On MNN: Tanks for printers, the return of the water fountain and the end of hitchBOT

water fountain drinking
© It was a mistake to pick this photo, Everyone says this is why the hate drinking fountains (Photo: Hulton archives/ Getty Images)

I have been writing over on MNN about technology, the smart house, wearables and boomer stuff. Here are some recent posts that might interest TreeHuggers:

It's time to bring back the public water fountain

Fifteen years ago, according to Elizabeth Royte in "Bottlemania," a Pepsi Cola vice president told investors: “when we are done, tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.” They have pretty much succeeded; bottled water has come from nowhere to be a huge business, with Americans drinking 50 billion bottles of it every year. At the same time, public water fountains have been disappearing. It's time to bring them back. More in MNN: It's time to bring back the public water fountain

Tanks for the memories: Epson eliminates printer cartridges


Epson printer© Epson's last stand

Let’s talk clichés: the horse has left the barn, the ship has sailed. That’s how I felt when I heard the news that Epson was going to solve “the most annoying problem with inkjet printers,” the cost of buying inkjet cartridges. They are letting users fill ink tanks themselves. But it's too little, too late. More in MNN: Tanks for the memories: Epson eliminates printer cartridges

On vacation? Turn off the computer and put down your phone

cottage familyLloyd Alter/ Cottage life: friends, family... and five computers/CC BY 2.0

Ah, life at the summer cottage. Or cabin, camp, chalet or whatever they call it where you live, all words that people who live in the North call “a small house in the countryside, often by a lake, where people go on summer weekends.” Others go to the beach house and all face the same problem — how to disconnect, to get unwired, in a world where many people are addicted to their electronics. More: On vacation? Turn off the computer and put down your phone

Beloved hitchBOT abandoned in Philly gutter

goodbye hitchbot© HitchBOT

This made me very sad. hitchBOT was more than a robot, he was a morality play. As Blanche Dubois said in "A Streetcar named Desire," “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” That’s what hitchBOT did — and he brought out the best in people, the strangers who would pick him up and give him a lift, take photos, join in the fun. It was a fascinating experiment in mixing social media and robotics. You can go through a thousand Instagrams and all you see are smiles. More in MNN: Beloved hitchBOT abandoned in Philly gutter

Inventor of Soylent lives a minimalist, off-grid lifestyle in L.A. Is he nuts?

solar panel© Rob Rhinehart's solar panel.

A lot of people think Rob Rhinehart is nuts. He’s the electrical engineer who cooked up Soylent, the dreadfully named “nutritionally balanced” substitute for a meal. And after reading his latest manifesto about his lifestyle, some think he's gone off the deep end. Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo thinks he’s “trying to turn himself into some sort of creepy nerd messiah.” I think he's on to something. More in MNN: Inventor of Soylent lives a minimalist, off-grid lifestyle in L.A. Is he nuts?

Is the sharing economy just about cool apps or is it 'the breakdown of societal order?'

sharing economy© Susie Cagle

Before the Great Depression, there were 84,000 taxi drivers in America. By 1932, there were 150,000 as the unemployed and under-employed piled into the business. The oversupply of taxis and drivers got out of control, causing congestion, rate cutting and dangerous driving. By 1937, it was regulated. Now, eighty years later, we have UBER and a case of deja vu. More in MNN: Is the sharing economy just about cool apps or is it 'the breakdown of societal order?'

On MNN: Tanks for printers, the return of the water fountain and the end of hitchBOT
And put away your phone if you are on vacation.

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