The weekly gadget review at Ubergizmo

By November 19, 2007

This week, Atelier reviews what is trendy on the web magazine of our great expert contributor. is dedicated to consumer electronics news and reviews. Virtual computer runs on no hardware Word has it that the Massach

ussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and giant notebook manufacturer Quanta are currently collaborating on a "virtual computer" that can run without any hardware. Doesn't really make any sense, eh? This virtual computer is said to require only a keyboard and a TV. No idea on how this is going to be accomplished, but my guess is it is still far off in the future until HDTV-capable TV sets in homes are affordable enough for everyone, and the thought of having my personal data stored on a remote server just doesn't make me sleep well at night. new version: matching people and gadgets   Today a gadget-shopping website is re-launching: Retrevo’s mission is to match people and electronics. Last week, we met with CEO Vipin Jain for a private demo of the website’s new version. This is a new kind of online shopping experience for consumer electronics: the key feature is the Value Map where the user can visually compare the “bang for the buck” of similar products (see picture). To test the service, I tried to find a good mid-range camcorder with a hard drive using Retrevo and competing sites. On Wize, Buzillions, ViewScore it was not possible to search by features and the Value Map does not exist. On Yahoo Product, it is possible to search the camcorders using a limited number of predefined features. According to Vipin, “Retrevo crunches data on hundreds of thousands of products, millions of facts and millions of user and expert reviews from thousands of publisher sites, user reviews, blogs, forums across more than 40 categories, including Digital Cameras, HDTV, Camcorders, and GPS devices”. HTC Touch gets a facelift   HTC has decided that the Touch is getting a wee bit too old for its own good (although it was just launched like, this year) and decided to inject the equivalent of electronic Botox inside, resulting in a couple of new shades for those who find the black and green shades off-putting. These new colors include white and burgundy, and will see an increase of RAM to 128MB as well as 256MB of ROM. Best of all is, the price still remains the same - in South East Asia at least, as it retails for S$848. Does this mean current inventories of the 'old' HTC Touch will see a dramatic price cut? Check out our sister site Uberphones' take on this. Shopping carts get text displays Modstream aims to bring advertising to a whole new level by introducing shopping carts which come with scrolling text displays on the handles itself, allowing advertisers to beam messages to selected stores sans wires. I suppose the messages will change each time you walk through different aisles, tempting you to purchase goods that aren't even on your shopping list to begin with. No idea on when such shopping carts will be used, but that time would require you to be more disciplined than ever when it comes to purchasing items. Maya Single media apparatus The Maya Single chair looks totally out of this world, but would be great for those who find solace in the bottle, only to grapple with the worst of headaches the next monrning. This architecturally designed chair comes with specially placed 60-watt speakers, a subwoofer as well as a choice between a 32" or 26" screen that hangs off an overhead hanging metal arm that has been accented with natural wood tream. Unfortunately, it doesn't really fully recline so you might want to sleep off the effects of a wild night out on your bed instead. NifNaks creepie crawly USB flash drives is currently selling adorable USB flash drives that come in different animals such as a maggot and a strange-looking bait thingamajic. The 4GB maggot USB flash drive retails for $67, which is pretty affordable and guaranteed to make heads turn whenever you whip it out for use in the office. They're all hand-made, so you can be assured that no two are alike in the entire world. not only sells USB flash drives, of course, as artist Nifer Fahrion also has other items up available for sale. Blowable computer interface Just when you thought the DS brought about a whole new level of interactivity, along comes students from Georgia Tech who developed an audio analysis program that allows you to blow at your computer in order to control it. All you need is a single microphone, perform a fast calibration and you're good to go. This is a way to support blowing at a laptop or computer screen to directly control certain interactive applications. Localization estimates are produced in real-time to determine where on the screen the person is blowing. You can do this by using a single microphone, such as those that are already embedded in a standard laptop or one placed near a computer monitor by using audio fingerprinting. You had better have a screen cleaner handy after each use since there'll be germs and all sorts of nasties crawling all over the place once you're done with this interface. Solar roofing tiles from DRI Energy DRI Energy successfully developed roofing tiles that comes with integrated solar cells which will be branded under the Lumeta name and released in the second quarter of next year. This new breakthrough ought to see sales figures pick up since they don't look as ugly as roofs with visible panels and will go a long way in helping folks keep their electric bill down at the end of each month. There is one major drawback to placing panels flat on the roof though - these panels aren't as efficient when compared to others which have been tilted to optimize the sun angle, and they surely heat up faster due to the lack of an air flow under them, resulting in lowered efficiency. 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