Cisco’s New Router Is All About Video

Cisco this morning unveiled a new routing system that it claims can download the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress in about a second. The hardware is designed to play a fundamental role as data consumption ramps up dramatically on fixed-line and wireless networks.

Smartphones Are the New Stethoscope

Smartphones could be the most important diagnostic tool of the next century, according to Eric Topol, a cardiologist speaking at the TedMed conference last year. Maybe if the smartphone becomes useful for medical monitoring, perhaps those costly data plans will be reimbursed by insurance providers.

NewTeeVee’s Top Ten Posts of 2009

Another year is almost in the books, which means it’s time to look back at the stories that got the most eyeballs on NewTeeVee over the course of 2009. This year, Michael Jackson and Barack Obama were big draws, as one might expect. But two other things stand out: the growing popularity of Hulu (and desire of international viewers to check it out), and the importance of live events online, as people searched for streams of the Presidential Inauguration and Jackson’s memorial service. (See our Top Ten Post lists for 2007 and 2008.)

So without further ado, here are our top stories for the year:

1. Pioneer’s Kuro Killing: A Tipping Point in the Plasma Era by Jose Fermoso, published February 21
2. Where to Watch Obama’s Inauguration Online by Liz Gannes, published January 14
3. The Megawoosh Waterslide Viral: How It Was Really Done by Janko Roettgers, published August 11
4. Hulu Blocks Hotspot Shield Users by Jackson West, published May 6
5. How to Watch Hulu Around the World by Jackson West, published May 4
6. Where to Watch 2009 Super Bowl Ads Online by Liz Gannes, published January 30
7. Apple to Stream First Live Concert to the iPhone Tonight by Liz Gannes, published August 7
8. Hands-On: iPod Nano vs. Flip SD by Chris Albrecht, published September 12
9. Will Hulu Become a Blockbuster? by Liz Shannon Miller, published December 28
10. Watching the Michael Jackson Funeral Live by Liz Gannes, published July 7

Obama Wishes You (But Not Me) Happy Holidays

Organizing For America, the Democratic Party’s organization for people formerly associated with Barack Obama’s election campaign, has been sending out millions of holiday videos that show the President, as well as ordinary Democrats from around the country, thanking supporters for their dedication. The neat thing about the video is that it’s cleverly personalized, featuring not only different religious holiday-specific messages, but also the recipient’s name in various places of the clip.

Let’s say your name is Pete, for example. The video will feature Obama supporters on Times Square holding up a sign reading “Happy Holidays Pete!” An airplane will pull a banner with your name across the sky above some sunny beach, and Obama himself will sign a holiday card for you in his office. Recipients are encouraged to send personalized versions of the card to their friends as well. An Organizing for America spokesperson told me at least a million people already have.

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A Stick Figure Explains Microsoft Azure, and Other Cloud Video Gems

Yesterday I wrote almost 1,000 words on Microsoft’s Azure platform, but I think this video does a good job explaining the basics without all that pesky reading. Steve Marx, who works for Microsoft (s msft), pulled together a video in what I would call the “whiteboard genre” that explains not only Azure, but the basics of any platform as a service. It’s cute, and inspired me to compile a couple of other cloud-related videos, featuring gems such as IBM’s (s ibm) biography of a beekeeper who founded cloud computing, or this nice overview from HighTechDad (who also works for GoGrid, a cloud computing provider.) Any other favorites out there?

Talk and Play Tunes Through BlackBerry’s Visor Mount Speakerphone

blackberry-visor-mount-speakerphone-vm605Hands-free communications is becoming more important these days. Many places are creating, or have already passed, hands-free laws that make it illegal to hold the phone and talk while driving. BlackBerry (s RIMM) recently introduced a Bluetooth speakerphone solution to compete with the many third-party options on the market. The Visor Mount Speakerphone VM-605 adds more than simple hands-free conversation, though.

The $99 device also streams wireless music from your BlackBerry through your vehicle’s speaker system. I’m curious how the audio quality of that function is since the VM-605 acts as a wireless bridge using two different technologies. The device clearly accepts the audio from your handset using the Bluetooth A2DP profile, but then pipes it to your speakers through an integrated FM modulator. I’d have to hear that to gauge the quality. As if that weren’t enough, the VM-605 also works with select third-party GPS mapping applications. Deets are scarce on that bit, but I gather that you can speak your mapping request and/or the device will pipe turn-by-turn directions through your vehicle speakers.

The device isn’t much bigger than a handset and includes an 1100mAh battery, so there’s no need to have a power wire hanging down from the visor.

Toshiba Launches New “L Series” Laptops Starting at $549

satellite-l500-screen-sizes“L” is for “Laptops,” says Toshiba. The company just launched its new Satellite L Series devices, which start at $549.99 and are aimed at back-to-schoolers and those on a budget. That price begins to approach the netbook market, although these devices aren’t quite as portable. There are four sizes in the series: 14″, 15.6″, 16″ and 17.3″, with MSRPs ranging up to $699. The smaller screens offer 1366×768 resolution while the bigger models go up to 1600×900. All use what Toshiba calls an HD TruBrite display offering a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio.

Toshiba calls the 14-incher “lightweight,” but it starts out at 5.06 pounds. That might be light compared to the 17.3-incher at 7.7 pounds, but it’s no light-and-thin device. I’d put these more in the realm of everyday use or desktop replacements.

The L Series can be configured in a number of ways with CPUs from AMD and Intel, integrated or discrete graphics, different wireless options, optical drives, RAM and storage capacity. All of them feature a graphite colored Fusion Finish and Toshiba’s Eco Utility with one-touch power saving features.