Bring your house on your next vacation

23 04 2007

This was something that I stumbled upon in the latest edition of Wired magazine.   A group of architects in London have designed a “microhome” that can be taken anywhere in the world as a portable apartment building.  Now this is not your standard RV that the family takes on gameday to the stadium.  This portable home is meant to be placed in any location around the world regardless of temperature.  The home is a 2.6m cube which is big enough to sleep one person comfortably.  Run on predominantly solar power, this cube is environmentally friendly (in comparison to an RV) and is actually quite posh on the inside.

The coolest thing about this company, m-ch, is their plans to build villages based on these homes.  Given the small sizes of these cubes, you can go up, down, sideways, etc.

Here a small model of how they want to integrate these homes in a high rise fashion in the woods.

Whether this is actually going to work in the future I’m not really sure.  Here are some prototype photos of an actual micro home.

Here is a picture of the interior…a tad cramped if you ask me but very sleek…

So how much does this mini “dream” home cost?  Well – it’ll cost you around 35000 EUR which translates to around $48,000.

That is one expensive R.V.

Just my $.02…

-SD





Zillow gives real estate agents a run for there money

4 04 2007

When Kelly’s Blue Book came out on the Internet, the press said that it would make the car salesman job significantly tougher. With an increase in information on the Internet, the user/customer has the power of knowledge in negotiation. It was only time until a site would enter that would be able to valuate real estate prices on houses in the United States. Enter Zillow.com, a site where you can type any address in the United States and get a valuation on your house.

Updated:

Using their own platform, they’ve neatly integrated prices into every address point. On the back end, this probably wasn’t a lot of work and is a great idea to help out users when they are looking for houses in their price range.

I’ve attached a screen shot below so you can see what it looks like:

Just my $.02

-SD

 





Facebook enters the big league by getting more open

3 04 2007

Facebook released a program called “Thrift” yesterday to seamlessly transition between different programming languages with easy integration.  Now it’s been known that companies have programs like these in house, but none of them have released them for wide use among the public.  Facebook, almost as a declaration that they’re in the big leagues, released this tool for wide use ideally setting a precedent for other companies to follow suit.

I do have to say that open source friendly companies like Mozilla have been extremely beneficial for the Internet in general.  The obvious advantage of an open source platform is essentially free advertisement and usage of the site on alternate websites.  Additionally, developers can build tools that sometimes that can be implemented by the company itself.  Famous platforms like Microsoft, Intuit, and Red Hat have an extremely loyal developer group that constantly provides feedback to the companies themselves.  In essence, they act as third party employees for the major corporation.

Every successful Internet/software company has a thriving developer community.  Two summers ago, I did a research project at PayPal on how to increase developer usage on their platform.  One of the major things I found in the study was that the highest usage for API implementation occurred when users were excited with the product.  Obviously in my case, payments isn’t necessarily the sexiest product out there, but more of a functional platform for users to build their businesses on.  Google Maps API for instance, which had released two summers ago, immediately garnered high response rates as people would integrate bus schedules for certain cities using maps.

Facebook’s tool will be awesome for the average developer, but will it create a rise in users on their platform?  My guess is not really…and the tool isn’t meant to really increase their platform usage.  I do know that social networking API’s can be an effective tool in marketing to mass audiences, something that we’ve started to see.

All in all, facebook made a big move today and I applaud them for providing this tool to developers.  Ideally, there efforts will garner higher usage and cool products to use in the future.

Just my $.02…

-SD





Climber to make a cell phone call above Mt. Everest!

2 04 2007

A climber plans on breaking into the record book by attempting to make a cell phone call while on the top of Mt. Everest.

My question to this guy is:

  • What cell phone are you using?
  • Who is your service provider?

The answers to these questions will determine my next cell phone…Wired broke this story with this picture:

Just my $.02..

-SD





10,000 hits!

2 04 2007

In honor of the 10,000 hits – I decided to change the look of my blog….we’ll see how this works out…

-SD





Our world from above?

2 04 2007

I ran across a very interesting picture which has been popping up on digg today that shows San Francisco International Airport at night.  Imagine if you were from another planet and as you landed onto the earth, this is what you saw….not far from many of the Sci-Fi movies eh?

 

I guess star wars wasn’t as far fetched after all….

Just my $.02..

-SD





What is a media center?

2 04 2007

Microsoft introduced the term “media center” when they launched Windows media player to try and mesh together entertainment with computers.  A decade ago, our society was very segregated in the way that we viewed computer entertainment.  At the purest sense, entertainment generally focused itself around a living room with two couches and a large CRT TV set.  The computer was generally meant solely for computation purposes or office use.  Today, we find ourselves perusing the internet and watching short YouTube clips of last nights TV shows that we may have missed.  The literal and metaphorical boundaries between the entertainment “center” in the living room and the computer in the office room cease to exist in today’s world. 

Yet there are still some limitations that exist between watching a youtube clip versus watching a full HD Blu-ray DVD of James Bond’s Casino Royale on a 70 inch plasma screen.  Given the very nature of the computer, will we ever see a full transition to a completely integrated office/living room entertainment center?  We can look in the past and see some failed attempts at integration in determining possible successes in the future. 

WebTV

WebTV came out in the 90’s and was integrated into Microsoft’s product line to attempt to connect your TV to the internet.  Needless to say, simply checking your email on a much larger TV did not really appeal to the mass public.  Perhaps it was the funky wireless keyboard or the proximity of the screen, this never really took off.  After all, when you can hook up a $400 desktop to a 32″ LCD screen, why not just do that?  Oracle had also attempted to integrate a low cost web surfing device from your living room.  Both of these solutions failed to gain mass approval.

So how do you rectify a failed product like WebTV?  How can you effectively integrate the internet into an entertainment center in the living room.  Microsoft believes that it exists in the gaming consoles.  They launched the XBox360 with full browser capabilities and online marketplaces (which I wrote about in an earlier post) to attempt to bring together the a integrated solution. 

But the real question is…where is apple in all of this?

The reason for this post was to speak about Apple’s iTV.  This was announced at MacWorld and was definitely a bit overshadowed by the iPhone.  Nonetheless, the product streams all of your media content from your network into your living room.  This means that all of your “legal” downloaded content that you got from iTunes/BitTorrent can be viewed on your living room TV.  If your willing to hedge out the money for Apple’s HD content on iTunes, you can stream it onto your HD screen which is the real advantage.  Here is what it looks like:

Let’s see how this does….but it should be interesting if this is the first step to really changing the landscape of media entertainment.

Just my $.02…

-SD