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    August 14, 2014
    Tom Hanks Brings The Typewriter To The iPad

    Tom Hanks is a fan of typewriters.  In fact, the movie star once had over 200 typewriters in his collection.  That’s a real fan!  In fact, Hanks is such a fan that modern modes of typing just don’t do it for him, so he made an app for that.  Tom Hanks has released the Hanx Writer app for the iStore, which turns your iPad into an old-school typewriter.  The look is the same, but the sound effects and typewriter fonts will run $2.99.

    “What’s pleasing to my sensibilities is when you have the report of the key being struck, it allows for clear thinking,” Hanks told USA TODAY.  ”I suppose some people who get the app may just be looking for a different sound, but really it’s for people searching for a more personalized experience when writing on an iPad.  There’s also the opportunity here to take your iPad to a coffee house and be really obnoxious with all the clickety-clacking.”

    As someone who types a lot, I love the sound and feel of an old typewriter (or failing that, a mechanical keyboard).  That’s not always something you can manage with a tablet experience, but Hanx Writer works with bluetooth keyboards and iPads, so you can get as close to authentic as you can.  Kudos, T.Hanks.

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    August 5, 2014
    The Swiss Army Hair Clip

    You never know when you’ll need a scoring knife, a candle holder, a screwdriver, a ruler, or a wrench.  But it’s really inconvenient to carry all of those things around at one time without some sort of satchel or basket.  Enter the all-in-one device that hides in your hair.  The Leatherdos is a multi-tool hidden in your hair.  Created by an Israeli inventor, it was originally used to keep mens’ yarmulkes in place in their hair, but can be used for pretty much any hair-based usage, presumably.

    “For years I dreamed of an ‘upgraded’ kippa clip and I always saw my religious friends using their kippa clip for all sorts of things,” said inventor Yaacov Goldberg.  ”I decided to take the idea one step forward and prove that one can truly use a kippa clip for any use.”

    The best part of the Leatherdos is that it’s only $9 for a pretty handy little device.  It’s the kind of thing you’d forget about until you need it, then you remember you have it and that’ll help you out quite a bit.

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    July 26, 2014
    Verizon To Slow Down Heavy Data Users

    Once upon a time, Verizon offered high-speed cellphone data service to everyone.  For a low monthly price,  you got all the bandwidth you could use.  That plan was discontinued in 2012, but some folks who subscribed to the service continue on as legacy users.  That plan is about to change once again.  Verizon will now have data caps on heavy unlimited users starting in October.  Their service won’t stop completely, but it will be throttled until the next billing cycle.

    The top five percent of users in data-heavy markets on 4G plans will be affected; once they top 4.7GB of data in a month, they’ll find their service slowed down until the next month, at which point it will presumably continue on as normal again.  It’s all part of Verizon’s plan to move everyone to tiered data plans; tiered data customers won’t be affected, as per usual.  Customers using 3G data plans are already under the terms of the throttling plan.

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    July 18, 2014
    Cat Feeder With Feline Facial Recognition

    My parents have four cats, and that means that feeding time for the kitties quickly becomes chaos.  The calico wants to eat everyone’s food.  The gray one needs special food because she’s diabetic.  The brown and white one is an adult cat who eats normal adult cat food.  The calico and the orange one are still kittens and need kitten food.  Everyone wants to eat everyone else’s food.  Believe me, it’s a mess, especially when I have to go over there and feed for them.  That’s what makes the idea of the Bistro smart cat feeder so genius.  Taiwan design team 42ARK have created the Bistro, which monitors cat eating habits and uses facial recognition to keep cats from misbehaving around the food bowl.

    Perhaps more interestingly, it can also be used to track the food intake of the cats to figure out who needs to go on a diet, who needs to eat a little more, and which cat is the one that eats everyone else’s food.  There are also weight sensors in the food bowl to make doubly sure that the right cat has the right food.

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    July 10, 2014
    LG’s Kid-Tracking Kizon Smart

    So you’re wondering just where your child is, and while you can probably just call them on their phone, that won’t tell you if your child is actually somewhere safe or if they were out somewhere doing something dangerous.  That’s where technology comes in.  There are probably some tracking apps out there, but good luck getting the kid to use said app, or not disable said app.  That’s where the Kizon comes in; it’s a cool-looking wearable device that keeps a parent app updated with location information.  LG has announced the Kizon, a child-tracking smartband that pairs allows parents to keep tabs on their child.

    It’s not just a band, though.  The Kizon is also a phone, and parents can control just who calls, who the child can talk to, and so on.  If the child doesn’t answer the phone, the Kizon automatically activates its microphone so you can hear what’s going on.  And if your child happens to need you, you can preprogram a phone number into the device that the child can call with the push of a button.  Privacy concerns aside, that’s a really cool way to keep tabs on your little ones, should they need that.

    If you’d like more information, check out LG’s Kizon website.

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    July 2, 2014
    Send A “Hodor” With The Hodor App

    Tyler Hedrick is a student at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, so it’s safe to say that he’s pretty smart when it comes to, well, lots of things.  One of his many tricks has been his work as an app designer.  Inspired by the Yo App, which just texts the word yo to people, he’s come up with something even better.  Combining his app design skills, parodying the Yo App, and channeling the mighty power of HBO’s smash sensation Game of Thrones, Tyler Hendrick has created the Hodor App.  That’s right, now you can Hodor at your friends.

    The app is currently only for devices running Apple iOS 7 and greater, and there’s no designs on making an Android version of the app.  Plus, I imagine HBO could shut it down any time they want, but so far nobody’s done anything about the app quite yet.  If you’re looking into designing a Hodor app for Android, Hendrick says he would welcome that with open arms.  If that’s you, then I suggest you Hodor Hodor to Hodor Hodor’s Hodor.

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    June 26, 2014
    Apple’s Cheapest iPod Touch Yet

    These days, it seems like the idea of having a separate device to play music seems almost old-fashioned, like having a rotary dial telephone or an 8-track player in your car.  However, for some folks–people like me, for example–like having a device that only does one thing and does it well, rather than one device that does everything well kind of.  In that spirit, Apple has both upgraded and reduced the price on its line of iPod Touches.  The 16gb iPod Touch is Apple’s cheapest iPod yet at $199!

    Not only is the iPod Touch cheaper, it’s also got upgraded features.  The $199 iPod features a 4-inch 1136 x 640 Retina display, an Apple A5 processor, a 1.2-MP FaceTime front camera, and a rear-facing 5-MP camera.  It also comes with iOS 7, with the ability to upgrade to iOS8 when it comes out later in the year.  It also comes in a lot of new colors, just in case the standard silver wasn’t good enough.  It comes in pink, yellow, blue, space gray, silver, and red, which means you can now match it up with any outfit you want.

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    June 19, 2014
    Test-Drive A Personal Drone Detector For $500

    Are you worried about drones?  You know, those quiet, hovering, all-seeing eyes in the sky piloted by vague yet sinister government agencies?  I’m not, but it’s a pretty rational fear.  There’s a company out there who is working on a system you might be interested in, and for $500 you can take it for a test drive.  Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC) is the company behind the Personal Drone Detection System, a system that, well… does what it says on the tin.  DDC has created a system that detects drones and alerts you to their presence.

    The company, based in Portland, Oregon, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support their product.  Basically, it triangulates moving transmitters using a mesh system, which is basically how it tracks drones.  If this seems like something that might interest you, for the low price of $500 you can be an alpha tester of the product and be a part of the testing pool.  Which, really, is a very cool reward indeed.

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    June 11, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Laptops Then And Now

    Via: SciencePorn on Twitter

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    June 10, 2014
    Google Glass Banned By Movie Theater Chain

    Google Glass, as controversial as it has been in bars and places like that, hasn’t been outright banned from most of the world at large.  Not yet, anyway.  Given that Glass is still a niche product that has yet to take over the world (and is still not available to the world at large), there’s not been a lot of problems yet, but two theater chains have decided to nip the problem in the bud by banning Glass all together.  AMC Theaters and Alamo Drafthouse Theaters have banned Google Glass in their movie houses.

    Of course, no one has yet used the Glass recording technology as a piracy method, but AMC banned them after a man wearing the Glass glassess was arrested over allegations of piracy.  As for the Draft House–one of the best movie experiences I’ve ever had–the chain goes out of its way to keep the attention on the movies, not on the audience.  Meaning no texting, no talking on the phone, and now no Glass to prevent any distractions during the film (as well as piracy concerns, according to Drafthouse CEO Tim League).  However, Drafthouse’s ban is a bit more flexible, with the Glass being banned on a case-by-case basis, rather than issuing a blanket ban like AMC.

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