Posts tagged news

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.

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 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]

Twitter, the Super Bowl and You – #SB44

The NFL announces the #SB44 tag for Twitter and Flickr (and wherever else you use tags).

Not surprisingly the NFL has a Super Bowl XLIV related site up with all the standard bells and whistles (countdown timer, visitor guide, etc) including a new Super Bowl Twitter Page and announced #SB44 as the official hash tag for all that is Super Bowl 44 related.

The NFL marketing department has designated #SB44 as the tag to use for Twitter, Flickr and wherever else you plan on posting Super Bowl related stuff in an effort to harness the power of social media by organizing the content ever so slightly.  The site itself is a Flash-tastic compilation of tweets and photos you can pan across, but the content must be heavily moderated because there is nothing very interesting being posted (no cursing, no ranting, etc).

This is a great example of how major corporations can use  Twitter to organize their followers and help feed their own hype machine for whatever they have going on.  For users at the game, outside the stadium and across the country searching #SB44 should find you the latest and greatest news (from Twitter, at the least).

via [CNET]