Sep 13, 2012

The Worst Thing About the iPhone 5 Is Also the Most Brilliant

The iPhone 5 is many things. It's a pinnacle of product design. It's a mild annoyance for iOS app developers. It's very probably the next phone you buy. And it's also, by broadconsensus of the people who follow these things, totally boring.

Of course it is. Anything else, at this point, would be insane.

It Ain't Broke

It's easy to forget, with as much emphasis as Apple puts on its biannual show-and-tell extravaganzas, that its primary objective isn't to entertain us. It's to sell iPhones. Millions and millions and millions of iPhones.

The iPhone 5 will be on shelves on September 21st, which is one week before Apple's fiscal year ends and the holiday quarter begins. How important are those three months to Apple's bottom line? Last year during the same period, the iPhone 4S drove Apple's smartphone sales to 37 million units, and an overall profit of $13 billion. To put that in context, that's more money than Google made in all of 2011.

Those numbers aren't just impressive. They're unprecedented. The iPhone is the most valuable asset of one of the most valuable companies in history. So the question we should be asking isn't why didn't Apple make it more exciting. The question is—other than the standard spec and feature bumps—why would Apple change the iPhone at all? There's a reason Coca-Cola's used the same formula for a hundred years.

That's why, when we say the iPhone 5 is boring, we really mean the iPhone 5 is safe. It's familiar. It's the same phone in slightly different packaging. And, most importantly, it's still very recognizably the most popular smartphone in the world. If you've won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, you don't suddenly trade in your thoroughbred for a one-eyed pony because it's more interesting to look at.

Playing It Smart

Not being boring requires taking risks, and risk is not something Apple does. Not anymore. Why would it? It can skip out on 4G for more than a year after its competitors have it and no one blinks an eye. NFC? Wireless charging? Pass, thanks. And Apple will keep playing it safe until iPhone sales decline. That might be boring, but it's also just good business.

And it's always been like this. The original iPhone didn't have 3G. The iPad didn't have a front-facing camera. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt both came after PCS had embraced high-speed standards. Apple doesn't make products for early adopters. It makes products for the billions of people who buy things they can easily access and understand.

The worst part? In a vacuum the iPhone 5 is actually really exciting. For whatever half-baked features it skips out on, it's still technological marvel, and may well prove to be the best smartphone you can buy. If the worst thing about it is that it's not different enough from a phone that tens of millions of people a month spend hundreds of dollars to buy, well, that's fine.

The Boring Future

The only thing that will change the iPhone's design is a dramatic decline in iPhone market share, but that doesn't seem in the offing. Not any time soon, anyway. It takes years to slow down a juggernaut.

So get comfortable with your boring iPhone and your boring iPad and your boring MacBook Air. They're that way because they have to be. Because we want them to be. Because it's the only way that makes sense. Complete Solution for Business or Home

Sep 12, 2012

Boosted Board Electric Longboard is Lightweight enough to Carry, Powerful Enough to Haul Riders Uphill

Boosted Board isn't the first powered skateboard to grace these pages, but it is the lightest. In its current prototype form, it weighs just 12 pounds, thanks to a high-end Loaded Vanguard longboard, 2,000W brushless electric motor, 100W/h Lithium polymer battery pack and regenerative braking and drivetrain bits. That hardware will move you along at up to 20mph, provide about six miles of range and tackle up to a 15 percent grade.

The company is also evaluating different battery chemistries and cell sizes for folks looking for longer range. The board is capable of much higher speeds, but it's been limited for safety reasons. However, that reservoir of power is put to good use when rolling uphill, as the Boosted Board's got some custom firmware that aims to make cruising up inclines feel the same as riding on flats. Adjusting the speed is accomplished through a custom handheld, thumb-operated throttle that's still in development.

This design is made possible by that power-dense brushless motor, and it allows the Boosted Board to maintain the flexible feel that regular longboarders know and love. More here.

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World's largest QR Code is a Canadian Maize Maze

And why wouldn't it be? That's how the Kraay family of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada gets down, as evidenced by the family's past 13 years of elaborate corn maze designs -- from a logo of the Edmonton Oilers to a 25th anniversary commemoration of Rick Hansen's "Man in Motion" tour. Said QR code sends adventurous scanners to a website for the Kraay's family farm website. The code also got the Kraays into the Guinness Book of World Records for "World's Largest QR Code," which was really what drove this whole project. At approximately 29,000 meters (1.1 square miles), that's quite a bit of carefully crafted corn designing. It's certainly more elaborate than the previously claimed record holder, and a lot more official. More here. Save 10% at!

Sep 11, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III Drops to $99 on Amazon for a 'Very Limited Time Only'

In the market for a Samsung Galaxy S III, but you despise dropping over two figures on electronics? Amazon is snapping up a half price $99 Galaxy S III from Amazon today, where it's on sale "for a very limited time only." Yes, you have to sign up for a new individual or family activation, but at least you can choose between Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T for that new contract. It'll even arrive in two days, per Amazon's free two-day shipping, and there are three different colors of the 16GB version to choose from. Hot dog! More here. 468x60 BTS Coupon

The Tiny Yellow Sticker That Detects Accidents and Alerts Your Emergency Contacts

Expanding on its product line which makes it easy for someone to find your emergency contacts if you're injured, ICEdot (In Case of Emergency) is taking the idea one step further. Working with a company called SenseTech LLC, it's developing a tiny helmet sensor that knows when you've been in an accident, how severe it was, and automatically triggers your phone to call for help.

When it's available sometime next year with an estimated price tag of around $200, the advanced ICEdot monitor will attach to any bike helmet and use motion and impact sensors to intelligently determine if the wearer has been involved in an accident. Using the new Bluetooth low-energy profile it maintains a constant connection to a smartphone app so that when an accident occurs, it can automatically alert the rider's emergency contacts with the time and GPS coordinates of the incident.

And to avoid false positives, since there's always the chance a dropped helmet could be misconstrued as a nasty tumble, the app initiates an emergency countdown which can be manually aborted in the event nothing actually happened. If you ride in a big city where the 'mind your own business' mentality prevails, this could be the perfect accessory if no one comes to your rescue after a crash. More here. Electronics

Sep 10, 2012

Even Toys”R”Us Has a Tablet Now

Toys"R"Us has taken a good long look at the increasingly crowded Android tablet market and decided it wants a minuscule sliver too. So starting October 1st, every child's favorite store will start selling a seven-inch, $150 Android device called the Tabeo (Tabby-oh? Tabe-e-oh?) targeted at younger users.

But what makes the tablet kid-friendly? Besides a custom UI that keeps Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich stripped to the bare necessities, the Tabeo comes pre-installed with 50 different apps that cover everything from games, to educational titles, to ebooks. And its custom app store is promised to offer some 7,000 additional titles, including favorites like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.

At the moment Toys"R"Us' online store shows the Tabeo available for pre-order with a ship date of October 1st, but the official press release indicates it won't be hitting brick and mortar store shelves until the 21st. With competitors like the MEEP!, Vinci, and LeapPad already targeting kids, this is certainly a sector that might be over-served already. But who knows, maybe Toys"R"Us has managed to build a $150 Android Tablet that's a lesson in something more than abject frustration. More here.

Apple iPhone 5 Launch Event

Apple has distributed invites to various press organizations of its launch event on September 12th in San Francisco, where the next-generation iPhone could be officially unveiled.

There are also rumors of a follow-up event in October, when Apple will supposedly introduce its miniature 7-inch iPad.

Even the name of the next iPhone remains a secret until now. It could beiPhone 5, “the new iPhone,” or something else. The keynote speech kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, which will be covered live by various sources. More here. Check out the Best Deals from Logitech

Sep 9, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note II With Dual-SIM Capabilities Gets Spotted in the Wild

The distinct Galaxy Note II pictured above, which, by the looks it, comes pre-loaded with dual-SIM capabilities, and thus makes this particular unit slightly different. Although details are still very scarce at the moment, rumor has it the dual-SIM Note will only be available in China and, aside from the slot additions, all other features the famed phablet offers appear to be exactly the same. Feel free to check out the source  for more pics, but don't expect anything too exciting or out of the ordinary -- unless, of course, extra SIM slots are your thing. More here.

These Cute Bendy Flashlights Look Like They Belong in WALL-E

You may have seen bendy lights before, but none with personality like these. It's almost as if they're an extra set of friendly, robot eyes helping you work. They look just like a cross betweenWall-E and Eve, right?

Each Flexi Flash Flashlight packs LED lights as its pair of little eyes, and has a 7" prehensile tail for wrapping around handlebars or toolbox handles or whatever's close at hand. They come in orange, pink, and blue, and are only $12 over at Modern Tribe. Pick one up, give it a name and write it into some WALL-E fan fiction. Or not. Totally your call. More here. Buy Safe Eyes Parental Control Software

Sep 8, 2012

uTorrent Beta App Arrives on Android

Fans of the torrent-juggling desktop client can now get their downloads direct to their mobile device, because uTorrent's launched a beta app for any Android device running version 2.1 or higher. It's currently free, with RSS support, fully adjustable upload and download speeds and the ability to play games in the background as you wait for your files. There's currently no limit on download sizes either -- just so long as you can stomach the data charges. More here. USA: NEW! WS_FTP Professional 12 no support

Sep 7, 2012

Use This Magnetic Project Mat and Never Get Screwed By Losing Screws

The most annoying part of any DIY project is trying to keep a handle on all the little screws. If you've found yourself fishing under the couch for errant parts one too many times, this Magnetic Project Mat might be just what you need.

Adorned with a grid, this mat lets you organize your screws, set them down, and be sure they'll stay where they belong, even in cases of table-bumping or mild earthquakes. On top of that, the surface is dry-erase friendly, so if you feel the need to subdivide sections, or add labels to keep track of which screws are which, you can go right ahead.

While it's magnetized enough to hold your screws, it's not strong enough to really mess up any of your electronics, at least not anything sufficiently modern. The mat's just slightly smaller than your average sheet of paper at 8" x 10" and is available for $15 over at ThinkGeek. If you're sick of losing nuts and getting screwed (or losing screws and going nuts) it might be worth your while. More here. Searchmetrics Essentials - SEO analysis tool

Future Computers Will Not Only Be Cooled by Water, They’ll Compute With Water

Aside from a clump of dirt, water might seem like one of the least technological things to ever exist ever. But researchers have found a way to use water droplets in such a way that they can represent 0s and 1s on a logic board and help to perform computing functions.

According to LiveScience, the trick involves using a superhydrophobic surface that tilts every time a drop of water hits it. Scientists have calibrated the rig so that they can guide the drops to a specific destination on the board which will then register its position.
Using the tracks, the researchers demonstrated that water droplets could be turned into technology, "superhydrophobic droplet logic." For example, a memory device was built where water droplets act as bits of digital information. Furthermore, devices for elementary Boolean logic operations were demonstrated. These simple devices are building blocks for computing.
Adding intrigue to the endeavour is that those water droplets could hypothetically carry a chemical compound which could potentially react with the surface (currently comprised of copper coated in silver and a fluorinated compound), which could have interesting applications for building micro chemical reactors. But for now, let's just enjoy the fact that we could have water-powered computers, yeah? More here.

Sep 6, 2012

Organic Food Might Not Actually Be Better For You

There's a chance we've been deluded by the marketing of organic food; a new study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have found that it might not actually be better for you.

Their study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at 200 other peer-reviewed studies that analyzed the difference in health benefits between organic and regular food and the people who partake and found that there wasn't much evidence backing the advantages of either camp. The studies they looked at ran the gamut—one weighed how pregnant women eating organic might lead to certain conditions like allergies in eczema in their children. Another checked organic meat's effectiveness in shielding you from a bacterial food-borne illness called Campylobacter. A third compared plots of tomatoes grown conventionally to those grown organically to see if the latter produced plants packed with more nutrients. In this case it did show a few benefits of organic food, but it was only specific to one vegetable. And it was not conclusive enough to say that overall there is an absolutely compelling reason to eat organic.

What we do know is that organic food tends to have fewer pesticides. But that little difference might not even matter. And different fruits and vegetables are by their very nature going to have varying levels of vitamins and nutrients. Eating organic isn't necessarily going to make you Popeye. You will certainly be spending more of your income on fancy Whole Foods fare, however. More here. NTI - The Best BackUp & Media Software

Dedicated Pepper Prep Tool Rescues Utterly Incompetent Chefs

The Pepper Prepper, a plastic implement designed to make decapitating and cleaning peppers just slightly easier than with a sharp paring knife. One end features a spinning blade for making a precision hole in the top, while the other sports a scraping tool designed to easily rid the innards of its bitter pith. But as some Amazon commenters have pointed out, the $8 tool only really works with larger peppers, and even then it's only the scraping tool that seems to shine. But if easier prep puts delicious stuffed peppers and chile relleno on the menu every night, how could one every complain? More here. MAGIX Video easy

Sony’s Monster 4k TV Costs More than a Car

Do you want the gargantuan, gorgeous 84-inch 4k TV Sony recently tempted us with? So do we. But are you willing to sell an organ for it? Official pricing is out now!

Sony's mega-high-res beast will set you back a whopping-but-sadly-expected $25,000 when it hits stores in November—and you can pre-order starting tomorrow. Or you can pay your rent for a few years, or take a trip around the world. Or do all of the above.

So, yes, it'll take several years before this beautiful tech is something you can afford to actually put in your home.

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Sep 5, 2012

Stunning Aquarium Bed Redefines Sleeping With the Fishes

Forget about the race car or canopy bed you dreamed about as a child. This custom-made aquarium headboard makes your boring old Serta setup just about the most amazing place you can rest your head at night. And possibly the most distracting.

The 650-gallon tank spans the top of the bed, and rests on a pair of matching tables on either side. The folks at Acrylic Tank Manufacturers, who created this masterpiece, have cleverly integrated a set of bedside lamps into the tank itself. But for $11,500, let's hope there's some way to completely darken the tank. Otherwise you could be wide awake all night finding Nemo right in your face. More here. Complete Solution for Business or Home

Sep 4, 2012

This Giant Sharpener Could Be the Safest Way To Peel Your Vegetables

School supplies like scissors, compasses, even binders, all have the potential for injury. But have you ever heard of someone hurting themselves with a pencil sharpener? Probably not, which is why this Karoto carrot/cucumber/other elongated vegetable peeler is a stroke of genius.

It's essentially nothing more than the sharpener you used to hone your colored pencils back in grade school, but scaled up considerably so it can handle foods. All it takes is a few twists to produce a lovely garnish for a salad or other dishes. And since your hands and fingers are kept well clear of the blade while using it, you'd have to be really trying hard to injure yourself with this thing. So for $15, you'll be saving yourself a small fortune in bandaids. More here.  $4 OFF $40 on Baby & Kids

Harman Kardon’s Iconic Soundsticks Go Wireless

Ever since they first arrived in 2001, Harman Kardon's soundsticks always stuck a harmonious chord in balancing price, looks and performance. Designed by Jonny Ive himself, the first Soundsticks were inducted into MoMA's permanent collection. And now, they've gone wireless.

For the most part, the speakers are the same: 10 watts in each satellite and 20 watts going into the subwoofer. But now it has Bluetooth baked in, and though that may not offer quite the same audio fidelity as a wired connection, it does mean a cleaner appearance for those more concerned with aesthetics. But that convenience comes at an added cost. Instead of the $200 pricetag of the Soundsticks III (which can be had even cheaper on the street), expect to pay $230. More here. Bargain Countdown 468x60

The iPhone 5 Is Coming on September 12

If you're holding out on buying an iPhone until the new one is out, mark down Apple's just-announced September 12 event on your calendar: that could be the day the phone is revealed. Posted by The Loop, the invite says the event will begin at 10 AM PDT at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.

If you wanna read into the teaser image Apple sent out, the shadow of the 12 is a 5, implying that they just might actually call the next iPhone the iPhone 5. If you haven't been keeping up,rumors have suggested the iPhone 5 will have a new two-tone unibody design, a smaller, redesigned dock connector, 4G LTE and a larger 4-inch display using Sharp's IGZO technology. There's also a possibility the phone could have NFC technology baked in, along with redesigned earbuds.

iPods are typically a hallmark of the September Apple event, and though they're not the relevant, must-have gadgets they used to be, it's always worth keeping an eye open for those. There are also rumors that Apple could trot out a smaller, 7.85-inch iPad mini as well, but there have been a wave of rumors suggesting that may not happen until October. And of course, there's the ever-mythical iTV that could magically appear anytime between now and never. More here. Once You Know, You Newegg

BlackBerry 10 L-Series All-Touchscreen Phone Caught on Camera

If you can't wait until next year to see the future for RIM, N4BB has obtained what it claims is a picture on the BlackBerry 10 L-Series, aka London. The screenshot shows a launcher pane full of app icons including BBM, Facebook, Maps and StoryMaker, which could be an iMovie-style video editor. Other leaks, including one from a video posted by, indicate it could pack a removable 1800mAh LS1 battery and will be gunmetal colored. More here.

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Sep 3, 2012

Bottle Blender Mixes Fresh Fruit and Water To Flavor Your Boring H2O

If plain old water doesn't quench your palate, but you don't want to spring for a fancy flavor-enhanced pre-bottled alternative, feast your eyes upon the Aqua Zinger DIY H2O infuser. It lets you imbue your water with everything from fresh fruit essences, to spices, to candy corn.

What's particularly neat is that you don't need to plug the $26 Aqua Zinger in or ever charge a battery. The blending mechanism is completely manual. You just fill the bottom capsule with whatever you'd like your water to taste like, and attach it to the bottle. The act of screwing it onto the Zinger's base pulverizes and blends what's inside, while a fine mesh screen ensures that only your water can flow between the chambers and absorb the flavors. The website suggests such ingredients as cucumber, mint, or lemon and lime. But deep down you know you've always wanted Evian to introduce a Skittles or Starburst option. More here.


Sep 2, 2012

Next Apple Earbuds Potentially Sighted in Vietnam, My fix an Iconic Design

The pack-in earbuds for iPhones and iPods have been among the most recognizable of technology symbols for more than a decade just not for their technical merits. They're notorious for slipping out of wearers' ears and having a mediocre sound next to just about anything else you can buy. If Tinhte's own discovery in Vietnam is authentic, Apple might be breaking with another one of its longstanding traditions this year by redesigning those earpieces for the better. Gone are the usual buds that only vaguely aim towards your ear canals. Instead, what's on show has oval tips very loosely resembling those of the Klipsch Image S4 II, and slots in at an angle to fit more directly into the canals -- not to mention more comfortably. More here. Once You Know, You Newegg

Sep 1, 2012

Insanely Designed Level 10 M Mouse Finally Comes to Market

If you're looking for something new in a mouse, something simultaneously awesome and over-designed, something different, your dream mouse may have arrived. The Level 10 M Mouse, a joint project by BMW Designworks and Thermaltake, is finally hitting shelves.

The Level 10 M's empty space-loving design isn't just a visual thing. You can actually adjust the way many of the different pieces sit, tension levels, etc., something invaluable to precision-minded gamers and tinkerers everywhere. Whether you really dig its unconventional style is a personal thing, but you can't say it's boring.

According to a BMW Group press release it started rolling out to online sites and brick and mortar stores alike on August 27th, with a suggested price point of $99. It hasn't shown up on Amazon or at Best Buy just yet, but hopefully that's just a little Labor Day lag. More here. Deep Surplus

Second Generation Razer Blade Laptop Sharpens its Edge with GTX 660M, Unannounced Core i7 CPU

The 17-inch behemoths that call themselves gaming notebooks are traditionally quite large, trading extreme performance for substantial bulk. These machines routinely flirt with double digit weigh-ins, and flaunt meaty 1.5-plus inch bezels. They represent a unwieldy reality in portable power that most gamers have learned to expect. Not Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, however -- he's still chasing the dream: thin, powerful and sleek.

Razer's first laptop hit shelves earlier this year, packing a Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive and 64GB of fast-booting solid state storage. All this comes in the same aluminum shell as the first Blade, of course, sporting a 17.3-inch high definition display and the firm's exclusive multitouch LCD Switchblade interface. The machine's internal speakers have been upgraded as well, and are said to be 250% louder with no distortion.

The new Blade's sharpened specs will come with a price cut, ringing in at a penny under $2,500 -- and gamers who picked up its predecessor (which will be getting its own price cut, to $2,299), can snag one for $500 less. Pre-orders are slated to start on September 2nd, and should ship within 30 days. More here. 468x60 BTS Coupon