Yanko Design is showing off a concept called "Window Plug," and it's very cool. It's a portable solar charger that you can stick on a window. It has a built-in battery that self-charges, but it also has a plug for accessing that power for your devices. So far, this is a concept only. In the comments, the creator said that he still has technical hurdles to overcome, not least of which is having the device generate enough power to meet the needs of a wide variety of devices. But I am lust with the idea of a charger that I could stick on a hotel window, a car window, or...wait for it...a airplane window. Accordingly, I'm pulling for the product to come to market.
Check out the latest from Arganalth, a musician who uses the noises made by hard drives and floppy drives to make music. Watching videos like "Misirlou" is hypnotic as the drive heads slip back and forth making noise, so they're fun to see as well as hear. His latest one is "Another One Bites The Dust," by Queen. While all of the videos are impressive, this is a standout among them. Enjoy it below [Via Macgasm]:
If you are waiting to install a new OS (such as the Yosemite Public Beta) because you are worried about compatibility issues, check out the Application Compatibility Table over at RoaringApps. There are compatibility charts from Snow Leopard up to Yosemite, and from iOS 5 up to iOS 8. If you don't see an app listed there and you know its status, you can submit it to the list. It's a great resource that is easily searchable if you need to determine what does and doesn't work.
Browncoats everywhere are celebrating the news that the full cast of Joss Whedon's Firefly are reuniting for Firefly Online (site down as of this writing). io9 reported the news from San Diego Comicon Friday that Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass will all be contributing voice acting to the game reprising their characters in the most successful failed show of all time. Alan Tudyk will be doing additional characters, as well, and Michael Fairman will be reprising his role as Niska. As a teaser, the game producers posted a video called "If I Were a Captain" (below) that features the voice of Ron Glass and Captain Mal himself (near the end). Color me giddy!
There were a few hurdles in the release of the Yosemite public beta, primarily in people successfully downloading the installer. Now that it's more likely you actually have the installer, Joe Kissell has some tips for you on running a Mac OS Beta. He's been beta testing since 10.3, so he knows of what he speaks. He's put together a great set of tips in Take Control of Beta Testing Yosemite, the latest title from Take Control Books. This one has a suggested price of $5 and is available via Leanpub to allow for quicker turnaround on updates (since betas can evolve dramatically). This is more than just a grand tour of new features, it also discusses what beta testing entails, tips for both before and after installing, and advice on how to report bugs.
Call them talks or sessions or whatever you want, but when you sit and watch someone stand at the front of a room using slides (Keynote or…otherwise) and conveying information, it's a presentation. If you have to make them, Mac Power User David Sparks has written the Presentations Field Guide, the latest in his Field Guide series, a wonderful line of books for tech-savvy folks looking to level up. As a lawyer, David makes his share of presentations, so he knows of what he speaks. Field Guide titles come with loads of supplemental material including interviews and screencasts and other video, and I can't recommend them highly enough. You can get the Presentations Field Guide either from the iBooks Store or as a PDF from David (via PayPal). Check out the trailer for it below:
Apple launched a new commercial on Monday called "Stickers." The spot is a rare one in that it solely features Mac hardware, and it shows some of the many ways that people decorate their MacBook Air laptops. It uses the tagline: "The notebook people love." All I know is that I love this spot. For one thing, it rings true. People do love decorating their MacBook Airs (and their Pros, for that matter). For another, it's great to see the Mac being promoted on TV. iOS, iPhone, iPad, and the iPod before it have long dominated Apple's advertising. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but, you know, yay Mac!error
Love it or hate it, Flappy Bird has been an amazingly successful game on the iPhone and iPad, but it's been missing from the one computer that's the perfect platform for its 8-bit flapping goodness: the Apple IIc. Dagen Brock has fixed that horrible oversite with his new Flappy Birds clone called Flapple Bird. Game play is keyboard-based, which makes sense considering touch screen computing wasn't a thing back in 1980s. You can download Flapple Bird for free, and it's available versions for 5.25-inch and 3.5-inch floppy disks.
Bloomberg has published a great piece looking back at the late Steve Jobs dissing Big Blue. The article comes in the wake of a landmark agreement between Apple and IBM to team up for the Enterprise market on iPhones and iPads, and it makes for an interesting look back at a different era in computing. The five incidents include Apple's 1981 ad, "Welcome, IBM. Seriously;" the quickly-becoming-famous-photo of Steve Jobs giving IBM the finger; the iconic 1984 commercial, a 1985 Playboy interview when he said that IBM kills innovation; and the move to Intel, where Mr. Jobs dissed PowerPC processors. There are lots of details in the Bloomberg piece, and it's a fun read. That said, and as we discussed on Wednesday's TDO podcast, I have little doubt that Mr. Jobs would have supported the deal his successor worked out with IBM. It's impossible to know for sure, of course, but Mr. Jobs was infamous for turning on a dime and working with past enemies.
This has got to be one of the most interesting and beautiful speaker docks I have seen. It's called Eight, and it's a natural acoustic amplifier for the speaker in your iPhone 5 or 5s. It's made of wood—the dark part is walnut, while the light middle section is birdseye maple—and it funnels the sound from your speaker to one side, using the properties of wood and the shape of Eight to amplify that sound. The other side serves as a receiver for your iPhone's microphone so you can use Eight for phone calls. There are no electronics other than your iPhone involved, though it has a slot for an included Lightning cable to charge your iPhone. I haven't heard Eight, but it's a beautiful design and a fascinating idea. It's also pricey at $288—but that's because it's made from solid pieces of wood, hand-crafted, and hand-oiled. The company making Eight—Stark Design—is making each Eight to order, requiring 2-4 weeks before you get it.
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TMO Daily Observations: 2014-10-23
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