Cisco Valet Wireless Router simplifies home wireless networking setup

Cisco’s new line of wireless routers, Valet and Valet Plus, aim to simplify wireless networking and connectivity for home users.

How? Plug in the Valet wireless router, then plug in the accompanying USB stick (called the Easy Setup Key) into your laptop and/or desktop. The Easy Setup Key runs you through a few screens and configures your wireless for you.

Valet offers you 802.11n wireless (as well as b and g), parental controls, guest access for your friends and family, along with some 100Mbps ports on the router itself.

The Valet Plus has Gigabit (1000Mbps) ports for faster wired networking.

Buy now!
More info from the manufacturer
Price: Valet: $99.99, Valet Plus: $129.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

Google jumps into the social web with Buzz; goes up against Facebook, Twitter, et al.

Google rolled out its latest product, called Google Buzz [announcement], this time in the social networking arena. Buzz is built into Gmail and has tight integration with your e-mail inbox.

You can share links, photos and videos directly from within Gmail and it uses your existing set of Gmail contacts. You can see what your friends are sharing and Buzz also recommends items based on your activity.

Belkin Home Base Wireless-N Access Point – Network Share Your Printer, Other USB Devices

If you don’t already have a WiFi-connected printer, and would like to locate your printer away from your home router, how do you do that? Well, Belkin has a solution called Home Base that is a Wireless 802.11n Access Point that you can plug in your printer and/or other USB/1 wired Ethernet device(s) and voila, they’re on your network.

The Belkin Home Base has 1 wired 10/100Mbps Ethernet port and 4 USB 2.0 ports. It is also DLNA compatible.

Buy now!
Price: $129.99
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

Facebook revamping privacy controls

If you read this blog, there’s a pretty good chance you’re also a Facebook user. If so, and you care about your privacy, you should probably set aside some time to take a look at Facebook’s new privacy controls when they are rolled out to you.

Facebook is in the midst of reorganizing the controls that users have to their privacy settings. Currently, those settings can be found on multiple pages.

In a recent press conference call, Facebook also announced that they will be ditching regional networks as only half of the members even joined them or joined the ‘wrong’ ones.

GfG’s Article Recap for Week Ending June 19, 2009

Have Zune begun to copy Apple’s stylish music players with the upcoming Zune HD? We’ve got your weekly fill of format wars – this time focused on home automation and could we really be that much closer to wearable remote controls?

Father’s days coming up and, being such a caring bunch, we came up with a a really great idea! Another idea may be to get him an analog to digital converter so that he can preserve those old video and music sitting in the attic.

Are you aniPhone/iPod Touch user and also a networking maniac? Take a look at Zensify.

The week was capped off by the ever-so-geeky Mac vs. PC poster and a look at the current progress of holographic optics – manufacturer SBG has a very cool prototype of a full-color, heads-up wearable display.

Facebook valued at $10 billion?

Facebook’s public valuation is of course a moving target, given that they’re a private company, but a recent investment of US$200 million by a Russian investor for a 1.96% stake in the company puts the valuation at roughly $10 billion. Not too shabby. 2 years ago, Microsoft invested $240 million and attached a valuation of $15 billion.

What’s important here is the order of magnitude of the valuation. Facebook is of course positioning themselves for a much better valuation by continuing to grow their membership base to the point where they become more like an 8000 lb gorilla in the social networking arena and can then leverage that power to grow their capabilities beyond their current offerings.

Google’s PowerMeter lets consumers tap into their power usage

Google is currently testing a software tool dubbed the PowerMeter than can tap into the stats that ‘smart’ power meters monitor. It isn’t meant for the power companies so much as it is meant to enable consumers to monitor and shepherd their own usage. Currently, there are over 40 million US homes scheduled to get smart meters in the next 3 years. FAQ.

Here’s a screenshot of what the tool may look like:

What’s in it for Google? Well, it is being run out of their philanthropic arm, so they can argue that it is in the best interest of both consumers and the environment, but there can certainly be more. Robert Cringley believe it’s a precursor to Google becoming your ISP via the power line. Yes, networking over power lines. I think he may very well be right.

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