Nov 30, 2012

Researchers Can Make Bread Stay Fresh for 60 Days

Most foods deteriorate over time, but bread's a major culprit, often going stale after just a couple of days. Now, though, a US research company claims to be able to make your loaf stay fresh for up to 60 whole days.

The secret? Um, a gigantic microwave. No, seriously. The company, called—wait for it—Microzap, has developed a long, metallic microwave device for the purpose. The concept was orignally developed to kill bacteria like salmonella, but the team put a slice of bread through the thing and noticed it didn't go stale. In fact, even after 60 days the bread "had the same mould content as it had when it came out of the oven." Nice!

Crucially, this microwave is a little fancier than the one in your kitchen. Don Stull from Microzap explained to the BBC:
"We introduce the microwave frequencies in different ways, through a slotted radiator. We get a basically homogeneous signal density in our chamber - in other words, we don't get the hot and cold spots you get in your home microwave."
Of course, it remains to be seen whether consumers want bread that lasts for 60 days. There's something about the concept that seems a little unnerving—but what price a fresh sandwich? More here.

This Portable Bluetooth Speaker Is Different Because It Looks Weird and You Can’t Break it

The world is seething with a billion cheap, portable Bluetooth speakers. To differentiate itself from the pack, Boom Movement has created this thing. It's called the Urchin, and the silicone cloaked beast looks as bizarre as its name implies. It's also certified shock and water-resistant.

The Urchin will cost $150 when it's available at the beginning of February. Additional colorful silicone covers will be available for 20 bucks a pop, if dressing up consumer electronics is your thing.

Boom Movement's audio and design pedigree is impressive: It's an offshoot of the same company that owns undeniably legit Polk Audio. The Urchin is supposedly designed to maximize the full-range potential of its pair of dinky speakers with minimum distortion.

But even if The Urchin sounds better than the competition, you have to wonder if that's going to be enough to help it stand out from the other $150 Bluetooth numbers out there. If not, maybe people will find it while searching for an odd, indestructible fashion statement. More here.

You Can Buy an Unlocked iPhone 5 Now

If you've been waiting to buy an unlocked iPhone 5, you have your chance now. Apple just began selling the unlocked iPhone 5 after promising it'd become available "several weeks" after the initial launch. The prices will be $649 for 16GB, $749 for 32GB and $849 for 64GB. Ship time is a week and be sure to check if the unlocked iPhone 5 works on your carrier. More here.

Nov 29, 2012

Moebius Hanger Bends Time and Space To De-Wrinkle Your Shirts

Don't even try to wrap your head around this twisted plywood hanger. It's clearly only designed to support the shirts, belts, scarves, and other accessories of the world's greatest mathematicians and physicists. No one else has any chance of understanding the mysteries of the universe that let this hanger exist.

So be warned; Etsy will gladly let you drop $13 on one, but you'll be getting far more than you bargained for. On the bright side at least you'll have someplace to hang your straight jacket after you go completely insane trying to comprehend this creation and have to be committed. More here.

Japan Unveils Prototype of New Maglev Train, Promises Speeds of up to 311 mph

More than a year after the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Tokai) received construction approval to get going on its maglev railways, it has finally unveiled a Series L0 prototype that would put its current bullet train system to shame. Designed to travel at 311 mph, a single one of these high-speed marvels is designed to carry about 16 carriages, which translates to about 1,000 commuters. 

While Japanese travelers already enjoy a speedy 90-minute trip from Tokyo to Nagoya, this new maglev system promises to cut that journey to just 40 minutes. Announced nearly five years ago, the project has since been extended to include an Osaka-Tokyo leg and will cost around nine trillion yen (approximately $112 billion) when all is said and done. 

Don't pack your bags just yet though; the maglev's Nagoya rail isn't scheduled to go live until 2027, and the boarding call for Osaka isn't until 2045. Of course, if you need to ride electromagnetic rails now, there's always China's Shanghai Transrapid, which has been ferrying passengers to and fro the Pudong airport since 2004 -- it once reached speeds of 501km/h (311mph). More here.

Nov 28, 2012

The World’s Most Expensive Lego Is A $14,500 Solid Gold Brick

With all the insane, high tech Lego contraptions running around these days, it's easy to overlook the beauty in a single, elemental brick — unless that element is solid, 14-carat gold.

These standard-sized, 2x4 Lego bricks were only given out once or twice a year from 1979-1981. Even then, only select business partners and Lego employees clocking in 25 years of employment had a chance of getting their hands on these rarest of accolades.

But thanks to the internet, these bricks aren't just restricted to Lego legends anymore. Anyone (with $14,500 to burn) can buy their very own, shimmering block from Brick Envy, an online store that has somehow found one in their possession.

This particular brick's origins remain a mystery. So for whoever does end up being the lucky buyer, hopefully the bright, shiny object will be enough to keep away thoughts of the mysterious fate of its original master. More here.

Cadbury Chocolate Will Literally Melt In Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand

The bright minds in Cadbury's R&D department have done something amazing—they've createdchocolate that won't melt. Willy Wonka has to be real. Just has to be.

The "temperature tolerant" candy remained solid, even after spending three hours in an incubator where the temp was 104 degrees, according to its patent filing. At that point it was still solid when pressed with a finger, and it didn't collapse into a brown sticky, molten mess like you'd expect. The logical fear here is that it might not actually melt in your mouth at this point, which would pose a threat to your digestive system, but apparently with a little more pressure it can be broken.

So how does it work? First of all, assuming Oompa Loompas play an important role in the process. But also, researchers at Cadbury found a way to break sugar particles into even smaller pieces, diminishing the amount of fat they're coated with, which apparently makes chocolate bars impervious to heat. Do you live south of the equator? Do you have a habit of leaving candy in a hot car? Do you find melted chocolate in your pant pockets often? Your worries are over. More here.

Those Skinny New iMacs Go on Sale November 30

Announced in September at Apple's iPhone event, the latest desktop machines are just 5mm thin. The base 21.5-inch model has a 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and starts at $1,300. The 27-incher starts with a 2.9 GHz quad-core i5 processor and pricing begins at $1,800. Each machine can be bumped up all the way up to i7 if you please.

The bigger of the two has a resolution of 2560 by 1440. Both have four USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt, 32GB of RAM, and as much as 768GB of flash storage. There's also an SD card, gigabit ethernet, and a fusion drive, which is 128GB of flash storage plus 1 or 3 TB of hard drive combined into one hard drive. And they're skinny enough that they'll fit nicely under that Douglas fir. More here.

Nov 27, 2012

Nintendo Sold 400,000 Wii Us in Its First Week, And Almost As Many Old Wiis

The numbers are in and it turns out the Wii U launch went pretty well with around 400,000 consoles sold in its first week. It's not as much as the 600,000 Wiis sold at launch, but it's nothing to sneeze at. And neither are the 300,000 aging Wiis that sold last week, either.

For perspective, the Xbox 360 was able to take the title for most popular console in October by moving 270,000 units. With the help of Black Friday, both Nintendo consoles were able to beat that number. What's more impressive than the Wii U's sizable opening sales is that the now six-year-old (and admittedly cheap at $100 and lower for some Black Friday promotions) Wii managed to achieve 50 percent of the enormous peak it hit all the way back in 2006, which seems like practically forever ago.

Overall, Nintendo managed to move 1.2 million devices including the Wii U, Wii, and a number of handheld devices last week. While it looks like the Wii U is coming out of the gate reasonably strong, it's future—especially considering a (probably) imminent next-gen offerings from Microsoft and Sony—is a bit unsure, but maybe it's inhereited its predecessors staying power. We'll have to wait and see. More here.

Nov 26, 2012

Massive Mars Dust Storm Tracked

NASA keeps on delivering some awesome footage from the red planet. Now NASA brings us a massive dust do storm spotted by its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The effects of the dust storm has showed a drop in atmospheric clarity, drop in air pressure and increased nighttime temps from rovers Curiosity and Opportunity.

The dust storm is quite large to the point it is classified as a regional dust storm. Instead of reflecting sunlight, it is absorbing it and causing the entire planet to heat up 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the dust storm keeps expanding, there is slight chance Opportunity’s solar panels can be caked with dust, reducing its energy supply. Curiosity on the other hand has radioisotope thermoelectric generator that won’t be affected by the dust storms. More here.

Samsung Galaxy Note II Global Sales Exceed 5 Million Units

Samsung announced Sunday that sales of its 5.5-inch phablet have exceeded 5 million worldwide since it first began selling two months ago. The South-Korean consumer electronics company stated the sales of the Note II have exceeded far more quickly than its predecessor which saw worldwide sales reach the same 5 million mark in five months after its release.

Apple just added the Note II on the long list of devices it is asking the court to include with its recent win against Samsung. It is no surprise the Note II is selling at such a quick pace considering its large screen, multi-tasking, and speedy quad-core processor. More here.

BlackBerry 10-N Series Parts Leaked

With BlackBerry 10 and its associated devices slated to be released early next year, news and leaks keep hitting the Internet with increased frequency. Last week a BlackBerry 10 L-Seriesimage made the rounds and now this weekend we get treated to an alleged image of N-Series keyboard parts.

Immediately one change that is noticeable is the elimination of a curved keyboard that previous QWERTY BlackBerry devices have sported. Which makes sense considering a curved physical keyboard takes real estate that could otherwise be used for a larger display or be consolidated for smaller form factor.

For BlackBerry users out there, are you likely to go with touchscreen or QWERTY keyboard? More here.

Nov 25, 2012

Facebook Proposes Changes, Closer to Instagram Integration

Facebook Inc is looking to make some changes to its policies and terms of services, starting with eliminated the current process that allows users of the social network to vote on changes.

Additional changes include who can email users, opening the emailing network to everyone, not just to those in your immediate social network. When asked about potential spammers gaming the system, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said Facebook will monitor user interaction and feedback to improve services.

Finally, Facebook hopes to merge Instagram and Facebook profiles in to one shared social network profile, making it users to share photos through Facebook.

These changes are meant to improve Facebook profitability, especially since Facebook’s stock has taken a beating for not being able to monetize at a rate that investors had expected.

Through this week, Facebook is allowing users to comment on whether to approve these changes. If the more than 7,000 comments are made the changes will be put to a vote, if vote reaches 30% yeses then it is approved.

What do you think of the proposed changes? More here.

Nov 24, 2012

PSY’s Gangnam Style Is Now The Most Watched Video on YouTube Ever

Justin Bieber’s “Baby” has been knocked out of the throne as the most watched YouTube video of all time. South Korean pop-star PSY’s “Gangnam Style” now has more than 806,283,000 views on YouTube — and that’s just since July, when it was published to the popular video site. According to Billboard, the video also has the most “likes” ever (5.37 million). Bieber’s “Baby” only has 1.4 million likes. More here.

Shopping From Mobile Devices Spiked 65.3% This Thanksgiving

Mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, are more and more used as a way to purchase goods remotely. Instead of running off from Thanksgiving dinner early to hit up deals at local stores, shoppers this year were purchasing products directly from their mobile devices.

According to IBM Smarter Commerce, mobile shopping jumped 65.3% on Thanksgiving this year from the same day last year. iPad owners were specifically responsible for 10.7% of all mobile purchases, too. As The Boston Globe suggests, mobile devices not only help us make purchases without having to sit at a computer or get in long lines at a brick and mortar store, but they also allow us to compare prices across multiple outlets very quickly.

Did you sneak your phone or tablet under the Thanksgiving table to make a purchase? If so, for what? More here.

Nov 23, 2012

Apple announces Black Friday deals: $101 off laptops, up to $61 off the new iPad

The finest Black Friday deals may involve risking life and limbin a Best Buy scrum, but that doesn't mean you can't save some cash shopping online. Apple's one-day shopping event has begun, with the company knocking $41 off the price of the 16GB 4th generation iPad and $61 off the 64GB model. If you'd prefer to stick with the older iPad 2, it's available with $31 taken off the tag, and you can also get money off accessories like the AirPort Extreme ($21 cheaper) and EarPods ($7 cheaper). On the computing side, Cupertino has deducted $101 off the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, MacBook Pro andMacBook Air. More here.

Instagram Records Broken on Thanksgiving

Over 10 million photos with Thanksgiving mentions were posted on Thanksgiving Day. At its peak, 200 photos per second were posted with Thanksgiving mentions. According to Instagram, every single traffic record was broken.

Were your images one of the 10 million? Post yours below. More here.

Nov 22, 2012

YouTube App Comes to Nintendo Wii U, Works on GamePad

Those of you who picked up a Wii U this week will likely be spending some of your free time this Thanksgiving enjoying your new console. You’ll be pleased to know, then, that you can now use it to show off your favorite YouTube videos on your HDTV, thanks to the official YouTube app.

Available from today, the app can be downloaded from directly within the Wii U main menu. Its user interface resembles that of the YouTube app released for the original Wii, but this time around, it supports 1080p media playback, as well as the Wii U’s new GamePad. Get one here.

Location Marking Stickers Guarantee People Will Put Your Stuff Back Where It Belongs

Designed for neat freaks, the obsessive compulsive, or anyone tired of borrowed gear not returning to where it belongs, these simple location marking stickers serve as the perfect reminder as to where your stuff goes.

At $17 for a pack of 60 they're a little expensive, so thankfully you DIY-minded types can accomplish the same thing with a roll of electrical tape and a pair of scissors. That is, if you can find where the last person who used them left them. More here.

Nov 21, 2012

This Delicious Lego Turkey Platter Will Feed No One on Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, you could spend six hours cooking a stuffed 18-pound turkey for a bunch of ungrateful family members. Ugh but so much waiting—not to mention the tedious preparation. Instead, spend considerably less time on following the step-by-step instructions for this 102-piece Lego build just posted by international man of bricks Chris McVeigh. More here.

Spill-Proof Sippy Cup Wine Glasses Solve Your Drinking Problem

Are you tired of getting drunk on wine during dinner and then spending the rest of the evening trying to keep your balance and not spilling your libations everywhere? Well there's now a simple solution to that problem that doesn't require 12 time-consuming steps.

These $15 Vino2Go wine glasses look like sophisticated stemwear, but are actually designed as durable double-walled tumblers complete with a spill-proof sippable lid. So they won't shatter when dropped, and won't leak a drop of whatever fine vintage you've filled them with. Just make sure to keep them out of the reach of toddlers. More here.

Samsung Galaxy S IV Rumored to Get 8-Core Processor, 13MP Camera, 1080p Display

With Samsung’s Galaxy S III becoming this year’s best-selling smartphone, the Korean company will obviously want to follow it up with a fourth. But how does it improve upon a device that is already way ahead of most of its competitors? Well, according to new rumors, with an 8-core processor, a 1080p display, and a 13-megapixel camera.

Let’s tackle the possibility of a 13-megapixel camera first. This seems like a more than feasible upgrade for the Galaxy S IV. Reports had suggested that the Galaxy Note II would get a 13-megapixel shooter, but Samsung was forced to use an 8-megapixel one because Sony couldn’t manufacture them fast enough.

By the time the Galaxy S IV enters production, Sony may be able to churn them out a little quicker. What’s more, it’s unlikely Samsung would release a fourth Galaxy S handset that has the same 8-megapixel camera as its last two predecessors.

As for the 1080p display, that’ll measure in at 4.99 inches, according to a source for Korean site Asiae, with a whopping 441 pixels per inch. Samsung has already been producing 1080p smartphone displays, according to recent reports, and its own flagship handset is likely to be the first to employ one.

What about the 8-core processor? Well, that’s a different story. The Galaxy S III was one of the first smartphones to offer a quad-core processor, and it’s plenty fast enough for the things we do on our devices in today’s world. That may change over time, but for the foreseeable future, a quad-core CPU is just fine.

With that said, adding an 8-core processor to the Galaxy S IV seems crazy to us. Not only is it entirely unnecessary, but just think how quickly it’ll kill your battery — especially when coupled with a 4.99-inch 1080p display.

It’s probably going to be some time yet before we see the Galaxy S IV — its predecessor was only released five months ago — so expect these rumors to change a lot over the next few months.

Are you looking forward to the Galaxy S IV? More here.

Nov 20, 2012

Western Digital Ships 4TB WD Black Hard Drive

The 4TB hard drives that we've seen gradually filter into the marketplace have come with a few snags for desktop users; they're usually either external drives we'd never boot from or pokey internal models not meant for anything speed-intensive. Western Digital doesn't want us settling. 

It's shipping a 4TB version of its WD Black desktop drive that holds nothing back for the sake of the extra storage, spinning at a healthy 7,200RPM while packing 64MB of cache, dual processing and a two-stage actuator that together keep the drive working at full burn. At $339, the SATA 6Gbps drive undoubtedly carries a premium in trying to be the best of all worlds; it may be worth the expense for performance-minded types who've been out of options (and capacity) for awhile. More here.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Next Robocop Movie

I hardly remember the original Robocop movie other than I thought he looked freaking cool. The upcoming remake of Robocop may have die-hard fans worried but I'm always for any sort of movie that marries futuristic weapons with robots and humans.

This sizzle reel shows some concept art for Robocop along with director Jose Padilha's thoughts of the whole thing. Joel Kinnaman, who's going to be Robocop, also pops up to discuss his take on remaking the movie. Are you guys excited for this movie or do you worry that it's going to ruin everything? More here.

Nov 19, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Rakes in $500 Million on Launch Day

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is being said to have earned an Earth-shattering $500 million on the first day alone. All across the board, retailers are claiming the biggest selling game launch of all time. Gamestop sold one million copies through midnight launches alone. Amazon has never seen anything like it before.

And of course, CEOs are out to compare their earnings next to movies rather than the competition within their own markets. Activion’s Bobby Kotick seems more concerned with Star Wars and Harry Potter than Halo or Battlefield:

“With first day sales of over half a billion dollars worldwide, we believe Call of Duty is the biggest entertainment launch of the year for the fourth year in a row. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars,’ the two most successful movie franchises of all time. Given the challenged macro-economic environment, we remain cautious about the balance of 2012 and 2013.”

More here

More Than 1 Million Apps Have Been Submitted to Apple’s App Store

More than 1 million applications have been submitted to Apple’s iTunes App Store since it opened its doors in 2008. The milestone was noted by Appsfire, which tracks the iTunes App Store.

493,289 of all of the applications submitted were paid apps and the company estimates that there are currently 736,247 applications in the app store, 45 percent of which require a payment to own. Since that’s far below the 1 million figure, one has to assume that thousands of apps have either vanished or were rejected entirely by Apple. A report at the end of October revealed that Google’s Play Store now has more than 700,000 applications, too, which suggests it’s quickly catching up to Apple’s ecosystem offering. More here.

Are Facebook and Yahoo Teaming Up on Search?

Are Facebook and Yahoo getting ready to go in on a search venture together? According to a report from The Sunday Telegraph sourced by anonymous insiders, yes. Rumor has it that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have been chatting about working together to maybe get a search engine going.

Ever since Mayer took the helm at Yahoo, the company has been taking a bit of a turn towards search, and by teaming up with Facebook, it may be able to get itself back into the game full time. A partnership with Facebook could get Yahoo the kind of traffic it needs to work on its algorithm, and Facebook has been expressing interesting in getting into search for a while now.

At the moment, Yahoo relies on Bing, and signed up to do so for a whole ten years, only three of which are up. A search agreement with Facebook would likely put some stress on that deal, quite possibly bringing it to a breaking point. Of course these rumors of an alliance are only that, rumors. And there's no way of telling how far along any actual negotations may be. More here.

Nov 17, 2012

Apple Now Has a Patent On Turning Digital Pages

I hope you're not a huge fan of skeumorphic virtual page turning. If you are, I hope you have an iOS device. Why? Because Apple just got a patent for that. Yup, Apple has a patent on turning fake pages.

The patent is—as valuable patents tend to be—both simple and extremely broad. The design patent merely covers the sequential animation of the frames show in the three figures, but makes no mention of what this animation applies to. So this patent is actually broader than just an eBook thing, although that's probably it's only use. On the other hand though, it should only apply to that specific animation, not others like it.

This is just a design patent, so it's not like Apple's ownership of this patent will keep other eReaders from providing functionality; it'll just keep them from looking like books while doing it. Or force them to simulate page turning from the top corner instead of the bottom. Granted, this isn't world shattering stuff, but it all seems pretty stupid. Is this really stuff that we need to be patenting? More here.

Nov 16, 2012

Sina Weibo Exceeds 400 Million Users, Sees Increasing Mobile Traffic

Microblogging site Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, reported a pretty dazzling statistic in its third quarter results: it now boasts over 400 million registered users. It can't be sure how many are active, of course, but it's still a vast number considering appeal is localized to the People's Republic. It also means is winning the popularity contest with social media competitor Tencent, although it humbly acknowledges their services are somewhat different. The company's platform is still evolving, and it's only recently seen mobile usage exceed computers, so is shifting product focus accordingly. More here.

What the Hell Is China Building Here?

Not happy with building mysterious gigantic structures in the desert, the Chinese are now building inter-dimensional portals in the middle of their cities. What the hell is this 515-foot (157 meters) high metal structure in the the city of Fushun, in northeast China's Liaoning province?

Oh wait, I know, it's just another example of the China's building craze, the one that has got them to build entire ghost cities made of thousands of pre-fab buildings.

It's made of an astounding 3,000 tons of steel and it will glow at night—decorated with 12,000 LED lights. According to Fushun Municipal Government's officials, this titanic structure does absolutely nothing except serve as an elevated sighting position. They claim it is pretty "landscape architecture"—like the Eiffel Tower. It uses four elevators to take people to the top.

The Chinese media has been harsh about the building after a blogger posted these photos on Sina Weibo, which is the country's "largest microblog platform." Not surprising, since this thing costs $16 million.

The ciy's defense: "there's not enough people to build entertainment, so we just build something pretty, OK?! ARE WE COOL NOW!". Or something like that. They also claimed that they don't have enough citizens to build other more useful buildings. They have all the hospitals, recreation centers and municipal buildings they need, so they probably decided to blow their excess budget in this thing.

According to Fushun's Urban Construction Bureau, the "Ring of Life" means "a round sky and a path leading to a paradise in heaven." More here.

Nov 15, 2012

Apple Stock Falls to Lowest Price Since May

Apple’s stock has been tanking for the past several weeks, perhaps adjusting to market conditions. Here’s a trivial explanation for why a stock price might fall even when a company appears to be performing well: sometimes in a weaker market a firm’s stock price will decline to meet demand expectations, suggesting that perhaps it was too high before.

One might assume, in that scenario, that it will climb back up to somewhere between its current low and its previous high. Right now, it’s trading at the lowest price since May, six months ago, as noticed by 9to5Mac. The stock price is around $529 at the time of publication, and its market cap is at $499 billion. In August, the company became the most valuable company in the world when its market cap hit $621 billion on a stock price of $663. It closed just above $702 in September. More here.

This Keyboard’s Numpad Doubles as a Gesture-Friendly Touchpad

If you want to take advantage of all the handy gesture shortcuts in Windows 8, but would rather skip the tablet or touchscreen display, Elecom's got a new space-saving keyboard that's right up your alley. It's a full-sized wireless keyboard complete with a dedicated number pad that does double-duty as a gesture-compatible touchpad.

When it drops in December for around $105, the Elecom TK-FDP055BK will also be able to be used like a laptop's trackpad for controlling the cursor and performing more common gestures like scrolling. But at the push of a button it will revert back to functioning like a typical number pad. Accountant-types who work with numbers all day might not appreciate the lack of physical keys, but the average PC user should find the added functionality more useful, particularly if they've already updated to the latest version of Windows. More here.

Nov 14, 2012

Skype Updated with iPhone 5 Support

The iOS 6 version of Skype has been officially updated to support the larger 4-inch display on the iPhone 5. Prior to today, the application showed borders along the top and bottom of the screen, which was a bit frustrating since it didn’t provide an full, more immersed experience. Skype also said it fixed several bugs in the application, although it’s initially unclear what bugs were prevalent. As always, Skype is available from the iTunes App Store for free. More here.

Baseball Bat Flashlight

You can pretend you're just a baseball fanatic, or prefer batting practice at night, but there's really only one reason someone is going to buy this heavy-duty machined aluminum flashlight shaped like a baseball bat. It's for protection—or more likely—for delivering physical intimidation to one's enemies under the darkness of night.

It's available in both 15-inch and 23-inch lengths for $36 and $46 respectively, but most will probably opt for the longer, heavier version. It's got a 3-watt LED bulb and various flashing modes, but again, these are features the flashlight's true target market probably cares nothing about. More here.

Nov 13, 2012

Are These the Most Popular Keys on a Keyboard?

In a cute, little art project, this keyboard supposedly shows the most used keys on a keyboard. Think of it as an infographic IRL. Do you agree that these buttons are the most popular key? I swear I use C more than that! More here.

This Ribbon Wall Charger Will Never Get Tangled in Your Bag

As if having to remember to bring along a charging cable isn't annoying enough, they seem to have a knack for becoming knotted while in your bag. But a company called Tylt has solved at least one of those problems with its Band Wall Charger that uses a ribbon design that's nigh impossible to get tangled.

The flat ribbon also wraps around the cylindrical plug for easy storage and cable management, and at just $40, available in four different colors, it looks like a nice alternative to your iPhone's included (30-pin connector) charger. Fingers crossed for a lightning version soon! More here.

Nov 12, 2012

Here’s Where to Watch Tomorrow’s Solar Eclipse

There's a solar eclipse coming tomorrow, and while it may only be visible over Northern Australia and the Pacific, there are a couple of places you can watch it remotely.

The eclipse is supposed to start at 3:35pm EDT tomorrow. The Slooh Space Camera has a live feed from Cairns, Australia that will start at 2:30pm EDT. Folks at Slooh say this dispatch should be particularly stunning, since the event is supposed to begin around sunrise in the area.

You can also watch a stream from Tourism Tropical North Queensland, which will also broadcast from Cairns starting at 2pm EST. And since it's an important reminder to all our friends in Australia catching the moon blotting out the sun in person—don't stare at it directly or you'll go blind. More here.

RIM Announces BlackBerry 10 Launch Events for January 30

Following a very lengthy wait, Research in Motion is finally going to launch BlackBerry 10. The Canadian company has today announced that it will hold simultaneous launch events around the world on January 30, 2013, during which “details of the smartphones and their availability” will be announced.

“Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities,” said RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins on Monday.

“Thanks to our strong partnerships with global carriers and a growing ecosystem of developers, we believe our customers will have the best experience possible with BlackBerry 10. We are looking forward to getting BlackBerry 10 in the hands of our customers around the world.”

RIM has promised that it will unveil two new devices in January, which are expected to be the previously leaked L-Series and N-Series devices. The former is a touchscreen device without a physical keyboard, while the latter takes the traditional BlackBerry form. More here.

Nov 11, 2012

Apple Is Losing Its Magic For Investors – Share Prices Fall Sharply

Is the love affair with Apple over for investors? Some seem to think so, even despite the iPad Mini hype. Since September, when Apple shares peaked, the prices have fallen 20 percent — from $700 to $547 per share.

Apple just recently fired several executive staffers, and add the fact that Google’s Android is just killing it, in terms of marketshare — which surged from 57.5 percent to 75 percent — and these don’t spell confidence for Wall Street. And some wonder if maybe the company doesn’t have much more room to expand, meaning that its customerbase could be maxed out.

“It has just been wave after wave of bad news,” says Gene Munster, renowned analyst at Piper Jaffray. Cupertino, however, denies any problem, saying the company’s still growing perfectly fine, thankyaverymuch. And its stock is up 38 percent on the year, which is still positive growth. Even so, it’s hard to ignore the decline in share prices. We’ll have to wait and see if this is just a drip in the pan or the drumbeat of doom for a falling enterprise. More here.

Ballmer says Microsoft Surface RT Sales off to 'modest' Start

Microsoft's been holding Surface for Windows RT sales figures close to its chest so far, but CEO Steve Ballmer has allowed in an interview with Le Parisien that the much ballyhooed tablet is off to a "modest" start. The bombastic exec gave that appraisal while touting the imminent arrival of the tab's higher-powered sibling, Surface for Windows 8 Pro, though he didn't elaborate further. After all the cake it's no doubt lavished marketing the slate, we'll have to see if the software giant finds the hardware game tough to swallow. More here.

Users Start Giving Up on Streaming Video If It Takes Two Seconds to Load

The faster the Internet gets, the less patience we all have with even the most insignificant of waits. A new study shows that a mere two second delay is enough for many people to give up and move on.

According to the recent study, based on 2.3 million views by 6.7 million unique users, users will start abandoning "short" videos after two seconds, and that 20 percent have moved on after five seconds. As far as the study is concerned, "short" equals "less than 30 minutes," so you can probably imagine the migration happens even faster when you're talking about a one or two minute clip.

This mass buffering exodus isn't the same across the board however. A user's patience also depends on the type of network they're using. Fiber, Cable, and DSL users are all pretty similarly impatient, but mobile users are far more likely to wait around staring at the buffering animation like a chump, which isn't all too surprising.

Where do you stand on the Internet video waiting game? Does two seconds sound like an instant, or more like an eternity? More here.

Nov 10, 2012

VMultra Bundles USB hub, DVD drive, SD slot and 500GB HDD to Form Utimate Laptop Peripheral

The VMultra combines a USB hub, an SD card slot, a DVD±RW drive and 500GB of storage into a surprisingly slim package that connects to any computer via USB 3.0. If you like, you can even fit your own 2.5-inch hard drive in the SATA III bay. 

You'll have to take out the included 500GB HDD first of course. The company intends this to be a "perfect all-in-one peripheral," especially for notebook travelers looking to lighten their luggage; perhaps to make room for things like "clothes." Each VMultra will cost you $199.99 and will ship starting November 12th. More here.

Winter Sucks Less With Marshmallow Snowmen Chillin’ In Your Cocoa

For the longest time Just Born, the maker of Peeps, has been on the forefront of novelty seasonal marshmallow technology. But the company's monopoly ends now, here, with a mug-friendly Frosty marshmallow.

What would you rather have dissolving away in your hot cocoa? A gooey yellow baby chicken covered in sugar, or these adorable snowmen marshmallows sold in packs of five for $5?  More here.

Nov 9, 2012

The First 3D Printing Photobooth Is Like a Walk-In Shrink Ray

If you've ever thought it would be cool to have a miniature figurine of yourself—or maybe a loved one—just hanging out on your desk and doing it's thing, your day has come. The first 3D printing photobooth is due to open in Japan later this month.

From November 24th to January 14th 2013, those who wish get themselves a mini-me can go to the Eye of Gyre exhibition space in Harajuku for the procedure. The miniatures come in three sizes, roughly 4, 6, and 8 inches, and cost the equivalent of $265, $400, and $530 respectively, with modest discounts for groups. You can bet it'll still be expensive though. More here.

Giant Smiley Discovered In Mercury

NASA scientists are having a lot of fun with Messenger, the spacecraft now orbiting Mercury. Not only they are documenting the planet at a resolution of 200 meters per pixel, but they are spotting all kinds of fun stuff. A few weeks ago it was the Sesame Street's cookie monster. Today it's a smiley crater. 
It looks like even the craters on Mercury have heard of Bob Ross! The central peaks of this complex crater have formed in such a way that it resembles a smiling face. This image is oriented so north is toward the bottom.
So far, Messenger has taken 88,746 images "and extensive other data sets." After completing its primary mission—and still working like a champ—the spacecraft is going to capture another 80,000 images. More here.

You Might Literally Be Allergic To BlackBerry Phones

As if RIM wasn't already having enough trouble struggling for relevance with BlackBerry phones, there's yet another thing about the handsets that makes them a bit less appealing compared to iPhones and Android devices: you could actually be allergic to a BlackBerry, in the most literal sense.

According to a recent study, around one third of all BlackBerries contain nickel, a metal that causes allergic reactions in 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men. As if that wasn't bad enough, many of these phones also contain cobalt, yet another contact allergen. If you're allergic, symptoms can include eczema, blisters, lesions, swelling, and in extreme cases, using a BlackBerry can literally be a scarring experience. iPhones and Android phones, on the other hand, were found to be free and clear.

While many BlackBerries old and new have the offending metals, flip-phone models are by far the worst offenders, containing nickel a whopping 91 percent of the time. That's a pretty huge margin, but the fact that this hasn't been a huge issue yet probably means BlackBerries aren't out there ruining lives left and right. Still, if you've got a nickel allergy—or have been suffering from itchy, BlackBerry-face—it's just another reason to write off the suffering brand. More here.

Nov 8, 2012

LaCie’s New Waterproof USB Key Is Smaller Than Your House Key

The problem with little USB jump drives is that no matter how many you own, you've never got one when you need it. You could've have sworn you tossed one in your bag, but when it's time to pass files around, it's not there. That's why we're tempted to keep LaCie's new PetiteKeydangling from our keychains.

The PetiteKey comes in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB for $15, $23, and $40. It's waterproof down to 100-meters, scratch-resistant, and tough. There's a two-year warranty, should you want to test that toughness out. But best of all, it's much tinier than its cute-but-not-as-useful ancestor, the iamaKey: The little USB drive weighs 0.25 ounces and measures just 1.5 inches long. In other words, it's smaller and lighter than most actual keys, which means it's actually convenient enough to carry with your everywhere. More here.

A DNA Test Can Predict How Good Beef Will Taste

One cow looks much like another, but some provide meltingly tender meat while others are as tough as old boots. Fortunately, a team of researchers has devised a series of DNA tests that can predict how good beef will taste by the time it hits your plate.

Usually the meat industry takes a bit of a punt on which cows will provides the tastiest steak. Sure, concepts like marbling and hanging method are decent indicators, but a team of researchers from the National Agronomic Research Institute in Theix, France, think they can do better.

That's why they analyzed 3,000 genes involved in muscle biology in order to pick out ones that have an impact on meat qualities like tenderness, flavor and juiciness. Then, having selected genes they thought were important, the team developed a DNA chip which analyzes gene activity in beef samples and can spot fundamental differences in their makeup.

They pitted the chip against a panel of expert tasters and it seems to work well. In fact it was in full agreement, and they found that the genes the device analyzed accounted for up to 40 percent of the variability in tenderness between different samples. The results are published in BMC Veterinary Research.

Of course, the researchers aren't happy yet: the team only uses a handful of genetic markers at the moment, and the test only works with certain breeds of cow. Still, the theory's there, so before too long you might be buying beef based on genetic ranking, not hanging time. More here.

You Can Now Buy Wine from Amazon

Books, hahaha! Streaming video? Whatever. But wine, the blood of Bacchus, harbinger of groping and maybe more? Amazon—get dirt cheap bottles of wino sent straight to your door, you lush.

Starting today, anyone in California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and the District of Columbia can get up to six bottles in one order, with a shipping cost of just $10.

You'll have to get an adult to sign for your shipment at the door, and you can't get bubbly sent to an Amazon Locker yet—it's almost as if the company foresaw the interest of underage kids—but if you're a teen living in an apartment building with a doorman or front desk that signs for all packages, prepare to be swimming in gallons and gallons of cheap wine. More here.

Was This the World’s First Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock?

As long as you don't take the sun into consideration, this 18th century contraption could very well be the world's first alarm clock that uses light as a wake up trigger, instead of sound.

A spring-loaded mechanism triggered by its built-in clock releases a flint-lock that lights a pop-up candle. So if you needed to rise before the sun was up, you didn't have to fumble your way out of bed in the dark looking for a way to light a candle. Brilliant! More here.