AutoChron Offers Smart Home for $30

Autochron Wall Switch TimerOne of the things I feel is holding back the ‘smart house’ revolution is that (many times) to install all the proper gadgetry you would need to get your house rewired and re-plastered – not a cheap option by all means!

AutoChron seems to have come up with a solution to this by offering an automatic and programmable timer that can be slipped on over your existing wall switches and be used to control them without having to do any messy and invasive work to your walls. You can therefore use this piece of hardware to control anything with a switch from your lights to your fan. …

Microsoft launches Hohm, a power and resource monitor

Microsoft Hohm

We’ve seen Google trying their hand at operating systems but what about Microsoft trying to steal power usage market share from Google? Back in February we took a look at PowerMeter – a product from Google that allows users to monitor their power consumption via ‘smart’ meters, but Microsoft has released Hohm (still in beta) to do pretty much the same job.

Hohm will check your levels of electricity, propane and oil consumption within a given time period and Microsoft will look at adding device monitoring (something already offered by PowerMeter) and water monitoring to give a complete picture of your resource usage. When you sign up for your free account you can see how much you’re spending on energy, how it compares to similar users and how it can be reduced.

It’s just a pity they couldn’t get hold of a better domain to host it on.

Wolfram Alpha promises computing that answers questions

Computer scientist, Stephen Wolfram, feels that he has put together at least the initial version of a computer that actually answers factual questions, a la Star Trek’s ship computers. His version will be found on their Web-based application, Wolfram Alpha.

What does this mean? Well instead of returning links to pages that may (or may not) contain the answer to your questions, Wolfram will respond with the actual answer. Now the caveat ‘factual’ is important. You can ask it questions like ‘why is the sky blue?’ or ‘how many bones are in the human body?’, but probably not ‘do you think abortion is wrong?’. This computational knowledge engine uses natural language to parse the questions and can also accept coded queries.

For the subject areas that Wolfram covers, they not only had to either enter or import data on those subjects, but had to build models or create algorithms for breaking down and describing that data in simpler building blocks. Long story short, my question is how easy is it going to be expand into additional subject areas?

Don’t bother trying to visit the site just yet – it’s not launching until May 2009. If this works well, this is going to revolutionize computing and in particular, the search engine market. Google of course comes to mind. Would they see this as a threat? I imagine they should. so I think what will be important here is how quickly Wolfram can expand into additional subject areas. If they give Google enough time to get into this market, then they could be sunk.

via Techcrunch

Smart Shopper – say, record and print your shopping list

The Smart Shopper is the electronic gadget for shoppers who can’t live without their lists. Here’s how it works in a nutshell: say the item in the Smart Shopper, it records it and then you can print out the list on the built-in thermal printer. Smart Shopper has a built-in database of over 2500 common items, and you can add your custom items as well. It also has voice-recognition to understand what you’re telling it.

At over $100, Smart Shopper is not cheap, but if you account for saving gas and time in not having to make return trips to the stores, then this could very well pay for itself before you know it.

More info from the manufacturer

Price: $116.98 (with free shipping from
(Please note prices are subject to change and the listed price is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of posting)

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