Microwave ovens are overrated. Oh, sure, they can do some things really well, but for other tasks, they fall quite short. Personally, I like an appliance that is capable of doing more than softening butter and popping popcorn. (OK, I know that's an understatement, but bear with me.) Considering how manufacturers love to integrate several appliances into one (usually with toasters, it would seem), it should come as no surprise that the ubiquitous microwave oven is finally starting to diversify.
You can always count on an exhibition to inspire companies to create and display some pretty cool stuff, and the International Housewares Show in Chicago is no exception. Among Haier's showings this year is the new Piano Black line of small appliances.
The blue LED illumination looks good, but it's the features, like cool-to-the-touch handles, that will really win you over. This is a full line of appliances, including a cordless electric water kettle in standard and dome shapes, digital toasters in a variety of configurations, a food processor and blender combination, a citrus juicer, and more.
I'… Read more
Linux gets a great deal of credit and attention in the desktop and server markets, where it's visible and gaining market share. However, too often, we overlook the power of the Linux platform when it's hidden inside appliances, the so-called embedded market where Linux has long played a dominant role (and where I got my career start in open source at Lineo).
In embedded, Linux dwarfs Microsoft. It's time we took notice.
The most recent Linux-focused IDC market-sizing report came out in spring 2008 at the Linux Foundation's annual summit. The numbers are remarkable:Server operating … Read more
There are a lot of toasters out there. For every personal aesthetic, there seems to be a corresponding toaster. Toasters range from the bright and shiny to gimmicky multitaskers made out of plastic. Machines are available for those that prefer design, and there are toasters out there that tout convenience. Combination appliances are great fun, and at times actually do save time and money (consider the toaster oven, for example). But sometimes you just want a toaster that toasts.
The Maui Electric Company and General Electric are joining up to test a unique smart-grid technology on the Hawaiian island's electrical grid.
The Maui, Hawaii, project includes the usual smart-grid tech: developing a substation with battery storage capability to remove and store excess electricity generated from connected wind and solar energy sources. The electricity supply is then released from the substation to the main power grid when it's needed during peak usage times.
Many companies are interested in smart-grid energy technology. Google wants users to confront their home energy use appliance by appliance. IBM is jockeying to be a key supplier for smart-grid tech … Read more
When I was first venturing into the kitchen, one appliance in particular scared me: the pressure cooker. Even the name--while being an accurate descriptor--conjured up images of tortured carrots and screaming potatoes. I was afraid to go near the thing, let alone use it for some innocent task like boiling water. Eventually however, I recovered from my appliance paranoia and now can operate all manner of kitchen appliance and gadget with no hesitation. Still, I get the occasional shiver when pulling out the trusty pressure cooker. While the older pressure cookers resemble medieval torture devices, this shiny new Electric Pressure Cooker from Cuisinart … Read more
Google has begun experimenting with a new cross-language ability for its Search Appliance, a server customers can use to power their in-house search service.
"Many of our enterprise search customers have dozens of offices all over the world with tens of millions documents indexed in a host of different languages," said Cyrus Mistry, Google's enterprise product manager, in a blog post Thursday. "Cross-Language Enterprise Search instantly translates your Google Search Appliance query from one language to one or more other languages using Google's best-in-class translation engine."
There are some places an LCD screen makes no sense, like on a vent hood. But there are other places where the inclusion of an LCD screen is so natural that it practically seems obvious once you see it. Like on the fridge.
Samsung isn't the only one to come up with this idea, but it is a nice addition to the company's new French door fridge, announced on November 3. The RFG299 has a 7-inch LCD screen just above the ice and water dispenser. The screen offers one-touch access to calendars, schedules, showcase photos, nutrition facts, and … Read more
Did you know there's some leeway on when a refrigerator must run its automatic defrost cycle?
Well, apparently, there is, and it could help ease the stress on local energy grids during peak hours, according to GE Consumer & Industrial.
Currently, GE refrigerators' automatic defrost modes are prompted by factors like door openings. But, the company says, it could build refrigerators that delay that cycle until a local electrical grid signals it's a good off-peak time to suck down more electricity.
Refrigerators are not the only appliances that could be programmed to wait for convenient times to run. … Read more
Our struggling economy has put just about everyone in the country back in touch with the part of their judgment that decides when it's a good time to splurge and a good time to save. In the wake of rising oil prices, a planet that's heating up, and falling stocks, the emphasis on energy-efficient home technology is higher than ever.
GE has responded by planning a release of a line of green appliances in early 2009. The line is part of GE's "ecomagination" initiative, and will include an array of ''smart" refrigerators, ranges, washers … Read more