Monday, March 31, 2014

Watch a Time-Lapse of Every Storm That Hit the East Coast This Winter

Watch a Time-Lapse of Every Storm That Hit the East Coast This Winter - Watch the clouds roll serenely over the East Coast in this new time-lapse and you might almost forget how bitterly cold and snowy it was.

(Via Wired Top Stories.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Apple to Move Production of iPhone Batteries to Automated Lines

Apple to Move Production of iPhone Batteries to Automated Lines - iphone_5s_battery Apple is set to begin producing all iPhone batteries on automated production lines starting later this year, according to a report from DigiTimes. The move is being done to reduce manpower demand and to allow the company to shift its supply chain resources towards production efforts on other parts.

Apple has already automated its Mac Pro and iMac production lines. Other than materials and final assembly, manpower is not required for the rest of the manufacturing.
The move will likely help Apple with iPhone production going forward, as company supplier Pegatron will reportedly be starting production on the iPhone 6 in the second quarter of this year at its new Kunsahn, China plant. Moving the production of iPhone batteries to automated lines may also help Apple avoid manufacturing defects like ones found in a small number of iPhone 5s last year.

Apple's next-generation iPhone will likely be unveiled in the fall, and has been rumored to launch with two different models including one with a 4.7-inch display and one with a 5.7-inch display. The iPhone 6 could also feature a durable sapphire display, with other rumors pointing to a thinner chassis and bezel-free design.

(Via MacRumors : Mac News and Rumors.)

Apple's state-of-the-art, ground-breaking, game-changing... cassettes?

Apple's state-of-the-art, ground-breaking, game-changing... cassettes? - It's hard to believe, what with modern Macs abandoning even SuperDrives en masse, but way, way back in the late 1970s, programs on the original Apple II came on these. My, how far we've come. [Photo credit: Jim Abeles]

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

5 iPhone speaker amplifiers that you already own

5 iPhone speaker amplifiers that you already own - The speakers on the iPhone are fine for text tones and chirps from Angry Birds, but they don't really fit the bill for high-quality music. If you don't have your headphones handy but still want to rock out to some booming tunes, give these household ...

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

An Unexpected Discovery in the Brains of Autistic Children

An Unexpected Discovery in the Brains of Autistic Children - Nobody knows what causes autism, a condition that varies so widely in severity that some people on the spectrum achieve enviable fame and success while others require lifelong assistance due to severe problems with communication, cognition, and behavior. Scientists have found countless clues, but so far they don't quite add up. A new study adds an intriguing, unexpected, and sure-to-be controversial finding to the mix: It suggests the brains of children with autism contain small patches where the normally ordered arrangement of neurons in the cerebral cortex is disrupted.

(Via Wired Top Stories.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

NASA's stunning Visualization Explorer get updated and offers more features

NASA's stunning Visualization Explorer get updated and offers more features - We last looked at NASA's free Visualization Explorer back in 2011, and since then it's been through several versions, culminating in this latest update that makes it native to all iOS devices. It also adds iOS 7 compatibility and a redone GUI. The...

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

Tim Cook Highlights 'Magical' iPad Doo-Wop Duet Between Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon

Tim Cook Highlights 'Magical' iPad Doo-Wop Duet Between Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon - Last night on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Billy Joel joined the talk show host in a doo-wop video so entertaining that it was singled out by Tim Cook on Twitter.

The featured iPad app is Loopy HD [Direct Link], which allows you to create music by layering loops that you record yourself. Fallon and Joel sang The Lion Sleeps Tonight, a song made popular in the 1960s by doo-wop group The Tokens. The pair sang different parts of the song in an amusing exchange that features a solo by Fallon and the always powerful vocals of Joel.

(Via MacRumors : Mac News and Rumors.)

Inside the iPad rig Jimmy Fallon used to duet with Billy Joel on 'The Tonight Show'

Inside the iPad rig Jimmy Fallon used to duet with Billy Joel on 'The Tonight Show' - Apple's iPad was the centerpiece of a live performance this week featuring the legendary Billy Joel and "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon, and AppleInsider has learned exactly what hardware and software producers utilized to make the memorable duet happen.

(Via AppleInsider.)

How to create a modern-day tech survival kit with an old iPhone

How to create a modern-day tech survival kit with an old iPhone -

Almost 50 percent of old phones are kept stored away somewhere in the house, MarketWatch reported earlier this year. My own family employs a trickle-down approach where a new iPhone is brought into the house each year, and everyone ends up getting an upgrade. So by the time the oldest phone, which is presently an iPhone 4, is no longer in use by someone, it is only worth about $65 in good condition on gazelle. These phones still have their uses around the house and are can be worth more than their trade-in value if used properly.

One idea is to create a tech survival kit when traveling. It could be used to replace a lost or stolen smart phone, kept in the car during a long drive, or stored securely in a family vacation house. This kit would include an iPhone, some means of calling for help, the ability to find yourself on a map as well as a means of maintaining a decent charge.

Here is how you can put together your own iPhone tech survival kit:

Basic communications

Basic communications

GoPhone SIM activation and setup - Keeping the phone as part of your family plan would not be cost-effective. Instead, you can swap out the SIM card and turn your iPhone into a pay-as-you-go iPhone without any monthly reoccurring charges. You can go through the trouble of buying a replacement SIM card onlineand trying to activate it on your own, or you can simply bring your old iPhone into a AT&T retail store and have them do it for you like I did.

The whole process took about ten minutes. A representative from AT&T checked to see if the phone was still under contract or if it had been reported stolen before switching out the SIM card. There was one complication we ran into that prevented the phone from connecting to the network that was rectified by performing a “Erase All Content and Settings.” This may not happen to you, but it is a good idea to back up your device and remove anything on the device that is important to you. When all was said and done, I had a pay-as-you-go iPhone 4 with a GoPhone Refill SIM Card installed.

Refilling your Go-Phone - To get things started, I paid just $10 for 100 minutes that will expire in 30 days (there are other refill options available). I can refill the card whenever and however I want going forward. There is an Auto Refill option that is basically like having a monthly bill without a contract. You can also log on to your account over the internet and add minutes online or dial 611 from your wireless phone or 800.901.9878 from a landline and say “add money.” But for the survival kit, perhaps the best thing to do is to purchase a GoPhone Refill Card and keep it stored with the phone. With most refill cards, you can add the value on the card to your account using your wireless phone keypad by entering 888Pin#. You can check your balance this way as well by entering *777#. Presently my iPhone 4 is not associated in any way to any sort of credit card, auto-renewal, or hidden charges.

Keeping a charge

Keeping a charge

Batteries that have a long shelf life - Over time, any rechargeable battery will eventually lose its charge, even if it is not being used. When planning to store a phone for a long period of time, it is a good idea to keep a charger nearby that is capable of holding its own charge for extended periods of time. A good option to consider is buying off the shelf AA batteries as they typically hold their charge for years rather than weeks. An eight pack of Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA Batteries costs about $16 on Amazon and the company claims they will last up to 20 years when not in use. When storing batteries like this, a good practice to get into is it to write the date of purchase on the package when you buy them.

USB chargers that use AA batteries - Verbatim has an AA Power Bank Charger for just $16 on Amazon that uses four AA batteries at a time. It has a standard USB charging port that you can plug any USB charging cable into. Energizer has two similar chargers, the Instant Charger for Micro USB Mobile Phones and one for iPod/iPhone, at $25 each. The Verbatim is a little more versatile with its USB port rather than a dedicated cable, and it costs $10 less. Just be sure to include a charging cable in your kit if you do opt for the Verbatim. The Micro USB charger from Energizer will need a Lightning to Micro USB Adapter to use on more recent iPhones.

Charging in the middle of nowhere - Another option to consider is a charging device that comes with a built-in power dynamo. The Ambient Weather Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger for $40 on Amazon is one such device. It does have its own internal 800 mAh rechargeable battery that you can charge from, but it’s real power comes from the solar panel and a hand crank that you can use to charge your iPhone. The one downside is that it comes with a proprietary cable that you must use to connect to your USB device. Ambient has addressed this in a recently released new model, the ADVENTURER2 WR–335, that is a little more expensive but has a standard USB port built-in.

Finding Your Way

Finding your way

Know your location’s coordinates - The iOS 7 compass that comes installed with your iPhone is one way of determining your exact GPS location. It also serves a a good way to establish a sense of direction. What may be a better choice is Pavel Ahafonau’s Spyglass ($3.99 Universal). It can convert your GPS coordinates into several different formats and can be used as a sextant that aligns with the sun, moon and stars. It has a HUD mode that uses the iPhone’s camera which will allow you to select a landmark in the direction you need to head towards. It does so much that it comes with a 36 page manual that explains among other things how to measure the distance and height of an object.

Detailed maps stored locally - There are several really good navigation and map apps in the app store to choose from. One choice that has been a long-time favorite of mine is CoPilot Premium HD USA – Offline GPS Navigation & Maps ($14.99 Universal), which installs offline maps with lifetime updates for pretty cheap. And you won’t need to connect to the internet to see where you are or create a route to where you need to be. For times when you are going off-the-beaten-path, TrailBehind’s Offline Topo Maps ($9.99 Universal) will allow you to pre-download highest resolution USGS topo maps. With either of these two apps, just be sure and download the included maps you need before you pack your iPhone away.

(Via TheAppleBlog.)

Dolby to put Atmos surround sound on tablets, smartphones

Dolby to put Atmos surround sound on tablets, smartphones -

Scene from the film "Gravity," which used Dolby Atmos surround-sound technology.

(Credit: Warner Bros.)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Anyone who has seen the movie "Gravity" in a Dolby Atmos theater can understand what it's like to truly experience surround-sound.

The viewer becomes completely immersed in booms, echoes, smashes, and whispers -- space debris zooms overhead, loudly crashes into the International Space Station, and then there's total silence with just the faint murmur of Sandra Bullock's panicked breathing.

There's a reason why two of the movie's seven Academy awards were for sound.

Now Dolby is bringing this same experience to mobile. That's right, it's like a movie theater on your head.

"It gets very exciting when you think of taking that [Atmos] blueprint and putting it on a tablet or smartphone," Dolby Laboratories Product Manager for Mobile Joel Susal said in a presentation. "The goal is to transport you."

Dolby debuted its mobile audio technology during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. The company explained that by using algorithms running on either a dedicated audio processor chip or an ARM processor core, it's able to simulate Atmos-like surround-sound by tricking listeners' brains into thinking the audio is 3D.

Atmos was launched in 2012 and since then all major Hollywood studios, along with top movie directors and sound mixers, have used it. Currently, there are 450 Atmos screens around the world and more than 100 films have incorporated the technology, including "Gravity" and "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug."

Susal calls Atmos technology "object-based." This means that sound designers can place or move audio anywhere they like in an Atmos theater, such as the ceiling or the front left wall. The sound can also move across theaters' speakers, which makes for a very lifelike experience. For example, when a helicopter flies across a movie screen, viewers can hear the sound of the blades travel overhead and across the ceiling from one end to the other.


Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel Perform Doo-Wop Duet with iPad App on 'Tonight Show'

Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel Perform Doo-Wop Duet with iPad App on 'Tonight Show' -

Jimmy Fallon may have won himself a few unintended laughs a couple of months ago when he awkwardly tried to hide his beloved MacBook from guest Bill Gates, but the incident hasn't dulled his love for the products coming out of Cupertino. Indeed, just last night the latest host of The Tonight Show used an iPad app to perform a doo-wop duet with singer Billy Joel, and the performance turned so many heads that Tim Cook himself linked it on Twitter.

For their charming renditions of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," popularized by the Tokens in the 1960s, Fallon and Joel used Loopy HD on Fallon's iPad, which layers recorded loops to resemble a chorus of multiple singers. Fallon took the lead, Joel joined in, and the The Roots--The Tonight Show's acclaimed house band--rounded off the piece with some embellishments of their own.

Fascinatingly enough, the event comes not long after Fallon started hiding the Mac logo on his laptop in the wake of the awkward moment with Gates (via 9to5Mac), possibly because Apple isn't listed as an official sponsor of Fallon's show. Some legal tiptoeing may be taking place in the background there, but it's worth noting that it wasn't enough to stop Fallon from identifying the iPad by name during the duet.

Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

(Via Mac|Life all.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Microsoft Office for Mac coming

New Microsoft Office for Mac coming - Microsoft has confirmed that the company will release a new version of Microsoft Office for the Mac this year, according to a report published today in Macworld. A representative for Microsoft confirmed that development work for the next version of...

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

Neil Young Prepares to Launch 'PonoPlayer' to Combat iPod, Other MP3 Devices

Neil Young Prepares to Launch 'PonoPlayer' to Combat iPod, Other MP3 Devices -

Today Neil Young revealed his Toblerone-shaped "PonoPlayer," which he hopes will launch a successful counterattack against (of all things) Apple's iPod. It seems Mr. Young has missed all the memos about the device's "declining business," in the words of Apple CEO Tim Cook, particularly in the wake of the emergence of integrated devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Young's specific beef with the iPod (and MP3 devices in general) is that the smaller sound files don't deliver the quality of "true" music. The unfortunately named PonoPlayer, to be priced at $399, supposedly makes up for that deficiency by playing "master quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible." Young wants us to hear the music "the way the artist recorded it."

(Via Mac|Life all.)

How to Turn Your iPad Into the Ultimate Video Rig

How to Turn Your iPad Into the Ultimate Video Rig - Tap into your iPad's true video-shooting potential with these apps and tricks.

(Via Wired Top Stories.)

The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix

The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix - The book business is merging into the magazine business as more publishers sell literature via subscription to highly targeted clusters of readers. High-profile literary studio Plympton is leading the charge with its $5-a-month iOS service Rooster.

(Via Wired Top Stories.)