Hands-On with Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Surface Ergonomic Keyboard

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

John “The Devil’s Advocate” Kheit unboxes his brand new Microsoft Surface Keyboard and Microsoft Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. He looks at build and materials, keys, design, and feel in his quest to find a wireless keyboard with a 10–key numeric pad to use with his Mac.

Mahri Case for iPhone (Kickstarter) with 2 Lightning Ports, Battery, Wireless Charging

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

There’s an ambition product on Kickstarter called Mahri. It’s a case for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (with versions for iPhone 6/6s and 6 Plus/6s Plus). It features two Lightning ports for charging and using headphones. It also has a slim battery with an extra 100% capacity, and it will charge wirelessly. Which, really, seems like overkill with the two Lightning ports, but hey, let’s do it all! The two Lightning ports are handled through circuitry embedded in the case. Wireless charging is done through a Qi charger (not included). There’s a goofy (fun) video on the product page, as well as details about the product. The company is looking to raise $36,000 to manufacture this device—they’ve raised $3,000 in a couple of days with 35 days left to go. $100 funding options that net a case are still available as of this writing.

Mahri Case for iPhone (Kickstarter) with 2 Lightning Ports, Battery, Wireless Charging

There's a Contest Where You Could Win a Jetpack Test Flight

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Remember that jetpack video I showed you a couple of months ago? The people who made that jetpack—JetPack Aviation—are running a contest where you could win a jetpack test flight. 😍 We aren’t involved in this contest, but come on, jetpack! The winner gets a test flight in Los Angeles with the JetPack Aviation JB-10, dinner with the founders, and $1,000 in travel vouchers. If you win, you gotta tell us all about it. Below is a video of some demo flights the company did in New York City.

iPhone for Dummies and macOS Sierra for Dummies

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

A package from Wiley landed on my doorstep that included our own Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus’s two newest books: iPhone for Dummies 10th Edition and macOS Sierra for Dummies (Amazon, iBooks). The former hasn’t officially been released yet, but the latter is available now. I’ve contributed and co-authored For Dummies books, and I love the format. Informative and friendly, and none do it better than Dr. Mac (Craig C. Baig cowrote iPhone for Dummies). If you’re a tech whiz who helps friends and family with their Apple devices, either of these books would make great gifts.

iPhone for Dummies and macOS Sierra for Dummies

How to Talk to Extraterrestrials: The Linguist Behind the Movie 'Arrival'

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Extraterrestrials arrive. They don’t appear hostile, but the DoD has no idea what they want or how to communicate with them. That’s the premise behind the intelligent, highly praised movie Arrival. Amy Adams plays an expert linguist who’s called upon to assist with communication with the visitors.  In this interview, Dr. Kiki Sanford (who was recently on TMO’s Background Mode), chats with the actual linguist/consultant to the movie, Dr. Jessica Coon, an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University. You’ll want to see the movie, and this interview sets the stage.

How to Talk to Extraterrestrials: The Linguist Behind the Movie ‘Arrival’

Pyle Announces Wireless Portable Instant Photo Printer for iOS and Android

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Pyle announced Friday the Portable Instant Photo Printer, a wireless photo printer that works with both iOS and Android. The tiny printer (6.2” x 3.2” x 1”) prints tiny photographs (2.1” x 3.4”), but I’m one of those people who loves tinier photobooth photos. There’s a free companion app for iOS and Android that lets you edit photos and make custom borders, and it will print up to 25 prints on a single battery charge. The ink and paper are both included in a self-contained module. In other words, you’re making some compromises, and this isn’t a product for people looking to make serious prints, but it sure seems fun to me. This device is $99.99.

Pyle Announces Wireless Portable Instant Photo Printer for iOS and Android

Apple's Intelligent Storage Management to iOS Updates [Updated]

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Check this out: Apple has apparently added some intelligent storage management to the iOS update process. Mac Geek Gab listener Paul sent in this screenshot of his 16GB iPhone upgrading from iOS 10.1 to iOS 10.1.1. It’s a message telling him that he doesn’t have enough room to run the update. Once upon a time, he’d have been on his own to do something about that. But, iOS is offering to delete Excel from his iPhone, run the iOS update, and then reinstall Excel for him. All automatically. That is seriously cool. [Update: David Nelson pointed me to an article at MacRumors showing this feature was introduced in iOS 9. I missed it back then, and I’m guessing others did, too. One way or another, I like it.]

Apple’s Intelligent Storage Management to iOS Updates [Updated]

Audioengine HD3 Wireless Speakers

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Our friends at Audioengine have new speakers out called HD3. These powered, wireless speakers include the working bits of Audioengine’s B1 Bluetooth receiver and D1 24-bit DAC. They have 2.75″ Kevlar woofers and 3/4” silk dome tweeters. They also have multiple ways to input, including 3.5mm stereo mini-jack, stereo RCA, USB, and Bluetooth. Similarly, they have RCA variable line-out and 3.5mm mini-jack headphone outputs. That quality comes at a price, though: $399 to be exact. They’re available in Walnut, Satin Black, and Cherry. Audioengine is offering its 30 day “audition” that lets customers try them out.

The Story of Breaking the Sound Barrier, First Time

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Until October 14, 1947, no human had piloted an aircraft faster than the speed of sound in level flight. At the time, some believed that it was a true barrier, hence the name, making it technically impossible. Others thought it might be possible, but aerodynamic forces would quickly break up the aircraft. And then, Chuck Yeager proved them wrong in the rocket propelled Bell X-1 on that glorious October day. (Jet engines were not yet powerful enough.) We learned a lot about supersonic flight in the coming years: the “area rule” concept, the advantages of a swept wing, and the all-flying tail. Here’s a very cool story of how it all happened by Popular Mechanics, a reprint from a 40th anniversary article. (Image credit: NASA)

The Story of Breaking the Sound Barrier, First Time

Lume Cube Puts 1,000 Lumens 'Life Lite' on Kickstarter

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

The folks who brought us the Lume Cube have launched a Kickstarter for Life Lite, a smaller LED light you control from your iPhone. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and it can be mounted on some drones. Multiple Life Lites can be controlled at once, making it possible to use several of them to get the exact lighting you want. Half the size of the original Lume Cube, it puts out 1,000 lumens, or 70% as much light. It’s also less expensive, with funding options that get you a Life Lite starting at $39. This campaign exploded out of the gate, and Lume Cube has raised more than US$130,000 of a $30,000 goal with 21 days still to go. The company said it hopes to ship by March of 2017.

ROME: Total War for iPad Available Now, with New Trailer

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Fine. I know. I’ve written about this game a lot in the last couple of months, but it’s here! Yay! ROME: Total War for iPad has hit the App Store and is available now. This strategy game was originally a PC and Mac favorite, and Feral Interactive brought it to the iPad. That was no mean feat, as it included figuring out how to make mouse and keyboard controls work on a touch interface. It’s $9.99, and Feral released a new trailer for the release, below. Have fun! Oh, and if you don’t see me for a few weeks, it’s because I’m either playing this or Civilization VI on the Mac. I’m in gaming heaven at the moment.

Mosh/SSH for iOS Has Arrived

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Mosh (Mobile Shell) is a remote terminal shell that goes beyond SSH and can replace it. Mosh allows roaming, supports intermittent connectivity, and provides intelligent local echo and line editing of user keystrokes. It’s an open source project on GitHub, and now it’s available for iOS called Blink (iPhone and iPad). It’s fairly expensive, but designed all out for professional users—with the emphasis on speed. UNIX geeks with iPads rejoice.

Mosh/SSH for iOS Has Arrived

TouchBarDemoApp on GitHub: Run Touch Bar on iPad or macOS Screen

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

OMG check this out! Some folks have put together two pieces of software that will let (some of) you test out Apple’s new Touch Bar, even if you don’t have a new MacBook Pro! One way is to pull up a virtual bar on your Mac. Fine. Whatevs. No fun. But, the super awesome nerds behind this project also made a way to turn your iPad into a Touch Bar that you can use as a Touch Bar for your Mac! That is so cool! There’s a Crap Tonne™ of caveats, though. For one, you have to get a hold of the specific build of macOS 10.12.1 Sierra that has Touch Bar included. For another, you need to know what you’re doing when it comes to sideloading an app onto your iPad. The project is available on GitHub, at least for now. I haven’t run it yet. Would love to hear from anyone that does. Being able to run TouchBar through my iPad is super awesome delightful.

TouchBarDemoApp on GitHub: Run Touch Bar on iPad or macOS Screen

Adobe Demonstrates Project VoCo, Photoshop for the Voice

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I hate labeling this a “cool stuff found.” I mean, it’s cool as &@#%, but it’s scary as all get-out, too. It’s a demonstration by Adobe of Project VoCo, which is sort of like a Photoshop for speech. Watch the video below, but the short version is that Project VoCo can analyzes speech, turns it into text that you  can then rearrange, edit, or even make up new stuff entirely. Seriously, the Adobe engineer typed in words that comedian Jordan Peele didn’t say, and it sounded he said them. That last feature requires about 20 minutes of recorded speech to analyze, but it’s the truly scary part of this software. Talk about not being able to trust video or audio ever again? The engineer demoing the software—which isn’t even close to a shipping product yet—said Adobe was looking for ways to digitally watermark altered recordings so they can be identified, but come on, that’ll get cracked faster than you can say “All hell broke loose.” Anyway, it’s fascinating, impressive, cool, scary, and it’s certainly black magic. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Alyssa Carson, 15, is Ready To Go To Mars

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Are you ready to go to Mars? Alyssa Carson, 15, is, She’s just the right age, born into the Mars generation. She’s completely focused and has already started training for the mission. She’s been to every NASA Space Camp, obtained her scuba diving license, is taking college college level courses in high school, and speaks four languages. This video introduces us to a young woman with so much drive and talent, she’ll probably be the first human being to walk on the Red Planet.

App Camp For Girls Quiz Compendium

· Kelly Guimont · Cool Stuff Found

App Camp For Girls spends a week teaching 8th and 9th grade girls about iOS development. First, teams spend time in Xcode, building a quiz app. Then at the end of the week, each team presents a pitch for their app to a panel of investors. Then at the end of each summer, all the all the quizzes built in all the sessions are compiled into a Quiz Compendium. It’s up to each team to choose a quiz topic, and the door is wide open as far as subjects. This year’s quizzes include “Who Are You in a Cliched Young Adult Novel?” and “What Fruit Are You Most Like?” as two of the 18 in the app. Now that it’s available, pick up the 2016 Compendium for 99 cents, and all sales go to App Camp. (Full Disclosure: Kelly is one of the original App Camp For Girls volunteers.)

App Camp For Girls Quiz Compendium

Uncourage: a Keyring with a Dummy 14-inch Jack to Hold Your Lightning Adapter

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

It’s called Uncourage, a political statement in the world of Apple, and one that entertains me. Now, unlike a lot of our readers, I’m OK with Apple ditching the headphone jack, but Uncourage might be helpful to many of us. It’s essentially a key ring with a dummy 1/4″ jack. It’s designed for you to attach your Headphone-to-Lightning Apple adapter when you’re not using it so you don’t lose it. That’s clever, and it’s just US$6. The company said it will ship in mid-November.

Uncourage: a Keyring with a Dummy 14-inch Jack to Hold Your Lightning Adapter

ROME: Total War for iPad Release Date Set for November 10th

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I get giddy when Feral Interactive releases new information about ROME: Total War for iPad. On Monday, the company set the release date for November 10th, meaning Squeeeeeeeeeee! Oh, and there’s a new video, a playing the game on the iPad video. Man, does it look great! ROME: Total War has been a big franchise on Windows and Mac for a long time, and I can’t wait to play it on iPad. It’s $9.99, and it will be here Thursday.

No Wonder McLaren's Technology Center Caught Apple's Eye

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

You’ve probably read about the McLaren supercars in car magazines. Or seen them on BBC’s Top Gear. While the cars are amazing, what’s equally amazing is the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, Surrey England which opened in 2004. New Atlas has the story and lots of photos. That reflecting pool warms the building in the winter and cools it in the summer.  We heard rumors that Apple’s car project may have had some talks with McLaren. That building alone is enough to catch anyone’s attention, let alone the car research that goes on inside. It’s perhaps the second coolest building on the planet after Apple’s Campus 2.

No Wonder McLaren’s Technology Center Caught Apple’s Eye

Horace Dediu's Take on MacBook Pro and Convergence is a Must Read

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Touch Bar Retina MacBook Pro with USB-C ports

Horace Dediu has penned a piece on computers, mobile devices, touch input, and convergence that is a simply put, a must-read. Centered around Apple’s new MacBook Pro and Touch Bar, Mr. Dediu defines the difference between the Mac and Windows platforms as it pertains to the ways they are evolving. I don’t want to rewrite his piece, so I’ll just leave you with this passage and encourage you to read the whole thing: “Which brings me to the question of what it is allowed to be and hence what it is. It cannot take on the role of being the future. That belongs to the touch screen devices. It will not morph into a touch device any more than a teen’s parent will become cool by putting on skinny jeans. What it will do is become better at what it is hired to do.”