The L.E.D. Portable Charger is a Kickstarter project, a high-capacity, Lithium-ion 5200 mAh charger for all your smartphones and tablets. It weighs just 154 grams. As a battery charger, it can charge your iPhone several times over with its 5V, 2A output. It also has three levels of low-heat LED illumination. Used that way, is has a 100 hour battery life. Included are two USB charging stations so you can have, say, one at home and one at work. Two microUSB cables are included. Besides having a good battery capacity, the three LED lights could also be used as a signal lantern or close quarters lighting. The Kickstarter project has eight days to go and needs just a few more backers to reach its goal.
LEGO has released a series of Simpsons minifigs in the “blind box” format, where the packaging completely obscures the figure inside and it’s a surprise which figure you actually receive. I think the accessories are a nice touch: Ned’s “I (heart) Southpaws” mug, Grandpa’s newspaper with the headline “Old Man Yells At Cloud,” and Ralph Wiggum’s valentine card are clever references to the show. What I can find about the minifigs says they’ll be available at “all mass toy retailers,” so if you don’t have a LEGO store in your area it shouldn’t prevent you from being able to go squeeze packages looking for Bart’s skateboard or Lisa’s saxophone. If you're excited about the coming LEGO Simpsons episode (trailer below), you'll want to check out the minifigs too.
Audio notifications from your iPhone are handy, but not always appropriate for the situation you’re in. And visual notification is limited to lighting up the flash, which is obnoxious at best. Now there’s a third option: Lunecase. This is a Kickstarter project from Concepter, a Ukranian company, for a really thin shell-style case with two light-up icons on the back: one for a phone call, and one for a text message. Here’s the catch: It’s using existing energy from your iPhone, so it isn’t going to drain your battery or go dead itself. It’s officially funded, but there’s still time to get in at the US $39 level, a discount from the expected retail price of $50. Click through to the Kickstarter project to see it in action.
Launch Center Pro by Contrast is a handy utility for iPhone and iPad that helps automate some basic actions to create one-touch buttons that can string together several actions. For example: Search Yelp for nearby coffeeshops, or quickly launch directly to the camera in Instagram. I’ve tried to set up Launch Center Pro and create some useful actions, but it is really flexible, so it leaves things pretty open to interpretation. You can see some of the supported apps and actions on Contrast’s site. Now you can walk through the process of setting up an action with a lot of help. Courtesy of MacSparky, I found that MacStories has published a comprehensive guide to get started building actions. Let me know what cool uses you find for it in the comments!
I apologize in advance for my lack of coherence. WE HAVE A CAST! Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have a cast for Episode Seven. Here’s the scoop: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker are all returning. They will be joined by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow. We also now officially know that Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) worked on the script with JJ Abrams, and John Williams will be composing the score. Let the plot speculation begin…NOW!
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:
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.
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.
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 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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