Twelve South's BookBook cases for the iPhone, and iPad are cool and stylish, and now the company has brought the concept to Apple's MacBook lines. The Rutledge is made from leather and hand-finished, which gives each case its own unique look. Like the other cases in the BookBook line, this one looks like an old hard cover book and offers rigid protection to help keep you laptop safe. The interior is padded for added protection, and it uses dual zippers to keep the case closed when you aren't using your laptop. The BookBook Rutledge is priced at US$99.99, and you can pick one up at the Twelve South website. [Update: There are four Rutledge models to fit all MacBook Air and Pro models.]
Governments are flying drones, and Amazon wants to, so why shouldn't you, too? GenCode has a Kickstarter project that'll let you do just that, and the bonus: Your quad-copter drone is made from LEGO bricks. Assuming the project reaches funding, you'll get a box full of LEGO bricks, four custom designed motors, mounts for cameras and a remote control system, plus instructions for building your very own LEGO drone. Did we mention this is a real flying drone made out of LEGO bricks? Really, this whole project can be summed up in two words: LEGO. Drone.
Wolfram Language is a knowledge-based computer language that's been in development by Stephen Wolfram for about 30 years. "It's a language where a vast amount of knowledge about how to do computations and about the world is built right into the language," according to Mr. Wolfram who formally announced the language last year.
That's all fairly abstract, but the working result is magnificent and needs to be seen to be appreciated. In this stunning YouTube tour of Wolfram Language, Mr. Wolfram illustrates the power of his creation. It has to be seen to be believed. How people in the future will use this new kind of computer language for research and analysis can only be guessed at right now.
Apple is offering up several HD movies for just US$9.99 each from its Kids & Family section, including Monsters vs. Aliens, Chicken Run, and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit. These are all movie purchases, not rentals, so it's OK to procrastinate on watching after you buy -- and they're great to have on hand whenever you need to watch something fun, or use the TV as a babysitter. The deal is for a limited time, so don't procrastinate on your purchase.
Blizzard launched Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft on Mac and Windows on Tuesday. The latest expansion of the company's massive World of Warcaft franchise is a "fast paced strategy card game" that includes playing heroes, casting spells, summoning creatures, all through digital cards. The game is a free download, and it pits the player against a series of mini-bosses on the way to the ultimate boss, Illidan Stormrage. I included the promotional video below.
There are a lot of audio interfaces for iPhone and iPad out there, but there's a Kickstarter project for guitarists called Acoustic Stream that does something new. It allows you to record, practice, or play live through your iOS device wirelessly. Designed specifically for acoustic guitar, this device goes inside your guitar. You then activate it by tapping one, twice, or thrice on the guitar for recording, tuning, or simple connectivity to the companion app. That means no cords to manage! If you're one of those folks who bangs on your guitar while you play to provide your own percussion section, this may not be for you, but for the rest of us, giddy up! Oh, and it monitors the humidity around your device and will alert you if it gets too dry or too wet. That's way cool all by itself, IMO. It works with Bluetooth LE iOS devices and some Bluetooth LE Android devices. The company has raised $36,000 out of a goal of $50,000. Funding options that get you an Acoustic Stream start at $127 (only a couple of slots left).
I just learned that Tomas Moyano is awesome. A designer living in Argentina, Mr. Moyano has put together the sexiest, most gorgeous Apple iWatch mockup I've seen. With everybody and their brother wanting to know what Apple is cooking up in wearables, this outside mockup left me drooling and wanting one on my wrist, and pronto. In a series of images, Mr. Moyano laid out what he thinks Apple's device could look like (round), what features it might have (syncing, camera, music streaming, and a battery of biomedical sensors), and specs. I have no idea if Apple could fit all that stuff in this kind of form factor, but if so, giddy up! There's a lot more in the full gallery, so check it out. About the only thing it's missing is an actual watch app.
Today I bring you the opportunity to participate in a little science by helping to fund development of an ARC Plasma Speaker. Why would you do this? Not because it's the best sounding speaker on the planet, no. It's far from that, but with an ARC Plasma Speaker you can make sound through a arc of plasma running at 30,000 volts. Come on, right? Who doesn't want to do that? Watch the video if you aren't familiar with the concept. The company—ExcelPhysics—was originally trying to raise US$10,000, but they've blown by that goal and have raised more than $41,000 with 18 days to go. Funding options that get you a kit to build your own ARC Plasma Speaker start at $99. For $199, they'll ship it to you fully assembled. Either way, it's nerdvanna!
The Curta hand cranked calculator was introduced in 1948. Developed by Curt Herzstark, it can do basic arithmetic and, a bit laboriously, square roots. This pepper grinder-like black cylinder is mechanically complex, beautifully made and ingenious.
Even though it remained popular in specific areas, such as sports car rallies even into the 1980s, it was generally superseded by the classic slide-rule in the 1950s and 60s. But who knows? Perhaps in the back of Jony Ive's mind, there loomed the concept of a black computational cylinder that ultimately resulted in the design of the late 2013 Mac Pro.
Computational speed: Looks like a blazing hertz or two.
A glow-in-the-dark iPhone charging cable. This is one of those things that now that I've seen it, I don't understand why we haven't had it all along, but now the folks at Color Cables are ready to bring it to us. They've launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production of Lightning, 30-Pin, and even Micro USB charging and sync cables for our mobile devices that not only glow-in-the-dark, they're colored, too. That will let you quickly tell them apart, and if your household has lots of different devices, you'll realize how handy that would be. Funding options that get you a cable start at US$11 for 3-feet 30-pin and Micro USB and $14 for 3-feet Lightning. There are early bird slots left for a 6-feet $16 Lightning cables, too. This is pretty clever, so check it out.
TMO Weekly Sponsor
ACM 250: Apple’s iPhone Pricing, Samsung’s Fudging, Amazon’s Ambition
Apple is rumored to want $100 more for a larger screen iPhone 6 than iPhones past. Bryan and Jeff say,…
MGG 497: How To Be a Consultant & Cool Stuff Found
John and Dave kick off this Sunday's show with a discussion about upgrading your older Macs with SSDs, the first…