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Technology — Complete The Circuit

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

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Microsoft’s Courier Tablet

There is the iPad which was made for web surfers and Mac based users, and then there is the Microsoft Courier which is made for designers. I am sure you know my feelings about the iPad. Anyways, the Courier would have been the ideal companion for any designer – graphic, interior, apparel, architecture and web. The elegant and intuitive interface would be able to go head to head with the “magical” iPad.  The Courier would be able to use both touch and a stylus to input your design. Unfortunately, the Microsoft Execs have decided to not go ahead with the Courier project supposedly because they want to focus more on the unity of their brands – Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. Hopefully, someone will pick up where Microsoft drop the ball. Maybe – Google and HTC?

Video 1

Video 2

What do you think about the Microsoft Courier? Would you get one if you could?

Videos Via:

Sears Helps You Go Green

The car industry started to rebound with the “Cash for Clunkers” program encouraging buyers to trade in their old and inefficient cars for newer fuel efficient models.  Sears is piggy-backing on the idea and a similar program knows as “Cash for Appliance” rebate program has been implemented by the federal government for energy efficient appliances. Sears is helping consumers better understand and access the $300 million available in rebates. The rebate gives you the chance to recycle your old, inefficient appliances and get cash back when you purchase ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances. So if you are planning on rehabbing, remodeling, or renewing your kitchen, laundry, or basement…the time is now. Many states will launch their rebates over the next few months; however, each program will differ state-to-state dollars available, qualifying appliances, recycling requirements, and a few other stipulations. Nevertheless this is definitely a way for homeowners to not only save money but to also help save the environment.

Sears is working closely with state and  local government officials to develop various consumer resources to help track the state-by-state programs. The Sears websiteincludes an interactive map that allows Americans to easily locate information about their state’s rebates. In addition, the Sears Blue Appliance Crew will gladly fill out the rebate forms for you before you ever leave the store! If you are anything like me once you get home rebate infomation somehow never seems to make it into the mail.

As part of the rebate program, the Department of Energy recommends all states to encourage recycling. States likes Florida offer additional rebates for recycling, while California requires it. Sears also offers anther great program called the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. In fact, Sears is the first and only retailer that is certified by the EPA to participate in RAD program.

How the RAD program works?
For those of us who don’t know how to properly dispose of their old appliances…Sears is there to help! The Sears Haul Away Service (through RAD) will provide removal of the one old, inefficient appliance for each new appliance purchased and delivered.  Once the old appliance is removed, Sears and its partners ensure that the disposal process takes place in an environmentally friendly manner to avoid the discarding of appliances in landfills, which significantly reduces emissions of ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases.

Go to the Sears website to check out the details of the Cash for Appliances rebate program or the Responsible Appliance Disposal program. If you are considering new appliances Sears my be your way to GO GREEN. Out with the old and in with the new. Save the planet and save dollars.

Bloom Box – Energy of the Future?

If you haven’t heard about a Bloom Box, it may be the future of energy generation and can get your home off the grid. The Bloom Box is brought to you by Bloom Energy. Bloom energy was featured on 60 Minutes last night talking about their revolutionary new product. This is the interview done on CBS last night.

I won’t rehash what is the video but think of some of the ramifications:

  • Each home making its own energy
  • No more power lines over head creating visual clutter
  • Reduced if not eliminated electric bills (would be replaced with much smaller fuel bill)

Bloom Energy will be making its public announcement tomorrow. Bloom Energy should be very well received especially since it has huge clients who have purchased and are testing it such as – eBay, Google, Staples, FedEx, and Walmart. If these mammoth companies are seeing savings and have not disposed of this tech then I think we should definitely take some notice.

The only dark side, I see coming out of this is that the price does not drop to the point where everyone has access, and the electric companies just integrate the technology into their systems and keep their prices the same. Thus the electric companies continue to make huge profits. Then again Google is now in the utilities business and Google has the motto of  ”don’t be evil.”

Some naysayers say it still uses hydrocarbons to run which is true but it will use considerably less and it can also use biofuels, processed algae biofuels, and methane gas from numerous sources. By any means if it reduces the amount of carbon produced it is a win for right now while other renewable technologies are improved.

UPDATE: February 26, 2010

Bloom Energy had their huge unveiling party earlier this week with great fan fair at Ebay. Here are some videos. The first is a Q&A with the CEO K.R. Sridhar and the second of the Bloom Boxes installed at Ebay.

Image Source:
CBS News


iPad: The Future or Waste of Money

Like many people I like Apple and I am a fan of many things they that they do. I have a iPod Touch and an iMac. So, I am not a Apple hater. Now that I am done with my disclaimer. I will begin my critic of the iPad. If you have no idea what the iPad is on Apple’s site they have the keynote presentation to tell about it here.

The Future:

  • Help save the dying newspaper and magazine industry (Maybe)
  • Inventive idea – to create something between an iPod and Laptop
  • Priced within reach
  • New functionality – iWork (word documents, spreadsheets, and presentation software)
  • iPhone Tech – has all the great features and functions of the iPhone
  • Wifi +3G capable – depends on the version you buy
  • Get for students – with iWork and compact design

Waste of Money:

  • No Camera, The whole point of having a device like this is to connect with people without having a laptop. It would have been great to be able to video chat on this device.
  • No e-ink – Granted they did not want to use an eink screen but trying to read a book on this device will fatigue your eyes just like a computer.
  • NO FLASH!!!!! WTF!!! Really Apple! I think everyone could understand on the iPhone and the Touch but on this device that is supposed to put the internet in your hands is unacceptable.
  • Uninspired design – It is a giant iPod touch, at least change the button in it.
  • Horrendous name – Really iPad. Whoever working at Apple that said, “Just change the ‘O’ to an ‘A’!” should be labeled the village idiot and have rotten tomatoes thrown at him.
  • 3G scam – Unlike the e-readers out there that come with a data plan included, the iPad offers two plans $15 for barely any data (250 MB)  and $30 for unlimited. Both plans are through AT&T. This is just ridiculous, think about it if you have an iPhone with a data plan it is unlikely that you will be on both your iPhone internet and your iPad net. They need to make a bundle plan or allow tethering to your iPhone.

OK, basically I am seriously unimpressed by the iPad. I do like some of the new functionality but I wouldn’t buy one till they come out with the next generation. Maybe the next one will have a camera on the front and a different design.

What do you think about the new iPad?

Wacom’s New Bamboo Tablets


So, I am a bit late on this, but I am also a bit mad about it too. I bought the previous version of the Bamboo Fun about 6 to 7 months before the new Bamboo came out. The new Bamboo is HOT!!!!!! Mouse?!?! You don’t need no stinkin’ mouse!

OK. So, Wacom has once again stepped up the game with the new Bamboo. The new Bamboo pictured above has multi-touch capabilities. So all those cool things you can do on your iPhone you can do on your PC or Mac now. Some of the Gestures that you will be able to do are:

  • Scroll
  • Zoom
  • Rotate
  • Move backward
  • Move forward

Not only that, you also get a pen input. For those of you that have not used a Wacom tablet before they are off the chain. I have had mine for almost a year now and LOVE it, and I would upgrade but we are in a recession. Anyways back to this bad@** tablet. So with multi-touch and pen input, there is no need for a mouse. Making your desk a much tidier place and giving office pranksters one less thing to mess with.  The tablet also comes with four programmable buttons which are quite handy for those commands you use all the time like [ctrl+shift+alt+S] or editing commands.

The Bamboo Line comes in five versions:

The first and last one are practically the same. The only differences for $30 are the color silver instead of black, and scrapbooking/ craft software, tutorials and subscriptions with the craft version. So if you are looking to do scrapbooking, but you already have all the software you use and magazine subscriptions, I would save $30 but hey those tutorials may rock your world. Dunno? The Pen and Touch ones I think are pointless because they only have one function each and clearly now a days “We Want It All!” So, I would skip the nicely priced single function tablets. NOW! The Bamboo Fun, I think is the best of them all. It is bigger than all the other ones at 13.3″ x 8.8″. (All the other ones are the same size – 9.8″ x 6.9″) That is kinda weird, I know. Anyways, the Fun is better because you will have more active area to touch and use a the pen on. The touch and pen are better for mobile designer, but if you are a desk/ office designer then the fun the way to go.

Basically, the Bamboo Tablets in my humble opinion are a great buy for any designer. So buy it for yourself, a friend, relative or tell your boss to buy you one for work. Leave your thoughts about the new Bamboo tablets below.

Free Software and Discounted Training


Yes, we said free software and discounted training for the designers and engineers that have been laid off. Autodesk has setup an assistance program that will allow you to create an account and download up to 17 Autodesk products with a student license. The training they offer comes in two forms. Free online training that you can use 24/7. Classroom training you can recieve at a reduced cost at Autodesk Authorized Value Added Resellers and Autodesk Training Center. The only contingency is that they have to do a verification that you have been previously let go from your job. The Autodesk Assitance Program is a great opportunity to reinvest in yourself and become more marketable when the economy turns around.

Follow the link below to go to the Autodesk Assistance Program page

Products eligible for a free* software license include:

General Design

Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC)
Autodesk® Revit® Architecture
AutoCAD® Civil 3D®
Autodesk® Revit® Structure
Autodesk® Revit® MEP Suite
AutoCAD® Architecture
Autodesk® Ecotect® Analysis
Autodesk® Navisworks® Manage

Autodesk® Inventor® Professional
Autodesk® Alias® Surface
Autodesk® Alias® Design
AutoCAD® Electrical
AutoCAD® Mechanical

Media & Entertainment
Autodesk® 3ds Max®
Autodesk® Maya®

AutoCAD® Map 3D

Complete the Circuit is Coming Soon!

Complete The Circuit is coming soon. A blog here to announce and review software the software used by the design community.