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Samsung's latest smart fridge has cameras and a huge display

Samsung's latest smart fridge

One of the highlights of CES is always the wacky new appliance tech (and associated bickering) from Samsung and LG. This year looks to be no exception thanks to a new "Family Hub" refrigerator from Samsung. The imposing-looking model is equipped with a 21.5-inch, 1080p monitor and cameras inside so that you can watch your mayonnaise go bad in real time. You can even check the contents remotely via a smartphone app to see what's in there while you're shopping, in case you forgot whether you need that jar of sweet pickles or not.

The fridge will let you know when you need to buy certain foods, tell you if they're on sale and even let you order them, at least in Korea. The screen, of course, displays web pages, recipes and more. You can micro-manage your family's food intake through the smartphone app and leave notes and messages on the screen, while a pair of door-mounted speakers lets you chill (sorry) with your favorite radio station. Finally, the whole thing functions as a hub to control connected objects from SmartThings and other companies. Samsung hasn't said when it's coming or for how much, but it'll no doubt launch in Korea well before it ever comes here. We'll chase it down and have more hands-on info later in the week.

Source: www.engadget.com 

Emoji Keyboards put ghosts and smiling poop at your fingertips

Emoji Keyboards

By Rich McCormick

As humanity evolves, we find more efficient ways to communicate. Grunting led to talking, which led to writing, which led to letters. We put those letters down with giant feather quills, then with printing presses, then with small plastic keys, and sent them out into the world first as bound books, as telegrams, and as emails. But it's only now, in space year 2015, that we've truly understood our ultimate form of communication — emoji.

But although emoji — crying faces, smiling poops, and levitating businessmen — clearly represent the superior method of transmitting human thoughts, feelings, and opinions, the way we access them is flawed. Searching through ever-expanding collections of miniature pictures to find the perfect eggplant, umbrella, or snowman to succinctly express your emotions is tricky. At least it is, if you don't have one of EmojiWorks' new Emoji Keyboards.

The company opened pre-orders for its Bluetooth Emoji Keyboards yesterday, offering the wireless chiclet devices in one of three varieties. The vanilla Emoji Keyboard gives you one pictorial reaction per key for a total of 47 common emoji. The Emoji Keyboard Plus ups this to two per character, also unlocking skin tone modifiers in the process, while the Emoji Keyboard Pro stacks three emoji on most keys for easy access to more than 120 icons. EmojiWorks says that each of the models come with the latest emoji — yes, including the taco — and will work with Mac OS X, iOS, and Windows on tablets, laptops, and dekstops. The keyboard is also capable of typing regular characters, just in case you're one of those squares who hasn't yet adapted to the emoji future.

THE KEYBOARDS CAN ALSO TYPE IN REGULAR ENGLISH CHARACTERS

The lowest tier Emoji Keyboard is available for pre-order at $79.95, with the Emoji Keyboard Plus at $89.95 and the Pro weighing in at $99.95. Note that you'll also need two AAA batteries to power the small keyboard, and will have to install EmojiWorks' own software in order to transform your keystrokes into actual emoji on screen when the pre-orders ship out in December.

Source: www.theverge.com

Small Investors To Fund Small Businesses On Internet Sites

John Ydstie

By John Ydstie

The idea of crowdfunding, raising money from lots of people on the Internet, got a boost from Washington on Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a system that allows small businesses and startups to solicit funding from small investors.

This is not Kickstarter where people just give money to individuals or businesses to support a great idea or product and get nothing in return, except maybe a thank you. What the SEC approved is a system where small businesses and startups can seek investors, to buy their shares or give them a loan, on a regulated Internet portal.

Let's say you own a hardware store in a small town and you want to expand. You might use your customer mailing list to alert the community that you want to build another store in the next town over. You would put your business plan and financial information on the Internet portal, or a website run by an investment firm, and investors could go online and with a click of a button invest in your business.

Right now only qualified investors with high incomes or a high net worth are allowed to do this kind of crowdfund investing. But the system approved by the SEC would allow people of modest means to invest up to 10 percent of their income or net worth, which ever is lower, each year.

Some consumer watchdogs argue it's a bad idea to allow people of modest means, who may be financially unsophisticated, to invest in this way — especially since the majority of startups fail and investors could lose some or all of their money. We'll see. The system will be up and running around the middle of next year.

Source: www.npr.org

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