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  • MeterPlug Bluetooth power monitor tracks usage, sends stats to your smartphone (hands-on video)

    MeterPlug Bluetooth power monitor tracks usage, sends stats to your smartphone handson video

    If there’s one constant in this world, it’s that the cost of energy continues to climb, be it household electric or good ole petrol. We can’t help you with the latter today, but we have found a pretty slick tool for keeping tabs on electricity consumption. Now, before you head down to the comments section or send your angry emails letting us know, we’re fully aware that power monitoring solutions have been around for some time now. MeterPlug isn’t your run-of-the-mill device, though. This solution is relatively inexpensive (it’ll retail for about $60), very compact (it plays nicely with other plugs in your power strip), and with the included Android and iOS apps, it’s quite powerful as well. The device will be available with US, UK or European plugs, and slips between your existing cord and an ordinary socket. Then, you pair it with your smartphone and you’re good to go.

    Once connected, MeterPlug uses your handset’s GPS to find electricity rates for your location, then displays your current usage in watts and cost — during our hands-on in NYC, a connected MacBook Pro pulled about 60 watts of power at a cost of $0.01 per hour. Connect a TV or household appliance though and you might just be surprised about how much you’re spending on each gadget. Naturally, there’s also a few tools to conserve energy. A simple (and responsive) power toggle lets you turn your device on and off using a smartphone, a proximity sensor cuts off power when you leave the room (and pops it back on when you arrive), and a feature called Vampire Power Shield keeps track of your gadget’s typical consumption, then pulls the plug when you flip your television or Xbox to standby mode, potentially saving you a fair amount of money each year. The plug module and app worked very well during our test, as you’ll see in the video after the break. Then, head over to the source link to submit your pre-order on Indiegogo.

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    Source: MeterPlug (Indiegogo)

  • A perfect match: PC game designers and the quest for compatibility

    A perfect match: PC game designers and the quest for compatibility

    Making games for computers is apparently akin to churning out sausage. For the most part, consumers are privy to the final yummy-looking package, give or take the occasional wandering bug that decides to crash their gaming spread. Underneath all that sumptuous, juicy meat, however, is a healthy helping of mystery meat. This includes the amalgamation of hours upon countless hours of the proverbial blood, sweat and tears piled up by the modern-day artisans who ply in the video game trade. At the top of their list of concerns? Making sure a game works across the multitude of computers that proliferate out in the wild.

    With the industry essentially settling on NVIDIA and ATI/AMD these days, the narrowing of card choices to two brands has made working on compatibility “a little easier” than it used to be, said Travis Baldree, president and lead engineer for Runic Games. Note he said “a little easier” not “a cakewalk.”

    “Compatibility is always the biggest challenge — it isn’t a new problem at all,” Baldree said. “The sheer number of permutations of cards, drivers, devices and third-party software — and their unexpected interactions with one another — can be a trial to deal with.”

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  • Join the Engadget HD Podcast live on Ustream at 5:30PM ET

    Join the Engadget HD Podcast live on Ustream at 530PM ET

    It’s not Monday, but we’re still taking some time off from preparations for the super bowl of electronics to record the Engadget HD podcast. You can tune in live at 5:30PM and be be a part of it. Start by reviewing the list of topics (including our CES preview) after the break, then participate in the live chat.

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