I like to break down numbers here for comparison, like quarterly earnings data or other crazy big numbers. So one of my favorite places to check out for a bit of mathematical perspective is Things Apple Is Worth More Than. For example, the top post right now is the whole of the 1977 stock market. Other notable posts include the NFL times ten, the Apollo Space Program twice, every house in Atlanta Georgia, and the GDP of Denmark. It's a fun site to check out for even more ways to compare what sometimes seem like made up numbers.
There are a few different services out there you can use for entertainment. My personal favorite is calling 719-266-2837 and I can't explain why but I love it deeply. Another classic is "Always free, often busy" Dial-A-Song from They Might Be Giants. Lately this fun phone number phenomenon has given rise to numbers you can text too. Winning in the "Text this number for funsies" category is a number mentioned by Serenity Caldwell over at iMore in an article about having a little fun with iMessage. I won't give it away, I'll just tell you to text any sort of message at all to 866-740-4531 and delight in the reply.
AnkiDRIVE announced OVERDRIVE on Monday, the next version of the company's artificial intelligence-driven race car toys. AnkiDRIVE cars drive themselves around a track, and users control throttle, weapons, and defenses through their iPhone. It's a whole big thing that earned the company some time during Apple's 2013 WWDC keynote presentation. OVERDRIVE moves the system away from the flat oval track of the first system by giving users track sections they can construct in any way they want. It's going to be released in September of this year, and it's expected to retail for US$150. Check out the promo video below.
Sling TV announced their USD$20/mo package for television programming which was warmly received by cordcutters in January. Sadly it was invite-only so people interested had to sign up and wait to hear back. That is, until Sunday evening. Sling has now removed the invitation requirement and anyone interested can now sign up for a 7-day trial, then subscribe to various packages and add ons which include sports broadcasts (long a hurdle for cordcutters). From the front page, just click on "Start your 7 days free" and walk through the setup process to get access to television on a Mac or Windows machine, iOS/Android devices, and Roku box now, coming soon to Amazon Fire TV/Stick and Xbox One. Currently the service is US-only and only works on one device at a time, but even with everything added the subscription comes in at $35/monthly, quite a bit less then most "standard" cable subscriptions.
So this P.R. guy sends me a 10,000mAh battery that has two USB ports, an LED flashlight, and an LCD display. It takes a long time to charge fully -- at least 10 or 12 hours -- but it will recharge an iPhone four or five times or an iPad at least twice. It can even recharge two devices simultaneously. And unlike some batteries, which use proprietary ports for recharging, this one uses an industry standard Micro-USB cable. It works great but I didn't intend to write about it. It was pricey at $49.99 and had nothing special going for it. Then I got an email from the PR guy that changed my tune. Starting today, for one week, you can get one at Amazon.com for just $19.99. And it's eligible for Amazon Prime, so if you're a member (and I am), two day shipping is free. At $50 it was unremarkable; at $20 and free Prime shipping, I'm considering ordering (another) one or two...
Alex Seropian is a legend in Mac gaming lore. The cofounder of Bungie made games like Marathon, Myth, and Halo—the later of which was turned into the Xbox's flagship title when Microsoft bought the company. Mr. Seropian has a new studio called Industrial Toys, and the company released its first title Thursday, Midnight Star. Available for iPhone and iPad, the company is billing it as, "the sci-fi shooter re-imagined for touch." Midnight Star is a freemium game, meaning it's free to download and play, but some content and various boosts are available through in-app purchases. The game is making quite a splash, and you can get a look at the gameplay in the trailer below.
HTC has gotten its corporate derriere handed to it on a paper plate by Samsung in the Android space. And though the company was a powerhouse in the feature phone market (back when that was a thing), HTC has struggled from day one against Apple's iPhone. But that all changes today—oh, it was actually January 29th. OK, then, that all changed last week when HTC brought out the big dogs to go after Apple. That's right, I'm talking thermonuclear war. HTC released a rap video with an itemized critique of Apple's shortcomings in the smartphone space. I know what you're thinking. You're saying, "Oh, no they di'n't!" But yes. Yes they did. "Your phone was all glass/Why you change your tune now?/Your chip is slower/Plus you'll never touch our BoomSound." How can Apple ever recover from such a devastating attack?
Today Sonos, makers of wireless Hi-Fi speaker systems, introduced a limited-edition version of their popular PLAY:1 speaker aimed towards jazz aficionados. Dubbed the Sonos PLAY:1 Blue Note Limited Edition, this speaker features a custom navy-to-light blue color fade, in line with the Blue Note label colors, plus a full year's worth of access to exclusive Artist Selects playlists. These playlists were all personally curated by musicians and producers including Don Was, Terence Blanchard, and Robert Glasper, and are sure to be of interest to all jazz lovers and beyond. Additionally, this special edition speaker comes with the Tune-in powered Blue Note on Sonos radio station built into the main menu (and accessible by all your connected Sonos units once you add the Blue Note edition to your system), and all Sonos-owning jazz lovers can enjoy the Born in Blue and Blue Note 101 channels on your existing Sonos today via TuneIn. The Blue Note PLAY:1 will be sold exclusively on Sonos.com for US$250 while supplies last. Only 4,100 were made. Visit Sonos.com/BlueNote for on-sale dates and details.
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