DoorBot Up For Pre-Order On Amazon

DoorBot-Looking-LeftWhile we are still awaiting the arrival of my little friend here, it seems that you can now place an order for DoorBot via Amazon. The item is listed as unreleased, but available for pre-order for $199.

I suppose that offer points to some possibility that they will actually be shipping soon. To be fair, the company has been pretty good about keep supporters abreast of their progress via their Facebook page. While Jamie’s Oct 1 video post mentioned “Michael in Texas” as being one of the first devices to ship, it must not have been me, since we’re still waiting.

Edison Junior, being a small team, had been working out of Jamie Siminoff’s garage, it seems that they have taken on some space in order to handle all the product arriving from overseas manufacturing. In fact, they’ve put up a Dropcam to let people peer into their DoorBot Factory.

They also got a little coverage in a Wired Gadget Lab article. That piece reports that commercial shipments will start on December 1. I suspect that Edison Jr is hoping to take some orders beyond the initial supporters, as the holiday season is now drawing near.

It’s been about 11 months since I placed my order via Christie Street.

Presuming that they can get them shipping in the coming weeks a DoorBot could be a nice holiday gift idea.

The Talking Dead: T-Mobile@Home

LinksysHiport-Router.jpgI recently received a promotional email from Amazon offering the Linksys Tmobile @ Home HiPort for just $15.99. This was the internet router device that has a UMA interface on-board. Add a T-Mobile SIM card and you have cellular trunk line for home use with a traditional wired telephone.

This device was the CPE for their long-dead T-Mobile@Home service. While that service is not longer offered, it remains functional. My brother-in-law still has the service locked in at $10/month.

The fact that these devices remain available is a curiosity. T-Mobile still supports UMA calling. That makes me wonder if they could be used in some novel way around the house. I have too many unfinished projects already, but these do seem interesting.

Measuring The Real Impact Of Smart TVs

Skype-For-TVSince the introduction of “Smart HDTVs” a couple of years ago I’ve been wondering just how much impact the built-in applications have on the purchase process, and the user experience. A new report from NPD Group sheds some much-needed insight into this area.

The headline of the report states very plainly that, “Internet Connected TVs Are Used To Watch TV, And That’s About All.” Beyond the traditional role of TV the leading role of the smart HDTV seems to be for using “Over-the-top” services like Netflix. Fully 60% of smart TV users report taking advantage of this feature.

The next most common use of the Smart TV is for listening to OTT music services, but that’s only reported as used by around 15% of the installed base. All other applications, including “video calling” services like Skype and Google Chat see use by less than 5% of users.

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CompuLab Strikes Again; Intense PC Looks Sweet!

 

CompuLab, the company that brought us the Fit-PC series have a special place in my heart. Their little super-small-form-factor PCs hold an attractive quality that’s hard to describe.

I rather impulsively bought a Fit-PC2 even though I really didn’t have any need for it. The little 4″ square box is actually mounted on a VESA bracket on the back of an LCD monitor. It essentially turns that monitor into a net-top.

As cute and appealing as they were, a Fit-PC was never going to be my primary desktop. Sporting an Intel Atom running at 1.1 GHz they just didn’t have the CPU power to fill that role. However, that may be changing. The introduction of their latest offering, Intense PC, might make a viable replacement for my ailing desktop.

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Wired Headset Happiness: The Return Of ETY.COM

Despite the fact that I have a couple of very good wireless headsets I still find that a wired headset can be handy. This is true both in the office and on the road. While lately I’ve been traveling with a Plantronics Voyager Pro UC cordless headset I also keep an Etymotic ETY.COM wired headset in a my laptop bag.

I’ve mentioned the Etymotic ETY.COM wired headset previously. It remains my favorite wired headset for mobile use. It sounds great and has a boom that reaches around to the corner of my mouth, which is ideal for use in a noisy environment.

However, since I changed cell phones back in November 2009 I’ve not been able to use the ETY.COM with my cell phones. Whereas the Blackberry Pearl has a four conductor 2.5mm jack for the wired headset, the newer Blackberry Bold2 (9700) has a larger 3.5 mm headset jack. The ETY.COM doesn’t fit the 9700 without an adapter.

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Amazon Responds About SIP Attacks From EC2

On April 18th Amazon finally responded publicly with respect to the SIP attacks recently suffered from hosts within their EC2 service. Their response comes in the form of an informational security bulletin posted to their AWS Security Center.

There have been some recent discussions about SIP brute force attacks originating from Amazon EC2. We can confirm that several users reported SIP brute force attacks originating from a small number of Amazon EC2 instances about a week ago. It appears these attacks were designed to exploit security vulnerabilities in the SIP protocol. There is nothing specific about this attack that requires Amazon EC2. It was a brute force attack that could be launched from any computer on any network.

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