This week, we check out your thoughts on self-driving cars, why humans can't drive well in the best of conditions, the ultimate car security system, and the price of diesel is tough all over.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 033 SHOW NOTES
Excel users have access to a huge range of free forms, templates, and tools to help them maximize the potential of Microsoft's industry-leading spreadsheet application. Better still, nearly all are free, like Free Employee Hourly Cost Calculator and Labor Burden Estimator from Med-e-Forms. It's all set up and ready to fill in with your data.
We opened the workbook in Excel and enabled editing. As with many Excel templates, it's a busy affair, but color-coding, sample entries, and frequent explanations made for easy setup. Step 1 involved entering tax data, while in Step 2 we entered wages, … Read more
Apple's iPhone 4S is one expensive smartphone to produce, a new study from IHS iSuppli has revealed.
According to the research firm, which opened up Apple's latest smartphone to see what's inside, the 16GB version's bill of materials is $188. The 32GB version's parts jump to $207, according to iSuppli, while the 64GB option sets the company back $245.
iSuppli estimates that each unit costs Apple $8 to produce, therefore pushing the price of the devices up to $196 for the 16GB model, $215 for 32GB, and $254 for 64GB.
With a carrier contract and … Read more
Hyundai bails on EVs, satellite radio just got more expensive, when is it cheaper to fly? (there's an app for that), and we drive the new (but maybe not new enough) Honda Civic Hybrid.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 234 SHOW NOTES
Recently, I took a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles to drive the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid. When I told friends that I'd driven over 5 hours one-way just spend even more time driving when I got there, the question I got most often was, "Wouldn't it have been cheaper to just fly?"
Had I known about the Cost2Drive Web service and iOS app at the time, I'd have been better equipped to answer that query.
After entering a starting address, ending address, and a make, model, and year of a vehicle, Cost2Drive … Read more
The maker of the PowerCost Monitor, seeking alternatives to discontinued energy-monitoring applications from Microsoft and Google, today said that its home electricity monitor will work with People Power's software.
People Power's Android and iPhone app, which is available this month, brings a few more features to the PowerCost Monitor's real-time electricity reading, including the ability to set up a monthly energy budget, get energy efficiency recommendations, and compare electricity use to others. It can also get electricity rate data from utilities which have variable prices based on the time of day.
Over the past few weeks, Microsoft and Google attracted interest to home energy technology by announcing plans to retire their respective applications, Google PowerMeter and Microsoft Hohm. Both companies said they didn't get the customer uptake they were hoping for.
Utilities are one channel for bringing energy monitoring to market but a handful of companies are selling directly to consumers with products that use home broadband connections, rather than a two-way smart meter, to get data online.
The deal between BlueLine Innovations, which makes the PowerCost Monitor, and People Power hinges on a Wi-Fi gateway that transmits electricity meter information over the Internet to People Power's application. BlueLine Innovations makes an optical sensor that attaches onto a meter to read data. It then sends data to a handheld device that shows near real-time electricity use and the Wi-Fi gateway. The monitor hardware and optical sensor, sold online or at Lowe's, cost about $100 and the Internet gateway costs an additional $159.
Another company that is using a gateway and home broadband to get data online is WattVision, which also makes an optical sensor and Wi-Fi gateway priced at $249. Consumers can view information through a Web application.
The idea behind real-time electricity monitoring is that people will get more insight into how they power their homes and find ways to conserve. In addition to finding ways to save money, people can simply get a better idea of energy usage before a monthly bill arrives.
Meter sensors with a Wi-Fi gateway are attractive to consumers who want more control over energy but don't have smart meters. To get more detailed energy usage, some energy monitors use sensors that clamp onto the individual circuits going into a circuit box. Another promising technology that will provide more detail are sensors that can recognize the electronic "signature" of large power consumers, such as large appliances or air conditioners. … Read more
Governments should scrap policies to support biofuels because they are forcing up global food prices, according to a report by 10 international agencies including the World Bank and World Trade Organization.
The report adds to growing opposition to biofuels targets and subsidies such as those in Europe, Canada, India, and the United States.
"If oil prices are high and a crop's value in the energy market exceeds that in the food market, crops will be diverted to the production of biofuels, which will increase the price of food," said the report.
"Changes in the price of oil can be abrupt and may cause increased food price volatility," said the report.
Prepared at the request of the Group of 20 major economies, the report addressed price volatility in food and agriculture, and its authors also included experts from the World Food Programme, International Monetary Fund, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. … Read more
A British nonprofit has a novel idea for getting kids interested in computer programming--a computer that fits in a pocket and costs less than the latest video game.
It's called Raspberry Pi, and the prototype isn't pretty--it looks like a leftover scrap from electronics recycling day. But it's a working computer that game developer David Braben and his Cambridge-connected colleagues expect to make available for only $25 for a fully configured system.
Don't expect to see Raspberry Pi on store shelves anytime soon--although I think it'd do pretty well in the check-out line in between the tabloid mags and packs of Trident--because the rough prototype still needs some refining and the Raspberry Pi Foundation's goal is to get the systems into the hands of children in both the developed and developing world.… Read more
The PowerCost Monitor, one of the few energy-tracking gadgets sold directly to consumers, will now be available at Lowe's hardware stores.
The monitor's maker, BlueLine Innovations, said today that the PowerCost Monitor and WiFi Gateway will be available at 319 Lowe's stores in California, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland. The product has been available for sale online but this is its first big-box retail distributor.
There are dozens of companies making electricity monitors, with many being trialed through utilities' smart-grid programs geared at reducing energy use during peak time or reducing customers' overall power consumption. … Read more
T-Mobile has unveiled a new data plan that gives mobile broadband users up to 10GB each month and no overage costs for a price of $85.
Launched yesterday, the new "10 GB Web access + Unlimited T-Mobile HotSpot" mobile broadband plan is designed for T-Mobile 3G or 4G cellular subscribers who hop onto the Internet via their tablets, Netbooks, and notebooks.
With overage costs sometimes giving customers a nasty surprise when the bill is due, T-Mobile is promising no overage fees. Instead, the carrier will throttle back on the data speed until the billing cycle ends for anyone who … Read more