Yeah, this is frakking cool. It's a Kickstarter project for Ampy, a portable charger for iPhone (or anything that powers from USB) that you charge by walking around. Ampy turns kinetic energy into electrical energy and stores it in an internal battery. According to the Kickstarter description, 10,000 steps is enough to generate three hours of battery life on your smartphone. 30-60 minutes on a bicycle will do the same thing. Strap it on your working dog? Who knows, but the idea of an iPhone powered by dog awesomeness brings a huge smile to my face. Oh, and Ampy can also be charged by plugging it into a wall socket. With 28 days to go, the developers have already raised $128,000 with an original goal of $100,000, but there are still ways to get a discounted Ampy and support the company's efforts. [Via Ryan Faas > GigaOM]
You may have seen the "PDF…" button lurking in the bottom of a print dialog, and you may have even used it from time to time to create a digital version of a document in a quest to reduce paper. If you haven't noticed it, there's a PDF button in the bottom left corner of the print dialog, so you can print something to PDF instead of having to use ink and paper. Sometimes you just need a PDF, so having this option built in is awesome. What's even more awesome is when you can save some time by creating a keyboard shortcut to do this for you automatically. David Sparks has covered this with the video below. It sounds odd, but trust me, this is the "microwave" of Mac tweaks. At first you'll wonder why you thought you needed it, and in a month you'll wonder how you lived without it. For bonus points, work a little dark magic with Hazel or other automation software and streamline a bunch of busy work so you can spend more time on important things, like your Netflix queue or learning to knit.
Simon & Schuster released Walter Isaacson's new book The Innovators on Tuesday. This book builds on the research begun for his killer biography Steve Jobs, but takes a much broader look at the many innovator who took part in the creation of "tech" as we know it today. He begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. Which, come on, is cool. The book also looks at folks such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page. From the publisher: "This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative." You can buy it on iBooks for US$8.99. Amazon has the hard back for $21.81 and the Kindle version for $8.49.
Many users of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models are finding it impossible to re-link with Google Voice for voicemail. When entering in the classic **004*1[GV-Number]# sequence users are seeing a "Setting Registration Failed" message instead of the happy success note. Our testing leads us to believe this is a limitation of the new NFC-capable SIMs in the new iPhones. Regardless, Marcel Brown sorted this out and you have two ways you can enable Google Voice on your new phone. First is to call AT&T and have them set up "conditional call forwarding" for you, or you can set up the 3 big use cases all by yourself with some slightly different commands. "234567890" in Marcel's examples would be replaced with your Google Voice number, including area code:
- Call Forward if Unanswered: *61*1234567890#
- Call Forward if Unreachable: *62*1234567890#
- Call Forward if Busy: *67*1234567890#
Set all three of these and you're good to go. To check the status of these enter *#61#, *#62# and *#67# respectively. To deactivate, enter ##61#, ##62# and/or ##67#. Enjoy!
Kanex has released a clever product called GoBuddy+. This is a Lightning charging and sync cable for your iPhone or iPad built into a keyfob that also serves as a bottle opener. Come on, how cool is that? It's $24.95, it comes in black or white, and they make a version with a micro USB connector instead of Lightning for Android folks.
Feral Interactive announced Friday the release of GRID 2 Reloaded Edition for Mac. This is a racing game allows you to get behind the wheel of more than 70 "high-performance rides" in a series of "nerve-jangling events." The graphics are intense and amazingly realistic—if you like racing games, this is certainly one of the best on the Mac. GRID 2 Reloaded Edition for Mac is out now, and it's priced at US$44.99 on the Mac App Store. It's also available on Steam.
IK Multimedia launched iRig Pads, a portable MIDI groove controller for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It also works with your Mac and Windows PC. This is the kind of device you can use for activating loops, playing and creating beats, and any other kind of MIDI action. It features 16 velocity-sensitive backlit rubber pads, two assignable push buttons, two edit push buttons, a MIDI programmable slider, two MIDI programmable knobs, and a MIDI programmable pushbutton rotary encoder. It also supports both 30-pin and Lightning connectors, meaning it's compatible with iPhones back to iPhone 4, iPads back to the original iPad, both iPad mini models, and iPod touch back to 3rd gen. Oh, and it has a port for a expression pedal. It's priced at US$149.99 and is available now.
Apple offered iTunes customers another album for free Thursday night, though the company hadnled it a tad differently from the Great Apple-U2 Tyranny of 2014. It's a 4-song EP called 4: John Paul George Ringo, with one song from each Beatles member's solo career. For you younguns, The Beatles are a band even older than U2. The EP contains "Love," by John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band, "Call Me Back Again," by Wings (Paul McCartney's band), "Let It Down," by George Harrison, and "Walk With You," by Ringo Starr. It's free for a limited time, but you'll have to go and download it from iTunes yourself.
On the back cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine* is an ad for the new iPhone models. It's labeled "Actual Sizes," showing off how big the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus actually are. I took a photo of the ad with my iPhone 5s next to it, also shown actual size (compared to the other two). I'm not sure where else the ad will be appearing, but with nearly 1.5 million subscribers, that's a lot of people who could be getting a good look at the new devices for the first time. Clever move to make them actual size, the first thing I did was set my phone on each one for comparison. Well played, Apple.
* Magazines are like blogs from the olden days, printed on paper and mailed to people.
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