Dec 31, 2011

These Unwearable Specs Poorly Hide a Digital Camera

If you fancy yourself an amateur Bond, there are plenty of high-tech glasses available that discreetly hide a compact camera. This isn't one of them. In fact, these Fuuvi Megane glasses aren't going to fool anyone.

But I guess they're not supposed to either. It looks like novelty is the name of the game here, with the $60 red, black, blue, or white glasses hanging from your neck with an included obnoxious gold chain.

They're a stylish fashion accessory more than anything. Albeit, a stylish fashion accessory capable of shooting 2048x1536 pixel stills and NTSC quality video. A microSD/SDHC card provides up to 16GB of storage, while a USB charged battery lets you capture up to an hour of video before it conks out. More here.

Skype’s Giving Manhattan Free Wi-Fi For New Year’s

If you live in NYC, or are headed there for the massive clusternut of cold and pain that is the Times Square ball drop, you can officially leave your data plan behind. Skype's flooding the island with free, fast Wi-Fi from noon tomorrow until noon on January 1.

Skype says 16 neighborhoods are covered in all, including Times Square, Union Square, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and most of the places where you can buy a $5 street pashmina. Just find a Skype Wifi hotspot on your mobile device, connect, and browse. Or at least, that seems to be the case; you may need to go through Skype on your desktop or iOS device. In either event, the service will be provided by Towerstream, which has hopefully girded its access points for the coming onslaught.

It's the second time in the last few weeks that Skype has played Wi-Fi Claus; its free airport Wi-Fi offer expired just a few days ago. And while there's no guarantee that the network can handle the crush of millions of New Yorkers and/or tourists googling Snooki's weight loss secrets, it's certainly a nice gesture.

Dec 30, 2011

Girl With a Funny Talent

Ed Hardy Headphones Hope to Ink up Your Ears

Celebrity headphone endorsements are very à la mode right now, and we've seen Ed Hardy's trademark tattoo stylings defacing gadgetry before, so, if you were the one lamenting the glaring omission that was Hardy-branded cans, then he obviously got your letter. The new "Stereo" range evidently refers to the two designs available thus far: Skull and Bones for the over-ears ($66), while your in-ears get some Tiger power ($29). The in-ears also feature a microphone, presumably so you can call for help from the fashion police. Both are available now here.

Dec 29, 2011

1 Million Galaxy Notes Shipped Worldwide

The Galaxy Note, Samsung's unconventional powerhouse, has managed to ship 1 million units in under two months. While eager US customers still wait for the 5.3-inch tabletphone hybrid to arrive on their shores, the Galaxy Note has apparently struck a chord in Europe and Asia.

The number of units shipped is always more substantial than the number devices out there in end-users' (preferably large) hands, but it bodes well for the device's eventual reception in the US. Now, whether it will include an LTE radio, we'll have to wait and see.

Dec 28, 2011

MIT Scholar Builds a Self-balancing Unicycle to Roll Fast and Furious Around Campus

MIT student Stephan Boyer has built his own electrical uni-ride, which he's dubbing the "Bullet." The single-wheel transporter packs a custom MIG-welded steel body, two 7Ah 12-volt batteries, an ATmega328 chip and a 450-watt electric motor. While the Bullet isn't the speediest of solowheel demons (15mph max), it's on par with its $25,000 Ryno Motors counterpart. As far as power efficiency, the Bullet can go up to five miles on a single charge -- more than enough juice to hit a few classroom round-trips.

Volkswagen Is Forcing Employees to Turn Off Their BlackBerrys So They’ll Stop Working All the Time

BlackBerrys are still the de facto standard in the work force and represent a sort of leash an employer has on an employee. If you see that indicator light blink, you better get to work. The problem with that is that no employee ever stops thinking about work! VW wants to change that. They're turning off employee BlackBerrys after work.

It's an impressive and progressive idea that's sure to improve the quality of life of their employees. According to the Financial Times, VW's e-mail server will stop sending messages to an employee's BlackBerry 30 minutes after their shift is over and only start up again 30 minutes before their shift starts. That way, VW employees can really get away from their work and not feel weighed down by after hour messages. Live life! No stress! Save time for yourself.

Plus, the employees are probably thinking any reason to use a BlackBerry less is a good reason in itself.

Untethered Jailbreak now Available for pre-A5 iPhones, iPads and Touches

It's just a few weeks since pod2g revealed his untethered jailbreak for iOS 5 and -- boom -- all of a sudden it's up for the DL. The exploit has been incorporated into redsn0w 0.9.10, the Pwnage Tool and Chronic Devteam's Cydia package, and it works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (including the CDMA version), iPad 1, iPod Touch 3G and iPod Touch 4G, so long as they've been updated to iOS 5.0.1. Meanwhile, pod2g is reportedly now looking for a way to snap the shackles on A5-based devices too, but hopefully only after he's taken some rest -- a burned-out jailbreaker is no good to anybody. Full instructions here.

Dec 27, 2011

Where Christmas Lights Go to Die

Welcome to Shijiao. It's a bustling town in China that just so happens to be the unofficial capital of dead and unwanted Christmas lights. According to The Atlantic, 20 million pounds of old Christmas lights make it through Shijao every year. What  for?

The answer: slippers. The plastic and rubber that is used in Christmas lights wiring can also be re-purposed into slippers and other materials in China. Hence, the demand. Basically, China has figured out how to capitalize and find new life in our seasonal decorations. People who recycle the Christmas lights, separate the plastic wrap that insulates the copper wire and sells it independently from each other. On one end you have copper (which is plenty valuable) and on the other side you have the re-usable plastic. The process of getting there is not unlike panning for gold in the modern age.

Spire Installer Brings Siri to any Jailbroken iOS 5 Device, Legally -- Proxy Still Required

A few months of work by iOS hackers Grant Paul (aka chpwn), Steven Troughton-Smith and Ryan Petrich has culminated in the release of Spire, a new installer that will easily set up Siri on your jailbroken iOS 5 device. While Apple has kept its little helper exclusively constrained to the iPhone 4S, it now runs on iPads, iPhone 4, iPod touches and the iPhone 3GS, and while that's been done before they claim the other new trick is that it's legal, avoiding the copyright infringement inherent in previous hacks. 

When installed it will initiate a 100MB download of Siri directly from Apple so watch your bandwidth limits, and also be prepared to set up your own proxy server with donated info from an iPhone 4S to hold the line between Apple's backend and yourself. It's available on Cydia now so if you've been waiting for a way to get this feature for yourself it's not far away, however Troughton-Smith tells9to5 Mac that the next major step may not come until the iPhone 4S is jailbroken and they can avoid the proxy server issues altogether. More here.

Dec 26, 2011

An iPhone Case That Poops Flash Drives

The second addition to Hybrid Series line of iPhone cases is the aptly named USB. Because besides providing a protective plastic outer shell, the case also stores a thin flash drive in its—umm—posterior.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but the USB case will come in your choice of five different colors that can be mix and matched with the accompanying flash drives. Which themselves come in five different varieties, ranging in capacity from 2GB to 32GB. Probably dependent on how much data it consumed the night before.

Dec 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!

Yeah, it's pretty unfortunate that you've got to work tomorrow (well, unless you're down with Boxing Day), but let's take it one 24-hour window at a time, shall we? It's not as if you've had any shortage of gizmos to choose from this year, and while you aren't likely to get a Transformer Prime, there's plenty of other stocking stuffers to look forward to. Speaking of which, what'd you find under your tree this morning? A Kindle Fire? That new laptop you've been longing for? A few new cables to do... cable-y things with?

Dec 24, 2011

Use Siri on Your Mac (Sort Of)

Air Dictate is a clever little app that ports the power of Siri over to the Mac. Kind of. It doesn't have any of the bells and whistles of Siri (don't go starting conversations!) but rather, uses the extremely accurate speech recognition engine in Siri to dictate text to your Mac.

Basically, you talk into your iPhone 4S and words pop up on the Mac. You have to download a companion app on your Mac and make sure both the iPhone and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network. After that, speak away and you'll see your Mac log down every word you say. Definitely worth the buck if you prefer talking to typing.

Dec 23, 2011

Screenshots of Windows 8 Build 8172 Emerge, Looks a lot Like Windows 8

Hope you weren't expecting anything groundbreaking from the latest leaks of Windows 8, because so far as we can tell, build 8172 looks just about like the build 8102. That said, thesedo look a wee bit more polished than earlier betas, and there are a few appreciated shots of the store and a new look for settings. If that kind of nerd-speak gets you all hot and bothered, head on here with your eyes peeled.

Dec 22, 2011

It Scoops, Measures, and Spreads—Is This the World’s Greatest Spoon?

Quirky's latest creation is a flat spreader with a set of "living hinges" that allow it to fold up into a measuring spoon, so you can dole out the exact amount of peanut butter, cream cheese, or mayo. A set of labeled lines marks off teaspoon and tablespoon measurements, and thin grip strips on either side ensures it's not going to fall out of your hand while scooping or spreading like you're playing the inept user in an infomercial.

Pricing is to be determined once the Scoop goes into production, but it's safe to assume it will be on the reasonable side. After all, it's still just a spoon. More here.

Future MacBooks Could Be Powered by Fuel Cells

The latest patent application to come out of Cupertino could allow for new Macbooks that are slimmer, lighter, greener and couldprovide power for days without a charge. What's the magic ingredient? Fuel cells!

Dredged up by Apple Insider, Apple's patent indicates that hydrogen fuel cells would be used to send and receive power from a battery. But they also admit that developing a product which is small enough and cheap enough to be placed in one of their laptops will be a challenge.

Self-Healing Circuits Use Liquid Metal To Turn Electronics Into Superheroes

Researchers have been taking inspiration from X-Men: they've developed a way to create printed circuits that can heal themselves using liquid metal. The best bit is that, unlike X-Men, this is real.

So how the hell does it work? Essentially, the scientists have created tiny micro-capsules that contain liquid metal. When a printed circuit is made, a thin layer of these capsules can also be printed on top of the conventional strip of metal.

If a small crack forms in the printed circuit, usually that crack breaks the circuit. But with the micro-capsules in place, as the crack propagates some of the capsules are wrenched open, in turn releasing a small amount of liquid metal. That metal is enough to bridge the gap and keep the circuit working.

According to the researchers, it only takes microseconds for the micro-capsules to fill the gap when a crack appears. And most of the time, the circuits are repaired well enough to provide 99 per cent of the original conductivity.

Think of cars and airplanes that features hundreds or thousands of metres of circuitry — if faults could be fixed instantaneously there, that's a big deal.

But we're not just talking hard engineering here. In the home, technology like this could mean that minor faults in printed circuits, chips and even batteries could heal themselves. Imagine: No more junking electronics because of a tiny little fault.

Dec 21, 2011

World’s Smallest Flash Drive Makes It Even Easier To Misplace 16GBs

Measuring just 0.77 by 0.57 inches, and a mere 0.11 inches thick, the drive is able to be so small thanks to the Micro UDP chip approach. UDP stands for 'USB Disk In Package' and basically saves space by baking all of the electronics into a single moulded plastic drive. So the included tethered tag is the only place a logo could go.

When inserted into a USB port the drive becomes almost invisible, letting you add 4, 8, or 16GB of extra storage to a laptop when they're introduced early next year. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but who pays for flash drives these days? That's what trade shows are for. More here.

Dec 20, 2011

Firefox 9 now Available, Boasts Speedier JavaScript Handling

Internet feeling a bit sluggish recently? -- but before you sail the malware-laden sea of software that promises to "speed up" your computer, you may want to check out Firefox 9. Mozilla's latest browser update features a tweak in its Javascript engine that boosts its benchmark performance by over 30 percent -- meaning that the new Firefox ought to give script heavy websites a run for their money. 

In addition to the new Javascript trick, which is called Type Inference, Firefox 9 improves theme integration and swipe navigation for Mac OS X users. 

Dec 19, 2011

Find My Car Smart app Uses Bluetooth 4.0 to Help iPhone 4S Owners do the Obvious

Do you have an iPhone 4S? Do you drive a car? Do you have amnesia? If you answered yes to at least two-and-a-half of these questions, you'll probably be interested in Find My Car Smart -- a Kickstarter project that wants to help dudes find their cars, with the help of Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The system is relatively straightforward, consisting of nothing more than an iOS app (available now on iTunes for $0.99), and a USB-based Bluetooth proximity adapter. All you have to do is download the app, stick the dongle in your car, and let your iPhone 4S automatically mark your parking spot. Whereas similarly-designed apps typically require users to manually record their car's location before leaving the lot, Find My Car Smart allows you to forget even that, since the app will automatically record your GPS coordinates. FMC Smart says it won't start shipping adapters until it reaches its Kickstarter funding goal, though it's aiming to deliver its first 500 devices by January. More here.