Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is just one of a ton of folks who have accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—we posted Apple CEO Tim Cook's public challenge last week—but his video has a higher production value than most. In fact, it's awesome. And funny, though we did note a distinct lack of ice in the ice bucket he poors over his head. But never mind, he challenged Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, TV personality Ryan Seacrest, and Chris Anderson from TED, and he had fun doing it. Mr. Gates didn't announce how much money he was donating, but then he never toots his own philanthropic horn, despite being the most prolific philanthropist since the word was invented. So, watch the video and consider donating some money yourself.
Day Four of my Week Of Who commences with a small Doctor tribute that has snowballed. On the TV show Community, a couple of characters are obsessed with the show Inspector Spacetime, a British show about a guy who travels through time and space in a phone booth. NBC decided not to make the show, so the actor cast as Inspector Spacetime started a web series. NBC would not let him continue, so he started a different show called Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. It's fun to watch and clever references make it even more enjoyable. Start with the first episode below:
As Bitcoin mining gets ever-more competitive, energy efficiency has become just as important as price. Accordingly, I took note of the Antminer S3 miners being offered at ZoomHash. They're 453 GH/s miners that use just 355 watts of power at the wall. In comparison, the S1 units I reviewed in March do 180 GH/s at 360 watts. At $349 for the S3 (on sale for pre-order), that makes them one of the most energy-efficient miners on the market, especially at that price. The 800 GH/s to 1 TH/s devices on the market typically need 800-1000 watts of power. That said, this is a pre-order price. They ship on September 20th from Hong Kong, and they'll take 3-4 business days to arrive in the U.S. (check for details on your location)—waiting a month will have an affect on your ROI, and mining is always a gamble. To help even that gamble, ZoomHash set up a 5 percent coupon for our readers (coupon code MacObserver). Just enter that coupon during the checkout process. I'll be posting a review once I receive my units.
Today's entry in the Week Of Who is near and dear to TMO Towers, for the Doctor Who fans around the Towers also enjoy The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Craig was a musician back in the day, and at one point he was in a band called The Dreamboys, with his friend Peter Capaldi who starts his reign as The Doctor August 23rd. Why does this matter? Because someone else who knew about this created a comic called Craigy Who and Mister Timey Pants which is lovely and silly and Capaldi Approved. And let's be honest, if it's Capaldi Approved, it's best you don't argue*.
This is pretty deeply in the NSFW category. You have been warned.
The Guest Pass app page sums it up: "Do you share passwords with people to join your Wi-Fi network on a regular basis? Guest Pass makes this easy. Just fill out the simple questions in Guest Pass and e-mail the resulting Guest Pass without ever leaving the app. Users receive an attachment that they tap [iOS] or click [OS X], and the next time they are near your network, their iPhone, iPad, or Mac will automatically connect. You can also set expiration dates so the settings will be deleted [from] the device on the expiration date." The way it works is that a special, encrypted configuration file is sent to the recipient who must be using iOS 5 or later or OS X 10.7 or later. The recipient will never see your network password. You can set an expiration date, but if you want to provide semi-permanent access, you set set an expiration in the far distant future. Using Guest Pass provides finer control over who and how long access is allowed than the "Enable Guest Network" found in the Apple AirPort Utility.
For Week of Who, day two, I offer you an amusing web series called Doctor Stew. It's mostly Doctor Who themed, but it's got a fair amount of Family Guy animation style and humor. It's not Stewie as the Doctor or anything, it just rhymed and made for a catchier title. Keep in mind if Family Guy is not your scene, Doctor Stew won't be either. Otherwise, check out the first episode below.
Doctor Who, a popular television program here at TMO Towers, is returning with a new season this coming Saturday. Needless to say, excitement is high so I'm sharing some of my favorite Doctor Who tributes/parodies with you. Today we're kicking off the Week Of Who with Doctor Puppet, created by Alisa Stern. It's a series of stop-motion videos, starring the Matt Smith version of the Doctor. They are impressively adorable and since they aren't lengthy it's easy to get caught up. Check out Doctor Puppet's adventures starting with the first episode below:
I went to the California World Guitar Show this past weekend (warning, that site blares music with no volume controls). In addition to more amazing guitars from the 1950s and 1960s than you can shake a stick at—check out this gorgeous 1963 Gibson SG or an amazing 1964 Firebird V— I saw a very clever device called Rockn Stompn. This is a power strip that conditions your power, something that's useful for live performances and studio recording alike. But that's not the clever bit. Rockn Stompn is also a power sequencer. The six plugs are arranged in three banks that will turn on in sequence. So you can have your pedal board plugged into the first bank so that it turns on first. Then a variable number of seconds later, the next bank turns on, and that's where you have you ramp plugged in. That means no popping. It's foot activated, so you can turn on everything (for multiple musicians) with just one stomp, and the delay for each bank is variable. It's very nifty. It's priced at $299, and is available at Amazon.
I don't know what's better about this video, Apple CEO Tim Cook having a bucket of ice poured over his head or the live soundtrack of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby." It's all part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraising effort to fight ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease). Famous folks have been challenging each other to either submit to a bucket of ice water or donate money to the ALS Association. At a recent Beer bash on the Apple campus, Michael Franti was performing when he mentioned that Phil Schiller had challenged Tim Cook. Mr. Cook asked the crowd of Apple employees which he should do, get dunked or pay up. He then said he was doing both, because he's awesome like that, and got dunked by Mr. Franti (who sang Ice Ice Baby"). Mr. Cook also publicly challenged Dr. Dre, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Michael Franti, the latter of which was dunked by Mr. Cook on the spot. Apple posted the video to its YouTube channel, and it's a great watch. Mr. Cook's expression in the frame i captured is priceless.
Apple has posted a tribute to Robin Williams in the iTunes Store, one day after the tragic death of the comedian. The company has gathered 23 comedies and 16 dramas , from the World According to Garp, to Mrs. Doubtfire, to The Birdcage (one of my personal faves), to Popeye, most of the actors work is represented. Missing (that I noticed) is Mork and Mindy, the sitcom where he made a national name for himself. Season 1 of The Crazy Ones, his most recent show, which was canceled in May, is available, as is a live performance. I've seen a few comments suggesting Apple is "cashing in" by posting this tribute (thanks to @Rich_DS for the heads up), and that might be the silliest thing i've seen said about Apple in recent memory, and that's saying something. Companies offer tributes on the death of a popular music artist or actor all the time, and people like to remember those who have died. More importantly, the idea that the $200,000 to $1 million extra Apple could conceivably net from this tribute would matter to the company is absurd. If Apple had jacked up the price on Mr. Williams's movies, one might have a complaint (I saw a record store do that once). As it is, I would encourage anyone whingining about this to take some time out and re-examine their priorities.
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