Have you ever wished you could explore the underwater realms and get amazing pictures and videos? If so, a drone on Indiegogo might be right up your alley. You control Gladius with your iPhone or iPad. The drone uses a unique semi-tethered connection system. A floating buoy communicates wirelessly with your iPhone or iPad, while a tether runs from the buoy to the drone. Therefore, the drone can dive up to 100 meters deep with a horizontal range of 500 meters. Gladius features an on-board 1080P/4K underwater camera to take high quality photos and video and can live-stream in HD. Finally, the underwater camera has low-light adaptable sensors, and LED lights on either side light up a wide 135º angle. The retail price for Gladius will be US $1,399. You can reserve yours on Gladius’s Indiegogo campaign for as low as $599.
It’s no secret I have a serious love for LEGO, so it’s great when someone turns me on to something that makes my bricks even cooler—like Brixo. The LEGO-compatible bricks they designed are metal coated so they conduct electricity, which means you can drive motors and turn on lights in your creations without needing any wires. They designed bricks with lights, sensors, switches, motors, and batteries so you can build most anything you can imagine. Brixo’s kits start at US$35 and they’re available for pre-order now.
Apple has a new commercial promoting its Spring 2017 collection of new Apple Watch bands. The spot hasn’t appeared on YouTube yet, but it is available on Facebook. In 15 seconds, the commercial flashes through the new bands launched on Tuesday and encourages people to “choose a model” and “try a band.” It was posted with the tagline, “New Apple Watch bands are here. Explore the possibilities,” Also, it should make my friend John Kheit sit back and blow bubbles of contentment until the cows come home. Or until this week’s episode of Pop.0, whichever comes first.
Check out Apple Stores Worldwide, an “Interactive map showing the impressive expansion of Apple stores” by Retale.com. It’s a map of the globe that shows the year-by-year expansion of Apple’s fleet of retail stores. Each one blossoms like a nuclear hit in a war game, and you can hover over any one of them to get details about the store. Apple’s foray into retail is one of the biggest corporate success stories of the last 15 years, and seeing it play out over the course of a few seconds is interesting. In the screenshot below, I highlighted a random store in Brisbane, Australia.
Flickr is great for storing and sharing photos online, but what do you do when you want to download them to your computer? Turns out that’s exactly what my friend Peter Cohen wanted to do, so he figured it out using Flickr’s own tools as well as third-party apps. Spoiler: If you have a huge image library you should use the third-party apps. Peter wrote up what he learned on the Backblaze blog, and it’s totally worth checking out.
Check out iSkelter’s Slate 2.0, a ventilated lapdesk designed for Apple’s MacBook line. iSkelter has a number of products for Apple users, as well as a large ventilated laptop desk designed for PC gamers with ginormous PC laptops. The ones aimed at Mac users include slots to hold an iPad (or book or whatever), and you can choose to get it with a mousepad, a naked work space, or a white board(!!). They’re made from bamboo, and are priced starting at $59.95. Models with a mousepad are available through Amazon Prime for $69.95.
Netflix is introducing a new “SKIP INTO” button. It lets you skip the opening credits of your TV show. It works on all episodes of most TV shows except the first episode. After all, you should at least be able to see it once, with the actor and director names in the beginning. Netflix usually already skips the introductions if you’re binging a show. It happens automatically if you watch a TV show and let the app automatically play the next episode. Nevertheless, it’s still a handy option, and it even works on shows where the credits play after several scenes, called a cold open or teaser. Right now the feature is only available on Netflix’s web app, but the company may roll it out to other platforms later on.
Uber has been delivering punishing, but self-inflicted wounds for weeks now. This week, the company can add the bad PR of a ride that ended in a fireball. A literal fireball. Firstly, the Uber driver in the car shown below—and his passenger—walked away with minor injuries. Secondly, the driver of a car hit moments before—and not shown in this video—did receive more serious injuries, according to local TV station KOMONews. The video below was captured by surveillance cameras when the Uber driver came speeding through a Seattle gas station, striking a gas pump and causing a fireball. On a side note, how amazing is gas station technology that the whole place didn’t go up in flames? Uber wanted folks to know this particular driver has been removed from its app. So there’s that.
Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.
We write here a lot of about small drones. Amazon wants to deliver packages with drones. Drones have taken breathtaking aerial views of Apple Park. But what happens when one of the larger drones accidentally slams into a human being? Time for the automotive crash-test dummies to step up and tell the story! Well, the instrumentation does. Bloomberg has a great story on “Crashing Drones into Test Dummies for Safety” Watch a drone disintegrate as it strikes a crash-test dummy. It’s a battle of the bots. All for human safety, of course.
With our first glimpse of iOS 11 most likely coming up in a few weeks at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference, it’s fun to look at features we’d like to see in the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system. Jacek Zieba put together a video showing many of those features in action, and it’s pretty compelling. How about a pop-up menu from the control center’s WiFi icon showing available networks, or group FaceTime video chats? We’d love to see more useful in-app screen controls and that option to clear app data and caches easily, too. But true multi-user support? Apple isn’t going there.
Paul Hayes at Sky & Telescope has written a great tip about how to use the iPhone’s accessibility features to turn the iPhone’s entire display a specific color profile. For example, if you need to shade the iPhone’s entire display permanently reddish in order to preserve night-time dark adaption, you can do that. This technique would be particularly handy for amateur astronomers. While some astronomy apps have this feature, this tip applies to the iPhone’s display across the board. The tip is beautifully described, including an explanation of accessibility shortcuts, and also invites exploration for those who have certain kinds of color blindness. Check it out.
Matt Birchler mocked up a great concept for iOS 11’s lock screen and we’re hoping Apple is taking notes. His ideas are plausible because he builds on what Apple already gave us in iOS 10 with enhancements like a current weather badge, grouped and organized notifications, “smart notifications” triggered by activity or location, and more. Matt also took the time to explain his ideas, and now we’re seriously wondering why there hasn’t ever been a weather complication on our iPhone screens. You can check out Matt’s iOS 11 lock screen concept at the Birchtree website.
LEGO and tape are two words I hadn’t thought to put together until I saw Nimuno Loops, which is exactly that: LEGO-compatible tape, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s tape with the right size studs so you can stick LEGO bricks to it. Right now it’s an Indigogo campaign that’s gone over its funding goal by 9,320%, which is both awesome and insane. The tape is two studs wide and whatever length you want. You can bend it, cut it, and move it around thanks to its adhesive backing. Pricing starts at US$11 for two 6.5-foot rolls and you can choose from several colors. After something like five different people told me about Nimuno Loops LEGO-compatible tape, I knew I just had to share.
Check out this awesome video by Mari Lesterberg (via Laughing Squid). It’s a MIDI Drawing where she draws a story—about Mario, in this case—with MIDI notes. That makes it both a soundtrack and a story, which is intensely clever. She has many more, including a still dedication to Frank Zappa, stories about cars and trains, and childrens’ fairy tales. Ms. Lesterberg is a performing musician, which is always awesome, but these MIDI projects are just too cool.
I’ve been on a big anachronism kick lately, so it really resonated when John Kheit turned me on to this video of analog numeral displays. This is the sort of thing we had to look digital before we had digital. Or something like that. As noted by Boing Boing, this technology is called “edge lit digital display,” and it’s part analog and part mechanical. In the video, you can hear the mechanical relays clicking and buzzing away as they control which digit is being displayed. The video comes from Steve Johnson, who runs a website deliciously Steve’s Antique Technology. Steve, you had me at “Antique Technology.” He’s got a lot of info on these old systems.
Google added Read Later to its iOS Chrome browser, a feature similar to Apple’s Reading List in Safari. As the name suggests, Read Later is a section where you can save articles and websites to read later. When you’re browsing in Chrome, you can tap the three dots icon on the upper right. Tap the share icon, then Read Later. Articles are saved offline, so you can read them wherever you are. So far this feature is only on the mobile version of Chrome, but it’s possible Google will add it to the desktop version in the future. The update is available now as part of Chrome version 57 on the App Store.
Motherboard published a photo of a machine Apple Stores reportedly use to calibrate iPhone screens, Touch ID sensors, and cameras. The photo was sent to Motherboard‘s Jason Koebler after he offered a photo bounty on it. He believes it’s a key part of how Apple maintains a lock on iPhone screen replacement, which is probably true. One can argue whether or not Apple should maintain that lock, but judging from the kludgy look this device has, it may be necessary. The tipster told the site he was a former Apple Genius, and he described the machine as, “not very Apple-like at all.” Check out the full piece for more information and a larger version of the image.
Mazda announced Monday that it will (finally) add support for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto technologies. Cars.com reported (via AppleInsider) that Mazda was short on specifics, but that support for both platforms will be retroactive with models that have Mazda Connect. That platform first appeared in in the 2014 Mazda3. There’s no specific timeline for the rollout, but Mazda made the announcement as part of the 2017 introduction of the Mazda CX-5 (pictured below). The company did say a “potentially minimal hardware addition” may be necessary, but it didn’t explain what that might be or how much it will cost. Cars.com also noted that once Mazda is on board, Toyota will be the last major holdout to support these mobile connectivity platforms from Apple and Google.
Apple launched a new commercial Monday called Say It with Stickers, a spot that imagines iMessage Stickers in the real world. The piece shows a variety of (mostly young) people running around slapping stickers on their friends, as well as the people and places they see. It’s designed to promote Stickers in iMessage, a feature Apple added to iMessage in IOS 10. It allows users to send Stickers to one another, a feature first made popular in social networking apps like WhatsApp, Line, SnapChat, and others. To go with the commercial, Apple has a collection of Stickers on the App Store also titled “Say It with Stickers.” That collection features more than 40 Sticker apps, some free, but most for a buck or two. It’s a fun commercial, and I heartily applaud Apple promoting Stickers. They’re a great way to express yourself and add an additional layer to simple text chats.