Rachel Gerds

Rachel Gerds
New Laundry System Links to Home Network

The Internet Home Alliance, a group of firms working to advance the Web’s effect on households, with the help of Whirlpool, Microsoft and Panasonic, recently introduced a laundry system that links wirelessly to Internet-connected home networks. Though the technology is at least a year away from the marketplace, three families in Atlanta, GA are testing the devices in their own homes. The program, called Laundry Time, will evaluate how the three families use the new wireless appliance systems over a course of six weeks. The project relies on a wireless network, two TV tuners and Microsoft Media Server software to send details about laundry across

Vutec Opens Training Center

Vutec Corporation, a manufacturer of projection screens, has opened a new training center at the company’s Pompano Beach, FL headquarters. The center is designed to accommodate Vutec’s growing network of 2,000 consumer and commercial dealers located in 67 countries. The facility will be the launch site for a comprehensive training program for dealers, distributors and systems integrators. Kicking off the program will be a series of two-day workshops taking place in late 2006 and early 2007. Spencer Mallinson, Vutec’s technical director, commented on the program, “Attendees will gain a solid grounding in Vutec’s product lines--their design, manufacture and installation--from the on-site training.”

PlumChoice Heightens PC Support Service

On Monday, July 24, remote service provider PlumChoice will expand its offerings to include the convenience of around-the-clock service. In addition to 24/7 availability, customers will also have the benefit of selecting their favorite PlumChoice technician. This degree of customization allows consumers to schedule computer support with the same technician any time they need help--without the inconvenience of waiting for someone to arrive on-site. PlumChoice technicians provide support for a wide variety of devices, and are able to access consumers’ computers via the Internet to troubleshoot, install, repair and instruct. Immediate service is available at www.plumchoice.com or 1-888-PLUM-HELP.

APC Joins D-Tools MVP Program

American Power Conversion (APC), a manufacturer of high performance audio/video solutions for custom home theaters, has recently joined the D-Tools Manufacturer Vantage Point (MVP) program. D-Tools System Integrator software now features detailed information about APC’s A/V products. The D-Tools MVP program is aimed to help provide system integrators with the newest product information using D-Tools System Integrator 4.5 (SI 4.5). By using a single project file, custom installers can now save hours of research time through downloading free product details from D-Tools’ extensive database. While the end goal is to simplify the design process of a company, the program also attempts to make it easier

Radio Shack Reports Second Quarter Earnings Loss

On Friday, RadioShack announced second quarter financial results, detailing a net loss of $3 million. Blamed for the loss were the company’s turnaround plan and restructuring activities, as well as settlement expenses surrounding certain wage-and-hour class action lawsuits. As compared to 2005, second quarter store sales were down 3 percent this year. Receding sales were blamed primarily on a double-digit percentage decrease of in-store wireless sales. Adversely, personal electronics and accessories platforms both saw sales increases. Claire Babrowski, president and chief operating officer of RadioShack, was not surprised with the negatively impacted earnings. “Financial performance for the quarter was consistent with our expectations,” she said. “We

Are You Digitally Experienced?

Pepcom’s Digital Experience came to New York City on Wednesday, showcasing new products from scores of vendors. Here were some of the highlights... Memorex Blu-ray Discs Available now for $19.99 to $29.99 SRP. Supporting high-definition (HD) video recording and compatible with Blu-ray capable recorders, the new Blu-ray recordable and rewritable discs from Memorex offer faster transfer speeds than recordable DVD media. One disc holds 25 GB of content and is able to store two hours of HD-quality video. The discs are protected with DuraLayer Technology, which shields against dirt and debris. Westinghouse LVM-47w1 HDTV Available now for $2,999 SRP. The new 47-inch model LCD display features

Google Checkout Launches

The highly anticipated payment service Google Checkout was launched Thursday by the eponymous search-engine giant. Initially referred to in news reports as Google Wallet or GBuy, Google Checkout processes online transactions between customers and e-tailers. Checkout also stores names, addresses and credit card information -- so that customers need not reveal this information directly to sellers -- and is responsible for keeping the data safe. The services provided by Checkout are much like those of PayPal, which is owned by eBay--one of Google’s biggest advertisers. Although the services offered are similar, the costs of PayPal and Checkout are different. PayPal’s fees run from 1.9 to