A three-man team of programmers and engineers announced on Thursday that it has found a way to park for free by bypassing the security of "smart" parking meters used in cities including San Francisco, which has about 25,000 of them.
RunKeeper Free is a no-cost but still full-featured version of RunKeeper Pro, a fitness app that helps runners (and even hikers and cyclists and the like) track the speed, pace, distance, and location of their workouts. The app has a streamlined, two-button interface--Stop/Start and Pause--and a large display that shows time elapsed, current speed, pace per mile (or kilometer), distance traveled, and GPS strength. What makes RunKeeper Free so useful--and motivating--is its ability to track the history of your runs, showing a quick list of the date, start time, duration, and distance covered for all your runs, and even … Read more
Comcast's Web-based broadband meter, which was rumored to be released back in January, is still not available to consumers. According to a Comcast representative whom I spoke with earlier Tuesday, it's still not ready for prime time, and is undergoing further employee trials before being released to the public.
Once released, the meter will let customers of Comcast's high-speed Internet service monitor how much of their 250GB monthly bandwidth quota has been used. This will help keep them from going over that limit--something that results in a termination of their service upon the second offense.
Comcast imposed … Read more
The number of smart electricity meters with two-way communications is poised to mushroom in the next two years, according to a study.
Research company Park Associates this week released figures for smart-meter installations in the U.S., saying that there are 8 million units installed, or about 6 percent of all meters.
As utilities upgrade equipment as part of smart-grid trials, the number of smart meters is forecast to grow to 13.6 million installed next year and to over 33 million in 2011.
Having a method to broker regular communications between a utility and a customer will set the … Read more
A couple months back, I talked about Dell's new Eco-friendly monitors, the G2210 and G2410, which feature on-screen displays (OSDs) that allow you to see, in real time, how much energy your monitor is using depending on its current brightness level. In the original blog, I commented that I hoped more developers would follow Dell's lead, and it looks like NEC will be the first to try--perhaps even topping Dell.
On Tuesday, NEC announced the MultiSync E222W, a 22-inch LCD monitor with a host of ergonomic and Eco-conscious options.
The monitor includes 110 millimeter height adjustment, pivoting, swivel, and tilt. It also includes an Eco Mode that purportedly reduces power consumption and heat generation.
Also, according to NEC, its Intelligent Power Management and off timer will help conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by switching to a low-power state or automatically powering down when the monitor is on but is not in use. This feature apparently circumvents OS-based power options.
Taking a page out of Dell's aforementioned unique OSD options, the MultiSync E222W will allow users to track their carbon footprint savings, with what NEC calls the display's carbon footprint meter.
According to NEC, the tool takes the concept used in the Dells one step further by actually calculating the reduction of green gas emissions, unlike Dell's tool, which only shows energy readings relative to the monitor's brightness.
Queue the spec list!… Read more
Updated at 9:25 a.m. PT with comments from San Diego Gas & Electric.
Google has signed on smart-meter manufacturer Itron and eight utilities to offer Google's PowerMeter Web service for monitoring home energy use.
PowerMeter reads a home's electricity meter and gives the consumer a detailed readout of usage. The idea is that a better understanding of electricity usage--presented via daily trends and data on individual appliances--will help people figure out how to cut consumption.
Google's home energy-monitoring software relies on meters, or add-on devices, that can communicate usage information back to utilties. In a … Read more
For an industry that's supposedly struggling to keep up with customer demand for more bandwidth, the nation's two largest cable operators seem to be doing pretty well.
This week Comcast and Time Warner Cable each reported strong earnings, in spite of the fact that Time Warner has said recently that it needs a new business model to handle growing broadband demand.
Comcast beat analysts' expectations and increased profits 5.4 percent to $778 million. Time Warner Cable's profits fell 32 percent, but this was mostly due to costs associated with the split from its former parent company, … Read more
Connection Meter uses its tiny, unobtrusive user interface to give you quick, at-a-glance system usage information. We were a little perturbed to find that some of its features were unavailable with the unregistered version, and we could have done without the constant timed nag screens.
Novice users might be a little overwhelmed by some of the initial configurations, but if you stick with the default settings, you're probably good to go. The program installs a taskbar icon, and a tiny, movable window appears in the far right corner that gives you a live account of your CPU usage, connection … Read more
Time Warner Cable has put the brakes on a trial that was testing its new "consumption-based billing" system for its broadband service, the company said Thursday.
Chief Executive Glenn Britt said in a statement that there has been "a great deal of misunderstanding" by consumers and lawmakers who have criticized the plan.
Britt said that the company still believes that consumption-based billing may be the best way to handle rising network costs among its heaviest bandwidth users. But he conceded the company will not proceed with tests until it consults further with customers and interested parties.… Read more
Time Warner Cable's plans to cap broadband speeds and charge $150 a month for unlimited broadband downloads has caused quite a stir among consumers and politicians.
U.S. Rep. Eric Massa of New York is promising to introduce in Congress that will curb the use of tiered broadband services in areas where there is only one service provider. And angry consumers have taken to the blogosphere to express their outrage at a new plan that would theoretically charge them more on a per Gigabyte basis for downloads than they'd et from other services.
Last week, Time Warner Cable, … Read more