I'm reading Matt Alt's fantastic new book, Pure Invention: How Japan's Pop Culture Conquered the World. Early on in the book, he points to Sony's TR-63 transistor radio (introduced in 1957) as the beginning of Japan's gargantuan influence on the world through consumer electronics, toys, entertainment, and other aspects of popular culture.
I was curious about this transistor radio so I looked it up online and learned that IFixIt did a teardown of the radio back in 2009.
Read the rest
The TR-63 was introduced in 1957 - it was the first "pocket-sized" transistor radio ever made and the first Sony-branded product exported to North America, by the then-named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo company (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). It became a huge commercial success, over 100,000 units were sold.
It seems "pocket-sized" was a bit of a marketing gimmick at the time - although smaller than any competing product, the TR-63 was a bit too big to fit into a standard shirt pocket. So story has it that company salesmen wore custom-made shirts with slightly bigger pockets to show off the TR-63's small size. But unlike desktop radios of the day which were promoted under the idea of "a radio in every home", the TR-63 was uniquely marketed as something each person could own and carry with them. A foreshadowing of the Walkman and iPod, perhaps?
The TR-63 contains a whopping 6 transistors. By comparison, the Cell processor chip in the PS3 contains two to three hundred million transistors. That's an indication of the progress made in the electronics industry in the past 50 years.
Jerry of Jerry Rig Everything bought an Apple iPhone Xs Max and proceeded to scratch, burn, and bend and bend the new iPhone Xs MAX to test its durability. Part of the fun of watching these videos is seeing a pristine piece of expensive and coveted equipment get destroyed. Read the rest
There's still plenty of life left in my 2015 MacBook Pro. But sooner or later, I'll ditch my computer in favor something new.
The nerd in me is wicked excited with the notion of using an ultra light laptop with an external graphics processor, for several reasons. I've always wanted to own a gaming laptop, but I could never justify the price, or the weight of one in my bag. Going with a computer that can connect to an external GPU means that I could invest in the laptop first, and then the GPU when I could afford it. And since the GPU for the rig is external, I wouldn't be forced to carry around a heavy bastard of a computer with me every time I needed to take off on assignment. That said, I was hesitant to buy one without seeing how it'd perform, first and foremost, as a work machine. I really like the look of the Razer Blade Stealth: the laptop's industrial design is what Apple might have come up with if their design department had a shred of edge or attitude. So, relying on the privilege of my position as a tech journalist, I asked Razer if I could borrow one.
They said yes.
I spent the past month working on Razer's insanely well-built ultrabook. It was pimped out with 16GB of dual channel RAM, and an Intel Core i7 2.70Ghz processor. It's zippy! But then, that's in comparison to my daily driver: a three year old Core i5 with 8GB of RAM. Read the rest
With Vaunt, Intel is taking steps toward solving the Glasshole paradox: how to get consumers to wear wearables that don't make wearers seem like bad clichés of wearable users. Read the rest
A tricked out Japanese wooden keyboard goes for $1400. Cheap ones are just $40. Linus tests if it's worth the additional money.
Spoilers: it's not worth it. He says, "I can't be-leaf how much I paid for this thing. I feel like a total sap."
• $1,400 Wooden Keyboard vs. a $40 one (YouTube / Linus Tech Tips) Read the rest
"Track your salt intake, stream your favorite music and set the dining ambiance with mood lighting!"
Smalt is a game changer, people. They need your support on Indiegogo to make this dream a reality.
Read the rest
Ask any photographer or filmmaker about the lamest question they get the most, and they'll probably say questions about what gear they use. Georges Antoni showed that camera doesn't matter as much as other factors by shooting the June Elle Australia cover on an iPhone 7 Plus: Read the rest
Bright Sun Films' Abandoned series looks at Circuit City's steady rise and dizzying fall in the world of retail consumer electronics. Read the rest