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Archive for October, 2013

Morpher Folding Bicycle Helmet

Posted by Andrew at 6:22 PM on October 31, 2013

Bicycle helmets are great pieces of equipment and take the brunt of an impact instead of your head in the unfortunate event of an accident. Most things that a cyclist is likely to hit are pretty hard, whether it’s a car, tree or the road itself, and a helmet can genuinely save your life. The sad fact is that in 90% of cycling fatalities the rider was not wearing a helmet.

However, the shape of a helmet means that they’re not that convenient to carry round in a bag or rucksack and take up lots of space. All too often the helmet gets left behind for the sake of convenience. In an attempt to solve this problem and save more lives, inventor Jeff Woolf has developed the world’s first folding bicycle helmet, the Morpher Helmet.

Morpher Helmets Open and Flat

 

As you can see from the picture above, the helmet folds flat from front to back making it much easier to carry around in bag with other flat things, like notepads, magazines and tablets. With an emphasis on safety from the start, the helmet exceeds all safety requirements worldwide and will be independently CE tested before the full launch. The inventor Jeff Woolf is no lightweight either having twice been awarded “British Inventor of the Year” and awarded an OBE for services to innovation and business.

To fund the production of the helmets, Morpher is launching an Indiegogo campaign. Early birds will be able to snap up helmet for US$59 (about GB£35) with a second tier at $79. The RRP is expected to be $110 so it’s a bargain but you will have to wait until April 2014 before the helmet arrives. The goal is to raise $35,000 over the next 47 days. As with all crowd-funded projects, bear in mind that there is not yet a finished product for you to buy.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Morpher helmet and the man behind it.


Looks like a great idea and I hope the project succeeds, especially as I’ve contributed myself for a Morpher helmet.

Pandora now on Chromecast

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:25 PM on October 31, 2013

Pandora When the Chromecast first came out in late July it connected to very few things. You could cast YouTube, Google Music, Google Movies and Netflix. Hulu Plus was added in mid October. Today Pandora has been added to Chromecast.

It works great on my HTC One which is an Android phone. The icon shows up at the bottom and it works exactly like all other Chromecast enable app. It also works on the iPad. However I did run into a glitch while trying to run it on my iPad mini. First it took me some time to find out where the icon was, if you tap on the volume button it is right there next to the Airplay button. Like the Android device the iPad version connects perfectly and starts playing and you can control everything on the iPad.   The problem came when I was trying to disconnect Pandora from Chromecast. On my HTC One you simply hit disconnect and it stops casting. On the iPad there is no disconnect button. I tried to switch to iPad as my choice, but it continued to casting to my TV. Then I started to play a different song on the iPad but the older song continued to play on the Chromecast. The only way I could get it to stop casting was to start YouTube and cast that and then disconnect. I suspect that this is something that will be fixed in the next update.  Other than this glitch it works great.

If you are a Pandora user and don’t have a Chromecast I recommend getting one. I think it adds value to the Chromecast, which in my opinion already was well worth the $35.00 I spent on it.   Being able to play Pandora through my big screen TV which is connected to my full sound system and control it on my tablet or phone is great.

Dell Laptops Smelling Like Cat Urine?

Posted by J Powers at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2013

Dell-6430u

If you own a pet, you know what the urine smells like. Apparently, so do Dell Lattitude 6430u users. They started complaining the smell on the messageboards. Turned out, Dell confirmed the smell is real (but not really urine).

“The smell is not related to cat urine or any other type of biological contaminant, nor is it a health hazard,” the BBC reported that Dell support technician SteveB said online. Further, a Reddit post explains more

The palm rest is the origin of the smell. It was suggested the polymer in the plastic emitted a smell similar to cat urine.

Dell has implemented a replacement program for those 6430u users.

Others on Reddit joke about hanging their cat over their old laptop to get that “New laptop smell”.

 

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 Review

Posted by Andrew at 2:50 AM on October 31, 2013

Wireless mice are commonplace these days but many only work with their own brand wireless transceiver, which restricts their use to devices equipped with USB ports. Less common are Bluetooth-based mice which have the potential to work with any Bluetooth-equipped unit, including Android and iOS tablets, potentially making them much more useful. On review here is one such mouse, the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000. Snappy name, but let’s take a look.

The 5000 is fairly typical of notebook mice being smaller than a typical desktop mouse at only 9 cm long and about 5.5 cm wide. People with large hands may find the mouse is too small but for occasional use with a tablet or notebook, it’s fine. I certainly wouldn’t want it as my main mouse as I can’t really rest my hand on it, but this is all subjective and some people may find it perfect.

image

Looks-wise, it’s not a Microsoft Arc or a Logitech Ultrathin, but it’s not entirely unattractive. This is the version with silvery-white buttons and dark gray body; there is a version with these colours reversed too. The silver matched my Samsung Chromebook rather nicely but the colour does vary with the light.

Two Duracell AA batteries power the 5000, which are supplied in the packaging and Duracell’s make a welcome change from the generic AAs that usually accompany remote controls and other battery-powered accessories. There’s an on/off switch on the bottom to conserve power when not in use. I’ve been using the mouse for about a week and I’ve yet to replace the batteries.

To pair the mouse, there’s a second button on the underside that needs to be pressed for a few seconds to put the mouse into a pairing mode. After that, the mouse should appear in the device list of whatever computer is to connect to the mouse. I successfully paired with an Android tablet, a Windows 8 tablet and a Chromebook. I imagine that it will work with iPads and other iOS devices but I didn’t have one at hand to test.

image

In use, the 5000 works pretty much like any mouse. It’s an optical mouse with a laser motion tracker so resistance will depend entirely on the surface in use. There are four buttons: left, right, middle and “back”, which is next to the main left button and can pressed by your thumb to take your web browser back a page – you can see it in the top picture. Great if you are right-handed, but a waste of time if you are left-handed. The scroll wheel has a bit of stiffness to it but I like that as it prevents accidental scrolling.

Overall, the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 is a good mouse but not a great mouse. It’s nothing special but there’s nothing wrong with it either (except for the back button only being useful to right-handed users) . The 5000 is available from all good retailers for around £25.

Disclaimer: this was a personal purchase.

Robot Underpants: 10.30.13 (125)

Posted by Langley at 12:02 AM on October 31, 2013

Happy Hallow’s Eve from Mat “Langoliers” Luschek, Eric “Spin Reaper” Rice, and “Starman from Mars” Michael Gaines! This week: Gripes about Google Glass on drivers, new domain extensions including Yer Mom, Star Wars news, and more!

* Glasshole Driver Ticketed
* New Top Level Domains available for Pre-Registration
* Star Wars Kinkade Paintings
* Star Wars VII Gets Kasdan
* Harrison Ford Rumor
* Star Wars Bloopers
* Star Wars Archives

iPhone 5S Battery Problem – Apple is Replacing Certain iPhone 5S Models

Posted by J Powers at 9:08 AM on October 30, 2013
iPhone 5S

iPhone 5S

Apparently, a manufacturing issue has come to the point that Apple is proactively replacing certain iPhone 5S models.

The issue causes the battery to drain and not recharge fast enough. Although Apple is not saying the actual problem, they assure it’s not a battery issue.  It’s a good summation this issue could cause the phone to burn out or even become a fire hazzard.

“We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life,” Apple spokesperson Teresa Brewer told the New York Times. “We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.”

Apple will be contacting those with iPhones that meet the qualification – (i.e. serial number range). This is expected to be a few thousand units. Since Apple has sold over 9 million handsets, this could be (at worst) 1 in 100 handset issue. In the meantime, if you are seeing battery charging issues with your new iPhone, contact Apple support to report the problem so Apple doesn’t overlook your device.

Much Speculation About Mysterious Barges

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:14 PM on October 29, 2013

San Francisco BayWhat, exactly, is going in with the large barges that have appeared more than one port? The speculation on the internet points to Google. Are these mysterious floating structures intended to become Google Glass stores? Might these become new data centers for Google? It doesn’t seem like anything is 100% confirmed as of yet.

Not a lot is known right now. We know there is a barge in the Portland Harbor in Maine. Its registration number is “BAL 0011”. The Portland Press Herald says it is currently docked at Rickers Wharf.

There is another barge in San Francisco Bay, with a registration number of “BAL 0010”. That one is docked at Treasure Island. According to KSBY, there is a second barge in San Francisco Bay with the registration number “BAL 0001”.

I’m not sure where the fourth barge is located. Several articles have noted that the fourth barge has the registration number of “BAL 0100”. Many have noted that BAL001, BAL0010, BAL0011, and BAL0100, are binary code for “one”, “two”, “three” and “four”. It appears that the structures on the barges might have been made from shipping containers.

One idea that has been tossed around the internet points at Google. It has been said that Google has a patent for a floating data center that would use the ocean water for cooling. Could that be the purpose of these barges? Again, right now there is much speculation with little confirmation. It will be interesting to see what happens with the mysterious barges.

Image San Francisco Bay from Wikimedia Commons

GNC-2013-10-28 #902 Chinese Spy Chips?

Posted by geeknews at 12:51 AM on October 29, 2013

Found an article tonight that showed the Russians found spy chips in electric irons that had come out of China. If true this takes things to a whole new level of scary. Please note prize winners we have our coordinator email setup at insider@geeknewscentral.com

Also want to thank those of you that have contributed to the crowd-funding campaign. Check it out.

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Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 (Review)

Posted by Alan at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2013

t630-stock-image-side

The mouse has been around nearly since the humble beginnings of personal computing and, unlike the PC and its software, this tiny peripheral has changed little. But time and technology eventually catch up to even the simplest of objects and the lowly mouse is no exception.

We have witnessed the introduction of cordless versions, first with USB dongles and later with Bluetooth technology.  Buttons have changed, scroll wheels have appeared, lasers replaced track balls and countless other small, but meaningful, progressions have taken place. Mice have evolved from a simple input device to a specialized mouse – from desktop, to gaming, and even travel varieties.

It all leads to today’s innovations in peripheral technology, which Logitech is exploiting in its latest release – the Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630.

In a market becoming divided by user behavior, the T630 falls squarely into the category of travel, thanks to its compact design. There is nothing fancy here – no software need be installed and there are none of the click buttons contained in today’s high-end gaming mice.

This is purely about form and style conquering added, and mostly unneeded and extraneous, features that simply are not a necessity to today’s busy traveler. The T630 is all about compactness and ease of use.

This is a mouse you grab from your travel bag, pop on the desk and get started with. There is no need to worry about the extras – there are none. It just works.

Design and Style

The T630 is tiny, measuring in at a scant 3.25 inches in length, 2.25 inches in width and 0.5 inches in depth, though that tapers quite significantly towards the front end.

The little wedge-shaped peripheral is black on the top, with metallic silver sides and a small Logitech logo running across the rear of the top surface. No buttons or scroll wheel are visible, giving the mouse a very clean and sculpted look.

Several small buttons are present on the outside of the T630, but these are carefully hidden on the underside so as not to subtract from the good looks.

Setting up the T630

Unlike the more sophisticated gaming mice on the market, the Logitech T630 Touch Mouse comes with no software to setup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tricks to getting underway – they simply are not complicated steps.

First, and fairly obvious, is that you must make sure your computer supports Bluetooth, but that is not a stumbling block for much of today’s hardware. You will also need to enable the service, which is frequently off in laptops due to battery-drain concerns.

In Windows 8, head to the Charms menu and hit Settings and then Change PC Settings. Next, tap Wireless and, under Wireless Devices, you will find the option to toggle Bluetooth on and off.

If you are using Windows 7, then first you will need to turn on the Bluetooth device and then look for it under Device Manager. It’s not uncommon to find the item marked with a yellow warning triangle, requiring you to right-click and update the driver.

t630-bottomWith these minor procedures behind us, turn the T630 belly-up, where you will discover three buttons. One is a channel-switch marked “1” and “2”. This allows you to pair the mouse with two different computers and move back and forth by simply toggling the little switch one position to the other. Choose the side you wish to begin with and then flip the on-off switch to “on” – it will now show green as opposed to the previous red.

Lastly, press the tiny button marked “connect” and turn the device right-side-up. At this point you should see a tiny pin-prick of light shining from a hole near the top-rear of the mouse – a spot so small you really can’t see it until it suddenly lights up. This will blink a blue color as it searches and turn solid one it has paired with your PC. After a few seconds it will go out. You are now connected and the mouse should work immediately.

If you do not see any light during this process then the mouse may need to be charged. It works with Micro USB and you will find the port on the bottom, near the rear end. A small cable ships with the T630, but today’s phone charging cords can also be used. The light will come on, this time in green, as the mouse charges. When the light is out then the device is fully charged.

Using the T630

As previously noted, the top surface of the peripheral is smooth, but the buttons are still present, though the clicking action, which is still audible, is actually carried out on the bottom of the device. Both left and right are located in the same positions as on any typical mouse.

Scroll wheel functionality is located in the center, just ahead of the Logitech logo. Click once to enable and again to disable.

t630-topThis peripheral also has several gestures that make it simple to use. For instance, while many of us are used to a scroll wheel, you may find scrolling up and down a page easier on the T630 Touch Mouse by simply swiping a finger towards the rear of the mouse for page down and towards the front for page up.

If you are using Windows 8 then you will encounter two additional handy gestures – swipe in from the right to access the Charms menu or in from the left side for the list of open apps. A slower swiping motion allows for side-to-side scrolling of a wide page.

Finally, tap two fingers simultaneously near the center of the mouse to gain easy access to the Start button, though this may be a Windows 7-only option, as it did not seem to work under Windows 8.1, which does have a Start button, though it’s less functional than its ancestor.

Final Conclusion

I should preface this by telling you that the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 is likely not for everyone. Users with large hands, for instance, may experience problems. In fact, despite that my hands are pretty average, using this mouse took some getting used to – it, at first, practically felt as if there was nothing at all under my hand. I came from a Logitech M185, which is a typically shaped mouse, though smaller than a standard “desktop size” mouse. The T630 dwarfs it.

When it comes to functionality, the Logitech device contains everything you expect from a basic mouse — left and right buttons and a scroll wheel. But it comes with several useful bonus features, such as swipe scrolling (a feature we’re all used to from today’s mobile devices) and easy access to the Windows 8 side menus.

Setup is also simple enough for any user – the Bluetooth links up to the computer with no hassle and adding a second paired device is just as easy. An on-off button allows you to save on battery when the peripheral isn’t in use, and recharging the battery can be done anywhere thanks to micro USB compatibility.

If I had to give you one complaint about the T630 then it would be sensitivity. Namely that the little device has too much of it. I find that the slightest movement of my finger has me scrolling down a page when I am not expecting to do so.

The bottom line here is that the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630, which has just gone on sale for $69.99, is a great mouse, providing you can adapt to using such a tiny device. For those just looking for an easy fit in a travel bag, as opposed to daily use, it excels, but may be a bit pricey for limited use scenarios.

Your Smartphone Smells Like Bacon

Posted by J Powers at 8:27 AM on October 28, 2013

ScenteeIf you love the smell of bacon, then you are in luck – your smartphone can start smelling of it without you having to put the phone on the griddle!

You will need an iPhone or Android device to run this, but this adaptor – created by Scentee - will emit a smell of bacon into the air. You can choose different fragrances – lemons, steak, pork, mint, Jasmine, cinnamon, roses…

You purchase the “balloon” which is Scentee’s adaptor (available on Amazon.co.jp) that plugs into the headphone jack and download the app (available on November 15th). The balloon is filled with your scent of choice. The idea is when you smell the food, you eat something low-calorie or low-price (like rice or lettuce) and the combination with the food scent will fill you up or help you eat cheaper.

You can also use Scentee to fill a room like incense or air fresheners.

Back to the bacon – Scentee is working on two different types of meat and baked potato smells. Engadget has done a full smell-test of the device.