Nightmare Wiring Gallery

We all know clean and logical wiring is an art form and the web site Dark Roasted Blend has compiled a gallery of some of the most frightening examples of bad art.

iRiver's Wave-Home

iRiver's Wave-Home multimedia communications device is a VoIP phone and a home networking controller, as it provides an expansive 7-inch 800 x 480 resolution touchscreen for web browsing, photo viewing and interacting with all manners of connected widgets. Furthermore, the unit packs a 1.3-megapixel camera, built in speakers, an Ethernet jack, SD slot, USB connectivity, a FM radio module and support for digipen input. iRiver says it will run under $400 and they are looking to partner with current VOIP providers.

NuForce Icon USB-input Integrated Amplifier

The NuForce Icon ($249) is an audiophile-grade Integrated Desktop Audio Amplifier featuring two 12-watt outputs, a 3.5-mm stereo input for connection to an iPod or other portable device, a USB cable for operation with a PC or Mac, and standard RCA inputs for employing the Icon as the heart of a conventional audio system; all enclosed in a tiny 6" x 4 1/2" x 1" package. The USB DAC for converts a PC or Mac's audio signal to high-quality analog sound. The NuForce Icon also offers a seperate high-performance headphone output amp. Stereophile has a in depth review of its performance and sound quality .

VCR Toaster

Someone brilliant has modified a useless VCR into a working single-slot toaster. A single piece of bread is loaded into the tape slot of an old Daewoo VHS deck and a couple minutes later a delicious piece of toast flies out. The toast even has the VHS logo burned onto its surface. Here is a video of the toaster in action.

Free Standing Cord Lamp

The clever design of these floor and table lamps incorporates what is usually the most unsightly element of a lamp, the cord. The designers decided to "extend" the function of the cord, turning it into both the base and stand. Made of textile cord and steel tubing allows the lamp to spring up from the ground. Available now from the Museum Of Modern Art's Online Store.

Sharp's Aquos LCD TVs With Built-in Blu-ray

Sharp's line of Aquos LCD TVs with a built-in, slot loading Blu-ray player are finally hitting US shores.  6ave has the 32-inch (LC-32BD60U) and 37-inch (LC-37BD60U) versions for $999 and $1,199 respectively.  Both sets sport 1920×1080 resolution, 3X HDMI inputs, 6ms response time and an unspecified contrast ratio and brightness.

The Google PowerMeter

Google wants to build the platform for collecting, managing, and analyzing home energy information for… well, if they have their way, for everybody on earth. PowerMeter is currently in internal beta testing. About four dozen Google employees have home energy monitors to record their power usage (as proxies for the smart meters of the future). A Home Energy gadget on their iGoogle home pages shows them shows how much energy they are using. The gadget tracks historical data and forecasts future trends (similar to the displays available for some of Google's finance applications).

Intel Demos 32nm Processors

Intel's Westmere 32nm Processor is built on the Core i7 micro-architecture but uses a more advanced manufacturing process. For consumers, the highlight for a smaller die is that it will consume less power and will be faster. Also for the first time Intel will also integrate a 2-channel DDR3 memory controller and IGP graphics processor on a single CPU package (although on a separate 45nm chip). The CPUs with the integrated graphics are code named ClarkDale (desktop) and Arrandale (laptop). They will have 2 cores with HyperThreading and will hopefully be in volume production in Q4 of 2009.

Pioneer Exits TV Business

Pioneer Corp., feeling the pinch of weakened global demand, is considering a number of strategic moves to right its financial ship. Among the new directions reportedly being discussed are getting out of the flat-panel TV business altogether and spinning off its DVD production into a new company that would be a joint venture with Sharp Corp.

1 Million Xbox Users Download Netflix App

One million Xbox Live Gold members have downloaded the Netflix application since its November launch, Microsoft announced Thursday. In total, the Xbox Live community has watched 1.5 billion minutes of movies and TV episodes over the past three months.

ATT Working On All-in-one Media Box

Gizmodo obtained info from an AT&T employee that the company is working on a U-Verse IPTV box with Femtocell capability. The set top box would not only handle your television, telephone and internet it would also improve your cellular reception within your home. The box is supposed to come in the next year and will be offered under AT&T's U-Verse service .

Passive Ceramic Horn Speaker

Through passive amplification alone, these unique pieces instantly transform any personal music player + earbuds into a sculptural audio console. Without the use of external power or batteries, the Phonofone II inventively exploits the virtues of horn acoustics to boost the audio output of standard earphones to up to 55 decibels. The Phonofone II is constructed entirely from white ceramics and is available for $500 from charlesandmarie.com .

Mini USB Monitors Get US Release

The Mimo UM series USB mini monitors are useful when additional display ports aren't available but unfortunately they haven't been distributed in the US until recently. Mimo has launched a US portal selling two seven-inch models, starting with the 710 at $130 , offering a 800 x 480 screen with a 400:1 contrast ratio and brightness rated at 350 nits. The higher end 740 adds touch capability and a webcam and cost $200 .

Windows 7 Multitouch Preview

The upcoming release of Microsoft's Windows 7 will include native support for touch screens and multitouch interfaces. Gizmodo installed the Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend and recorded a few movies of what to expect. They previewed the Windows 7 Media Center's touch interface, basic navigation as well as a third party air hockey demo.

A "Cedia" Low-Voltage Initiative Proposal

Somewhere in the mid 1980's, the NAHB Research Center in Washington was run by a guy I knew (whose name I can't seem to dig up) who had a wacky vision. His idea was to reinvent the way electrical power was distributed throughout the home. They called it Smart Home (not to be confused with the Disney movie of the same name or other stuff that uses that name now). I think it was the first use of the name.

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