AUUG Motion Synth - The Virtual Cello From Apple’s ‘Powerful’ Ad

8:55 PM, Apr. 28th, 2014 · by

When the Powerful ad from Apple dropped, I tried to find information about the woman in the art installation who was waving the iPhone in space to play cello sounds. Well, I have discovered it! A company called AUUG created the device and after a successful Kickstarter project last year, the AUUG Motion Synth is now up for pre-order, with shipping starting at the end of June. Check out a longer video of the Motion Synth in action below:

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Yelp Adds ‘Accepts Bitcoin’ For Business Listings

7:06 PM, Apr. 28th, 2014 · by

Heads up, Bitcoin fans: Yelp announced on Monday that it was adding a new attribute to business listings on the site that identifies those that accept Bitcoins. "We’re constantly thinking about how to make our business attributes more useful for consumers and businesses," the company wrote on its blog. "That’s why we’re excited to announce that as of today, we’re adding a new attribute: 'Accepts Bitcoin: Yes.'" The flag only appears on those business that accept it, making "Bitcoin" a quick Find when you're looking up a store. In the screenshot below, I included a callout of that flag for Little Lucy's Mini Donuts in Austin, TX.


Prong PWR Case Marries Wall Plug to Battery Case

4:41 PM, Apr. 28th, 2014 · by

The folks at Prong have a clever idea in the PWR Case for iPhone 5 and 5s, the successor to the PocketPlug. The company bills it as a wireless charger, but a less succinct way to consider it is that it's a battery case with its own built-in plug. That means you can use it to recharge your iPhone battery while you're on the go. When you need to recharge it, you can detach the battery portion of the case to charge on a wall socket, or plug the whole case in to recharge both the battery and your iPhone at the same time. Because the wall plug folds out from the body of the PWR Case, you don't need any charging cables. Like I said, that's clever! Prong is offering the device for pre-order, and like Coin, the company is allowing customers who preorder to get a $5 credit for every new customer they refer. That's also clever. PWR Case is $65.

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QiPack on Kickstarter Brings Wireless Charging to iPhone

5:32 PM, Apr. 24th, 2014 · by

There's a new project on Kickstarter called QiPack that would bring wireless charging to your iPhone. The developers behind the project have created a portable charger small enough to fit in your pocket. That charger can then charge your iPhone through a special case that connects inductively.  That means it will charge wirelessly.  There are Android devices on the market with support for the Qi standard that don't need a case, but other devices, including Apple's iOS devices, will need a case or a coil receiver. Either way, though, there are tons of folks who want portable charging without charging cables. There's a ton of information on the Kickstarter page, and funding options for iPhone owners start at $53.


Nanotips Liquid Turns Any Gloves into Touchscreen Gloves

1:05 PM, Apr. 23rd, 2014 · by

Nanotips is a great idea. This is a liquid you apply to the fingertips of your favorite pair of gloves to turn them into touchscreen gloves. It was originally funded on Kickstarter, but is now available for sale through REIGN23. There are two formulas: the first is called Nanotips Blue and is designed for cloth gloves. The second is Nanotips Black, which is designed everything else, including leather, rubber, and nylon. In the original Kickstarter video below, the creators demonstrate its versatility by using Nanotips Black to coat a Sharpie pen and using it as a stylus. A bottle is priced at US$19.99, and it contains enough to coat multiple pairs of gloves. Pretty cool, right?

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Google Camera Saves The World…From Vertical Video

7:12 PM, Apr. 21st, 2014 · by

Google has released Google Camera, a new app from Google for Android devices running 4.4 or higher was released with The New Killer Camera Feature™: When you switch to video mode, you get a little indicator smack dab in the middle of the screen to remind you to rotate your device and shoot that video horizontally, as God intended it. There are some other nice features of the app, such as a “Photo Sphere” feature (builds a 360 degree panorama) and Lens Blur, but really the great thing here is the Flip Your Frakking Phone For Video™ thing. This is one of the few cases where something on Android is clearly needed on iOS, and I can’t wait till we see a version of it in an iPhone camera app. In case you’re wondering what makes this a bad idea, check out the Vertical Video Syndrome, or VVS PSA from Glove and Boots, below: 

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Menu Bars Of The Stars

4:30 PM, Apr. 18th, 2014 · by

I admit, I really enjoy seeing what people have in their menu bars. Particularly speakers at conferences, or people I know who are super productive, because they tend to be a little fussier about what gets to take up some of that precious space. Recently both Brett Terpstra and Peter Cohen have posted the contents of their menu bars. Brett doesn’t go into as much detail, but he does make sure to link in case you want to learn more. I loved reading both of these, it’s like seeing someone’s iPhone home screen and learning about a super useful app that might help smooth out a rough spot in your workflow.

Apple Maps Misses Your Coffee Shop, but Finds Loch Ness Monster

1:13 PM, Apr. 18th, 2014 · by

Just because Apple's Maps may not be able to get you to your favorite coffee shop doesn't mean it's a failure. You just need to search for the right things, like the Loch Ness Monster. Satellite images that show up only for the iPhone and iPad show what Nessy fans are calling proof positive that the monster is real even though you can't actually see the beast in the water. Instead, there's a big wake from something that seems to be just below the water surface, and it isn't a boat, according to the Mail Online. Unfortunately, we can't get Siri to give us driving directions to the monster. Maybe in iOS 8.


Apple’s First WSJ Mention: Just Three Words in 1978

7:56 PM, Apr. 17th, 2014 · by

Three words in 1978: "Apple Computer, Inc." Those words are thought to be the first mention of the today's most valuable company in The Wall Street Journal. In an article about using "so called personal computers" in investing published 36 years ago today, Apple warranted a mention merely as one of the more popular brands. That's interesting in and of itself, but what's fascinating is that none of the other companies—Imsai Manufacturing Corp, the MITS division of Pertec Computing Corp., and Processor Technology Corp.—are left. The article also mentions Commodore, Western Digital Corp., IBM, Altair, Radio Shack (the TRS-80), Floppy Disks ("which look like very thin 45-rpm records"), and a few other relics from that era. (There's a PDF version of the article if you want to read the original.)


Honda’s ASIMO Personal Robot is Scary Good in its Movements

4:50 PM, Apr. 17th, 2014 · by

On April 16, Honda unveiled an updated version of ASIMO, its personal robot project. What's cool is how well Honda engineers have engineered the movement of the robot — demonstrated by walking, dancing, kicking a soccer ball, and going up and down stairs. These days, with all the fuss about Google Glass, the iWatch, Apple's TV initiatives and demands for even more innovation, it's easy to overlook this quiet, ongoing work by Honda to build a personal robot.

What's interesting about ASIMO, standing 1.2 meters tall and weighing just over 50 kilos is how it's been made to appear non-threatening with its astronaut-like look and diminutive stature. Reality and Sci Fi aren't too far apart now, and it could be that the vision in the charming movie "Robot and Frank" could be upon us sooner than expected. And notably not from any U.S. tech giant.