The Wrap: 20 November

The Wrap: 20 November

Jumping the shark

Microsoft has been struck by XBox fever as much as the rest of us and came up with a very Dr Evil-like stunt for the global launch of the XBox One.

Because we're closest to the dateline we're often first in global rollouts like this and the console will come here at midnight tomorrow. Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland has come to the party by letting the console be guarded in its shark tank. 

"The Aquarium’s seven-gill shark is famous for pack hunting and is easily able to take down 350kg fur seals on its own, and out-swim dolphins and kingfish. The sand tiger shark’s fearsome appearance is equal to its frightening reputation – the magnificent hunter feeds by sawing though its prey before gulping down its dinner," Microsoft warned fans thinking of sneaking into the aquarium and taking a dive.

Having said that, the sharks don't have lasers on their heads.

Business time

We can't get enough storage nowadays as we try to stuff more and more data into the cloud. That's as true for businesses as it is for the rest of us, and Dropbox has recognised this by dropping a new version of Dropbox for Business into the mix.

It's meant to be make working between the personal and business more seamless when it launches next year: files can be tagged as personal or with the business name and admins can decide which files to offer staff on their mobiles. And business information can be remotely wiped when someone leaves a company.

Special delivery

From the 'big brother is watching' gadgetry files comes Doorbot, a wifi-enabled doorbell that lets you see who's at the door and talk to them from wherever using your smartphone.


Inventor James Siminoff says necessity was the mother: he and his team were working out of a garage and could never hear the doorbell, causing them to miss an important parcel. The concept of answering the door and communicating with visitors via smartphone has obvious benefits for people who frequently buy from online stores, but we can also see the potential for drug dealers and recipients of singing telegrams who would otherwise have missed a big performance.

Taking control of your destiny

If you're master of your home, think you are, or want to be, keep an eye on the Ninja Sphere.

Resembling a cross between a shiny white bike helmet and a lampshade, it connects to devices to monitor everything from temperature and lighting to who's at home. That means handy reminders to your phone if you've left the lights or the heater on, or a notification if you're out and there's movement back at the ranch.

There's also a gesture control interface to set things just the way you like them. Connection is done via wired and wireless IP, Bluetooth, USB and Zigbee. The sphere can hook up to a diverse bunch of devices so far, like Logitech's Squeezebox Media Server, the Philips Hue connected lightbulb, Belkin'sWeMo smart switch, Spotify and the Pebble watch. If you want to add more, just write and share a driver.

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