Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Best Inventions of 2006

Time Magazine has compiled a list of what it considers the best inventions of 2006. The categories cover everything from Cars to Cooking so there is sure to be something of interest to you.

RobobikeOne of the things to catch my attention was Robobike. The first robot that can ride a bike. Not only can he keep himself upright, but he can also peer ahead to make sure he rides in a straight line. An ultrasonic sensor in his chest keeps him from riding into walls, and wireless technology allows him to communicate with a PC for navigating complex routes.

Or how about the Air Mattress. It works by using a matching set of repelling magnets to levitate above the ground. I can see some uses for it. No more junk accumulating under the bed and the wife would love being able to hoover under it too 😉 But a whopping $1.5 million price tag seems an expensive way to fall out of bed!

Here is an interesting military invention. Imagine shouting “Medic!” and being greeted by the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR). It can carry an injured soldier weighing up to 400lbs. A system of wheels, tracks and joints enable it to maneuver in all sorts of positions. It should be field-ready by 2010.

Source: Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2006 digg_16x16.gif digg this cute.gif ma.gnolia


Videoconferencing Gets New Lease of Life

I’m based in the UK but have worked for a US software company for a number of years, so I’ve got used to having meetings via videoconference on a regular basis.

The image quality of these meetings isn’t bad, but it’s not that great either, with images appearing slightly fuzzy, and often it’s difficult to see who is actually talking, or to see everyone clearly on the screen.

Well it looks like the videoconferencing technology could be starting to develop into a more real-world experience after reading an interesting article in UK IT publication Computer Weekly. HP have developed the Halo Collaboration Studio, which was first announced at the end of 2005.

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Roll Your Own RSS

I was browsing the BBC web site today and came across a really clever use of RSS. The BBC allows you to create your own RSS feed based on content stored on their web site.

You use the BBC search engine to find the content you’re interested in and then subscribe to the search results. This is a clever way to subscribe to a very specific subject, rather than the more generic BBC News or BBC Sports feeds that are offered.

I would like to see this feature offered on other web sites. Some RSS feeds I subscribe to cover a very broad spectrum of news where I might only be interested in certain subject areas.

The ability to fine tune an RSS feed would be an asset on any web site where a large quantity of content is published. I could see people liking this.

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Google Picasa Web Albums

The latest beta release of Google Picasa has some interesting new features. One of these is Picasa Web Albums which enables you to upload and share photos online. It allows you to store approximately 1000 photos for free, if you require more space you can pay $25 per year for an additional 6Gb.

It still has some way to go to compete with the likes of Flickr and Photobucket but it is an interesting move by Google to go into this area.

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Which Is The Best Web Based News Aggregator?

Up until recently I have been using my Flock browser to subscribe to RSS news feeds. This works fine. I really like the layout and style but it’s no good if I’m on the move and need access to my news feeds from another computer.

A few weeks ago I started exploring web based alternatives. I’ve tried a few so far. Most of them seem to offer the same type of functionality but there is a big difference from a visual and usability perspective. Here are my findings so far. I’ve only tried a few so far. If anyone knows something better I would like to know.

This is one of those emerging products from the Google Labs. Not a bad news reader but the style and appearance is pretty basic.

This one looks visually better than Google Reader. Overall pretty reliable although I have experienced a couple of minor issues with trying to categorise my news feeds into different folders. I’ve also noticed a few times that the titles of news feeds don’t display correctly. Not sure if that’s the feed or Rojo at fault.

This seems to be best one I’ve found so far. I like the layout and appearance, and the ability to organise feeds into folders is easier than Rojo.

Didn’t really get on with this news reader. See this.

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Time lists 50 ‘coolest websites’

Video website YouTube and social networking site MySpace are among the 50 “coolest websites” of the year as chosen by US magazine Time. It’s great to see how the web has developed over the last few years. If you compare web sites popular a few years ago with today it makes interesting reading.

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