Friday, April 4, 2008

It Came from the Technosphere

Some of the interesting ideas and stuff we found at FOSE, the huge government technology expo in DC last week:

Web 2.0 Tools for Better Living: Tech wiz writer/pundit David Pogue screened his riotous and wry home productions, including his own song parodies (on the set list: “You’re being sued by the RIAA” to the tune of Y.M.C.A.).

Among Pogue’s Web 2.0 favorites: A way to save cell phone minutes – instead of listening to voice mail, get Spinvox or Simulscribe to convert messages to text. Free TV onine – timeshifting, and with fewer and shorter commercials. Trip Advisor, through which travelers share notes that you need to hear but won’t from travel agents. Micro loan sites for those looking to earn higher interest on idle cash and those in need of a loan to escape debt or build a business here or in third world countries. GoLoco carpooling database for getting/giving rides to work or the mall ... Who Is Sick? spreads the word about the spread of illnesses...drilling down to neighborhood level, it’s great for parents of young kids.

Digital Age vs. Digit: Observed Pogue: “Gadgets are getting smaller and smaller, while our fingers stay the same size.”

Tech Trash Tech: Media packaging generates lots of waste. Companies such as Univenture lessen the landfill burden with smart eco-friendly packaging for software and other media. Components include PLA renewable film made fom plants and biodegradable/compostable poly. They now offer eco-friendly, archival-safe presentation and storage media for large-format documents.

The Boom: UmeVoice’s noise-canceling headset for cell phones. Bring on the maddening crowds.

Green Ideas: Consumer and industrial electronics emit heat; wouldn’t it be great to tap it? Until organizations learn to harness it, they would benefit their operations with smarter, more efficient selection, siting and operation of equipment. Consider how much heat a large bank of equipment releases in a facility. The heat can reduce the efficiency of the equipment, thwart its operation, accelerate breakdown, repair costs and replacements, increase power consumption and energy bills, and so on. This equipment-generated heat is a huge negative when, as is usually the case, it is waste. But it could be recaptured and turned into an asset, with an investment in ... more technology. Chosen correctly, the effect would be a net positive. Other ways to improve efficiency: better selection and siting of the equipment. As with most things, one size does not fit all.