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Green Living, Smart Living

December 22, 2009 By Dennis Burger 5 comments

Green in RI

As you cross the threshold of this gorgeous New England-style home overlooking Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, the first place your mind definitely doesn’t go is toward visions of high-tech gadgetry or green living.

But there’s something special that sets this home apart from the rest of the block.

Tributaries® New HDMI Cables Perform Over Long Distance

As a consumer, you might not be aware of the critical role cables play in your system, especially when sending HD signal over significant distance. Consider your cables as the final components, responsible for preserving pristine signal quality. In that light, it's big news that Tributaries® has unveiled its new line of cables - HEC HDMI with Ethernet The new models conform to the performance requirements consistent with all the new HDMI v1.4 upgrades. Additional improvements on the connectors and the cables provide easier installation and improved signal transfer over long distances. The new HEC cable has one extra conductor in the number 14-pin position, previously unused on the HDMI connector for the dedicated Ethernet Channel.

LALED Releases First LED Lamps Compatible With All Lighting Automation Systems

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Manufacturer LALED of Lafayette, LA, has introduced its built-in dimming circuitry allowing for simple integration into any lighting system. LALEDʼs dimming circuitry is built into each LED lamp allowing for simple screw-in installation without the inconvenience of blinking lights found in competitors' similar LED recessed lights. There is also no need to rewire the house for external LED drivers. LALEDʼs drivers are compatible with all digital dimmers and automation systems on the market and are among the first to function as a stand alone dimming light with digital dimmers such as Lutron Radio RA, Maestro, Crestron Lux, Crestron InfiNET, Vantage, Leviton, and many more. Most digital dimmers are unable to handle LED lighting and malfunction when LEDs are its only load.

LALED has 40% of its manufacturing in Houston and will continue to move up to 80% of its manufacturing to the United States over the next two years. Now, if the manufacturing plant was located in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) we could ask the perennial question: "How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?" Answer - First, they have to want to change....

To learn more, click here:

What’s Next After 3D? Appear in Your Own Movie

If you guessed "4D" to the question above, you might not be far off. Companies like Phase Space are working on a technology, which allows actors to wear sensor suites and translate their actions, real time, into animated characters. To do this level of work for commercials and movies - a la "Avatar" - typically costs between $1,000 and $10,000 a second. PhaseSpace's solution costs about $10 a second. Says author, Rob Enderle: "While in its beginning stages, the concept of people being able to enter the movies they watch, or eventually being able to create 3Di movies could dramatically alter both what we watched and how we interacted with it. This technology may be applied to gaming via a head-mounted controller and voice-alteration." Imagine "virtual cameras" which allow the director to walk around, look at the tablet, and see into the movie world from all angles, making for intriguing participatory experiences.


The Next Big Thing: Crowd Sourced Movies and Immersive HD Games

According to Enderle, it isn't hard to imagine that an immersive game, properly cut and directed, couldn't actually be an interesting movie. When you combine the ability to immediately translate real actors into high-definition, animated, photo-realistic characters, in realistic, real-time-rendered environments, and view them all in real time, you have the potential to bend gaming and movies in a way that we may not be able to tell the difference.


To watch a sample, click here: 
To read the complete article by Rob Enderle, click here:

Bye Bye Battery

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Did you ever dream you could dump your batteries and pull electricity from the air? Electrical engineering researcher Paul Theilmann is working on power-scavenging "freegan" sensors to collect unused radio frequency energy from the air and use it instead of batteries.

His first foray is into environments where batteries are hard to replace and directed, radio-frequency energy is difficult to deliver. Cell phone towers and radio transmitters emit plenty of unused energy but collecting it is tricky. Theilmann's work enables his sensors to run on weaker, wireless signals. One of his innovations is a rectifier that converts wireless energy to direct current (DC).

High-Quality Video Streaming in Congested Networks

According to members of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and staff at Princeton University, ever-increasing video programs-all of which compete within limited Internet bandwidth-are deteriorating the quality of the video. This is something every computer user has encountered.

One of the solutions proposed is "Content-Aware Distortion-Fair (CAF). This algorithm allocates available bandwidth during periods of high congestion by applying a frame-drop distortion metric, which maximizes video playback. When sharing resources-such as bandwidth, the video clips can help each other to get a fair quality-of-service or less-perceived distortion (i.e., lazy sequence helps out busy sequence).

The Streaming Media Systems Group, a collaboration between Hewlett-Packard Labs and Stanford University, is also working on an advance in streaming technology called "Rate-Distortion Optimized" (RaDiO). The goal: to maximize video quality at the receiver end while overcoming frame loss and buffering delays.

 To read the Princeton White Paper, click here and bring your calculator: 

And In a Related Story: We’re a Bandwidth-Hungry Nation

The White House has joined forces with the FCC to free up 500MHz of bandwidth for wireless applications. Federal estimates project that future wireless data flow will increase between 20 and 45 times the total bandwidth used in 2009. "Spectrum crunch" fears are fueling the drive to survey spectrum inventory in order to determine how much could be shared or resold.
The challenge is to convince television broadcasters to either sell some of their 120MHz back to the government or share it with wireless companies. Referring to HR3125, "The Spectrum Inventory Act" originated and passed in the House of Representatives and S649, recently approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, National Association of Broadcasters Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said: "We believe the first priority of Congress ought to be passage of spectrum inventory legislation that identifies fallow spectrum or companies that may be 'warehousing' the airwaves.". To read more,go to:

Tech Support Follies

Has your Blackberry run out of juice? Is it frozen? Are you having a problem installing your dongle? Does booting your Apple make it crash or mess up your Windows? Would you buy an Eggs Box ($3.60)? If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, click here for a short instructional video.

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