While running out of juice is, by now, a problem I’ve about got under control, the means for powering up could be more convenient than it is. Currently, I’m working through the standard lightning connector and the occasional myCharge unit that has been a good hand despite its comparative bulkiness to some other products on the market.
Now with the TravelCard, there may finally be a worthwhile alternative to help in cutting through the myriad similar product types on the market today. The TravelCard is the size of a credit card and crafted from aircraft-grade anodized aluminum. In it hides a lightning connector (or you can use USB). Keep the card in your wallet, and whenever you’re running out of juice, pull it out, plug in, and hit the power button. You can charge the card itself through any USB port or standard outlet. There are 19 days left on the Kickstarter campaign, and it’s already smashed its $10,500 target goal. Get yours now for $40 before it moves up to the standard retail price.
Popcorn Time is Netflix for movie and television pirates, and just between you guys, me, and the rest of the Internet, we don’t think it’s long for this world. However, it’ll be interesting to see how that works because, technically, the website isn’t hosting or ripping off the movies themselves. Instead, it’s pointing you to the best torrent links on the Internet for watching movies for free.
The app is still in beta testing, but you can download version 2.5 right now if you have Mac OSX 10.7 or higher as well as Windows and Linux. According to Motherboard, the mind behind Popcorn Time is Buenos Aires, Argentina-based programmer “Sebastian,” who told TorrentFreak he didn’t expect legal troubles since they were just “repackaging existing content, without a commercial angle.”
“We don’t expect legal issues,” he said. “We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money. There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription fees or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share.”
(Of course, we might believe that line of BS if he gave his real name, but nope, it’s just Sebastian.)
Every now and then, an interesting part of history creeps back into the public eye. This week, we learned of the Bugatti Model 100P Superplane, which, in 1939, could have smashed the 469 MPH air speed record. Yes, the 900 horsepower plane, which contained two 4.9-liter, 450 HP racing engines would likely have cracked 500 MPH.
Ettore Bugatti, who hated the Germans, decided to warehouse the plane while it was 85 percent done in a secret location for fear that the Nazis might learn of it. It was rediscovered shortly after the war and was sold at auction. A group of flight enthusiasts have since reverse engineered the plane, building a replica that fills in some of the gaps that Bugatti and his chief engineer, Louis de Monge, left behind. The Le Reve Bleu team plans on flying the replica at the Farnborough Air Show and Goodwood Revival in the years ahead, and hopes to have it complete by this fall. As for the original, it’s in no shape to fly, but it has been fully restored and is now on display at the EAA Airventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Well, guys, it looks like we’re one step closer to being able to engineer our very own significant other. Only problem: she’ll probably weigh a ton and kill you in your sleep since she’s made from old car parts and is agile enough to dance on a pole.
The pole dancing robot has been around since at least 2012 when it first appeared at CeBIT expo. They made a new appearance on Monday, detailed here by The Daily Mail. The dance moves are all controlled by computer for those of you wondering. We have no idea what it would cost to get your hands on the sultry hunk of junk, but figure we’ll wait until the technology evolves so these things start looking more like Kate Upton and less like Chucky-on-steroids or a stormtrooper.
If there is one thing we hate about driving more than any other, it’s the experience of having to stop at traffic lights. Well, Audi is now readying a system that promises to greatly reduce the amount of time that you have to spend parked on your butt waiting for that red to go green.
The Smart City Traffic Light Assistance system can use local data delivered to the car via Wi-Fi to create a picture of patterns and timing that will then communicate the exact speed you need to go to miss the red light. (All of this is demonstrated on the dash itself via red, amber, and green traffic light icons.) The prototype demoed at this past Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but you could be seeing it soon on every Audi automobile. The science behind it estimates that the system could save 900 million liters of fuel annually in Germany alone. Sign us up, Audi, and please license this tech to more inexpensive car companies.
Skeletonics are riding robots that allow you to extend your manual dexterity and body motion beyond the realms of what an ordinary person can do. That means when you slide in to one of these things, you’re larger and more terrifying than you ever would be in daily life.
The Japanese company behind Skeletonics chose South by Southwest for their US debut. Panasonic is working on something similar that should be a better buy — the Skeletonics suits currently cost around $50k and there are only five in existence while Panasonic’s will cost $5k and allow you to lift 220 pounds and run five miles per hour with ease. Since Skeletonics’ suit is just human-powered, we doubt it’ll be able to do any of that, but should you choose Panasonic’s, good luck not getting the National Guard called on you for being a rampaging mechwarrior nuisance.
Here are the Skeletonics in action:
When your whole world (and your means) is online, you need to know the best way to consume media in a way that is highly customizable and competent in its algorithms. While there are certainly some good websites out there — a favorite being ViralNewsChart.com — when it comes to media apps, there are only a handful we rely on — three, actually.
Digg, Paper, and Zite.
While Paper is an exciting new way to experience Facebook in a way that de-emphasizes your friends’ idiotic posts, (and it does have a gorgeous interface), it still isn’t quite there with its sources. It uses some good ones, but it’s extremely limited when you stack it up against the entirety of the Internet.
Enter Zite. As far as content curation is concerned, the Zite team has been terrific at what they’ve done. The app makes it very easy to add categories and grow your newsfeed. Our only complaints (and number three is a biggie): 1) As of this writing, there is not a web-based version, though one had been promised for quite some time; 2) After adding many categories, it becomes harder to keep up with everything; and 3) Flipboard — a service we’ve tried and aren’t that keen on just bought out Zite, thus limiting its life expectancy to another six months or one year. Zite promises you’ll be able to integrate your Zite settings into the new Flipboard, but after a blah experience using the Flip — which I akin to a big budget movie with a plot that goes nowhere — I’m not too confident about the long term prospects.
Finally, we have Digg. Digg has always been great at finding interesting pieces to read and share on the web, but until Google dropped its Reader, this was a service we’d sort of forgotten about. Big mistake. The new Digg Reader function offers vast collections of content per keyword search. It also allows you to create folders for grouping sources from multiple searches. That way, if you’re searching, “divorce,” “collaborative divorce,” “custody battles,” and “divorce revenge,” you can group the multiple sources under one folder — DIVORCE — and at-a-glance see the most interesting posts on the web that fall under that category. (And no, I’m not going through one.)
Because it’s so kind to content creators and consumers, we dig Digg.
If you’re going to come up with a handheld music player to combat the world of iTunes and MP3, we suggest getting two things on your side: the technological know-how and a musician who knows what the heck he’s talking about. Enter rock legend Neil Young, who is lending his name to the Pono, a device designed for combating years of compressed audio that has seemingly taken over with the reign of CD and digital downloads.
The device has been delayed for a while, but apparently, it will soon be up on Kickstarter (this Wednesday, in fact), and it will sell for $399. Aside from being a Hi-Fi music player, it’s also a Hi-Fi music service that plans on going head-to-head with the big dogs. Good luck, Neil and Company. Watch for the PonoPlayer tomorrow.