We chat with Matt Rogers of Nest at CES 2012 in this episode. Nest is a learning thermostat that is created by the guys who created 13 generations of iPod and a few generations of the iPhone, and is an ingenious way to re-imagine saving energy in your home. The thermostat is a round metal dial with a circular color LCD screen that works a lot like an iPod classic click wheel. You can turn the temperature up or down by twisting the dial, or you can go through its menus by pressing it in like a button. It can be set to automatically change the temperature based on the time and whether you're present. We also demo the Nest thermostat to show you exactly how it all works.
Big thank you to MozyPro and JackThreads for sponsoring the show - be sure to check them out! MozyPro provides simple, automatic, and secure data backup. As for JackThreads, we've got exclusive invite codes that give you $5 to use towards anything you'd like on the site.
Apple has just released Mac OS X 10.7.1, the first major update for Lion, the latest incarnation of the Mac operating system. The update fixes a few bugs, improves reliability of Wi-Fi, and resolves an issue with transferring settings to a new Mac. If you are running Lion, go ahead and fire up Software Update to get this...it's only 17 MB in size.
We give you a look at the Sprint MiFi 4G mobile hotspot in this episode of Unboxing Live. The MiFi connects to Sprint's and Clear's WiMAX 4G network, providing broadband speeds on the go. If you leave the 4G area, then it bumps down to standard 3G speed so that you can still stay connected. You can allow up to 5 devices access to the MiFi Wi-Fi network at once, which means you can use it to provide access for your phone, computer, and three other devices all at the same time.
Big thanks to our sponsor - GoToMeeting makes it easy to collaborate with anyone, anywhere - and they have just released their new HD faces feature that lets you see the webcams of up to 6 users as a time, which means you're collaborating face-to-face. Also, be sure and grab a free $5 credit from JackThreads now!
Wired broadband is nearly 30 percent faster than wireless broadband within the same household, an Internet research company has found.
UK-based research firm Epitiro surveyed 2,761 U.S. broadband consumers between November 2010 and February 2011. Forty-five percent used a wired connection to their broadband routers and 55 percent connected via Wi-Fi. The respondents were asked to embed a speed test application on their computers in order to measure download times.
Wired download speeds were 29.7 percent faster than Wi-Fi connections. The average actual speed was 7.4 Mbps for wired connections, compared to 5.2 Mbps for wireless ones. Furthermore, latency was 10-20 percent higher over Wi-Fi. Packet loss and jitter were also detected.
Why is Wi-Fi so much slower than older wired technology? According to Epitiro, wireless speeds are degraded because most wireless routers, by default, are set to the same channel, which causes "radio congestion." Signal strength is also hindered by physical objects like walls, doors, floors, furniture, even people. Other common radio-based devices, like microwave ovens and baby monitors, also hog your home's wireless spectrum.
With more consumers now using wireless connections than the technically superior wired connections, Epitiro concluded that consumers prioritized "quality of experience" over the "quality of service." Put another way, consumers still prefer the convenience of mobility over the extra minutes of download time saved. Furthermore, Web browsing times were roughly the same between types of connections.
Fresh out of CES 2011, Samsung has announced their new SH100 point and shoot camera. What's so special about this one? Well, the main advantage here is the built-in Wi-Fi with DLNA support. This allows you to send images and videos to friends and web services (Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, Photobucket) directly from the camera itself without having to sync to a computer first. Speaking of syncing, the SH100 can also use it's Wi-Fi signal to wirelessly and automatically sync to a computer on the same network, eliminating the need for a cable. The DLNA let's you wirelessly display images and videos to a television right from the camera as well.
Even better, if you have a Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone, you can use that device as a remote control for the camera. It will act as a remote viewfinder with shutter control at the very least. It's got a 14.2 megapixel sensor and 4.7-23.5mm lens which is nothing to write home about, but hey, for all this thing can do it's priced at just $200. That must mean we should be seeing more of this type of stuff just built-in to cameras this year (we hope!)
The big rumor this weekend making the rounds is that Skype may be planning to bring video calls to mobile platforms soon. A document was discovered by Engadget showing some help topics like "How do I make video calls with Skype for iPhone?" Also, Skype has been saying it will make some new video related announcements at CES next month. Could this mean Skype users will be able to use their iPhone 4 with something other than FaceTime? So far it's always been a sticky issue to use video on phones because of the high bandwidth requirements. The real question here is, if true, will Skype video calls be Wi-Fi only, or will you be able to make these calls over 3G?
Read More | Engadget
Starbucks just announced that they are dropping their Wi-Fi fee starting on July 1. That’s right, Wi-Fi at all Starbucks locations will be free from July 1 on. In fact, as you can see in the tweeted announcement, it will be 1-click to log on, no registration required. Starbucks Wi-Fi is currently powered by AT&T, but going forward, the company will be partnering with Yahoo! to provide the free service to customers. This is a big move, since Starbucks is pretty much, well, everywhere.
Read More | Starbucks Twitter
Hey, looks like Apple is finally owning up to those iPad Wi-Fi connectivity issues that a bunch of people have been having. Rather than asking people to turn off dual-band mode on their routers (although we’e found that this certainly does help in the meantime,) Apple will be releasing a fix as a software update for the iPad. Of course, we have no timeframe for when we will see it, but we are thinking it will have to happen sooner rather than later, now that both the Wi-Fi model and the Wi-Fi + 3G are both out and about, selling in droves. They won’t want that issue hanging around for too much longer, since without Internet connectivity, the iPad becomes a fairly useless device. Yeah, I said it.
Read More | Apple
We’re not sure what type of games TiVo thinks they are trying to play here, but the company has finally gotten around to getting their AN0100 802.11n wireless adapter to retail, and they’ve decided it best to charge more than just about any other wireless device of this kind on the market. That’s right, the TiVo Wireless N Network Adapter can be yours for a shocking $89.99. yeah, you get better range and throughput than you would on the Wireless G model, but, man, that price has us seriously considering the costs of just running an ethernet cable across the house.
Read More | TiVo Wireless N Adapter
My friend Jeff Pulver commandeered a room on the 4th floor at SXSW and had several people who he has met around the world present what they believed were success stories about the Twitter service. This goes hand in hand with the 140 Conferences that he is throwing around the world. One such speaker, Bowen Payson, was from the airline Virgin America that has been using Twitter to outreach to their customers.
Bowen began his session by speaking about the differences in their airline from a physical experience. From the black leather Recaro seats, to the mood lighting. Their on-demand in flight entertainment is just as high tech as their communication strategy. The Twitter story began without a strategy and unfolded and matured into more than
60,000 followers as I write this. Their main social contact, Nick Schwartz is the voice of the airline and loves social networking, partially because of his age. They try to keep a consumer centric voice and mind set, and work to make the experience better incrementally.