Boing Boing 

$5 SIM card cutter

Here's a handy device to cut older SIM cards to fit newer phones, like the iPhone 5.

The Nano SIM Cutter takes any regular or micro size and trims the excess off to provide you a precision cut nano SIM. It's simple, you insert your SIM card with the contacts facing downwards, push the SIM card all the way in, and push down on the lever. The cutter will provide you with a perfectly cut nano SIM card every time! These Nano SIM Cutters are built from hi-quality stainless steel to ensure high precision cutting.

Nano SIM Card Cutter (for iPhone 5) w/ 3 Nano SIM Card Adapter

New features in Glympse, a location-sharing mobile app I like

For the last year or two I have been using a free location–sharing app on my iPhone called Glympse. It's purpose is simple: when you are driving somewhere to meet someone, the app generates a URL so they can see where you are on a map and track your progress as you are driving.

Today, Glympse introduced a new version of the application, and it has interesting improvements.

Glympse Groups allows users to share and interact via common activities, such as sporting or industry events, meetings or social gatherings. Glympse reveals group members’ real-time locations on a map for a set amount of time, encouraging local interaction and social discovery.

Glympse allows users to automatically schedule location updates to everyone associated with a specific calendar event, virtually replacing the need for “Running Late” or “On my way” emails, texts or phone calls.

When Glympse first debuted, it made it fast and easy for users to “Share Your Where” with others, for a specified period of time without creating yet another network. Now, the new Glympse turns the tables and makes it just as easy to ask your friends, family, and colleagues, “Where are you?” With the new “Request a Glympse” feature, users simply send a request via text or email and recipients can instantly accept and start broadcasting their location for the given time period.

Get Glympse in the App Store and Google Play

iPhone case with my art on it

The fine folks at Twig Case created a new iPhone bamboo case with one of my illustrations on it. I love the way it turned out. (Twig Case also has a stunningly cool Jim Woodring case.)

Pussypus Case - Bamboo $49

Unlock your doors with an iPhone

Here's a $149 gadget that you can mount over a door's deadbolt so you can turn the knob via your iphone.

Lockitron is an attachment you can place on the back of any deadbolt lock in your house that allows you to lock and unlock it remotely via your smartphone. Better than that, if you have your iPhone 5 in your pocket when you approach a Lockitron deadbolt, you don’t have to even have to use your iPhone because it will detect you via Bluetooth 4.0 and unlock automatically.

You can share access to your lock with friends and family so that if you’re not at your house and want to let them in you don’t have to worry about getting them an extra key. The sharing access feature makes it perfect for Airbnb customers.

Cult of Mac: Lockitron Wants To Replace Your House Keys With Your iPhone 5

iPhone "oil paintings," animated GIFs of artful screen smudges

A little gross, a little genius. iPhone Oil Paintings (by JK Keller via Gautam Ramdurai).

How to turn your car’s ashtray into a smartphone dock

NewImage
Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik shows how to turn your car’s ashtray into a smartphone dock

I hardly know anyone who still smokes and pretty much everyone I know has a little computer in the form of an iPhone or Android phone that's always with them. That means I should really think about some of the vestigial parts of my dashboard. Like the ashtray. Let's change the ashtray's function from supporting the disgusting habit of the 1970s (smoking) to the disgusting habit of the 2010s (constant smartphone use). Here's how to do it.

Oh, and since this will get pointed out, I may as well say this. After I came up with the ashtray-to-iPhone dock idea, I was feeling so smug I was having some shirts ordered that said "ME ARE A GENIUS." Then I decided to Google the smartphone dock/old ashtray idea. I'm not the first. I'm not even close. I cancelled the shirt order, but this just proves it's a solid idea. So, onward.

Create disposable telephone numbers for the iPhone with Burner


[Video Link] Burner is an iPhone application that lets you generate temporary phone numbers. This would come in handy, for example, if you are selling something on Craigslist, and you don't want to give out your permanent telephone number. The app costs $1.99, which gives you a "burner" number that's valid for 7 days, 20 talk minutes, or 60 texts, whichever comes first. You can buy additional credits in the app.

Burner - Disposable Phone Numbers

Early iPhone mockups show Sony influence

The current iPhone design, it turns out, was in the works since 2006—and was so influenced by Sony that they even put its logo on the mockups. Court filings in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung reveal an early concept by Apple designer Shin Nishibori which closely resembles the current-gen iPhones, complete with the silver band. [The Verge]

Read the rest

Gadget to shoot 360° panoramic video on iPhone


The Kogeto DOT is a $49 gadget that lets iPhone users shoot 360° panoramic videos.

(Via Blame it on the Voices)

Spacecraft 3D: Nifty robotic space travel augmented-reality app from NASA JPL

I recently had a chance to visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory with Miles O'Brien. At the NASA center in Pasadena, engineers are readying for the long-anticipated landing of the Mars Curiosity rover on Aug. 5. During our visit, we met with the team behind a cool new iOS app from JPL: NASA's Spacecraft 3D, an augmented reality application that allows users to "learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe."

Using a printed AR Target and the camera on your mobile device, you can get up close with these robotic explorers, see how they move, and learn about the the engineering feats used to expand our knowledge and understanding of space. Spacecraft 3D will be updated over time to include more of the amazing spacecraft that act as our robotic eyes on the earth, the solar system and beyond!

The app is really a ton of fun. You can download it here for free, iPad and iPhone and iPod Touch. Here's the JPL press release announcing its release.

Kingdom Rush available on iPhone


[Video Link] My favorite tower defense game is Kingdom Rush. You can play it online for free, and there's also an iPad version. I don't want to admit how many hours I spent playing it on my iPad. (I will say that I finally finished the game by playing it the entire time I was on a plane from Los Angeles to New York and back to Los Angeles earlier this month.)

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.

Today, Kingdom Rush became available as an iPhone app. I would say that the $.99 price tag is a bargain, but if take into account the otherwise productive hours you will spend playing it, the true cost is far more.

Kingdom Rush

Virgin Mobile offers no-contract iPhone plan for US customers

Virgin Mobile USA, which operates as a sort of sub-brand of Sprint in the United States, today announced plans to begin selling the iPhone on June 29 with pre-paid, no-contract voice and data service starting at $30 per month.

The no-strings-attached connectivity comes at a higher hardware price: iPhone 4S at 16GB is $649, and the iPhone 4 at 8GB is $549. Plans include "Unlimited" texting and data (well, unlimited up to 2.5GB).

Read the rest

iPod Body Mod: magnetic wrist piercings become mount for Apple iPod Nano

REUTERS/Keith Bedford

Tattoo artist Dave Hurban displays an iPod Nano which he has attached to his wrists through magnetic piercings in his wrist in New York, May 14, 2012. Reuters has an interview with him here.

"I just invented the strapless watch," he said on Monday of his Apple Inc device, set to display a clock.

Hurban cheerfully recounted how he mapped out the four corners of the iPod on his arm and then inserted four titanium studs into his skin. Once the incisions healed, he popped on his iPod, which is held in place magnetically.

"It's way simpler than you think it is," said Hurban.

Below, Durban's HOWTO video for the project he calls "iDermal," explaining how he pulled it off. Not that he can just, you know, pull them off now.

Read the rest

4G iPhone sleeve offers 1GB of free data per month


[Video Link] The FreedomSleeve is an iPhone sleeve that connects a 3G iPhone to a "free" 4G network. It can be used as a wifi hotspot, and has a built-in battery to extend the iPhone's internal battery an additional 6 hours. It cost $99 and you get "up to 1GB of free data every month." According to GigaOM, each additional megabyte will cost a penny. Service is expected to start this summer. I hope the service is international. Freedom Pop iPhone Sleeve

Amtrak users, rejoice! Smartphone scans soon to replace paper tickets.

In the New York Times, Brian X. Chen reports on Amtrak's plans to use Apple iPhones as an electronic ticket scanner on several routes, including Boston, MA to Portland, ME, and San Jose, CA, to Sacramento, CA. "By late summer, 1,700 conductors will be using the devices on Amtrak trains across the country," and passengers can choose to print tickets or display a bar code on their smartphone screens for conductors to scan.

A new tradition in China: honoring the dead with paper iPads, iPhones


Paper replicas of iPads and iPhones with other gadgets for sale for the Chinese Qingming festival at a prayer supplies shop near Kuala Lumpur. Chinese people go to cemeteries during the festival to honor the dead with prayers, food, tea, wine and paper replicas of flashy cars, Louis Vuitton bags, and other bling for the ancestors to enjoy in the afterlife. Reuters/2011.

April 4 in China marks Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming Festival), an ancient cultural tradition in which families honor their ancestors by visiting their tombs and leaving offerings of food. Not unlike Día de Los Muertos, really.

Brian Ashcraft writes at Kotaku:

Paper replicas depict items that can be used in the afterlife, such as clothing, money, and cars, are burned. Over the years, this tradition has evolved with the times as evident by a recent must-have paper replica: the iPad.

Read the rest

The Marimba ringtone heard 'round the world: symphonygate update

The 60-or-70-something businessman and symphony-goer whose iPhone halted Mahler? Don't hate on him, hate on bad UI. The ringer mute switch on iPhone doesn't silence alarms. (via @jswatz)

Ringing iPhone stops New York Philharmonic

Photo: Ferenc Szelepcsenyi / Shutterstock.com

The New York Philharmonic's Tuesday performance of Mahler's Ninth symphony was halted by an unwelcomed sound: someone's ringing iPhone (using the marimba ringtone). It rang repeatedly in the fourth movement of Mahler's final completed symphony. From Super-Conductor:

According to an eyewitness, the offending phone owner was in the front rows of Avery Fisher Hall when his phone went off. (A post by Michael Jo on the classical music blog thousandfoldecho.com specifies that the interruption happened just 13 bars before the last page of the score.) In other words, in the final moments of a 25-minute movement, that ends a 90-minute symphony.

"Mr. Gilbert was visibly annoyed by the persistent ring-tone, so much that he quietly cut the orchestra," the concert-goer, music student Kyra Sims, reports. She related how the orchestra's music director turned on the podium towards the offender. The pause lasted a good "three or four minutes. It might have been two. It seemed long."

The original eyewitness story at thousandfoldecho.com. (Thanks, Miles O'Brien!)

Steve Jobs bio out early for downloads; "60 Minutes" devotes entire episode to book

As every blog and news site everywhere has already reported (including Boing Boing), the definitive biography of the late Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, is out today.

Actually, it's out today in paper, but was released yesterday for download via Amazon and iTunes. I'm willing to bet it breaks some sort of download sales record.

Last night's edition of the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes was devoted entirely, 100%, to stories on Jobs and his products.

As Mike Godwin noted on Twitter, Steve Kroft asks during the segment how Jobs, "who dropped LSD and marijuana," goes off to India and returns to become a businessman. LOL @ "dropping marijuana." The show sure does know their demo. At least they didn't say he smoked acid.

Snarking aside, the 60 Minutes pieces are worth watching. Here's part 1, here's part 2, and here's 3 (!), on iPad apps for autism. In other news this week, Obama says we're bringing troops home from Iraq, and Qaddafi's dead.

Related: Dan Lyons, former Fake Steve Jobs, on the backlash.

Blackberry maker RIM offers customers free apps after outage; RIM stock continues to drop anyway

Shares of beleaguered Blackberry maker Research In Motion dropped more than 5 percent today after the company tried to make up for a four-day BlackBerry outage by offering customers $100 worth of free apps and technical support. That outage was a quiet killer. But what should they have offered their loyal users? Other than an iPhone or an Android phone, I mean. Your suggestions welcomed in the comments.

Exciting Silicon Valley startup to launch new 'telecommunications' device

Apple has gathered gadget bloggers and tech journalists to unveil an update to the iPhone. Gizmodo, GDGT, and Engadget have boots on the ground and/or liveblogs in the ether (some are covering remotely). Ars Technica and MacWorld liveblogs are down at the time of this blog post. Oh, wait, Gizmodo and GDGT liveblogs are down intermittently too. Geez.

No, you're not in love with your iPhone

The New York Times has an op-ed out today, which claims that fMRI studies show that, when people are exposed to a pretty, shiny, ringing iPhone, the experience lights up the part of their brains that signifies a deep, compassionate love for something. iPhones trigger the same brain activity that your parents and loved ones trigger, writes branding strategist Martin Lindstrom.

Clearly, this was going to turn out to wildly misleading. You love your iPhone like you love your mother is just not the kind of statement that passes a cursory bullshit inspection. And lots of people have handily debunked it, including a couple of actual nueroimaging specialists, Russ Poldrack and Tal Yarkoni.

So, how wrong was the NYT op-ed? Pretty damn wrong. Turns out, the part of the brain Martin Lindstrom identifies with lovey-dovey emotions is a lot more complicated than that. Here's Russ Poldrack:

Insular cortex may well be associated with feelings of love and compassion, but this hardly proves that we are in love with our iPhones. In Tal Yarkoni's recent paper in Nature Methods, we found that the anterior insula was one of the most highly activated part of the brain, showing activation in nearly 1/3 of all imaging studies! Further, the well-known studies of love by Helen Fisher and colleagues don't even show activation in the insula related to love, but instead in classic reward system areas.

And Tal Yarkoni adds a lot more to this:

... the insula (or at least the anterior part of the insula) plays a very broad role in goal-directed cognition. It really is activated when you’re doing almost anything that involves, say, following instructions an experimenter gave you, or attending to external stimuli, or mulling over something salient in the environment.

So, by definition, there can’t be all that much specificity to what the insula is doing, since it pops up so often. To put it differently, as Russ and others have repeatedly pointed out, the fact that a given region activates when people are in a particular psychological state (e.g., love) doesn’t give you license to conclude that that state is present just because you see activity in the region in question. If language, working memory, physical pain, anger, visual perception, motor sequencing, and memory retrieval all activate the insula, then knowing that the insula is active is of very little diagnostic value.

I'd recommend reading Yarkoni's full post, because it also gets into some really fascinating nuance behind the neuroscience of addiction. Shorter version: We don't have a clear biomarker that signals addiction, or addictive behavior. You couldn't even diagnose an obviously addicted individual using neuroimaging. So you should beware of anybody who tells you that an fMRI study demonstrates that people are addicted to anything.

Smartphone wars: In US, iPhone is top device, while Android is top OS

Nielsen reports on market share for smartphones in the US, with an interesting split between domination for OS and domination by actual device. Google Android is currently the top operating system, at 39 percent, with Apple’s iOS at 28 percent, and the RIM Blackberry at 20 percent. "However, because Apple is the only company manufacturing smartphones with the iOS operating system, it is clearly the top smartphone manufacturer in the United States." iPhone has 28% of the market. All of this is based on June, 2011 data.

"Crystalline," Björk (dir.: Michel Gondry)

Video Link: the new Björk video, via Dangerous Minds. Directed by Michel Gondry. Includes elements from her "Biophilia" iPhone app. The album, Crystalline, on Amazon.