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Best gift to give this Christmas

The ambient orb makes life complete. Warning: Do not taunt happyfun orb.

The Ambient Orb is a device that slowly transitions between thousands of colors to show changes in the weather, the health of your stock portfolio, or if your boss or friend is on instant messenger. It is a simple wireless object that unobtrusively presents information. Your important information should be as accessible as looking at a clock, now the Ambient Orb can make a variety of information just a glance away. The Orb arrives set to indicate the Dow - glowing more green to indicate market movement up and red to indicate movement down, or yellow when the market is calm. If the market is up or down more than 1.5% the Orb will pulsate. It can be customized to a set of free channels, such as market indices (Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500) or weather in select cities. Optionally, you can upgrade to access more premium channels, such as your customized portfolio, local weather, pollen count, or IM buddy watch. There's also a developer interface where any semi-savvy web programmer can control the color of their Orb with a simple http "get" call. Track how full your hard drive is, traffic on your website, Slashdot posts, or your credit-card debt. The Ambient Orb is simply plugged into any standard 110V power outlet and it is up and running on a nationwide wireless network - no internet connection required. The Orb does not attach to a PC. The channel for the Orb can be selected via a web interface and will update in a short period of time. Depending on which channel the Orb is monitoring, it will receive updates every few minutes, or perhaps once per hour for some channels. The Ambient Orb has these features: LED lighting that can produce thousands of color combinations Orb can also produce color pulses The Orb is made of glass Pre-configured to monitor the Dow - can be reconfirgured online or through an 800 number Premium content available for about $1/week Does not require a computer, phone or internet connection Three brightness level settings Includes power supply, power cord, and glass Orb Can monitor: Stock market, weather, pollen count, IM buddies, or custom data


CES kicks off this week January 7, 2003

The buzz is that these will be the big announcements
Kodak announces a 14 megapixel camera
A new Gameboy with a backlit screen
Microsoft will announce a plan to get into every device it can including alarm clocks. Maybe Admiral Poindexter should pair up with Bill to spy on the U.S.

Personal Helicopters
I have followed with great interest the development of personal, affordable aircraft by Millenium Jet and others. I can't wait to commute to work by lifting off vertically from my garage roof and piloting to the roof or parking lot of my office. Think about it! No more traffic jams and long lights. There are only two problems: 1. I don't see any drink holders. Okay, I'm kidding. The number one problem will be all of the other people that will choose to navigate this way, assuming they fly the way they drive, we could be in for more trouble than we have now. But maybe, I will be able to enjoy my craft in that honeymoon period between market availability and mainstream acceptance. I hope that I won't fly low over the backed up traffic to taunt them too much.

Oh yeah, the other problem - safety. There is a price to pay for being an early adopter. But maybe, just maybe, this will be worth it. When I wrote an email to Millenium Jet almost a year ago I asked them this question: "What happens when I am tooling above the teeming mass of lesser mortals at 250 MPH and the engine fails?"

Their response: "With this model engine failure is a non-event."

What does that mean? That wasn't my question. I wanted to have them go ahead and presume that chaos theory kicks in and the engine fails - then what? I wanted to hear "A parachute is deployed and you float gently to the ground." That is my ardent hope and challenge to the Solotrek designers. You don't have to make it completely Bubba-proof. But give me a fighting chance when I tell my wife I want to get one...


Or, for more pedestrian travel, The Segway