Justin Beiber, one-time YouTube star, then chart-topping heart throb, then TMZ regular. Justin Beiber, recently roasted by the cool kids of Comedy Central. And now Justin Beiber, blasted out of space, over and over and over.
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You don’t want to mess with your phone much while driving, period.
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My friend Allen (co-founder of the delicious cashew cheese company Nary Dairy) got this Verus leather case ($22) for his iPhone 6 Plus, and I liked it so much I bought one for my 6 Plus.
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As an iPhone 6 Plus owner, I'm interested in the Bunker Ring, a $16 device that attaches to the back of a phone or tablet, basically turning your phone into a giant finger ring.
The aluminum case of the iPhone 6+ was already a little bent when he started. When he repeats the bend test with a Galaxy Note 3, it bends but flexes back. He tries again, using as much force as possible, and the Note 3 gets a slight warp but doesn't break.
...and that's exactly what I wanted, because I'm not a big caller. But maybe it's time to switch to Android, because they already have stuff just like it, and with some meatier hardware to boot.
The above graphic, published by OSXdaily, illustrates Apple's new selection of phone sizes--and also includes the iPad Mini, which lacks cellular calling but now seems part of a consistent spectrum. As one of those people who often finds the iPad Mini a little too big, but the current iPhone too small, I figure that the 6 Plus will be what I'm after. On the other hand, the Galaxy Note 4--slightly less wide than the 6 Plus, but significantly thicker--didn't quite sell itself to me, though that might be because Android is just not the language my thumbs speak.
Here's the specs for reference.
Tell me what to buy. (Yes, a Moto F3, I know.)
I don't like using apps like Foursquare that let acquaintances know where I am. Cloak is an anti-Foursquare, and I'm eager to try it.
Avoid Enemies, Bores, Jerks, and Exes with Cloak
Cloak bills itself as the "antisocial network." Just sync it with Instagram and Foursquare so Cloak knows where your "friends" are, all the time.
Finally, let Cloak know which relatives/coworkers/"psycho hose beasts" you don't want to see. It'll then alert you when you're entering their vicinity. Or, if you're feeling reclusive, have it notify you when anybody you know is around. It's a fantastic way to dodge the dreaded "stop and chat."
The Wall Street Journal has a story about the birth of the iPhone (which I am still a little startled to realize is only seven years old ... I think my memory is merging iPhones and iPods into a sense of the presence of a single iThing). In an accompanying blog post, they shared this photo taken by Apple engineers, showing the system that was used to test out prototypes of iPhone software before its release. According to the blog post, the system "tethered a plastic touch-screen device – code-named “Wallaby” – to an outdated Mac to simulate the slower speeds of a phone hardware."
"At first, I thought it was my imagination. Around the time the iPhone 5S and 5C were released, in September, I noticed that my sad old iPhone 4 was becoming a lot more sluggish," writes Catherine Rampell in The New York Times. She noticed her batteries were being drained more quickly than before, too. She called some tech analysts who blamed it on iOS 7.
I have an iPhone 4s. The battery life is terrible. But it was bad before I upgraded to iOS 7. Is it worse now? Maybe -- I have a bunch of battery cases that I am constantly snapping on to my energy-gorging phone, so I'm not really sure.
Rampell goes on to explore the idea that Apple is intentionally obsoleting older iPhones by releasing operating systems designed to slow down earlier models and drain their batteries. But I think the battery life of iPhones, old and new, just suck. I'd prefer a thick phone that runs all day without needing a recharge, than a thin, lightweight phone that you have to put in a thick case to protect anyway.
Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone
Rhino Shield is a clear coating for Gorilla Glass (used in most smart phones) that was developed from a Kickstarter fundraising effort.
Rhino Shield is the product of Cambridge University spin-off company Evolutive Labs. It's made from an impact-dispersing "custom-formulated polymer" that is also highly transparent (it has a transmission rate of over 95 percent), scratch-resistant, and that features an oleophobic coating – that means it repels fingerprints and other oils.
One multi-layer sheet is 0.29 mm thick, and can reportedly be applied to a phone's screen without creating air bubbles or leaving sticky residue. The screen's touchscreen functionality remains intact.
Rhino Shield could save your Gorilla's glass
Apple's iPhone 5S has a better camera, faster hardware and a gold-trimmed option. How does it stack up to last year's model, and strong offerings from Samsung and Nokia?
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Making the media rounds as America formalizes a decision to go to war against Syria, this photo by Melina Mara at The Washington Post
Senator John McCain plays poker on his IPhone during a U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing where Secretary of State JohnKerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testify concerning the use of force in Syria, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, Tuesday, September 3, 2013.
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Heard is a useful app for settling those "but *I* said and then *you* said" arguments with your kids.
When you activate the app, it begins recording everything around you on a 12-second buffer (extend it to five minutes for $1.99). Any time you want, click the “Push to save” button to save the current clip. Do nothing, and the self-destructing buffer lets the audio slip into the ether.
Why would anyone not in the NSA want an app like this? With Heard, you can capture anything from your baby’s first words to a key point in a lecture without hovering your thumb over the record button all day.
Heard reviewed on Netted
Boing Boing alum John Brownlee writes about an atrociously ugly Super Mario Bros. clone that hits players up for $500 worth of in-app purchases on the first screen.
I bet you’re itching to play it. Sadly, though, you can’t. Apple’s already yanked it from the App Store. You probably didn’t want to play it anyway, though: it has to be the most shamelessly abusive examples of in-app purchases that mortal mind can comprehend.
The amazing thing here isn’t that Apple banned it, it’s that they didn’t catch any of this to begin with! Especially considering the fact that the developer, Mario Casas, seems to reupload this exact same game to Apple — with the exact same in-app purchase scheme — every couple of months with a new name and new graphics, scamming players until he’s caught. And thus the cycle starts anew.
This Crappy Game Is The Most Shameless Abuse Of In-App Purchases You’ll Ever See
After you've purchased 4 or 5 of these iPhone cases, why not buy a Toot Toot case from Twig?
Amaze your friends and tantalize your neighbors with an incredible case for your iPhone that is over 7 feet tall and shoots multi-color sparks! You control it as it flies around your living room! See through your hand with its built-in X-ray eye, then take a secret picture like a real spy! Only you know its secret! Create a scene wherever you go as you leave everyone in stitches!
Toot Toot iPhone case
The Hand iPhone Case is totally impractical and not really a case. But it's absolutely fantastic! You can choose between an adult or child-sized hand. (via Gadget Lab)
Field Trip is a free iPhone app was developed in conjunction with our friends at Altas Obscura. I'm using it on an upcoming road trip from LA to Phoenix.
Field Trip, your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you is now on the iPhone! Field Trip runs in the background on your phone. When you get close to something interesting, it will notify you and if you have a headset or bluetooth connected, it can even read the info to you.
Field Trip can help you learn about everything from local history to the latest and best places to shop, eat, and have fun. You select the local feeds you like and the information pops up on your phone automatically, as you walk next to those places.
Field Trip for iOS (Via iDownLoadBlog)
My friend, the technology journalist Andy Ihnatko, traded in his iPhone 4s for a Samsung Galaxy S III. Here's the first of his "three-part epic" for TechHive in which he explains why he did it.
I find that typing on an Android device is faster and much less annoying than typing on my iPhone. It's not even close.
This example also points out some of the philosophical differences that often allow Android to create a better experience for the user. Why is the iOS keyboard so stripped-down? Why can't the user customize the experience? Because Apple's gun-shy about adding features at the cost of simplicity and clarity. They're not wrong; it's a perfectly valid philosophy, and usually an effective one.
But sometimes, an Apple product's feature lands at the wrong side of the line that divides "simple" from "stripped down." The iPhone keyboard is stripped-down.
If you don't like how Android's stock keyboard behaves, you can dig into Settings and change it. If you still don't like it, you can install a third-party alternative. And if you think it's fine as-is, then you won't be distracted by the options. The customization panel is inside Settings, and the alternatives are over in the Google Play store.
But I'll be honest: the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn't suddenly go bip-BONG! and stick a purple microphone in my face when I'm mentally focused on what I'm writing is reason enough for me to prefer the Android keyboard.
Seriously, Apple. This is the single iOS quirk that makes me hate my iPhone. Every time it happens, it yanks me out of my task, and as I scowl and dismiss the microphone, I wonder if you folks put a lot of thought into this feature. "Press and hold to activate speech-to-text" needs to be a user-settable option.
Also, I wanted to mention that Andy has a terrifically entertaining podcast called The Ihnatko Alamanac, where he covers comics, technology, and other stuff that he expounds upon in colorful ways.
Why I switched from iPhone to Android
I use my iPhone to shoot video because the quality is excellent and I like the many different inexpensive video apps available for the iPhone (such as stop motion apps). I also like being able to email iPhone videos or upload them to YouTube directly from my phone instead of having to first transfer them to a computer.
The main drawback with using the iPhone to shoot video is that you can’t put it on a tripod — you have to hold it in your hand or precariously lean it against something. The best iPhone mounting solution I’ve found so far is the Glif, a tiny hard-rubber clip with a metal 1/4″-20 thread that attaches to any tripod mount. Simply slide the iPhone into the Glif’s slot and you’re ready to go. (The Glif was one of the first breakaway hits on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, taking in almost $130,000 more than its $10,000 goal in late 2010.)
The Glif has one other function: it’s a “kickstand” that lets you use your iPhone as a mini-display on your desktop or airplane fold down tray.
If you want to use the Glif when you’re on the move, pay the extra $10 for the Glif Plus, which includes a separate plastic piece that locks your iPhone onto the Glif so there’s no chance of it falling off. - Mark
that a team of "about 100 product designers are working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad."
The $19 TrackR is a like a leash between your wallet and your mobile phone. It's a Bluetooth-enabled wafer of plastic that fits in your wallet or pocket. You pair it with your phone, and whenever the TrackR and your phone get separated both your phone and the TrackR start beeping.
The app also takes a GPS snapshot of where your wallet was at the moment of separation in case you didn't hear the alert. Tap a button within the app to make your wallet "ring" in case your looking for it around the house or in the dark. The technology works both ways, which means your wallet can beep to alert you that you're leaving your phone behind. Works with your iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, new iPad, iPad mini and the new iPod Touch.
Yesterday, I met with Scott Hawthorne (left) and Chris Herbert (right) of Phone Halo, the 5-person company that designed the TrackR. They demoed the TrackR and I was impressed with how well it works. At $19, it seems like a good deal. They said the battery life is 1.5 years.
Scott and Chris kindly left a sample unit with me, which I plan to start using. I'll review it after I've had it for a week or two.
The TrackR will be available in the US and internationally as soon as the FCC and CE approve it (it uses low-power Bluetooth). You can pre-order one on Indiegogo for an estimated April delivery.
This Cult of Mac video makes it look pretty easy to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad. What is a good reason to do it? If you have jailbroken your iOS device to do something cool that you couldn't have accomplished with a non-jailbroken device, please tell us about it in the comments.
Instead of giving six men hammers, they hired five men to open the cardboard box containing the 127 fake iPhones and one man to drive an excavator over the phones.
(Thanks, Joly MacFie!)
Scott Snibbe, the developer for Björk’s "Biophilia" app, has developed an iOS app for the Philip Glass remix project—the app is titled REWORK_
Here is a video of My Great Ghost, whose remix of "Music in 12 Parts" is the first track on the record, performing an entirely new track using the app.
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One of my favorite iOS games is Kingdom Rush, a medieval fantasy tower defense game. It's free to play on the Web. I talked about it on Jesse Thorn's Bullseye radio show here, and Jane and I reviewed it on Apps for Kids here. Here's what I said about the game in an earlier post:
The cartoonish art is very appealing, as are the monsters and towers. The goal of the game, like all tower defense games, is to prevent the invading hordes from making it through a gate to your kingdom at one end of the display. You do this by placing towers staffed with archers, knights, magicians, and cannoneers along the path that the monsters run down (the monsters appear from a trail emanating on the opposite side of the display). As you kill the monsters, you collect gold, which can be used to buy more towers. Even though there are a few more bells and whistles, it's a simple game -- but addictive.
For today only, the iPhone version is free (regularly $.99). There's an HD version, too, but that will set you back $2.99
The MirrorCase for the iPhone lets you take photos while holding the phone flat, like an old-timey camera. It seems like a good way to shoot video of yourself, too - just set it on a table and do your thing. At $50, it's a bit pricey. I wonder if there's a DIY version? (I think this is the gizmo used to secretly tape Mitt Romney declaring that 47% of Americans suck.)
is now available again for iPhone. I'll be home soon. (via Google's Official Blog)
Twig Case company has a few new Jim Woodring designs for the iPhone 5 (plus the 4/4s). I'm partial to this Pupshaw/Frank/Manhog illo!
Check out all the designs (including this one by yours truly) at Twig.
The puzzle game Chocolate Fix has been a family favorite around our house for years. The puzzle consists of 9 plastic chocolate candies (in three colors and shapes), a tray that holds the candies in a 3 x 3 grid, and a spiral-bound book with various challenges to solve. The challenges offer clues on how to arrange the candies in the tray. The hints sometimes show just the shape but not the color, the color but not the shape, or the shape and the color of a candy that belongs to a particular spot, column, or row in the grid. It's your job to figure out the single solution to correctly arrange the candies.
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Earlier this month, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design kindly brought me out to meet with grad students and attend the annual MCAD Art Sale where I was happily overwhelmed with a fantastic collection of student and recent graduates' work at affordable prices. Within minutes of walking in, I was drawn to two pieces at opposite ends of the building. The first was a painting created by a CNC milling machine outfitted with a pen. (That painting and its brethren in the series will be the subject of a later post here.) The second piece is what you can see above, the Shellphone Loudspeaker
. Amazingly, it turned out that both the CNC painting and the Shellphone were created by the same young artist/designer/maker, Andrew Vomhof. The Shellphone Loudspeaker, made by Andrew with collaborator Karl Zinsmaster, is absolutely wonderful and I purchased one immediately. It's a real Whelk shell hand-carved to perfectly sit an iPhone (4 or 5). The shell acts as a natural amplifier for the iPhone's speakers.
Now, this thing doesn't come close to the output of powered speakers. Duh. But it does increase the volume quite a bit and layers the sound with a subtly echoey and organic vibe. But that isn't really the point. It's a wonderful curiosity at the intersection of nature, art, and technology. And it's beautiful to boot. Vomhof and Zinsmaster have launched a Kickstarter to bring their prototype design into full production. Pledge $60 and, if they hit their goal of $10,000, you'll receive your own Shellphone Loudspeaker early next year.