Greenbox Looking to Raise Series A Round

Greenbox Technology, a startup with a web-based platform that monitors home energy use, told us recently it hopes to close its first round of funding by June. Matthew Smith, the company’s vice president of marketing, said the company is talking to potential investors now. The round could be as high as $20 million, he said, but suggested the amount will most likely fall between $3 million and $5 million.

“We aren’t announcing [the amount] publicly, but we’re looking at a pretty typical, standard A round,” he said, adding that the company has several alternate plans, depending on its investors and “how aggressive we want to get.” Most of the money will go toward hiring, he said.

Founded in 2007 by the creators and designers of Flash, Greenbox has developed software that monitors and analyzes a home’s energy use and displays the data –- including information about the time of day, usage by appliances, and comparisons to other homes in the community and different electricity-rate plans –- in the form of charts and graphs on a web dashboard.
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6 Ways to Trick Out Your Mac This Holiday Season

As you do your holiday decorating this year, don’t forget to trick out your Mac, too. Fortunately, it’s a lot easier than hauling out heavy decorations or hanging 40 miles of outdoor lights in sub-zero temperatures.

I am always amazed at the creative widgets people devise and create for the holidays, and this year is no exception. Have a look at some of the festive widgets, games, and goodies that commemorate this holiday season.

  • My favorite this year is Snow in the Dashboard. It’s not a particularly useful widget, of course, since it doesn’t do anything but make light snow fall across your dashboard. Since I live in Florida, though, it’s as close to the white stuff as I’m likely to get this December.
  • If you’re looking for computer-based games, there are plenty of fun ones to choose from that will get you in the holiday spirit. I could try a different one every day and still not be done in time for Christmas, but I gave a few of them a whirl and found Christmas Swap and Christmas Crisis are the best bets if you’re looking for a little mindless fun. The former tests your reflexes and keeps your brain sharp, while the latter is just a fun arcade-type game.
  • Children all over the world play the Dreidel Game during Hanukkah. This year, treat your kids to a version that’s played on an iPhone or iPod touch. Same great game and same great fun as when played with a real dreidel, but this one has a 21st-centruy slant. Though the Dreidel Game won’t help you trick out your Mac, it’s still a fun little app that you won’t want to overlook.
  • Want to know just how many shopping days you have left before you’re out of time and have to show up at the company party with a re-gifted fruitcake? Put this Christmas Countdown on your Dashboard as a gentle reminder, or for a quick answer to your kids’ constant question, “How long until Santa comes?”
  • If you really don’t feel like hanging lights all over your house, just string them across your monitor instead. NightLights Screensaver can be customized with mini or novelty lights and even lets you choose whether to let them randomly blink or remain lit . For a really festive screensaver, try 3D Christmas or Christmas Village.
  • Speaking of lights, there’s a really neat Kinara widget that lets users light seven virtual candles in honor of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. Though the widget is free to download, it’s creators request users consider a donation to the ECOLIFE Foundation.

Have you found other cool holiday downloads and apps for your Mac? Tell me about them in the comments.

Free Up Resources With DashQuit

The Dashboard was one of the marquee new features in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger when it was introduced in the spring of 2005 — a sort of Desktop alternate universe accessed through the Dock as a home and interface for an assortment of mini-applications and utilities called Widgets.

Those who liked it, liked it a lot, it seems. Hundreds of Dashboard Widgets have been developed by third-parties in addition to the variety bundled with OS X by Apple.

Personally, I’ve never really warmed to the Dashboard, and rarely use it — by “rarely” I mean a frequency of probably less than once a month on average, and there is no Dashboard Widget I would really miss having available.

On the other hand, Dashboard is something of a resources hog, and being a user of older, low-end hardware, I begrudge the amounts of RAM, processor cycles, and swapfile access that get absorbed by the Dashboard. For example, the old Pismo PowerBook I’m typing this article on has a 550 MHz G4 processor and just 576 MB of RAM, and my most powerful Mac at this time is a 2004 vintage 1.33 GHz G4 PowerBook with a still-modest by today’s standards 1.5 GB of RAM. It would be great if Apple had provided the option to manually quit the Dashboard in OS X, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.
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Weekly Widget: MadLibs

MadLibs I remember in Jr. High and High School wasting hours of class time doing madlibs with my classmates. I’m quite positive I learned more reading madlibs than reading Edgar Allen Poe.

Fortunately you now can waste your day away doing madlibs right on your Mac thanks to the MadLibs widget!

It includes 23 different madlib stories to do, many of which are Apple or computer related.

Download the widget, do some madlibs, and post them in the comments.

What Widgets Can You Not Live Without?

dashboard.jpgAs a former die hard Konfabulator user, it took me some time to get used to Dashboard. I fumed when I couldn’t keep widgets on my desktop at all times (without a terminal hack that is), and generally resisted it. But as time has passed (and passed, and passed) with Tiger, Dashboard has become more and more ingrained in my daily life. I find myself hitting F12 a dozen or more times a day, and get frustrated if I’m on a mac that doesn’t have the widgets I’m accustomed to.

So that leads me to ask, what widgets can you not live without? Here are some of mine:

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Ta-da List

With everything I’ve got going on, to-do lists are essential for me. It seems that no matter how on top of things I am, I always forget something. The great folks at 37signals have created Ta-da List, a free online aplication that you can use to create to-do lists. It’s a great app, but sometimes navigating to my lists in the browser is just too much work. Fortunately, Keegan Jones has created the Ta-da Lists Widget to save me the trouble.

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Junior Mint

I love looking the stats for my other blog, and Shaun Inman’s Mint is the tops in my book. But most of the time I’m just interested in page views and unique visits, so looking at the entire Mint interface can be a bit of an overload. Having Junior Mint (you’ll need to login with your Mint credentials to download) on my Dashboard gives me just the info I want. Plus, if your traffic sucks for one day, you can be a bit more positive and look at the big picture.
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Whooppee Cushion Widget

Sometimes when it’s quiet in the office, I have to break the silence. Or better yet, when a nearby project manager is sweating it out on the phone with a displeased client, I need to make the situation more bearable. At those times I crank up my volume, go to Jacob Rath’s Whooppee Cushion Widget, and rip a wonderful fart sound through the office. It may be juvenile, but there’s no replacement for toilet humor!

So what about you guys? What widgets can you not live without?