Nektar announced on Tuesday that it is shipping the Panorama P1, a compact USB control surface for Cubase, Nuendo, and Reason. This pretty little thing has 66 real-time controls, a TFT color display, and it was designed specifically for the three music creation applications above. If you're using ReWire, you can switch back and forth between the apps and the P1 will switch between Mixer, Instrument, and Transporter mode as needed. Pretty cool! It's priced at US$349.99/€289.99/£244.99, and it's available now.
It's crazy. The watch pocket in a pair of jeans is an anachronism dating back to 1902 when it first appeared. Although, famously, Steve Jobs did once pull an iPod nano out of the watch pocket of his jeans. (Here's the YouTube video where he does that at about 1m56s.)
Anyway, nothing much has changed with jeans in over a hundred years. And because many guys prefer to carry their smartphone in a jeans pocket, getting that smartphone out, quickly and easily, when needed can be a problem. I/O Denim, a Kickstarter project, has the solution, Their new jeans, 100 percent cotton from North Carolina, premium denim (hence the price), feature a special pocket on the left-hand side, in between the knee and the hip along the seam. The pocket is big enough to handle any of the iPhones with a slim case and also most Android devices. For now, men's cut only and limited sizes.
Problem solved. Very cool indeed.
Daft Punk's long awaited new album, Random Access Memories, isn't due for release until May 21, but anyone in the United States can stream all of the tracks now for free through iTunes. Unlike the usual 90 second previews for trackson other albums, you can listen to complete songs as often as you want, although you can't download any yet. Random Access Memories is available for pre-order at the iTunes Store and is priced at US$11.99.
I don't have an interactive R2-D2 in my life. Welcome to my first world problems, but there is at least a first world solution: the Star Wars R2-D2 Interactive Astromech Droid. This is a roughly foot-tall robotic replica of R2-D2 that not only moves, it responds to (a limited range of) vocal commands. It will activate a light, alert you to movement, and play Princess Leia's recorded message. Oh, and it makes all those awesome R2-D2 noises that continue to delight us almost 40 years after Star Wars was released. This has been around for a while, but if you haven't seen it check it out (there are a lot of videos on YouTube). It's priced at $199, but Amazon is offering it for $175.85 to Prime members right now.
Pixel Press, an innovative iPhone app that, "lets you draw your own video game (no code required!) and share it with others" has launched on Kickstarter. The app starts with you drawing on a special graph paper you can print out yourself (no purchase necessary). You then photograph your drawing and the app turns it into a level! That's pretty darned cool. There are videos galore showing you how it works. The company is trying to raise $100,000, and it crossed the $16,000 mark on this, the first day.
Apple-and-sundry news site The Loop is expanding beyond your Web browser into a digital magazine available through Apple's Newsstand for the iPhone and iPad. The Loop Magazine expands on what's available through the website with longer form articles and will include content that's unique just to the magazine. Jim Dalrymple, the man behind The Loop and life support system for The Beard, said The Loop Magazine will publish twice a month and cost US$1.99 a month. You can check it out for free for seven days, so head on over to Newsstand and download a copy.
The importance of strong passwords to protect your online accounts and personal information is a given, especially considering how many nefarious people are out there just waiting for the chance to hack into your data and bank accounts. You'd think a starship captain would take that to heart and use strong passwords to avoid problems like unauthorized initiation of self destruct sequences -- but apparently that's not the case. The crew at AgileBits used Star Trek as an example of why strong passwords are so important through the surprisingly weak passwords used to protect destruct sequences and warp core ejections -- something most of don't have to deal with on a daily basis, but still an important reminder as to why we need something better than "password" to protect our Twitter, Facebook, and bank accounts.
The two Spocks playing 3D chess over their iPads? Check. Leonard Nimoy historical trivia? Check. Star Trek humor on full display? Double check. Zachary Quinto and Mr. Nimoy both unafraid to have some fun at their own expense? Yepper. OK, it's an Audi commercial, but we've been going nuts over it in the TMO Towers, and the Twitterverse is all gaga, too, so it's definitely cool. Check it out!
Fitbit's new Flex health tracker wristband is out, and it offers several of the features found in the Fitbit One, including Bluetooth iPhone and computer sync support. The wristband sensor tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep patterns, includes a silent alarm, plus it's water resistant so you can wear it in the shower or rain. It's available in several colors and you can swap out the band for the color that best fits your mood. It's priced at US$99.95 and should be hitting store shelves now.
Smithsonian Magazine spent some time tracing the origins of the QWERTY keyboard layout, including research that debunks the myth that it was invented to slow typists down. We've all heard that myth, but some Japanese researchers said that the QWERTY layout evolved from the needs of telegraph operators and the peculiarities of Morse Code. The article also talks about keyboard layouts for tablets and the KALQ keyboard. Cool stuff. The attribution path is a lengthy one: @LeoLaporte > Next Draft > The Atlantic.
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