Archive for February, 2010

What is a Bloom Box?

Simply put a Bloom Box is a fuel cell that can be power a single home or a large building (depending on the size of the box).  There, that was easy…

More specifically, the Bloom Box is a solid oxide fuel cell and it combines oxygen and fuel (in this case the leader is natural gas) in a high temperature to create electricity.

Why You Should Care

The promise of the Bloom Box is that it provides more regular electricity than wind and solar at a low cost all with a low carbon footprint, but the fact is that it’s going to be a while before you can care. It’ll be at least 5-10 years before Bloom Box makes the household version of this device available.  Large companies like Google, Walmart and eBay are already test beds for commercial versions (apparently about 15% of eBay’s electricity is coming from these things saving ~$100,000 in 7 months).

The other major benefit of the fuel cell is that the electricity is created basically on-site thereby removing the most inefficient part of the electrical grid…the transmission lines.

Although there has been a lot of hype recently it would seem that the technology at play here is not groundbreaking (for it’s industry), but that Bloom Box may have solved the puzzle of how to make them available to consumers at a reasonable price.

Props to whatever marketing company created this much hype over something that is apparently not really groundbreaking.

Click through for a nice write up from National Geographic.

TechtoLiveBy Tweets for 2010-02-25

Get Help Finding Tickets!

There are a lot of sites to buy tickets from out there and it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out the best way.

SeatGeek seems to be a pretty slick way to search multiple sites (like Razorgator and Stubhub, but not Ticketmaster) at the same time and get a pretty little diagram of the available tickets with your results.  This definitely makes finding those 4 seats in that one section for that one show much easier.

The site seams to be using SeatQuest.com‘s engine with a nicer front end and in addition to the basic searching features SeatGeek provides forecasts on the ticket price (will it go up or down between now and the event).  This is a cool feature, though at a self described ~83% average accuracy I wouldn’t trust it for tickets that are real important to you.

SeatGeek also publishes TicketPulse, a monthly analysis and report of trends in sports and music based on the data SeatGeek captures from the sites it searches.  For example, “The Lakers vs Celtics game on February 18th represents the highest average ticket price for all remaining games in the second half of the NBA season, selling at an average of $300 or 375% of face value.”  Quirky interesting stuff…

The site is a TechCrunch50 Finalist (for what that is worth) and has announced plans for additional products including one to help ticket resellers maximize their profits by forecasting trends and prices.

If you buy a lot of tickets to sports or concerts you should check out the site and sign up for the email alerts.  Maybe you’ll save a few bucks on your next show.

via [lifehacker]

Bacon Lovers Roundup

Do you love bacon?  I thought you might…

If you didn’t know, there are a lot of bacon lovers out there and they have gone to great lengths to bring you bacon flavor in some fantastic and disturbing original ways.

J&D’s Ultimate Bacon Lover’s Gift Pack is a great place to start… In addition to the 6 bacon flavored salts you get Baconnaise Bacon Flavored Spread and Bacon Flavored Lip Balm.  Ya, Baconnaise is exactly what it sounds like.  I’ve never had it, but I’d definitely try it. Bacon flavored lip balm on the other hand…I’m not sure if I can bring myself to try that one.

Maybe you need a bacon themed bacon lover in your family… Check out MrBaconPants.com’s Ultimate Bacon Lovers Gift Guide.  My personal favorites are the Patron Saint of Bacon and the Bacon Scented Air Freshener.

Is that not enough for you? Do you want to be able to read about Bacon all day long?  Check out Blog.com List of Top 10 Bacon Blogs. Yes, there are enough Bacon blogs to have a top 10 list…  Personal favorite is MrBaconPants if only for the name.

Finally, if you just want / need more bacon information don’t forget the Baconcyclopedia.

Was that to much bacon for you?  Sit back and enjoy some bacon bourbon.

Enjoy your Bacondaze…

[Authors Note: I'm officially starving for bacon after writing this. Maybe I need a bag of Bacon Potato Chips.]

TechtoLiveBy Tweets for 2010-02-18

Google Will Bring The Internet To You!

In June ’09 Google posted a letter in support of the FCC’s forthcoming National Broadband Plan that starts with,

Open, ubiquitous broadband connectivity holds the promise to catapult America to the next level of competitiveness, productivity, education, health, and security — but how do we get there from here?

The letter goes on to make a number of recommendations most of which are centered around ways to increase the installation of fiber optic networks nationwide.

Last week Google announced their intention to put their money where their mouth is launch an fiber optic broadband networks in various locations to “experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone.”  Google wants to deliver gigabit connection speeds to between 50 and 500 thousand people at “a competitive price.”

The big G’s plan is to spend a couple billion dollars experimenting with techniques to efficiently roll out the networks and get the most out of the networks by enabling new technologies then share those findings to help the rollout nationally.

No doubt Google plans on making money through this endeavor and the idea of Google controlling another major aspect of the internet experience is scary, but they have remained pretty un-evil thus far and there are reasons to believe them on this one.  Google benefits from every additional internet user in the world so by working to rollout high-speed connectivity to more users they are creating a larger market for their services (this follows their strategy of giving away base services for free and making money elsewhere).

I’d expect there to be a gISP, but even if that’s not a major element of the strategy a national 5Mbps network (as called for in the letter) would deliver current and yet to be developed applications at blazing speeds to a lot more people.  Google has been a vocal advocate of net neutrality and has emphasized that any networks they own will be operated with open access policies.

The rollout of fiber optic networks nationally is a big deal.  The United States lags behind Europe and Asia in broadband speeds and many people argue that it hurts our economy in many ways.  Delivering that kind of bandwidth means a whole new set of applications and services that can be developed and brought to users in the home (including IP based TV and advanced mobile wireless broadband networks).  In theory, this should all encourage competition and drive down prices while delivering additional value to the users.

Google’s active involvement in increasing broadband rollout is great, but the really interesting stuff will come to light when the FCC brings the National Broadband Plan to Congress on March 17th.  How will the government jump start this rollout?  I don’t know, but I sure hope I get fiber optic access in my area soon!

For now, Google is looking for interested communities (and unless your community doesn’t care about the internet, you should be interested).

Until there is more news you can check out the Google Blog and the LA Times.

Get Your Olympics Fix!

Wondering how to get your Olympics fix?  Well, some people are…

Lifehacker has a post going with tips for official and unofficial ways to get all the Olympic content you’re looking for.

The best places to start are going to be The Official Vancouver 2010 Site and The Official NBC Olympic Site.

The west coast feed is being tape delayed so if you want to get live coverage on the left coast you’re going to need to resort to methods other than your cable coverage.

The only highlights I will really be looking to see are snowboarding and skiing, but the DVR will be set to record as much Curling as possible.  If you’ve never watched ‘chess on ice’ I suggest you get an explanation of the rules and then watch it on the first fast forward speed of your DVR (it’s the perfect speed).

TechtoLiveBy Tweets for 2010-02-11

Get Your Super Bowl Commercial Fix

MakeUseOf.com has a great rundown of all the different ways you can get your superbowl commercial fix.  I like YouTube’s AdFix which will let you watch the commercials live and vote / comment on your favorites.  Click through for more…

How will you get your fix?

via [makeuseof]

State of the Internet 2009 – Infographic

via [makeuseof] via [focus]