Ebay

Shooting Analog, and Drinking Wine.

Back in December I bought a 35-year-old Olympus OM2 35mm film camera and a bunch of lenses on eBay. I shot a single roll of film to test out the meter, shutter, and body for typical things like light leaks and exposure accuracy. After shooting my first roll of film in about 15 years, I took it in for developing and promptly forgot about it for 3 months. Today, I was at Crick and remembered to pick up the disc and check out the images I shot back in December. So how’d the camera do? better than I expected, considering there were a number of adult libations consumed while testing it out.

The images below are the result of an evening of good friends, dinner, wine, the holidays, and an impending winter storm.

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“Watch with eBay”. Feldman is Annoying. The Tecnology is Cool.

The characters in this eBay commercial annoy the crap out of me, but the new sync feature in the eBay iPad app is pretty cool. If you can manage to get through the video without wanting to smash your computer screen every time “Feldman” pops up you’ll get a light demo of how the eBay app syncs with your live TV stream and feeds you for sale items based on what you are watching. This is yet another great example of how medium screen and small screens are being used in conjunction to create a more engaging and interactive experience for what are normally thought of as passive viewers.

Bloom Box: a power plant for the home

Today, K.R. Sridhar a former NASA employee will officially unveil what he and his company Bloom Energy have been working on in virtual secrecy for the last 4 years. The Bloom Energy power box.

With the help of an estimated $400 million in private funding, Bloom Energy took technology from an oxygen generator meant for a scrapped NASA Mars program, and converted them into refrigerator sized fuel cell power units that are currently being used by corporate clients like Walmart, FedEx, Ebay, and Google.

The corporate-sized cells cost $700,000 to $800,000 and are installed at 20 customers you’ve already heard of including FedEx and Wal-mart — Google was first to this green energy party, using its Bloom Boxes to power a data center for the last 18 months. Ebay has installed its boxes on the front lawn of its San Jose location. It estimates to receive almost 15% of its energy needs from Bloom, saving about $100,000 since installing its five boxes 9 months ago

Bloom Energy’s design feeds oxygen into one side of a cell while fuel (natural gas, bio gas from landfill waste, solar, etc) is supplied to the other side to provide the chemical reaction required for power. The cells themselves are inexpensive ceramic disks painted with a top-secret green “ink” on one side and a black “ink” on the other. The disks are separated by a cheap metal alloy, instead of more precious metals like platinum, and stacked into a cube of varying capabilities — a stack of 64 can power a small business like Starbucks, or more importantly, a small home. According to Bloom, two units could power a large American household greater than 3000 square feet. Pretty impressive don’t you think.

Bloom makes about one box a day at the moment and believes that within 5 to 10 years it can drive down the cost to about $3,000 to make it suitable for home use.

I can’t wait for the official announcement and press release to see where this going. I think this is one of the more exciting green energy announcements from the last few years. Last Sunday there was a full interview with Bloom Energy on 60 Minutes. You can see the video here.