Smart flora

Michael Giberson

Via Reuters:

Researchers at New York University’s interactive telecommunications program have come up with a device that allows plants to tell owners when they need water or if they’ve had too much via the social network blogging service Twitter.

If only I had had such a device last August, maybe I wouldn’t have overwatered two large pots of Prairie Blazing Stars. Even at $99, the Botanicalls device might save me money over a year or so.

But really, why not cut out the middleman and just teach the plants to call for a drip or two of water when they get thirsty? That would be some smart flora.

Prairie Blazing Star

Cringely on Google’s Power Meter

Lynne Kiesling

Bob Cringely’s take on Google’s Power Meter: it’s a strategic move toward them becoming an ISP:

Google’s PowerMeter is a Trojan horse – a way to become a de facto Internet Service Provider for potentially millions of homes.

Several years ago Google made a $100 million investment in a suburban Washington, DC company called Current Technologies, which is America’s leading provider of both smart electric metering services (that’s what the Google PowerMeter is supposed to be) AND power line Internet service based in part on the HomePlug networking standard. …

So the utilities partner with Google to install these boxes, ideally in every home. They install enough fiber for gigabit service to the medium voltage transformer with HomePlug or WiFi into the home. And the whole thing interfaces to Google at the power company’s data center where Google will install proxy servers and routers and connect to the Internet backbone.

Eventually Google — not the electric utility — throws the switch on consumer Internet access, IP TV, and VoIP phones, which the electric companies could have done – should have done – on their own but generally couldn’t be bothered to.

What do you think?