Editor's Picks: What We Like
BackBy CertMag Editor — January 2009
We’ve all had those mornings when we just can’t get out of bed, and the snooze button is just a little too convenient. Well, luckily for all the loafers out there, there’s a solution. Clocky is a stylish — if somewhat quirky-looking — alarm clock that doesn’t let you laze in bed. If you do press the snooze button, Clocky will jump off your nightstand and race around the floor on its wheels while beeping hysterically. To silence it, you must get up and chase after it. A built-in microprocessor ensures Clocky is unpredictable by randomly determining its speed, distance and routes, so you will never know where to find him.
Clocky is the result of creator Gauri Nanda’s own frustrations with the snooze button. As a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, she created a prototype for a class project. The prototype wasn’t quite as sleek as the current version because it was covered in shag carpet. The fuzzy look was intended “to remind you of a troubled pet that you love anyway,” Nanda said in The Boston Globe.
Now, Clocky has taken over nightstands everywhere. It’s been featured on “Good Morning America,” the “Today” show and “The Big Idea.” So if you’re a perpetual snoozer, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to those eight extra minutes and invest in a Clocky.
Here at CertMag, we’re more than happy to open Pandora’s box.
Pandora Radio is an online radio station that delivers customized music streams straight to your desktop, free of charge. After creating a profile, users set up radio stations based on their musical tastes and the site then searches its database to “play music you’ll love — and nothing else.”
That’s a bold statement, but Pandora has created the Music Genome Project to deliver. According to the site, the project is the “most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken.” Since 2000, the project’s analysts have listened to countless songs across all genres, patiently studying and carefully cataloging each song’s unique attributes, such as melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals and lyrics.
Each selection offers useful advice and information on the highlighted artist so you can decide if you’re a fan. And the site tailors the station even further by giving users a “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” option for every recommended song. There also are links to the rest of the selected artist’s music, similar songs by other artists, opportunities to hook up with fans who have similar tastes and a link to buy the song through iTunes or Amazon.
The result is a fascinating implementation of Web technology — and that, after all, is music to our ears.
Home (Tech) Away From Home
During your holiday vacations, you might have noticed that hotels increasingly are incorporating tech gadgets into the overnight experience. While in-room entertainment has been around for a while, the innovations now extend far beyond cable-equipped televisions and Internet access.
At the Westin, for example, guests can enjoy Nintendo gaming experiences in its fitness rooms such as yoga sessions on the Wii, according to The New York Times. And the Sheraton has teamed up with Microsoft to record activity in its lobbies and create video clips that guests can send to loved ones, such as a bedtime message to kids upstairs in the hotel room. (OK, a little creepy, but we appreciate the effort.)
Other innovations seek to make the hotel experience more convenient and user-friendly. A new tool by home automation company Control4 puts all the hotel room’s features on one remote so you can control lights, thermostat, TV and blinds in one place.
Now, if only they could offer up an in-room device that gives you an instant tan by spring break…