Posted by Tattletech on Mar 30, 2012 in Go Bag
This is our new Friday segment called Go Bag wherein we give you a few interesting odds and ends from this week on the Internet. Good reads, cool stuff, whatever — just some stuff to take you to the weekend.
- Is this the end of marketing’s nirvana, and the beginning of a Washington nightmare? – All about Big Data.
- One Drug to Shrink All Tumors - A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice, researchers have found. The treatment, an antibody that blocks a “do not eat” signal normally displayed on tumor cells, coaxes the immune system to destroy the cancer cells.
- Brain ‘talks over’ boring speech quotes – When listening to someone monotonously repeating direct speech quotations, the brain will ‘talk over’ the speaker to make the quotes more vivid.
- Shruthi Box – Drone for yourself.
- A Pinterest Spammer Tells All – How to game the site we can’t seem to avoid having to pay attention to.
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 29, 2012 in Apps
, Mobile apps
, social media
These days, there is an app for just about anything you can possibly think of. Need the name of a song? Want to get in shape? Want to feel like a kid again and draw? There are apps for all those urges and needs. Let’s face it, the average smartphone is now wicked smart, filled with endless activities to keep any person, any age, occupied.
Apps are getting more personal too, allowing you to express your interests to complete strangers or friends, whichever you prefer. But what if you just wanted to express your feelings and interests to a single person (such as a significant other) without everyone being able to see? Instead of posting lovey-dovey pictures and comments to Facebook and Twitter for the public and all your friends to see, you can now resort to an app that is shared between just you two … Hallelujah!!
This week saw the release of an app called Pair, which is essentially a timeline you share with your significant other containing photos, messages, videos and locations of where you are, so you can be constantly connected even if you are miles apart. The most unique feature of this app is that you can actually share a “thumb kiss,” which tells the phone to vibrate when both users touch a spot on the cell phone screen.
This particular app was created for people in long distance relationships who were looking for an alternative to texting and phone calls. Pair basically rolls Facetime and Skype into one, making it easier to contact and get a hold of each other with the click of a button.
A little over the top, but I guess I’d purchase this app … just have to find a boyfriend first. Ha.
XKCD has long been home to one of the most vocal and loyal followings on the Internet, a webcomic for the sensitive nerd. This description of course does not begin to do the webcomic justice, as its subject matter is diverse and its fan-base well deserved. Occasionally, XKCD embarks upon projects well beyond the normal purview of standard webcomicing and they have done so recently with the Holistic Browser. The premise: type in where you want to go and users will send you where they think you should be. It’s all very Wild West and unfiltered. So yes, browsing is absolutely not safe for work.
Luckily, I work from home so a-browsing I did go. Here’s how my test drive went.
First, I tried The Huffington Post.
I was sent to Pandora. Fair enough. A relatively good choice. If I favored an aggregate which many feel has passed its prime, why not an Internet radio website that faces similar scrutiny?
Next, I tried last.fm, to stay on the Internet radio theme. I was sent to Fail Blog. Fair enough — I like music, I probably like classic Internet lulz.
Next up, College Humor (I stay on theme again). I got Wikipedia. Okay. Maybe I’m in college and could use some study time.
Let’s kick the research up a notch and try Wolfram Alpha. I got The Brick Testament. Incredible! The creator of all the wonderful Biblical Lego creations on that site was an early Internet hero of mine (mostly for Brad: The Game). Not sure how it fits, but I am happy to be reminded of that guy. We’ve had some rewarding serendipity now. This thing may really serve a purpose!
Let’s go back to other websites I liked in high school. Livejournal – ESPN. I can dig it, I guess. Keeping things mainstream.
Hoops Hype. That got me to Dubstep.net. Now we finally have the first instance of a website I have not been to before. And … fifteen minutes of streaming dubstep later, I can report I am happy to have gone there.
Let’s stay with music. Pitchfork — the BBC? Interesting choice.
Let’s try The Guardian – Major League Gaming: the home of professional videogaming. So, pretty much everything has been pretty mainstream and focused on front pages so far, with the exception of The Brick Testament. Let’s go on the nerd theme and see if we can get some weirder responses.
The battle rap archives from rapmusic.com — this should give us something interesting. It did! A weird Danish website (right).
Okay, now the only question I had left to answer was … how long will it take before I get sent to porn. It’s the Internet after all, all paths end with porn sooner or later. Let the quest begin.
The Danish Parliament — Photography blog
Lenscratch – Let Me Google That For You (love this website)
Milk and Cookies — Anime blog
Pokemon.com – Cool 3D art
Zouch Magazine – Surviving the World (a webcomic by a friend of mine!)
SMBC Comics — Meaty Yogurt (a webcomic)
Garfield — Rambler (Russian news)
Okay … at this point I was beginning to relinquish hope in finding the eXXXit to this maze of websites. Perhaps I was showing too little faith in humanity. Maybe people could use this site without finding the need to direct users to porn. I would try one more website and it was the big one.
Facebook. Surely this would be the one. Whoa! Okay. Apparently AdolfHitler.biz is a website and the front page is a warning about “inflammatory or illegal statements” within. No thank you and there goes that whole “faith in humanity” kick I just had. Internet, you have thrilled, amazed, inspired and ultimately disgusted me again. The Holistic Browser is legit.
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 26, 2012 in Monday Jumpstart
“Action is the antidote to despair.”
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 23, 2012 in Clutch
Fashion: my one true love in this world. Ever since I was small, I would change my outfit literally five times a day because I wanted to give each piece of clothing its time to shine. As I’ve grown, my obsession for fashion and new trends has only grown. I wish I was lying, but I must admit I have four bureaus in my room, as well as a closet, and that still doesn’t hold all on my clothes … opps. It’s just because I’m constantly keeping up with the latest and greatest and we all know that changes all the time.
Whether its shoes, purses, accessories, or jeans, I feel the urge to purchase anything that stands out as unique in my eyes. I really dislike dressing like everyone else, so it’s not out of the ordinary to see me insome crazy pieces of clothing, but I’m just being me! Needless to say, whenever I travel to Europe, I fall in love. The clothes at any store are my style, crazy and unique yet sophisticated. So when I traveled to Amsterdam last year, I came across an accessory that I still dream of to this day. My colleagues and I nicknamed it “The Shoulder Pad Necklace.” It’s true, shoulder pads may have come and gone, floating in and out of style since the 80’s, but it’s apparent that they are somehow making their way back into the action, and … I don’t hate it!
So basically this thing is a necklace so uniquely fitted it looked as if it was part of the shirt the manikin was wearing, essentially looking like shoulder pads. And the best part is that you can simply add this to any boring shirt/dress, and it instantly spices it up and makes it a whole new outfit! It’s exact name is a “statement shoulder necklace” and that is exactly what you do when you wear one of these beauties, you make a statement. I’m not sure if it counts as a technological advancement, but as a stylistic one, I’m sold.
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 22, 2012 in Mobile
, QR codes
There is already starting to be a QR Code backlash in popular culture, the typical knock being that they are a cool idea nobody actually uses in real life (see: this great Tumblr). Well, we are still holding out hope for QR Codes and we have found an example in, of all places, education!
Says Swedish teacher Jesper Isaksson, “the other day I asked my students how many of them have a smartphone with free data plan and just about 20 out of 25 raised their hands. I am confident that 100% of them will have it before this year is over. With free data plan, bigger screens and smarter phones teachers can easily create their own multimedia handouts and really, it brings science fiction a bit closer, doesn’t it? I can already see my students reading in books or documents, scanning away on their smartphones, watching videos, listening to streaming music or recorded interviews, watching image galleries of certain topics and subjects, downloading files to their phones for later viewing etc.”
It all does seem a bit reliant on “the future,” which is not heartening, since QR Codes have been around for some time now, but the usefulness is pretty clear. Then again, it’s clear in a lot of ways that still don’t make people use them. Read the rest of Isaksson’s blog post here and see if you are swayed. Also, read more about Tattletech witnessing people ignoring QR Codes firsthand here.
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 20, 2012 in Apps
, Cool stuff
I won’t sugarcoat it, I am horrible at keeping myself in shape. I like to blame it on working from home — when one spends the entire day self-motivating, conjuring up that extra surge of self-motivation to work out can be one surge too many. Of course, nobody else I know who works from home has this problem, so while I would like to blame my sloth on my work environment, the more likely explanation is that I am a nerd: a Doritos-chomping, Mass Effect-addicted nerd. I would rather be on a couch contemplating the probability of an action given its relation to 20-sided dice, okay?! For 25+ years, this has not been a problem, but today I turn 26 and judging by my rapidly expanding gut, my metabolism has finally decided to stop bailing me out.
Don’t worry, I saw this coming and last week I decided to prepare by scouring the Internet for ways to fight back my expanding gut. I quickly learned that in order to stay in shape I would likely have to leave my house. I was not thrilled by this revelation, but decided to give it the old college try. Last Monday at 16:30 I went for a run. Last Monday at 16:37 I returned from my run. Okay, not such a great start, but to be fair, I was only looking out for my heart, which seemed to be practicing how to flam at about the four minute mark. Clearly I needed more help, so back to the Internet I went and there I found the app that may well save my life, in more ways than one.
The app is called Zombies, Run! and it is exactly what you think it is … an app that simulates the experience of running away from zombies. Talk about a nerd motivation tool — I’ve thought about the zombie apocalypse about fifty times more than I’ve gone for a run in the last year (for those keeping score at home, the exact figure is roughly 50 to one, the one being the aforementioned seven-minute exercise in complicated aortal meter), so the interest is already there.
I bought the app, plugged in my earbuds, put on the running shorts I bought back in high school, when they were functional beyond self-loathing irony and headed out the door. Now, I would get in shape. 45 minutes later, I came back through my door, flush with excitement, adrenaline, shock, mild arrhythmia — I was finally a runner; the app worked! So, how did it work?
Zombies, Run! uses the best part of zombie plots (fear, dystopian wonder and survival instinct) to combat the worst part of exercise (boredom, purposelessness, ennui, weltschmerz). The app talks you through a story in which you are dropped into a zombie-infested area with only your stamina, wits and the voice in your earpiece to save you. Using GPS, the app tracks your speed and distance and allows a story to unfold, narrating your workout through an urban wasteland. You pick up items, avoid danger, contribute to a stronghold of survivors and many other nerdy things. In the pauses in narration, the app switches you over to your music (which I put on a suitably epic Explosions in the Sky mix) to keep you motivated and not focusing on the crushing tedium of what is actually happening. On my first run, 45 minutes took me through a hospital where I picked up valuable medical supplies and back to a human base-camp where I met the other survivors. Doesn’t that sound better than what actually happened (I ran to Prospect Park and back)?
Here’s the important bit: it was fun. It was easy to get into character and to let the novelty of the experience drown out the woeful performance of what were once functional muscles. The app succeeded in its primary objective (getting a nerd out of the house) just as I succeeded in mine (bringing bandages to wounded survivors). I will use it again. There are more supplies to get, more people to save, bathing suit season coming up, plenty of reasons to keep running from zombies. 26 will be the year I save humanity and my self-respect.
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 19, 2012 in Monday Jumpstart
“I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander.”
- Isaac Asimov
Posted by Tattletech on Mar 15, 2012 in Clutch
, Cool stuff
I recently wrote a post I was pretty excited about that dealt with inhalable energy, which I thought was pretty amazing. However, this product beats that by a long shot. I’m not sure if I would spend ten dollars on one of these, but … the idea is awesome.
Ever heard someone use the term, ”I just inhaled that slice of apple pie”? It translates to, “I just ate that slice of apple pie so fast I barely chewed it.” Well, welcome to 2012, where it’s actually possible to literally inhale a slice of apple pie. Vaportrim, the makers behind all this magic, call it a dessert e-cigarette. Yeah, I never heard of it either, but I weirdly want to try one.
Vaportrim is an inhaler that tastes exactly like dessert. That means flavors such as apple pie, cinnamon bun, or vanilla cupcake, minus all the guilt that follows eating those delicious treats. The flavored mist that is inhaled triggers your sense of taste and smell and essentially curbs your appetite as if you really just consumed the dessert you chose (14 flavors to choose from, yuuummm).
Caffeine… dessert, what’s next? A Thanksgiving turkey feast? I can’t help but think that we are not far off from a future in which everything is inhaled.
It seems like Vaportrim is definitely aimed toward individuals who are eager to lose weight and since it claims it curb your appetite, it is a perfect solution. Desserts are hard to say no to, even though everyone knows in the back of their head they are usually filled with sugar and corn syrup, not to mention calories. So why not give Vaportrim a shot … I mean, sniff!
As for me, I’d rather watch my grandmother add in all the butter and piles of endless sugar into a nice pan, have the aroma of apples and cinnamon take over the kitchen and love life, while eating a slice of apple pie one bite at a time.
Recently, Chaotic Moon Labs created a new futuristic skateboard. Just when I thought kevlar and spring-loaded pop was the end of skateboard technology, CM Labs brought out the “Board of Imagination.”
First of all, before the “Board of Imagination,” there was the “Board of Awesomeness,” which was equipped with Microsoft’s Kinect, which most of you know as being the body-reading accessory for the X-box 360. Rather than Kinect being on your TV and turning you in to the “controller,” CM Labs very intelligently applied it to the board, turning your very own hands into the steering-wheel, cool huh? People really took to the idea and it got a good deal of hype, but unfortunately the Board of Awesomeness turned out not to be so awesome after multiple breakdowns. So, instead of rebuilding it, they decided to go back to the drawing board and they eventually came up with this … the Board of Imagination.
So what is the Board of Imagination? Well, the Board of Imagination is a skateboard, with four rubber wheels, but instead of using Microsoft’s Kinect like its predecessor, CM Labs went up to another level and used an Emotiv EPOC headset, connected through a Samsung Windows Tab, running Windows 8 (developer preview). The Emotiv EPOC is a headset that detects your brainwaves, so when connected to the Samsung Tab the board will detect brain wave and translate them into commandments for the skateboard. It is just as simple as thinking of a destination in the near future and the board will take your straight to that spot! You can even imagine the speed at which you wish to travel — as long as it is under 32 MPH. That’s still fast enough in my mind.
We don’t know for sure if this board will go on the market yet, but I think this is great piece of kit for the future and I can’t wait to see everybody outside using these. The only thing that has me confused is … how am I going to kick-flip this thing?!
You can see this crazy board in action right here.
You can read Fif-TECH-teen weekly right here on Tattletech. You can also follow Sean on Twitter @sean_edwards1.