Recent Articles By Bryan Chaffin [RSS]
I've gathered 41 different Bitcoin "faucets"—websites that pay out free Bitcoins just for loading up a page full of ads—and tested them to make sure they actually pay out. I started off with eight sites, but this update adds several more and removes some faucets that have gone dark for a total of 41 different Bitcoin faucets that really pay, plus a Dogecoin faucet and a Litecoin faucet.
We have a very cool giveaway for you, the PlayStation 4 Battlefield Bundle Giveaway. One lucky winner will win a PlayStation 4 Console, two wireless controllers, and a copy of Battlefield 4. To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to our Mac Observer Deal emails—it's pretty darned simple. There's more details on the deal listing. Good luck!
Apple is reportedly reducing the thickness of the battery it will use in its next generation iPhone—dubbed the iPhone 6 in the media—to just 2mm. Citing unnamed sources in Apple's supply chain, Taiwan-based DigiTimes said Apple has reduced the thickness of the battery by some 33 percent, down from 3mm, while keeping capacity at iPhone 5s levels.
Apple announced on Thursday that Sue Wagner is joining its board of directors, while Silicon Valley legend Bill "Coach" Campbell is retiring. Ms. Wagner is a founding partner and a director at BlackRock, a Silicon Valley asset management firm, and she was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women (#33) by Fortune in 2011.
Bloomberg has published a great piece looking back at the late Steve Jobs dissing Big Blue. The article comes in the wake of a landmark agreement between Apple and IBM to team up for the Enterprise market on iPhones and iPads, and it makes for an interesting look back at a different era in computing. The five incidents include Apple's 1981 ad, "Welcome, IBM. Seriously;" the quickly-becoming-famous-photo of Steve Jobs giving IBM the finger; the iconic 1984 commercial, a 1985 Playboy interview when he said that IBM kills innovation; and the move to Intel, where Mr. Jobs dissed PowerPC processors. There are lots of details in the Bloomberg piece, and it's a fun read. That said, and as we discussed on Wednesday's TDO podcast, I have little doubt that Mr. Jobs would have supported the deal his successor worked out with IBM. It's impossible to know for sure, of course, but Mr. Jobs was infamous for turning on a dime and working with past enemies.
For today's deal, I have another device that qualifies for Cool Stuff Found, except that we get to offer it to you at a discount. It's called XiStera XS Plus 8-In-1 Multitool for iPhone. It has eight functions, including magnetically-attached lenses for your iPhone's camera, dual tripod mount, a multi-position stand, a capacitive stylus, ear-bud wrap, a key ring, and my favorite, a bottle opener. That's a lot of functionality, and it's normally priced at $70. Through our deal, you can get it for $44.99.
This has got to be one of the most interesting and beautiful speaker docks I have seen. It's called Eight, and it's a natural acoustic amplifier for the speaker in your iPhone 5 or 5s. It's made of wood—the dark part is walnut, while the light middle section is birdseye maple—and it funnels the sound from your speaker to one side, using the properties of wood and the shape of Eight to amplify that sound. The other side serves as a receiver for your iPhone's microphone so you can use Eight for phone calls. There are no electronics other than your iPhone involved, though it has a slot for an included Lightning cable to charge your iPhone. I haven't heard Eight, but it's a beautiful design and a fascinating idea. It's also pricey at $288—but that's because it's made from solid pieces of wood, hand-crafted, and hand-oiled. The company making Eight—Stark Design—is making each Eight to order, requiring 2-4 weeks before you get it.
How did I not know about Loot Crate? Because no one told me about it, I'm guessing, but now I'm telling you. This is a subscription service where you pay them some money and they send you a mystery box full of stuff every month. By stuff, I mean gaming, comic, and nerd stuff—you don't know what you're getting until you get your box and open it. That's way too much fun. July's theme is villains, BTW, so again, too much fun. The regular price for this service is $18.60 a month, but through our friends at StackSocial, we get to offer it to you for $16. It's not a huge discount, but you're already getting a discount because the value of each Loot Crate is pegged at $120.
We have another developer deal for you today, the Mammoth Xcode & Swift Developer Bundle. Designed for beginners, this bundle of training courses has 65 hours of Xcode training and 25 hours of training for Apple's new Swift developer language. The training is focused around building App Store-ready apps, and you'll produce 20 such apps for iOS 7 and another 20 apps for iOS 8. It covers design, coding, and even uploading to the App Store.
Apple is changing, and those changes are for the better. On Friday, the company launched Swift Blog, its first ever official Apple blog on the company's website. The blog is part of Apple's Developer connection, and it's stated purpose is to be a direct conduit to developers.