Microsoft Developing Kitchen Software

Microsoft is beginning work on the first of a family of customized Windows platforms designed for specific rooms around the home.

The “Kitchen Client” software will extend the Windows operating system and integrate with current and future Windows Live services.  The software is expected to include a family calendar, recipe center, entertainment features and a shared bulletin board. The Kitchen Client  will encompass both customized user interface and middleware that will allow developers to further customize the environment with their own products and services.

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Silver Recycled Glassware

It seems these days the buzz is all about Green DesignProducts from flooring to bath towels are made of bamboo.  Napkins and coffee filters are made from hemp.  Recycled glass is everywhere.  It is incorporated into countertops, tiles, hardware and serveware.  I absolutely fell in love with this glassware from VivaTerra because it doesn’t look recycled.  It is very sophisticated.

What could be better than being stylish and environmentally friendly?

Understanding Compact Flourescent Bulbs

I came across a blog written by Peggy Deras, CKD, CID about choosing a compact flourescent bulb that will cast flattering light.  This is referred to as CRI or color rendering index.

You can read her article here Kitchen-exchange: CRI: The Road to True-Color Light Bulbs

Did you know that not all CFLs can be used with a dimmer and that some can not be used in an enclosed lamp?  Peggy links to a wonderful page on the Enviromental Defense website that finds the right bulb for your needs.  This is definitely a page to bookmark.

One last note, CFLs contain mercury (about 5 milligrams) and should not be thrown into your household garbage. To find out what to do first check the Earth 911 website (where you can find disposal options by using your zip code for everything from paint to televisions) or call 1-877-EARTH911 for local disposal options.

If you live near an IKEA, you are in luck, they offer CFL recycling bins in stores across the world. In their fiscal 2006 year, IKEA recycled 156,301 pounds of CFLs.

The Digital Kitchen

Last month the Internet Alliance Home Research Council announced the results of a study citing which technology innovations homeowners want most to add in the future .

A survey of 602 homeowners revealed that the kitchen functions as the nerve center of the house, with most families doing much more than just cooking and eating there.  Popular activities in the kitchen include doing homework, paying bills, planning schedules, entertaining friends, talking on the phone and leaving messages for family members.

It’s not surprising that the primary kitchen user is also the person in charge of  keeping the schedules.  Which is why a digital calender is the most requested item.  Respondents stated they want a large screen calendar that allows users to add appointments or post notes that anyone can see from either the kitchen or the internet.

The next most requested item is a recipe projection system.  Consumers reported wanting a wireless recipe projection system that would allow them to look up a recipe on-line and then have the recipe projected onto a surface in the kitchen from a small cabinet-mounted device keeping countertops clutter free.

Homeowners did not show much interst in refrigerators or pantries that scan barcodes; instead they cited wanting a control hub in the kitchen.  From there they want to be able to monitor and adjust the household systems.  Specifically, they requested a screen where they can view the temperature inside and outside of their home, adjust the thermostat on a touch pad and view live video of both the front and back of their house.

Other requested items included wireless internet access and charging stations for charging 3 phones or PDAs at the same time regardless of brand.

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