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06 Mar

Just when the electrified world looked to have made the switch from incandescent to CFL, along comes yet another light bulb claiming to be the world's most energy efficient.

The NanoLight -- invented by a trio of University of Toronto graduates -- is said to use only 12 watts of power to produce the equivalent of 100 watts of light. Jump-started by a Kickstarter campaign that has brought in more than $244,000 in pledges, the NanoLight employs proprietary LED technology to work its magic. The first shipment of bulbs is expected in July 2013. Backers who get in early can snag bulbs for a mere $45 apiece. Which, for some households, represents an entire monthly electric bill or more.

So, what's the appeal?

04 Mar

For the past couple of years, smartphone makers have apparently been racing to see who could make the bigger, more colorful, feature-filled device. A few current offerings practically rival a mini-tablet in terms of size and variety of features.

Just when it seems as though the race is about the taper off, along comes another entry, this one from a Taiwanese company called Polytron Technologies. Not bigger, not more colorful, not even packed with a ton of new features. Except one: This smartphone is transparent.

Or, more appropriately, becomes transparent. Right now, the model is merely a prototype that makes clever use of Polyvision Privacy Glass, which is made by Texas-based Polytronix Inc. According to Polytron, "At the flick of a switch, Polyvision™ products become transparent from a dormant, cloudy-white translucent state."

03 Mar

You may be surprised to learn that the electric car isn’t a new invention. In fact, the first small-scale electric car was invented in 1828, according to About.com. While the invention date is argued, one can’t argue that massive technological advancements have been made since. Who leads the race for setting the electric car standards? And does their performance and reliability match that of non-electric price competitors?

Every car company hopes to lead the pack, in the case of the electric car its Tesla Motors that sets the standard. However, while Tesla Motors are considered a fine grade, it’s the Chevrolet Volt that leads in sales, according to Yahoo!. The Volt has also been awarded as the best electric car resale value from Kelly Blue Book in 2012, followed closely by the Nissan Leaf. If you’re worried about reliability, don’t be. As it turns out, most electric cars get above-average predicted reliability, according to The New York Times. With several ways to calculate if an electric car would save you in gas, it’s certainly true it would save on your environmental footprint. Most manufacturers use solar, hydro and wind power to produce these vehicles and without the major use of gasoline and oil needed – the environments resources could certainly benefit.

01 Mar

The announcement about the upcoming release of the Sony PS4 recently rattled about the tech world with all the precision of an out-of-control spinning top, with some observers disappointed and others pleasantly surprised. Still others took the position that Sony simply didn't have its act together.

Certain features about the latest iteration of the gaming system are simply unknown at this point -- like the console's specific appearance. Or the price. Not altogether minor issues, in the eyes of some.

What is known is that the new system, outfitted with 8GB of DDR5 RAM, will be faster. Plus, game developers are already working to introduce new offerings. And the system will be available in time for Christmas. "News items" which could have been surmised about any major gaming system upgrade.

28 Feb

As consumers grow more comfortable with conducting personal business on the internet, online insurance options are enticing even for those who wouldn’t have considered it before. But there are several types of online insurance available, from traditional companies that provide online account management to web insurers that provide a full virtual experience.

One of the best things the internet has brought insurance consumers is the ability to easily compare the rates of multiple companies at once. Instead of spending days shopping around, a site like Progressive or Esurance will show you premiums for a variety of insurance companies to help you save money.

Easier access to online quotes is only one of the ways the internet has changed consumer and business insurance. New services like reputation insurance illustrate how quickly insurance needs of consumers are changing. Even longtime companies now provide online services, with some allowing policyholders with the ability to snap photos of automobile accidents, for instance, and create a new claim directly on a smartphone.

Increasingly, however, insurance companies are fully automating the insurance process, conducting everything from policy creation to payments online to make things more convenient for customers. Companies like Esurance, powered by Allstate, handles everything online. While some may long for the days of having a local insurance agent in a bricks-and-mortar location, many others are happy to be able to manage insurance policies from the comfort of their sofa.

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