Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tech files Friday

Time for me to launch you into the weekend with entries from the tech files. If you are still looking for the coolest gifts of the season, see last weeks tech files.

== New York catches Japan of 4 years ago ==

Cingular is testing out a new service where you can use your phone to pay for things at those newfangled "paypass" non-contact credit card readers. If you have a phone that's capable of so called Near-Field-Communication you can tap the phone instead of the card after pressing one button on the phone. The big idea behind this is that a consumer wouldn't need a wallet if the retailers along the way have paypass readers. You could go jogging with just your phone (and an iPod presumably).

The big idea for the phone companies is that they get to muscle in on the credit card money pot. A little back of the envelope math on my part suggests they won't get more than a years worth of Wall Street's expected growth out of annexing credit transactions, but it's still worth billions. If you want to help try this out you have to be a Cingular customer in New York with a valid Citi Mastercard with PayPass - they supply the phone. You can go here to sign up if that describes you.

A related project is the Motorola M-Wallet (the link opens a Motorola pdf brochure directed at service providers). This sort of transaction should be pretty normal within a handful of years.

Combine that with cell phone music players and cameras, and it will get ever more difficult to explain to our grandchildren what it was like when we were kids.

== Sunglasses that will freak people out ==

Those aren't post-modern style dishes you see above. Those are disposable Bausch & Lomb / Nike soft lens in-eye sunglasses! Available in either high detail gray-green or motion-enhancing performance amber they apparently reduce glare and filter UV rays.

Not really mentioned in the advertising is that the green ones will make you look like a lizard-alien and the red ones are somwhat Satanic. At least with the red ones people who see pictures will assume its the camera's fault.

Yes, these are real and for sale.

== "In Russia, the shoes suck you" ==

Okay, who here is old enough to get that title joke? Ahem. These shoes are a design study by Electrolux in which the shoe soles contain small vacuums to clean the house as you walk around. I guess they probably clean small patches with each step, but it might be humorous to see a CLEAN path where people walk instead of the usual dark patches.

The cleaning heads would presumably be related to the miniaturized vacuum tech in an
iRobot Roomba, which sort of broke open the whole concept of a really functional tiny-vacuum-in-unusual-form.
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