Apr 8, 2012

Coffee Table With Built-In Saucers Means No More Stressing Over Coasters

With Brandon Gore's Orson Coffee Table you don't have to worry about guests not using a coaster for their drinks. That's because it's got a row of saucers built-in providing plenty of safe spots to place a beverage.

And even if a guest failed to use one of the saucers it's no big deal. Instead of being made of a beautifully-finished wood that's prone to rings and stains, the table's actually cast from a composite concrete covered with a reactive sealer that will shrug off any liquids. And worse comes to worse, a small stain is nothing a rented industrial grinder couldn't deal with. More here.

Apr 7, 2012

Google co-founder Sergey Brin Spotted Wearing Project Glass Prototype IRL

Wondering what it might be like to sport Google's Project Glass augmented reality HUD in your daily life? It would appear company co-founder Sergey Brin already knows, as he was spotted by tech pundits Robert Scoble and Thomas Hawk rocking a prototype at a Dining in the Dark charity event for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Scoble has already posted a couple of pictures with Brin on Google+, mentioning more photos would be forthcoming from Hawk after the event concluded and that he'd heard other people, including Google exec Vic Gundotra, have the devices already.

For now he mentions the glasses appeared to be "self contained" and that he could see a blueish light flashing on Brin's eyes. More here.


Oh say what I see by the darks light at night,
A crime of pure evil is at hand in my sight!
With a punch and a kick I patriotically fight,
As the star spangled banner doth wave in the night.
For in my heart I will always be true;
Always and forever for the red white and blue.

This Camping Spork Will Come To the Rescue In Chopstick-Only Restaurants

The only thing more embarrassing than not knowing how to use a set of chopsticks is your secret being found out in a restaurant that doesn't provide an alternative. Which is where this emergency Kung Foon spork will be worth its weight in titanium.

It's primarily designed for camping, serving as your typical fork/spoon combo for dining out of a pouch. But its specially-engineered handle includes slots allowing you to insert a set of chopsticks, turning it into an elongated utensil for dining emergencies in a hoity-toity establishment. It's definitely worth the $10 for the stainless steel version, but I'd opt for the lighter and stronger $17 titanium model instead, more here.

Finally, A Multitool Designed to Help You Blow Stuff Up

Gerber's newest pocket toolbox has everything you'd expect from a pocket full of do-it-all—plus a little extra firepower, you know, just in case you need to blow a pass through a mountain or go to war with a gopher.

Beyond the standard knife, screwdriver, ruler, and file assortment, this stealthy Multiplier packsa spike for punching holes in C4 explosives, and the pliers are outfitted with a blasting cap crimp. And it's swathed in a matte-black reflect light. How convenient!

Chances are if you're up to all of this explosives setting, you are in the military and you don't want anyone to know what you're up to so the stainless steel tool comes in a non-reflective black finish. The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 DET is "coming soon" for an unspecified price. More here.

AT&T to Begin Unlocking off-Contract iPhones This Sunday, April 8th

On Easter,  customers with iPhones -- those off-contract with accounts in good standing -- will be able to request a carrier unlock for their device. Once freed, any micro-SIM can be used -- provided its carrier's frequencies are supported -- by the smartphone. An AT&T spokesperson was able to confirm that "a policy change concerning iPhones" would indeed be rolled-out on Sunday, but declined to elaborate further. That sound you hear? International Love, being quietly spun from the corner office of Ralph de la Vega.

Here's AT&T's official statement on the matter:
Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones. The only requirements are that a customer's account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.

Apr 6, 2012

Now You Can Turn Yourself Into a Batman Action Figure

Most of our childhoods were spent alternatingly dressing up like superheroes and playing with action figures in their likeness. Now you can combine the two by actually getting your own head on the body of your favorite superhero, like Batman or Superman, on one of these custom action figures.

All you've got to do is send Personalised Superhero Action Figures two photos of yourself—one portrait and one profile—and the company will use them to make your noggin into an action figure. The head is shipped to you along with an actual action figure of your superhero of choice and tools to attach it, either permanently, or temporarily if you want to switch it out onto other bodies more here.

Wooden Floppy Disk Coasters Are Nostalgic Coffee Table Savers

Floppy disks might not be good for storing your data anymore, but they're still good for protecting your coffee table from pesky rings left by a sweaty can of beer.

These wooden floppy disk coasters are the perfect way to honor the memory of this now-obsolete piece of tech while you enjoy a cold beverage. And your living room furniture will remain unscathed!

Formed from birch wood, laser-engraved with all the vintage details, and covered with a matte finish, a set of four coasters will set you back $37, plus shipping. That price also includes you personalizing them with whatever message you choose.

You probably haven't laid eyes on a floppy disk in ages, and you definitely haven't used one for a long, long time. Now you've either moved all your data to the cloud or you're transporting documents on a thumb drive. But these cool coasters are a fun reminder of the way things used to be. And they're functional, too! More here.

Apr 5, 2012

New Apple Patent Hints at Wireless Charging for the iPhone and iPad

A new Apple patent discovered by AppleInsider shows plans for new product packaging and that's... pretty boring. What isinteresting about the new packaging though is that it may hint at future where iPhones and iPads would charge wirelessly.

The new packaging patent for the iPhone and iPad shows "unobtrusive packaging" which means the package would just show the actual product itself, not a picture. This sort of "unobtrusive packaging" isn't new of course (heck Apple uses it for the Magic Mouse) but they typically don't allow for charging to take place. In the patent, Apple shows an option of using an RF power transmitter where there's a base station that transmit power to the receivers (which would be the packaging itself) and charges everything back up. That means these iPhones and iPads could potentially have a home where they could be charged wirelessly.

Of course with patents being patents and iPhones and iPads selling as they do, who knows how useful this method of wireless charging inside the packaging will be. One thing for sure: it sure would be nice to charge your iPhone without any wires. More here.

These Nanostars Kill Cancer Without Ever Penetrating a Cell

Everyone can't stop talking about how nanotechnology is the future of healthcare, but so far we've not seen many useful applications. Finally, here's one: these nano-scale gold stars can kill cancer cells deadwithout ever entering them.

Well, these little bad boys have between five and ten points, and come coated in drug molecules which are attracted to a protein that all cancer cells produce in unusual quantities. That means that the points attach to the wall of cancerous cells. When blasted with light, those tiny points of contact offer up a massive concentration of the drug which pours into the cell and kills it, explain the researchers in ACS Nano. As Teri W. Odom, one of the scientists, explains to PhysOrg:
"Our drug-loaded gold nanostars are tiny hitchhikers. They are attracted to a protein on the cancer cell's surface that conveniently shuttles the nanostars to the cell's nucleus. Then, on the nucleus' doorstep, the nanostars release the drug, which continues into the nucleus to do its work."
Because the star never has to pass through the surface of a cell, it means that their size is unimportant—making their manufacture simpler and keeping costs down. The only snag is that, because they need to be triggered by light, the researchers envision them only being used in tumors close to the surface of the human body. Still, it's proof that nanotech can help save lives. More here.

Apr 4, 2012

Ultra Tiny Earbuds Let You Hear More Than Just Your Music

Earbud style headphones let you enjoy your music without the distraction of what's going on around you. But for safety's sake sometimes hearing distractions, like a honking horn, isn't a bad thing. So the ear Heros use a compact design that doesn't completely block your ears.

Each tiny speaker sits inside your ear canal, using a small wire extending into your outer ear to keep them in place. And because they're not crammed in there like a cork, other sounds can still be heard. The earHeros supposedly sound as good as a regular pair of earbuds, but also allow you to still hear conversations when they're being worn, or even talk on a phone.

They're particularly ideal for those who like to ride a bike and enjoy their music without being hit by a car. But the $150 earHero's subtle design means you can probably also get away with wearing them during boring college lectures, or long meetings with your boss about how you're always distracted. More here.

The Oldest Embryos Ever Discovered Show That Some Prehistoric Reptiles Were Viviparous

This is the oldest embryo ever discovered on Earth, found in Uruguay and Brazil. It is a baby mesosaur, a group of small aquatic reptiles from the early Permian. According to the researchers, it's the earliest known case of viviparity.

The study—published in the journal Historic Biology by Graciela Pi├▒eiroa, Jorge Ferigolob, Melitta Meneghelc and Michel Laurind, from France's National Center for Research—is very important. Until now, scientists didn't have such an early record of viviparity, which is key to understand the evolution of vertebrates in our planet.

The unborn baby fossil—partially articulated and well-preserved—was discovered inside their mother and it had no recognizable eggshell. This discovery demonstrates that, instead of laying eggs in which the animals develop from the embryo stage, the embryo actually grew up inside the body of the mesosaur mother, eventually leading to live birth.

Mesosaurus were small alligator-like creatures that could go as long as 6.6 feet (2 metres) in length and probably fed on crustaceans. They lived in the early Permian period, the last of the Paleozoic Era, 299 to 270 million years ago. More here.

Apr 3, 2012

Instagram for Android

In what may be the most anticipated iOS-only app to cross platforms and come over to Andriod, Instagram is finally here for Android devices. And it's (nearly) every bit as good as the original.

Android becomes the first platform other than iOS supported by Instagram, the highly popular social network and photo sharing service that has some 25 million users, until now all on iPhones, iPods and iPads. The company had intentionally been methodical and, well, slow to release an app on additional platforms. But Instagram announced the new version in a blog post earlier today. And it's available to download right now.

The app will work with Android devices running versions 2.2 and higher that support OpenGL ES 2. It seems to have rough feature parity with the iOS versions (including sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare, with Flickr on the way), the familiar truckloads of filters, and Lux—a feature that automatically fixes your photo processing.

You can download it right now here.

There’s Absolutely No Shame In Wearing Pants With a Built-in Picnic Table

By adding a triangular patch of fabric to the crotch and a strategically oriented pocket on the side, the geniuses at Aquacalda have created these Pic Nic Pants—the perfect jeans for a complete dining experience wherever you choose to plop down.

When standing, the fabric is loose enough so you can still walk around. When sitting cross-legged, the gusset stretches taut, providing a stable place to put a plate full of food. And that side pocket is the perfect spot to hold a drink or cutlery.

Now if they could only integrate a Hibachi grill into the cuffs and a condiment dispenser in the fly. More here.

Apr 2, 2012

Microsoft Announces Special Edition Chrome Series Xbox 360 Controllers

There's no console to match, but Xbox 360 owners who prefer things a little shinier than your run-of-the-mill controller will soon have a trio of new options to consider courtesy of Microsoft. It's just announced three new Chrome Series special edition controllers that will be available in "mid-May" for $54.99 apiece. Those come in your choice of blue, red or silver, and each feature the so-called "transforming" D-pad along with everything else you'd expect from a wireless Xbox 360 controller.

Ashton Kutcher to Play Steve Jobs in Upcoming Movie

Since Steve Jobs' death, there's been some speculation as to who might play him in the inevitable string of biopics. Here's the first:according to Variety, Ashton Kutcher is set to play the role of Jobs in a new indie movie.

Over the weekend, Jeff Sneider wrote for Variety that Kutcher will appear in an indie flick directed by Joshua Michael Stern from a script by Matt Whiteley. Apparently, the movie already has funding and filming will commence in May. More here.

Apr 1, 2012

Lightweight Carbon Fiber Axe Is More Of an Artistic Masterpiece Than a Tool

Who says artists can only use paints and canvas, or musical instruments, to craft a masterpiece? The folks at Blue Ant Studio deserve a spot in the Louvre for its lightweight but strong Carbo Axe made from titanium and carbon fiber.

The axe was designed with help and input from the military's EOD—or explosive ordnance disposal—community and features a hardened titanium core and a carbide-tungsten cutting edge sandwiched between layers of carbon fiber. The rest of the axe, including the handle and fastening hardware, is a mix of carbon fiber and titanium as well, resulting in an incredibly light tool that's perfect for camping adventures when you have to carry all your gear. Or for just framing and mounting over a fireplace. More here.

Where Better To Store Your Earbuds Than On a Pair Of Ears?

Tired of spending ten minutes unraveling your headphones like they're a MENSA puzzle when you take them out of your pocket? Then you need a cable wrap, and what's more apropos for storing a set of earbuds than a disembodied set of ears?

They're made from soft silicone so you can actually stick the 'bud' end of your headphones inside each ear, and then wrap the remaining cable around the bridge that connects them ensuring they'll be untangled the next time you need them. More here.

Mar 31, 2012

Sinking Mugs Are a Functional April Fool’s Day Prank

You're probably not going to fool most adults into thinking these ceramic coffee mugs have actually sunk into a table. But kids are easy targets, and this sight gag is sure to blow their minds. Even if it's not April 1st.

For those who might be wondering how such sorcery is possible—don't worry—the mugs don't bend the laws physics or require the mastery of a portal gun. They were just moulded with the bottoms sheared off to create this effect.

Full sizeAt $15 each in brown or white it's definitely a pricey gag, but the mugs are still functional. And as an added bonus, their limited capacity could be an easy way to cut down on your caffeine consumption every morning. More here.

Apple's App Store Revenue Still Leading, but Amazon Appstore Close Behind

Flurry's latest round of analytics -- which measured revenue of 11 million daily active users from mid-January through the end of February 2012 -- shows Amazon's Appstore pulling in a shocking amount of revenue given the short life that it has lived. Apple's strength in sales has been well documented, but the latest report shows that for every $1 generated in the iTunes App Store, $0.89 is being spent in the Amazon Appstore. Looking more broadly, the numbers show that just $0.23 are generated in the Google Play halls for every $1 spent in the App Store, but that's hardly a new phenomenon; the ease of sideloading (amongst other factors) has raised complaints from Android developers for years now.

Flurry's conclusion is that Google's core strength simply isn't in running a store -- something it's about to do once more with Android slates -- while both Apple and Amazon excel in doing just that. Curiously, Windows Phone and BlackBerry were left off of this report, hoping to see those cats thrown in the next 'go round. After all, RIM sure seems certain that its developers are making out just fine. More here.