May 19, 2012, 7:42 AM — This week we start with something that has both intrigued and amused me: Microsoft Research has a new operating system in the works targeted at home automation called, with glaring dullness, HomeOS.
Microsoft says, "To simplify the management of technology and to simplify the development of applications in the home, we are developing an 'operating system' for the home. HomeOS provides a centralized, holistic control of devices in the home. It provides to users intuitive controls to manage their devices. It provided to developers high-level abstractions to orchestrate the devices in the home. HomeOS is coupled with a HomeStore through which users can easily add/obtain applications that are compatible with devices in their homes and obtain any additional devices that are needed to enable desired applications."
What intrigued me about this project is Microsoft is surprisingly late to the market -- a market that, despite years of hype, has yet to really take off. Perhaps Microsoft thinks it can give it a push start.
But I am also amused by the name. Running the operating system name past various friends, they either pronounced it "ho-me-oss" or, worse still, "ho-moes" neither of which, I suspect, is what Microsoft would like.
So, I have two Kickstarter projects that I think you should look into. The first is the HAND Stylus, which looks like it will be the capacitative stylus I've wanted since I first got an iPad. The problem with the current styli I've tried, is they feel more like using a banana than a pen. Styli such as the TenOne Pogo Sketch Plus ($15) are OK for some purposes (painting apps and simple graphics), but they feel nothing like a regular pen on regular paper.
With a 4mm tip (roughly 30% smaller than any other stylus I've tried) the HAND Stylus promises to be a vast improvement over other designs. The HAND Stylus also looks great, rather like my favorite mechanical pencils made by Rotring (I studied architecture back in, oh, the Pleistocene era, and Rotring was the Rolls-Royce of drafting pencils).