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Another missed opportunity. July 2, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben read in today’s Wall Street Journal that a company called Pebble Tech had designed a “smart watch” (as in wristwatch) that could talk to and convey messages from your smartphone, including alerting you to messages from Twitter and Facebook. It then raised $10.27 million to actually make the watches through a crowdfunding website called Kickstarter, more than $1 million in the first 28 hours. (Crowdfunding? It’s “when a company raises money from multiple individuals online,” according to the WSJ.) In the case of Pebble Tech, 85,000 interested folks paid $115 each to pre-order the watches.

Our friend Ben will refrain from going into the mindset of someone who already has a smartphone to convey all these messages, but now feels it necessary to own a wristwatch that does so as well. I wish I could raise $10.27 million on Kickstarter to develop a product that implants the awareness of incoming messages and ability to text back directly into the brain. We used to call that conversation. But I digress.

What I did wonder on reading the article (“Smart Money for a Smart Watch?”, www.wsj.com) was about an idea I’ve had for some time: solar panels to power up smartphones and similar appliances. Now that they can make tiny solar panels to power outdoor lights, flashlights, radios, and the like, why on earth couldn’t someone come up with one for smartphones, iPods and MP3 devices, laptops, tablets, and the like? Oughta be easy, right?

Unfortunately, being a Luddite, our friend Ben doesn’t own a smartphone, much less an iPod or MP3 player. So I turned to my good friend Google to see if I could learn more about the state of the smartphone/solar interface. Unfortunately for my dreams of financial independence, but fortunately for smartphone and iPod/MP3 owners, it turns out that others were there before me. Solar plug-ins are readily available, and some smartphones already come equipped with built-in solar charging panels.

Guess it’s back to the drawing board (again). Given this heatwave, maybe I’ll try again with the personal portable air conditioner. And should anyone out there wish to start a Kickstarter drive to raise money to support Poor Richard’s Almanac, we can only say: Thanks for your support. 

 

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