Emerging Technology

The anti-snoring pillow… Sydney ranked world best by tourists… Wine clubs online… Online searches, the results are in… eBay social network

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Magic pillow stops you snoring

I can’t believe someone didn’t think of this sooner. Reuters reports that a German scientist has come up with a solution for snoring – a computerised pillow that shifts the head’s sleeping position until the noise stops.

Apparently the pillow is attached to a small computer that rests on a bedside table and analyses snoring noises. The computer then reduces or enlarges air compartments within the pillow to facilitate nasal airflow to minimise snoring as the user shifts during sleep.

And as if that isn’t impressive enough, the ergonomic pillow can also be used for neck massages.

The last word goes the inventor, one Daryoush Bazargani. “I invented it because I snore,” he says. Fair enough.

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The winner is… Sydney

Sydney has been ranked the world’s top city in an international tourist poll by US travel mag Conde Nast Traveller.

The magazine’s 387,000 subscribers ranked Sydney ahead of Florence, San Fransisco and Bangkok. Readers liked Sydney’s “ambience and friendliness”.

Melbourne also made the list, with a score of 76.3 compared to Sydney’s 87.7 and New York’s 82.9.

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Social networking for wine lovers

Talking about wine is not quite as much fun as drinking it, but even so several new social networking sites have popped to enable booze-buffs to get together and talk about their faves in cyber-space.

According to Mashable, sites such as Vinorati, Cork’d, Snooth and the soon to be launched Adegga all provide social networks for sharing (in a virtual way) and discovering wine.

Adegga is fairly typical of the way the sites work. Users can set up three types of profiles, one for a user, another for a type of wine, and lastly a profile for a wine shop. Wine profiles contain information on the wine and allow users to rate it or leave comments. You can mark which wines you’ve tasted, and which ones you’ve yet to try out.

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Worldwide online search results

Google was the most popular destination for the more than 61 billion online searches that were conducted worldwide in August, according to a Comscore study reported by Marketing Charts.

More than 750 million people age 15 and older – 95% of the world’s internet audience – conducted 61 billion searches, an average of more than 80 searches per searcher in August, Comscore found.

More than 20 billion searches were conducted by users in the Asia-Pacific, the largest number of any region in the world. Europe came second with 18 billion searches, followed by North America, with 206 million searchers who made 16 billion searches. The Middle East-Africa region came last in the search stakes, where 30 million users made 2 billion searches.

The online dominance of Asia is also reflected in the most popular search destinations. In the search rankings after Google (including YouTube) the most popular sites were Yahoo, with 8.5 billion searches, and Baidu.com, a leading Chinese search engine, which pipped Microsoft for third place with more than 3.2 billion searches. Fifth was NHN Corporation, which owns Korean search site Naver.com, with 2.0 billion searches.

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eBay reconnects with its community

Online shopping site eBay has launched its own social networking service in the hope of pulling users put off by the increasingly corporate feel of the site, according to Time.

Apparently users complain that the site’s size – it listed 559.1 million items worth $US14.46 billion in the June 2007 quarter – can make it tough to find and purchase a specific product quickly and are turning to rivals such as Amazon.com, Overstock.com and uBid.

Ebay’s new “neighbourhoods” feature encourages users to post photos, product reviews, tips and responses – creating a far more visual and interactive experience than eBay’s text-based discussion forums.

According to Time, 480 million items were listed on eBay by individual users in the second quarter 2007, down 6% from the first quarter and down 2% from a year ago.

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