This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Such ingenuity, such creativity...and it's all wrapped around a very good song, to boot. This machine inspired by steampunk principals uses marbles and mechanical energy in the form of a hand-cranked flywheel to follow a mechanical program that plays a variety of instruments. The creator, Martin Molin, uses levers to turn specific instruments on and off to flow through the different parts of the song, cranking that flywheel the whole time. I'm blown away. I hope you like it, too. The machine and the "band" are called "Wintergatan," and if you check out their YouTube channel, you can see lots of videos detailing the building process. When finished, it had 3,000 parts and used 2,000 marbles. A shout-out to my sister for the heads up.
The folks at Hours, LLC (formerly Tapity) released an update to their titular app, Hours 2. Hours was one of the first apps to embrace flat design when iOS 7 was unveiled, and the company was able to make a big splash with the time tracking app by doing so. With Hours 2, the app is being transformed into more of a service, including expansion to the Web. Users will be able sync their information to and from the app and a browser, and the company has Apple Watch notifications, a Notification Widget for the lock screen, and a 3D Touch shortcut for iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The other big feature in the release is support for team tracking. Hours 2 is available from the App Store now, and on the Web.
I joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices where the topic of conversation was, believe it or not, Apple and the FBI. Chuck dove deep into the issues involving this fight, and he forced me to form a halo around my own head, as shown in the horrid cover frame he chose. He's evil, I tell you, evil.* *He's not evil, he's awesome, and I'm a goober, and I always like talking with him about anything.
We've had numerous movies and not one, but two musicals about Steve Jobs since his death in 2011. The newest play is called The Crazy Ones (not to be mistaken for the TV show of the same name starring the late Robin Williams), a musical that, "tells the story of the man behind the genius and how he strove to leave behind a legacy, despite some very powerful demons." According to BroadwayWorld, it's a pop-rock musical with music and lyrics by Zack Zadek and book by Alex Pototsky. What's interesting to me is that there has been so much entertainment made about Steve Jobs, and none of it has been commercially successful. That doesn't seem to stop new projects from being green-lighted, however. I'd personally like to see both The Crazy Ones and Nerds.
Levitating Bluetooth speakers are, well, the cat's meow. They wow your family, spice up the office, amaze friends, and make your den look like Geordi LaForge's personal science lab. The one I think is the coolest is the Crazybaby "Mars" for US$329. It looks like a flying saucer, has an 8 hour battery life, and then it has to come in for a landing. Mars comes in three colors: gray, black and white. On the other hand, If you're looking for a levitating speaker that's a quite a bit less expensive, The Mac Observer Deals has its own for sale called the "Lyrix Axis." It has multiple LED color settings and wireless charging for continuous operation. It sells for $139.95. (Product images shown are not to scale.) Either one of these amazing speakers will float your boat.
Simpiz has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund iTron, a portable battery charger the manufacturers claim can take on a full charge in 18 minutes, and enough of a charge to fill your iPhone in as little as 3 minutes. It has a maximum capacity of 9,000mAh, and the company said it developed a proprietary chip that allows the iTron base station to charge four individual cells inside the portable battery itself at the same time. The company has already sailed past its funding goal, with $47,000 raised and a month to go. There are still lots of $79 pledge levels available that will get you an iTron, with other options available, too. The video below offers a look at the device.
LEGO is already a crazy-popular platform for Star Wars, and it has the potential to get exponentially cooler thanks to a LEGO Ideas project that's nearly too awesome for words: BB-8. This isn't just any BB-8 build because it also rolls and its little droid head stays on top of its body. The concept was created by mjsmiley using only stock LEGO parts, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. The Rolling BB-8 kit is at 4,067 votes and needs to hit 10,000 before it can be considered for an actual shipping product. Time to go vote!
Apple expanded its Twitter presence yet again with a new account offering support and tips for customers. @AppleSupport launched on Thursday and is already fielding questions about iOS, iPads, iBooks, and more. It's a verified account, so you know the advice is legit. Just be sure you don't include private information when tweeting to Apple because the support feed is public, which means anyone can see the questions you post.
IK Multimedia announced Tuesday mastering software for Mac and Windows called Lurssen Mastering Console. The release brings the tools released on iPad first to Mac and PC. Lurssen Mastering Console was designed to let you master audio tracks, "using a digital model of the chain and settings used byGavin Lurssen, Reuben Cohen and the team at multi-Grammy Award-winning Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles, CA." The software is available now for US$199/€199.99 from IK Multimedia.
Twelve South has been building a collection of matched dual-screen desktop (wallpaper) images. Recently, the third in the series was released. The company says: "At Twelve South, we have a passion for amazing images, beautiful visuals, and great design. We love seeing our collections – Fall in San Francisco and Scotland Vacation – on dual-screens around the world. For our third collection, we partnered with the amazing photographer, Scott Gordon, to capture the San Francisco Bay during the golden hours - that time before sunrise and sunset when the light is perfect for shooting. The resulting images are magical – we're thrilled to share them with you." The webpage has links to the three the collections and how to install them. Of course, these beautiful images can be used on single display if desired.
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