Every year thousands of cell phones, PDAs and music players meet their demise in toilet water. But lest it seem the toilet is merely a destroyer of technology, consider the growing number of high-end toilets sporting remote controls, wireless sensors and built-in accessories such as music players and lighting.
Many of these advanced receptacles come from Japan, where manufacturers Inax, Matsushita Electric Industrial and Toto are based. There, residents have embraced the high-tech toilet for more than a decade. Designs are driven by different factors; luxury models include docks for sound cards and wireless remotes, for instance, while health-oriented designs add sensors for urinalysis and speech-activated commands.
Driving around the nation's capital, it's impossible to miss the extensive preparations underway for President Bush's inauguration, which will be held at noon on Thursday in Washington, D.C.
A massive wooden platform has been erected on the front terrace of the U.S. Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony. Bleachers perch on the sidewalks along the 2-mile parade route. Barricades, temporary fences and police have blanketed the area between the White House and Capitol Hill.
Scattered across the National Mall and nearby streets are white vans and trailers topped by 40-foot poles, antennas and microwave dishes. These mobile cellular towers are loaded with racks of radios and other gear needed to support the needs of the 750,000 people expected to attend the inauguration.
When Ken Fobes walks in the door of his mansion in Ponte Vedra, Fla., he taps a touchscreen on the wall of the foyer and instantly the house is lighted and his favorite music plays softly inside and on the patio. With another tap, Fobes can adjust the temperature in his swimming pool or turn on his waterfall.
The high-tech features scattered throughout Fobes' home - which is dubbed Le Maison De L'eau - are controlled through four touchscreens connected to a 100M bit/sec Ethernet network that snakes throughout this 5,000-square-foot home.
When Google recently removed BMW.de from its database for using unfair Web design techniques, a collective cheer rose from the ranks of other designers around the globe. Instead of indicating an impending crackdown on tricks aimed at manipulating search engine results, however, the incident served to spotlight disagreements over what constitutes abuse.
It also led experts to reach a conclusion that some Webmasters might find unsettling, namely that Google isn't and maybe cannot be the police of the Web.
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