Monday, February 28, 2005

Kirtas APT BookScan 1200

The Internet can make vast libraries accessible to everyone, but only if the books sitting on shelves can be translated into digital form. That process got a lot easier this year with the introduction of the Kirtas APT Bookscan 1200, which automatically digitizes up to 1,200 pages per hour. The $150,000 scanner uses a vacuum arm to lift and turn book pages, so there's no need to take books apart at their bindings, or to have a dedicated operator set up each page for scanning. A tilting mirror system allows the stationary scanner to image both pages from the correct angle.

This is a good idea because it makes it easier to copy the books. When you think about it is a very ingenious invention that saves a lot of time and money.

This ingenious device uses a four-step process to scan a book from cover to cover. (1) A vacuum arm gently lifts and turns each page. (2) Once a page has been turned, clips flip out to hold it in place. (3) A mirror rotates back and forth to expose the appropriate page to the scanner. This mirror flips the reversed image of the fixed mirror, so the scanned text won't be read backward. (4) The scanner captures an image of each page and writes it to a file.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

GE Profile Harmony Clothes Care System

Overdrying is the most common culprit behind shrunken and damaged laundry--and since most dryers force you to guess-timate drying times, it's alarmingly easy to do. But not with the Profile Harmony Clothes Care System. Tell the washer what you're putting in it (delicates, cottons, etc.) and its sensors measure load size and set the water level accordingly. It then calculates and communicates to the dryer the optimum run time and temperature, saving both your clothes and the extra energy you'd use ruining them. Finally, a good reason for appliances to talk to one another. $2,200 for the pair.

At home we always have lots of problems with setting the time to dry, and most of the time my clothes end up shrinking. An appliance like this could be really helpful, especially for those like me that don't understand too much on that subject. Let's just hope that they don't talk to eah other about finding a way to take over the world.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Rayovac I-C3

Conventional rechargeable batteries take an hour or more to rejuice. That's so the pressure in the battery generated by the influx of electricity won't exceed safe limits. Rayovac added a pressure switch to its I-C3 (In-Cell Charge Control) batteries so they can equalize pressure as needed and charge as efficiently as possible. The result is a very civilized 15-minute charge time. The Rayovac 15-Minute NiMH Rechargeable Systems cost $25–$35. AA and AAA two-packs will set you back about $10, four-packs about $15.

A product like this is exactly what I need. I use my batteries so much to listen to music, that I must use about four batteries every two weeks(depending on usage)! Rechargeable batteries are a really life saver if you are a frequent gadget user which requires batteries. Whats more is that it takes an even shorter amount of time to charge the batteries making long waits a thing of the past. I would not recomend this for people who hardly use batteries, the cost must comply to fit the need.

Discovery Kids Ultimate Labs DNA Explorer

James Watson was only 24 when he discovered the helical structure of DNA, but this kit from Discovery Kids--the first to feature a bona fide centrifuge and electrophoresis chamber--will turn your kid on to the intricacies of genetics at an even younger age. Realistic lab equipment transforms the kitchen into a forensics lab, where your breakfast-bar biologist can extract clumps of real DNA from fruits and vegetables or solve "crimes" by revealing DNA "fingerprints"--telltale blue protein stripes in a gel mixture. $80

DNA, in itself, is a fascinating discovery in science. I think it's a great opportunity for kids who are very young, can understand the complex structure and what makes DNA. I would even like a set for myself because I'm the kind of person who likes doing things like that, pretending you're an important forensic scientiist solving a case. The very idea is in fact thrilling.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

MSN Direct Watch

Yes, a Microsoft-devised device for your wrist. These digital timepieces feature radio receivers that pull in customized news, sports scores, restaurant picks, stock quotes, weather reports, even your personal calendar items and instant messages. To deliver the data, Microsoft worked with broadcasters to create a new FM radio subcarrier network covering more than 100 top metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada. Several manufacturers, including Fossil and Suunto, are producing the watches, with prices starting at $130. Service runs $10/month or $60/year.

There can only be good things comoing from this watch, unless of course you're using it the wrong time. It can also be very useful if you don't have a newspaper or computer handy. I wonder how so much information can be installed on something as small as that watch and still look good enough to wear.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Apple iTunes Music Store

After years of refusing to pay for digital music, consumers have made Apple's iTunes Music Store the music industry's first digital success story, purchasing a whopping 10 million songs in just over four months. This figure is even more impressive when you consider that the service is available only to Mac users, and that the only portables that can play the tunes are iPods. What is Apple doing right? The answer is part business (all songs in the 200,000-plus library are sold for 99 cents and come from an impressive roster of labels) and part technology (the store is fully integrated into Apple's iTunes software, making it simple to listen to 30-second samples, then download purchased songs into your music library). What's more, while the digital-rights management system does restrict widespread copying, users can still share songs between several Macs and iPods and burn music to audio CDs.

I think that this music store can make it easier for ipod users to get the music they want quick. Especially since they have a large library of music it is open to all types of music. But i'm sure some poeple will learn to get around the loop hole of buying then copying it on thte internet, which isn't so hard to do. Apple will just have to the best they can to keep that from happening because most likely I'll be one the copiers.