Kitchen gadgets can range from entirely unnecessary to incredibly useful. And as we all well know, there is no guarantee that an expensive product equates into a quality product. It could be said that the best kitchen gadgets extend functionality of an already existing product; everybody likes getting extended value. Be that as it may be, such products are all too often rare to see actually available. And even more rare to find at an attractive price. But that doesn't mean they aren't out there.
Want to change the world but only have 99 cents? Armchair Revolutionary is here to help.
Set to launch into beta on Tuesday, Armchair Revolutionary is a Web-based social activism platform designed to harness large-scale crowdsourcing and the boom in social gaming in a bid to support a wide variety of science and technology ventures that could benefit the world at large.
Started by the founders of The Hollywood Hill, said to be the largest social change membership organization in the entertainment-industry, Armchair Revolutionary is meant to bring people's interest in helping support worthwhile causes and the iTunes-era simplicity … Read more
New data released from the National Venture Capital Association shows evidence of a rebounding acquisitions and IPO market for venture-backed companies in the first quarter of 2010.
According to the Exit Poll report (PDF) by Thomson Reuters and the NVCA, Q1 2010 ended with nine venture-backed initial public offerings (IPOs) and 111 merger and acquisition transactions.
Additionally, there were 31 disclosed venture-backed M&A exits averaging $180.2 million, 21 percent higher than the total average disclosed transaction value for all of 2009. As the chart below shows, the funding-to-exit ratio for software and Internet start-ups was roughly 4 … Read more
Teenagers are flocking to Formspring.me, a social media tool that allows users to anonymously ask questions for others to publicly answer. Users get a unique URL that points their friends (or foes) to a simple form that reads, "Ask me anything." But, of course, the simplest things can sometimes be the most problematic.
A police department in Suffolk County, N.Y., investigating the suicide of Alexis Pilkington, 17, might consider Formspring.me as a factor in her death. According to the Associated Press, Alexis was receiving harassing messages before her death last March 21. Her family insists … Read more
Solar start-up 1366 Technologies is developing a technology to convert raw silicon ingots directly into solar cells, a process that could slash solar manufacturing costs.
The Lexington, Mass.-based company, which was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had received a $4 million grant last fall from ARPA-E, the federal government's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, to pursue the technology.
If successfully commercialized, the technology could reduce the costs of making silicon wafers, which are turned into solar cells, by 60 percent, said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366. Its target customer: companies that manufacture solar cells.
"… Read more
Better late than never. Western Digital on Wednesday finally introduced its first solid-state drive for consumers, the WD SiliconEdge Blue. Many other storage vendors, such as Seagate, Samsung, and Intel, have been offering SSDs for a long time.
WD claims that its new SSD offers fast read/write speeds and high capacities. The WD SiliconEdge Blue SSD will be available in capacities up to 256GB and features the SATA 2 (3Gbps) interface with read speeds up to 250MBps and write speeds up to 170MBps.
According to WD, the new SiliconEdge Blue SSD will be rugged and deliver maximum tolerance for … Read more
Anyone who has ever been involved in a venture financing deal knows what a headache term sheets can be.
Term sheets, which describe the terms of the financing deal being negotiated, tend to have a laundry list of oft-confusing conditions that has to be met before financing can occur.
And while lawyers experienced with venture financings are a dime a dozen (make that $450/hour each) in Silicon Valley, negotiating the terms of your deal is fraught with anxiety and occasionally peril.
The one thing you can be assured of is that the lawyers will take a nice chunk of … Read more
Apple gets a fair amount of criticism for its supposed elitism, but Apple products reveal the opposite: they're made for normal people who generally don't obsess about technology. For all the beauty of its designs, the real reason Apple succeeds is simplicity. Apple takes complex technologies and makes them easy to use.
Normal people can use Apple technologies without ever opening a manual.
What's amazing is that Apple manages to do this from the heart of Silicon Valley, a place that lives and breathes technology and, hence, conveniently forgets that approximately no other human beings on the … Read more
CHICAGO--U.S. researchers have devised a way to make flexible solar cells with silicon wires that use just 1 percent of the material needed to make conventional solar cells.
The eventual hope is to make thin, light solar cells that could be incorporated into clothing, for instance but the immediate benefit is cheaper and easier-to-install solar panels, the researchers said.
The new material, reported on Sunday in Nature Materials, uses conventional silicon configured into micron-sized wires (a micron is one-millionth of a meter) instead of brittle wafers and encases them in a flexible polymer that can be rolled or bent.
"The idea is it would be lower-cost and easier to work with by being more flexible than conventional silicon solar cells," Michael Kelzenberg of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview.
Solar cells, which convert solar energy into electricity, are in high demand because of higher oil prices and concerns over climate change.
Many companies, including Japanese consumer electronics maker Sharp and Germany's Q-Cells SE, are making thin-film solar cells using organic materials such as polymers, but they typically are less efficient at converting solar energy into electricity than conventional cells using silicon.
The study is among the latest to combine the flexibility of the new organic or carbon-containing films with the high efficiency of silicon, which is heavy and stiff. … Read more
Silicon Valley has faced tough times before. But climbing out of its current downturn may prove more challenging than ever, says a new report.
Hit by the recession, overseas competition, and political gridlock in California, Silicon Valley--a region virtually synonymous with the high-tech industry--has lost its competitive edge and appeal, according to the "2010 Silicon Valley Index" (PDF) released Thursday by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. As a result, the region has been less able to attract and retain talented workers, leaving it at a standstill with recovery uncertain.
"Silicon Valley'… Read more