Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]
Where in the world is former Apple golden boy Scott Forstall? Since his surprise termination in October of 2012, that's been the question on many Apple watchers' minds. According to The Information, Mr. Forstall has been traveling—Italy and South Africa—advising unspecified startups, and working on various philanthropic efforts.
Amazon is running a one-day only 20 percent discount sale on the Kindle Fire HDX 7" tablet for US$183.20. That's the company's new 7-inch Android-based tablet introduced for the holidays. While we suspect most of our readers are more interested in iPad Air and iPad mini, if you're thinking about a Kindle, this is the day to buy it. The Kindle ereader is also on sale for $55.20, while last year's Kindle Fire HD is $135.20, all for one day only. Here's an affiliate link so that TMO gets a little something-something in our small-business stocking, too.
This is a cool idea called Lightstrap. It's an iPhone 5 and 5s case that incorporates a light you can use to light a scene for photos and videos. That's pretty clever. It has its own internal battery the company—Brick & Pixel–says will power "upwards of 500 videos or 30 minutes of video." It also has seven different brightness levels, and the color range is selectable in six steps from ~3000k to ~5,700k. B&P is in the process of raising US$245,000 on Kickstarter, and it's $60K towards that goal. Funding levels include a shipping unit for $97.
Apple is paying tribute to Nelson Mandela by dedicating its home page to the man who symbolized the fight against Apartheid in South Africa. Mr. Mandela passed away on Thursday, and in addition to the home page tribute shown below, Apple executives offered comments about him through Twitter.
Apple has launched iBeacon—Bluetooth-powered stations that can communicate with iPhones and iPads. The feature allows Apple to guide customers and send information to their devices, but the bigger story is that Apple is proactively demonstrating why it never bothered to support near-field communications, or NFC.
The New Zealand Police are crediting a rollout of iPhones and iPads to police officers as having helped to reduce crime in the island country. The devices are part of a program called "Policing Excellence," and the NZ Police issued a report crediting it for reducing crime by 13 percent, reducing the number of necessary prosecutions by 27 percent, and for allowing police to be more focused on victims.
I recently found SealsWithClubs, an online poker site that uses Bitcoin and allows U.S. players to play. If you've been jonesing to play online poker and you have, or can get, some Bitcoins, SealsWithClubs is it. They have a Mac client, as well as a browser-based client, Windows, Linux, and Android. Bets on the site are in denominations of 1 "Chip," with a Chip being equal to 0.001BTC, or 1/1000th of a Bitcoin. There are plenty of game withs blinds smaller than a Chip, going down to 0.05/0.10 Chips, which is roughly similar to nickle/dime blinds. I'll offer a more detailed review of the site next week.
PowerPractical has launched the PowerPot X, a 10 watt version of the company's portable charging technology, on Kickstarter. PowerPot X is designed to sit on a fire—be it a camp fire or a gas-powered flame—and turn that heat energy into electricity you can use to charge your mobile devices, and it does it without any moving parts. Cool, right? For outdoorsy folks or anyone prepping for bad weather, the PowerPot line is one of several alternative-energy solutions coming to market to address portable charging, and I like this one because it harnesses energy that is usually otherwise wasted. There are a ton of funding options available, and the company is already very close to its goals, but funding will still get you a discount on a unit when it ships. The video below contains too much back-story, but at the two minute mark, they get to the new model they're working on.
Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone all took subscriber share away from BlackBerry in the U.S. in the month ending October 13th, according to new data from research firm comScore. Android gained 0.4 percent share, while iPhone and Windows Phone each gained 0.2 percent, while BlackBerry lost 0.7 percent.
There are three days left to get the Black Friday Mac Bundle, a collection of 11 apps for US$49.99, including one of my all-time favorite utilities, iStat Menus 4. You'll also get Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, DiskAid, PopClip, Numi 2, Gemini, CrazyTalk7 Standard, a one-year subscription to Mac Internet Security, Data Backup 3, Pagico, and MotionComposer. The retail value of all that software is $419, making it a great deal even if you just want a few of them. We're offering this bundle through our friends at Stack Social, meaning that TMO gets a piece. Everyone wins!