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    October 3, 2014
    Turning British Pay Phones Into Solar Chargers

    Once upon a time, Britain was known for its bright red telephone boxes, the UK equivalent of the pay phones we know and love here in the United States.  However, these days, the pay phone on both sides of the Atlantic is a reminder of a time before constant communication, and increasingly phone booths are being removed, abandoned, or destroyed.  However, one company has a good idea of what to do with all those telephone booths and call boxes:  turn them into cellphone chargers.  Solarbox equips a phone booth with solar power, batteries, and four chargers, then opens it up to the public as a free charge point for travelers on the go.

    “The energy is stored in a battery, so you can even charge your mobile phone during the night or when there is no sun,” said Harold Craston, the co-founder of solarbox.  ”We wanted to show that we could use public spaces in a positive way, and that London should try to become more green.”

    The first Solarbox is already up outside the entrance of the Tottenham Court Road tube station in London.  Located near London’s shopping district, it’s one of the busiest places I’ve ever been in the world, so that’s going to be a great test of Solarbox’s ability to handle a high amount of traffic.  Fingers crossed it works, because there’s nothing worse than having to look for an outlet when your phone is dying.

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    October 1, 2014
    The iPad Gold

    One of the more successful ideas Apple had was to expand the range of color options for the iPhone.  After all, gray and white get old pretty quickly, especially when it’s all the color choices you have.  So when Apple rolled out gold as a color option, no doubt it helped the bottom line.  Now Apple is strongly considering a change of color for the venerable iPad, too.  That’s right, the next generation of iPad may come in gold.

    The next iPad, specifically the 9.7 inch model, isn’t officially announced yet, but most of these rumors end up being true once they make it out into the big wide world.  I don’t see why adding some color to the plastic molding process (or however Apple carves its iPad shells) won’t be a reasonable choice to make, given the success colors have.  Plus, people like choice.  The Henry Ford color choice conundrum–any color you want, so long as it’s black–won’t work for gray or silver, and it seems like a natural choice to expand the options.

    Of course, if you have enough plastic paint, you can make your iPad any color you want without damaging its usefulness.

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    October 1, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Finger-Licking Phone

    Via HuffPo and KFC Japan.

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    September 30, 2014
    Microsoft 10: 12 Things To Know

    Microsoft is skipping a generation.  The company that jumped from Windows 98 to Windows XP is adding another confusing layer to its operating system naming system (kind of like how Apple names all its OSX updates after cats).  Microsoft 8 wasn’t a big success, so the company has decided to jump right past 9 and go straight to 10.  Microsoft has announced Microsoft 10, and here are 12 things you’ll need to know about it before it arrives.

    Interestingly, this announcement seemed aimed most at business customers, and focused on the productivity of Windows 10 and the way it would integrate touchscreen features with traditional computer interfaces in a more seamless way than Windows 8 did.  They also promise it will stretch across all form factors, from phones to desktops and everywhere in between, echoing Windows 8 promises but showing more of an awareness of just where they went wrong with the previous release, and what they would need to do to correct that.

    If they can actually make all this work in one OS (I remain skeptical) then they’ll really have something with Windows 10.  Then again, if it sounds too good to be true, I’ll just stick with Windows 7.

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    September 25, 2014
    Drones Make It To Hollywood

    One of the coolest shots in any movie is a helicopter shot.  You put a camera on a helicopter, and you go flying around, or you chase down a fleeing car, or you just… well, do anything, really, provided it’s from the air.  However, every time you have to go up in a helicopter, there’s an element of danger.  Lots of things can go wrong, and people have died in helicopter crashes in making movies since helicopters became a part of the film language.  But there’s a better solution, and it’s unmanned.  Hollywood aerial photography companies will now be allowed to use drones to capture all those cool visuals movies depend on.

    “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight.  These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

    Really, it’s probably the safest of all options, both for the FAA and for the people making films.  Nobody has to get up and fly around in a helicopter, dodging and weaving through power lines, when a comparatively tiny drone lugging a camera around can do the same job much safer.  I doubt any drones will be going high enough to cause problems with existing flight plans (also unlike a helicopter), so this seems like a win all the way around.

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    September 24, 2014
    The Bendable iPhone 6

    The iPhone 6 is bigger, lighter, thinner, and better than ever before, except for one key area.  As it turns out, a thin plastic phone isn’t much for absorbing damage, and that turns out to be the iPhone 6′s undoing.  Some iPhone 6 Plus phones are bending in the pockets of customers.  That’s not just hyperbole or urban legend, either.  People have been able to replicate the bending effect at home using their own iPhones (or with tester models for unboxing purposes).  Check out the video for yourself.

    YouTube Preview Image

    “Unfortunate, but under the pressure of my hands, it does bend quite significantly,” said Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy, who bent the iPhone to his will using only his thumbs.

    Is it really possible that no one bothered to bend test the unit?  If someone can just bend it with two hands, I can only imagine what kind of trouble you could get into with having your iPhone in the same pocket as your keys by mistake.  That’s just asking to have the phone warped beyond all recognition.  It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Note 3, another big plastic phone, didn’t bend when put through the same testing wringer.

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    September 22, 2014
    Apple Sells 10 Million iPhones In One Weekend

    The launch of the iPhone 5 was big, but somehow Apple has managed to top itself yet again.  This weekend was the first weekend of sales for the iPhone 6, and unsurprisingly, it was another huge sales event for the Cupertino gadget merchants.  Just how big was the sales event?  Apple has sold 10 million iPhone 6 units in the first weekend of sales.

    Of course, that was for both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, but still, that’s a lot of units moved.  I suppose a lot of that can be attributed to the new iPhone model, which features a much larger phablet-type form factor, as well as the chance to buy a new iPhone to go with your traditional accessories.  I suppose in this day and age it is amazing to sell 10 million of anything, let alone a phone, but considering Apple’s appeal and strong marketing, I’m a little surprised sales numbers weren’t higher.

    Estimates for the first weekend were between 6.5 and low-teens in millions of sales, so this weekend is still nothing to sneeze at.

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    September 17, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: iOS8

    Image:  Computer World

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    September 16, 2014
    One Plane Full Of New iPhones

    Friday is the first day of delivery for the new iPhone 6, and there are already 4 million orders (or more) put in to receive one.  That’s going to require a lot of iPhones, and Apple is doing its best to get as many of them onto American shores before the big launch as they can.  Well, the airplanes are arriving in America, loaded down with iPhones from China, and it’s quite a sight.  Here’s what a plane loaded down with 195,000 iPhones looks like.

    That’s just one 747.  There are bigger planes out there, and they are also loaded down with iPhones, to the tune of some 30 big plane flights a day coming from China to the United States.  That’s all to get ready for one big day, driven by Apple’s latest device.  That’s a staggering amount of phones, and it still won’t be enough to satisfy all the preorders.  There’ll be people waiting until October for their iPhones, no doubt about it.

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    September 15, 2014
    Chinese City’s Cell Phone Walker Lane

    It seems that no matter where you go, you can’t get people off their cell phones.  From London to Hong Kong, people have their nose in their phone and never pay attention to where they’re actually going.  Well one Chinese city has decided to raise a little awareness of that issue.  Chongqing, China has a cell-phone walking lane, separating walkers from talkers.  Apparently, the city of 28 million people in southwest China has a real problem with folks not paying attention.

    “There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cell phone may cause unnecessary collisions here,” said Nong Cheng, a spokeswoman for the district’s property manager.

    Of course, the effort isn’t a real law, just a satirical way to create a little situational awareness, as well as get some attention for the city.  Here’s hoping all the cell phone photos will convince some of those users to pay more attention to the world around them and less attention to their Facebook and Twitter and Instagram accounts while walking around.  And if not, at least they’ll be a lot of funny pictures added to those things.

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