another company that charges a far more reasonable £15 for a single socket and there are doubles going on ebay for £30 which is still pricey enough.

From the specs, it would appear that 1A is the rated current which will be fine for most phones and mp3 players, but tablets will take their time to charge.

For those who despise wall warts and power bricks, it’s a neat way to go, but make sure you aren’t paying over the odds.

OWC Power2U USB in an AC Wall Outlet

OWC Power2U USB socketOWC are more usually known for their line of Mac-compatible SSDs but unsurprisingly, they do have other products. Andy finds out more from Grant.

The unsightly profusion of mobile phone, tablet and other gadget chargers is a bane of modern life. OWC have a tidy and green solution in the shape of a standard power socket fitted with smart USB charging points which don’t draw power when not in use. It’s approved by UL, too, so it’s home safe. The Power2U is available now for $27.99. OWC – please do a UK version too.

Moving on, iPads are an easy target for thieves and corporate devices doubly so. OWC’s iPad GripStand Station securely stores, recharges and syncs up to 8 iPads at once, even when the iPads are fitted with a GripStand. The security bar and padlock make petty theft much more difficult. Available now from $379, which I gather is a somewhat of a bargain.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Nest Learning Thermostat at CES

Nest Smart ThermostatThe nest thermostat has received more than its fair share of press coverage recently, but that’s because it’s both smart, cool and well-designed. Todd chats with Kate from nest about this great new product.

The nest thermostat is a smart thermostat that learns from your habits and behaviours and adjusts itself to match them, turning the heat up when you want it and down when you are out of the home. It’s exceptionally easy to use – you turn it up, you turn it down, that’s it. The nest has several learning modes, including schedule learning and activity detection, which help it keep you comfortable but the energy costs down.

The nest thermostat costs $249 but it’s on back order because it’s been so popular. The thermostat comes with everything you need to install the devices yourself, including a screwdriver!

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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555 Timer IC Footstool

Looking for a cool and geeky DIY project? Then this 555 Timer IC footstool might be just the thing for you. Imagine a small little chip scaled up thousands of times and you’ve got a something that would make a perfect footstool. Here it is and that’s the actual chip in the foreground.

Put together by the guys’n’gals over at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, it’s a straightforward project, especially if you have access to a CNC router. Based on the Signetics 555 timer IC from 1971 but still in production today, there’s full instructions on the Evil Mad Scientist site.

All photos by Windell Oskay.

 

Vidtonic: Build Your Own TV

Todd Cochrane spoke to Jeff Cody and Matt Miller from Vidtonics a company that is just launching and will be providing a kit to build your own TV. Everything you need is included in the kit, the LCD panel(22-42 inches), the board and anything else you will need. They made it clear that there is no soldering involved, if you can build a computer you can use this kit. It is made for hardcore coders and those who like to tinker.

Both the hardware and software are open source. Because it is an open development platform it allows for and in fact they encourage customizations and mod-ding, They are hoping for a lot of community participation and contribution.  It will have a Texas Instrument processors and will allow up to 1080P resolution. It also includes an expansion port for testing purposes and special uses. It should be available this summer on-line at Vidtonics, pricing is unknown at this time. If you like to build computers or tinker with things this maybe the product for you

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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DIY Weather Balloon Video

Over at How It Works there’s a short story about a father and his two children sending up a weather balloon to 19 miles with a video camera on-board.  The camera records all of the ascent and all but 2 minutes of the descent – the battery runs out!

It takes the Geissbuhler family eight months of planning and it’s a great testimony to what can be achieved by enthusiasts.  It certainly helps that the miniaturisation of technology has allowed GPS and hi-res video cameras to be encapsulated in tiny devices such as mobile phones.  However, this shouldn’t take away from their achievements.  Here’s the video.

GNC-2009-03-31 #464 Back in Honolulu

Austin Texas meet-up this coming Saturday.. RSVP today geeknews@gmail.com Well folks home long enough to get some clean clothes then I am headed to Texas. Will be looking for around 100 listeners to participate in some new media panels, will advise when I am ready to have those panels.

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Show Notes:
DIY In Vogue
Encarta Dead Pool
Conficker Info
Internet Fraud up 33%
April 1st Conficker Projections
Serious threat to Sirius
Windows 7 Driver Support Worries?
Apple Owners on Defensive
Mac Costs much Higher than PC
Microsoft Zune Whats Next
Hacking Google
Texas the New California
Buzz Tracking
Link to Min/Seconds of YouTube Video
OfficePod
Macword a Go!
NASA Orion Mockup
DirecTV iPhone App
Sierra Wireless dual Purpose Card
Windows 7 to Pave way for $200 Netbooks
Verizon MiFI by Novatel
Mini Display to HDMI
Tweets Copyrighted?

GNC-2009-03-20 #461 Fantastic Show Today

Your host is back and healthy and feeling good. If you watch the video sporting a Bono look ;) and ready to head to the East Coast next week should be a great trip with a series of Podcaster Meetups all across the country.

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FourSquare
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Google Voice View
Mac Hacking Tools Gets Updated
News Graveyard
Verizon Math
Calacanis Has it Figured Out!
DIY Craigslist Auction
Don’t dial while Drunk
6 More iPhone Models?
HD Movie Rentals on iTunes
Nielsen Twitter 1382% growth
Scoble SXSW Tech Take Away
Hawaii Rank 45 California 48 for Business
RawVoice to get Green
Spy Camera Tissue Box
Elgato 1080p Turbo.264
Service Failure Meltdown at SXSW
101 PHP Newbie Tutorials
Blubrry OpenID
iPhone Buzz Machine Incredible
Australia Blacklist Shameful
ISS gets more Power
Twitter Premium Hoax
New Gmail Undo Feature
New Mobile Firefox Browser
AT&T No Contract iPhone
Quantum Computer Advances
IE8 is Available
SixApart Motion Debut
Cisco Buys Flip

CES 2008 Buglabs the Ultimate Programmable

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