Advancing the science of saving energy with apps & hi-tech equipment (Guest Post)

December 10th, 2013 Comments off

This is a Technology Report Guest Post

Tim Snyder is a journalist that frequently writes about sustainable building topics and green living.
Tim is an in-house writer for Dr. Energy Saver, a network of home energy audit contractors.

Advancing the science of saving energy with apps & hi-tech equipment

More than one journalist has compared the house to the human body when attempting to explain       the many factors that influence home energy performance. The string of metaphors in
this  discussion includes a circulatory system (ductwork), an HVAC “heart” that pumps    conditioned air t throughout the house, and a multi-layered skin (the “building envelope”) that provides protection from the elements as well as insulation.

In this “house-as-human” analogy, a home energy audit is the equivalent of a comprehensive health checkup, involving an extensive inspection to diagnose various energy-wasting conditions and prescribe appropriate treatments. A homeowner who follows this customized prescription for energy savings can expect several important benefits: reduced use of electricity and other energy sources like natural gas or fuel oil, improved “green” value because of lower carbon emissions, lower utility bills and improved indoor air quality.

Not surprisingly, the science of saving energy (technically referred to as “building science”) has fostered a small revolution in hi-tech equipment and software. Where yesterday’s energy auditors were taught to sketch house elevations and floor plans on a paper pad and figure heating and cooling loads with a calculator, today’s auditors are entering values on a tablet touch screen to produce faster, more accurate energy audits that include specific recommendations and projected energy savings. Even the most basic DIY energy assessment programs include factors such as lighting (# of CFLs or LEDs compared to incandescent lights), appliances, water heater efficiency, insulation levels, window specifications and climate zone.

While some companies  (like kWhOURS and Optimiser ) focus on providing energy auditing software for laptops and tablets, others offer hi-tech equipment. Using a specially designed infrared camera, you can produce thermographic images showing temperature variations that indicate air leaks and/or missing insulation. During a blower door test (a standard diagnostic procedure during an energy audit), a powerful, computer-controlled fan is installed in an exterior doorway to depressurize the house. With the house set to “winter” mode while the fan operates (windows and exterior doors shut), it’s possible to measure air leakage and even pinpoint leak locations using special smoke-generating tools.

The technology being used in energy audits is quite remarkable.  Just as medical specialists can assess internal organs with tiny cameras that enter the body through small incisions, an energy analyst can peer into wall cavities using a borescope. Utilizing fiber-optic technology, this diagnostic tool can pass still or video imagery through a flexible tube that the technician inserts into a building cavity through a small hole.


Categories: Home Tech Tags:

Nexus 5 now available for purchase at Google Play. Delivery appears delayed another 2-3 weeks.

October 31st, 2013 Comments off

The Nexus 5 is now available for purchase at Google Play

Price is $349 for 16 gig and $399 for 32 gig.   However it appears there will be a delivery delay of 2-3 weeks so it’s not clear if you can get one faster this way or waiting for stores like Best Buy to stock them.   I’m betting online is best…..

Nexus 5 Specsus

Categories: Google, mobile, news, Nexus Phone Tags: ,

Human Brain Project vs Brain Mapping Project – advantage Europe

October 16th, 2013 Comments off

Artificial Intelligence research seeking “Strong AI” – essentially a self aware, conscious computing system where the machine would think as effectively as humans, had languished for many years after initial hype failed to pan out.

Thankfully, this line of research is now coming back online in a very big way, with enough funding and supercomputing power to usher in the biggest technology breakthrough in the history of humanity.   Thinking computers would revolutionize the world in many ways, allowing much more efficient resource development, utilization, and conservation.   Barring the unlikely scenario of an “unfriendly AI” that would seek to destroy humanity, a “friendly AI” would bring massively faster problem solving and, very likely, would improve at a spectacular rate leading to greater and greater technological breakthroughs.

Where President Obama has proposed a “Brain Mapping Project” it’s not yet clear yet that full funding will be realized:

Europe, however, has now pledged a billion Euro to the Human Brain Project under the stewardship of the man who is arguably the most knowledgeable in this field, Henry Markram.   You can read Dr. Markram’s guest post here at Technology Report comparing his original “Blue Brain” project with the Darpa SyNAPSE efforts in the USA.

Although the “cat brain controversy” was somewhat contentious, we’re hoping Dr. Markram’s desire to cooperate with others across the brain project spectrum – much as happened during the human genome project – will become the standard.

2014 International CES in Las Vegas January 7th-10th

October 13th, 2013 Comments off

January 2014 brings the Consumer Electronics Show “CES” to Las Vegas in one of the world’s top technology showcases.   From Ford to IBM to small startups, companies come to the Internationl CES event to show off their latest and best consumer technology products.

Unfortunately we won’t be reporting live from CES as we have for many years here at Technology Report, but we’ll bring you interesting items as they pop up at the show. 

Check out some of the latest press for what many consider the world’s top technology event:

2014 International CES

Social Media has become a big part of the CES Experience as bloggers and podcasters work alongside major media outlets to cover the Technology action from thousands of exhibitors throughout the huge Las Vegas Convention Center.

Nexus 5 – Google Nexus 5 Phone Specs and Price

October 9th, 2013 Comments off

Update.  Nexus 5 is now available for purchase from Google Play, but appears shipments are delayed by “2-3 weeks”.


Here, from Android Police, are the likely specs of the Google Nexus 5 phone coming out very, very soon – probably the Nexus 5 announcement by Google will be this week or next.

The price, according to most rumors, will be a spectacular $299 (unsubsidized), making the Nexus 5 one of the great phone values in years.

Here are the specs based on the leaked user manual:

  • 4.95″ 1080p display (IPS TFT for those interested)
  • 32GB internal storage (other capacities not specified)
  • 2GB RAM
  • MSM8974 aka Snapdragon 800 at 2.3GHz
  • 8MP OIS rear camera, 1.3MP front camera
  • 2300mAh battery
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Proximity/Ambient Light, Pressure
  • Slimport compatibility
  • Micro SIM slot
  • Notification light
  • Wireless charging
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (not sure on this one)
  • UMTS/GSM/CDMA/LTE compatibility
Categories: android, Cell Phones, Google Tags:

Global Startup Youth Conference in Kuala Lumpur October 8th

September 28th, 2013 Comments off

Global Startup Youth is a 3-day high impact ideas accelerator taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia October 8-11.

The event hosts 540 youth (18-25) from at least 90 countries who will work over 3 days to ideate and launch new projects that will hopefully evolve into ventures that are globally sustainable.   The event was developed by StartupMalaysia with deep insights from partners, including the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia, the US State Department, YouNoodle Inc., UPGlobal, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and Startup Nations.

—-   Press Release  —

San Francisco, CA – October 2, 2013 – The Global Startup Youth (GSY), a 3-day high impact ideas accelerator aimed at turning ideas into high growth ventures and taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from October 8-11 today announced that 540 youth (18-25) from at least 90 countries will work over 3 days to ideate and launch new projects that will hopefully evolve into ventures that are globally sustainable. Designed by StartupMalaysia with deep insights from partners, including the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia, the US State Department, YouNoodle Inc., UPGlobal, Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and Startup Nations, Global Startup Youth aims to catalyze the next generation of high-growth ventures and young entrepreneurs.

“This event harnesses the power of youth, their cultural diversity, their domain expertise and their deep conversations about today’s world problems to accelerate them into ventures, ready to be taken to market and scaled,” said Dash Dhakshinamoorthy, entrepreneur and Founder of “The teams will get to interact with entrepreneurs and leaders from all over the world as well as hear President Obama’s keynote address. This is an amazing opportunity for all of the chosen participants.”

The GSY also brings together 30 leaders from startup communities around the world through the Startup Nations Meet (hosted by Mr. Dhakshinamoorthy and Rebeca Hwang, co-founder of YouNoodle and Startup Malaysia) and 30 international grassroots startup leaders through the UPGlobal Facilitators Meet (led by Marc Nager of UPGlobal).

“More than 45 Judges from around the world judged and scored applications using YouNoodle’s Judge Platform to help choose the GSY participants,” said Ms. Huang. “This collaboration of numerous stakeholders involved in the global startup ecosystem will be unprecedented and the inaugural GSY is set to be a new model for building cross-border collaborations amongst youth and our future entrepreneurs.”

Some of the young leaders coming to compete in The Global Startup Youth include:

- Jared Kleinert (18), Boca Raton, FL – an author and entrepreneur who is working to empower and mobilize young people to and inspire the 2 billion people in the world currently under the age of 20.
- Joshua Harrington (18), New Zealand – a young entrepreneur who has had various web-based businesses since the age of 13.
- Adrian Carabias Barroso (AGE), Mexico – an entrepreneur whose goal is to solve the world’s huge problem of the supply and demand for blood using social media.
- Alanna Ford (24), United Kingdom – a young woman who believes that investing in women has the potential to uplift entire communities.
- Carryn Goh (21), Malaysia – An inspired innovator who is working to re-invent ecommerce shopping for women in the SEA region.

For more information contact Michael Volpatt (

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SES San Francisco Day 2 – Matt Cutts In the House!

September 12th, 2013 Comments off

Google celebrity Matt Cutts hits the state this morning unannounced.  His search insights are always great…

Until I summarize the rapid fire tweets you’ll want to see here:

Yesterday I stuck to the Google tracks which, frankly, seemed kind of uninspired with the notable exception of Adam Singer’s great, fast paced presentation about the rise of mobile applications in terms of both usage and revenues.   He also noted how few see themselves as experts in mobile marketing.

Google’s dominance in search advertising is so supreme now that when I talked to the BING folks they were acknowledging how important Google advertising is to a strategy and basically just asking clients to add BING advertising into their mix.    Surprisingly they didn’t know of any research about the efficacy of BING vs ADWORDS click advertising  (or perhaps they just didn’t want to share it).    I ran into Jennifer Slegg @JenSense who has a report somewhere about this and I’ll find it soon.






Categories: technology Tags:

SES San Francisco – Searching for Successful Search Strategies

August 28th, 2013 Comments off

Technology Report will be featuring coverage of SES San Francisco, though we’re not sure yet if we’ll be there live or just virtually.

SES San Francisco (formerly “Search Engine Strategies”) is one of the world’s oldest and for many the top online marketing conference series.

Social media continues to shake up the search landscape as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other key large social media sites have become a key focus of online marketing campaigns.   A key focus, but not necessarily a

For more about the upcoming SES San Francisco visit the site and review the Conference Agenda Online.

Key conference keynotes:

  • Design Your Own Search Engine: Lessons from Tough Calls on Content at Google
    What would you do if you were charge of your own search engine? In an interactive panel, Google’s Patrick Thomas walks through some of the tough calls and difficult policy decisions you would need to think about as you try to organize trillions of web pages online.

    Keynote Speaker:    Patrick Thomas, Policy Specialist, Google

  • Running the Gauntlet: Driving Strategic Change in Your Business

    Jeffrey Hayzlett’s Running The Gauntlet is a rough-and-tumble guide for running and driving change through the business gauntlet. In this keynote, Hayzlett addresses what every marketing leader must face: Getting Ready, Getting Going, and Creating and Sustaining Momentum.

    Keynote Speaker:    Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, Best-selling Author, Business Change Agent & Marketing Expert,

    Creating Campaigns that Count: The Impact of Converged Media

Mike Grehan, Publisher, ClickZ & Search Engine Watch, Producer, SES Conference & Expo

Duane Forrester, Senior Program Manager, Bing
Daina Middleton, Global Chief Executive Officer, Performics
Adam Singer, Product Marketing Manager, Google Analytics
Conference first timers will want to note that SES San Francisco  is pretty fast and furious, a proverbial firehose of information.

Review the materials carefully before the show and pick a few topics and speakers you’ll want to hear and be sure to attend those talks.  Ask a question or introduce yourself to the speakers afterwards.    Some of the best search insights I’ve ever had were from talking to speakers at social gatherings or in the hall.

SES Parties:   As search industry has matured so have the participants, but you’ll want to keep your eyes open for party opportunities with the many exhibitors at the Conference.  Unfortunately the amazing “Google Dance”, held at the close of SES on the Google campus in Mountain View, is no longer the internet party highlight of the year.

Yahoo to buy Tumblr for a cool billion on Monday

May 18th, 2013 Comments off

Strong rumors are surfacing that Yahoo will be buying social media site on Monday for about 1.1 billion dollars.   Unless Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg takes the advice of Silicon Valley mini mogol Jason Calcanis (and he won’t), it would seem this deal is probably going to go through.

Is this as great a move for Yahoo as Jason C seems to think?    I’d say sure if it shakes Yahoo into a more appropriate roll as a key player in the online social media space.   Despite massive amounts of activity and traffic, Yahoo’s been in Google’s shadow pretty much as along as Google’s been around to beat Yahoo like a rented mule – and beat them at pretty much everything they’ve both tried to do.   Flickr is an exception to this, and perhaps Mayer’s gameplan will be to aquire projects that can give Google a run for the big advertising money in various venues.    Could Mayer even have her eyes on search?    Yahoo threw in that towl long ago, but Microsoft’s Bing seems to bounce back into the behemoth’s  online strategy every few years.   Bing’s quality is comparable to Google’s, so look for something interesting to happen with a Yahoo Microsoft partnership (or aquisition of YHOO by MSFT, as should have happened years ago when Microsoft offered to buy YHOO for about $31 per share, far above Yahoo’s curent valuation).     New CEO Marissa Mayer was exactly what the Yahoo doctor ordered – somebody who will take calculated risks and has an intellectual and competitive incentive to succeed where so many others have conspicuously failed.


All Things D appears to be the site that broke this story:

Disclaimer:  I own YHOO stock


April 29th, 2013 Comments off

EVOLUTION OF THE ANDROID  OS  -  A Technology Report Guest Post

By Charlie O’Hay

Released in September 2008, the Android OS has gone through an abundance of incarnations—ever increasing its functionality and flexibility—though not all of the transitional versions were made commercially available.  Here, we’ll trace the Android OS timeline and define the features and advantages of each version available to consumers.

Version 1.0

Released in September 2008, this version was designed for the HTC Dream / T-Mobile G1, but ended up not being used on any commercially available device.

Version 1.1

This version tweaked 1.0 and was commercially released exclusively for the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) in October, 2008. Adjustments resolved some of the bugs experienced with version 1.0. Features included web browser, Gmail synchronization (with app), Google Search, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, Google Talk, instant messaging, text messaging, and media player.


Version 1.5

Released in April 2009 and codenamed “Cupcake” by Google, this version was the first major release to be made available in a range of devices. Features included camcorder support to record and watch videos, easy upload of images and videos to websites like Picasa and Youtube, Bluetooth enhancements, animation on screen transitions, and an on-screen keyboard with predictive text.

Version 1.6

Nicknamed “Donut,” this September 2009 release included new camera, camcorder, and photo gallery interfaces, improved voice search technology, Google navigation, text-to-speech engine, multi-touch gesture support, and Virtual Private Network support.

Versions 2.0 and 2.1

Version 2.0 (October 2009) was quickly followed in January 2010 by Version 2.1, consequently 2.0 appears in few devices. Version 2.1 (nicknamed “Éclair”) has proven quite successful, owing largely to its improved user interface, enhanced speed, improved virtual keyboard, Contact and Account improvements, and an array of camera enhancements—including flash, digital zoom, white balance, scene modes, and macro zoom.

Version 2.2

Nicknamed “FroYo” and released in November 2010, version 2.2 allowed tethering to as many as eight WiFi “hot spots” or connection via USB. Other enhancements included camera improvements, multi-lingual keyboard support, quicker app access and faster browsing, Bluetooth improvements, and Microsoft Exchange.

Version 2.3

“Gingerbread,” as it was called, was released in December 2010 and offered an improved user interface, a faster and more intuitive virtual keyboard, copy/paste capability, improved power usage status and power management, internet phone calling, Near-Field Communication support and tagging, new download manager, front and rear cameras, and support for barometer, gravity, gyroscope, linear acceleration, and rotation.

Version 3.0

Released in February 2011, “Honeycomb” was the first Android OS to target the large-screen tablet devices. Features geared to tablet users included a new system bar, action bar, a customizable home screen, and a list of recently used/downloaded apps. The keyboard was again streamlined and the copy, cut, and paste functionality improved. Other features included Bluetooth tethering, support for physical keyboards, multi-core processor support, 2D and 3D graphics support, and applications for larger screens including browser, camera, gallery, contact and email.

Version 3.1

This June 2011 update retained the nickname “Honeycomb” included improvements for tablet users—including navigation and animation improvements essential for entertainment purposes and playing Android games. USB support for a more varied array of accessories (including keyboard, mouse, and digital camera), support for joysticks and gamepads, improved WiFi networking stability, expanded recent apps list and updated set of standard apps (browser, gallery calendar, contacts, and email).

Version 3.2

Still called “Honeycomb,” this July 2011 version continued to provide enhancements for tablet users—including compatibility zoom for fixed-sized applications, direct application access to SD card file system, and extended ability to handle different screen sizes.

Version 4.0

Released in October 2011, “Ice Cream Sandwich” merged the phone-based design of the second generation with the tab-centered design of the tablet-friendly third generation.  The user interface and apps selection were again redesigned, and users could now save often used items in home folders and a favorites tray. Other improvements included resizable widgets, lock screen, network data control, and faster call response. Users also benefitted from camera/camcorder improvements (including image stabilization, the ability to take still shots during video, and photo editing). The browser could now deliver full-sized web page appearance, and this version featured improved email, NFC-based sharing, and WiFi-direct suppotrt.

Version 4.1

Released in July 2012, “Jellybean,” as it was called, included even more user interface enhancements (including improved touch response and transitions; expandable, actionable notifications; and adaptive keyboard). Other popular features included the ability to instantly review photos, external Braille input and output via USB, enhanced voice search capability, photo sharing, USB audio, and Google Wallet.

Version 4.2

The most recent Android OS version to date maintains the “Jellybean” name and allows multiple users for tablets, a PhotoSphere feature that allows 360º images, keyboard gesture typing, Daydream feature to display info while a user’s device is isle or docked, and the ability to beam photos or videos to another device.

This is a guest post by Charlie O’Hay, a tech expert & Big Fish Android games enthusiast.


Categories: android, gaming, Google, mobile Tags: , ,