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Author Archives: Randy Donack

The Jammy Is Cool Little Pocket Guitar

As a fan of rock music, the Jammy looks like a pretty cool way to jam. It’s a small, pocket sized device that that has the feel and sound of a real guitar. With the Jammy, instead of playing on an electronic surface like some other pocket guitars, it has you strumming with a real guitar pick against strings. And, because there are only 5 frets on the body, the neck can be extended out up to 12 inches to change octaves, which mimics the motion of sliding your hand up and down a real guitar neck.

While I doubt it’ll even come close to the feeling of a real guitar, the Jammy looks like a cool piece that anyone can have fun messing around with. The video shows off a lot of potential, but there’s no way to tell how much black magic is being used to make it look good.

There’s no word on how much it’ll cost, but the company says they plan to begin shipping later in the year.

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The OneStep 2 Is The First New Polaroid Instant Camera in Over A Decade

Ten years ago, Polaroid made their last instant film camera. An aging product of the times, they had been all but replaced as digital cameras became more affordable. Well now, the iconic instant camera is coming back, kind of.

Since Polaroid abandoned their instant film, the Impossible Project is a company that has emerged to continue producing Polaroid Instant Film in an effort to keep the iconic camera going. However, after their parent company acquired the Polaroid brand, they’ve revealed that they’re making the first new Polaroid Instant Camera since it was scrapped 10 years ago.

The camera, named the OneStep 2, doesn’t have many modern features, touting a flash, timer, a USB port for charging, and that’s about it. Though, if you ask me, a resurrected Polaroid camera should be a very basic piece of tech.

While the OneStep 2 will never match the quality of even most modern phones, it’s not about that. It’s about remembering the simpler days of buying a pack of film, loading the camera, and waiting for your picture to be visible to see if it was any good.

The OneStep 2 will set you back $99 and will be available October 16th. Oh yeah, and film costs $16 for an 8-pack of instant film, because you’ll need that too.

[ OneStep 2 ] VIA [ TheVerge ]

Nintendo Plans To Bring Back NES Classic in 2018

For anyone who was unable to get their hands on an NES Classic last year, I’m sure that, like me, you felt betrayed as Nintendo pulled the plug on the retro console earlier this year, just as demand was still sky high. And while Nintendo promises to have more SNES Classics available when it releases later this month, it still stung to know you wouldn’t be able to get one of the NES Classics.

Well, Nintendo just announced that they plan to bring back the NES Classic and re-release it sometime next year, as well as announcing plans to continue selling the SNES Classic well into 2018. Hopefully this means I can one day walk into an actual store and walk out with not one, but two retro Nintendo consoles instead of having to find someone online who will only price gouge me a little bit.

I guess birthday wishes do come true, as long as you believe hard enough.

[ TechCrunch ]

Apple Announces iPhone X, Is This The Era Of The $999 Phone?

Today was Apple’s big day of announcements as they revealed the latest versions of the iPhone, among them were the iPhone 8/8 Plus, as well as the much rumored iPhone X, which has been thought to be Apple’s significant update to the iPhone line in honor of the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone. Here are some of the biggest things you should know about their newest flagship.

Design

First, the design is the most obvious change as Apple removed the bottom bezel and much of the top, taking with it, the home button. The new design allows the screen to grow to 5.8”, while remaining physically smaller than the iPhone 7/8 Plus. This change also alters the basic functions as you now need to swipe up from the bottom of the phone to reach the home screen as well as having to use the larger power button on the side to activate Siri.

Face ID

Of course, you can’t remove the home button without also removing Touch ID, so Apple’s solution is to use advanced facial recognition which they’ve called Face ID. It works as one would expect, simply hold the phone up to your face and it unlocks. Apple claims Face ID is more secure than Touch ID and says it won’t be fooled by holding up pictures to unlock the phone, though people with evil twins should be on the lookout.

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Mighty Let’s You Use Spotify on a Workout Without Bringing Your Phone

It seems like just yesterday when the iPod was the perfect workout companion and using our phones for music but a distant dream. Part of me still misses the ease and super portability of the iPod shuffle. Unlike today where gym visits and bike rides require lugging around an expensive and delicate phone, you could simply clip the Shuffle to your shirt and workout without it getting in the way.

Well, one company is trying to make workouts less of a hassle with Mighty, an MP3 player resembling an iPod Shuffle with a modern twist. The ability to sync playlists and songs from Spotify wirelessly. The Mighty can connect to Spotify through an app on your smartphone, which allows you to create new playlists and sync them over to the Mighty before a workout, letting you ditch the phone. The addition of a specific button also allows you to select between playlists, letting you fill up its 8GB capacity with around 1,000 songs over many playlists.

The Mighty was originally brought to Kickstarter where it raised over $300k, and soon after, the company began working closely with Spotify to ensure smooth ease-of-use. A win-win for both companies, it ensures that the Mighty and its owners will have Spotify’s support. The Mighty also has support for both 3.5mm headphones as well as Bluetooth headphones, so new phone owners still resentful with the removal of their headphone jack can use their favorite headphones during a workout without living the dongle-life.

There’s a little more to it, but it’s available now for $86 on Mighty’s website for anyone who thinks it may be time to rethink buying a dedicated music player.

[ BeMighty ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

Bosch’s Handheld Scanner Can Help You Figure Out That Mystery Stain

Bosch, best known for their home appliances, is showing off their latest innovation at IFA 2017, a handheld scanner that takes the guess work out of laundry. The small handheld scanner is able to detect the source of stains, as well as determine the fabric of the clothing being scanned, which it reads out on it’s small LCD display and sends a method of cleaning to a connected washing machine. So you can simply scan that wool sweater that you stained at cousin eddy’s Bat Mitzvah and toss it right in the mashing machine, though honestly who brings a sweater to a Bat Mitzvah?

As great as a laundry companion the X-Spect could one day make, Bosch seems to be exploring the possibilities with the tech. One of the gadgets other neat tricks is that when used to scan food items such as a frozen pizza, it can begin preheating a connected oven to a predetermined temperature. Though, hopefully the X-Spect can learn to play well with other brands as I don’t see many people filling their house with Bosch appliances just to use the scanner.

As for many cool things, the X-Spect still sits in the early stages of development. But as for release, the company hopes to launch it ‘soon’. Which it could sell alongside one of their smart washing machines as opposed to trying to sell it as a stand-alone unit.

[ Engadget ]

Despite Warnings People Still Fried Their Cameras During The Eclipse

There’s no doubt that people were super excited to catch a glimpse of the first total solar eclipse to hit the United States since 1979. Cities and towns within the path of totality were hit with eclipse fever as tourists poured in for the incredibly rare opportunity. Of course,  along with that excitement came people wanting to photograph the event, and like how many ignored the warnings of not wearing the eclipse glasses, many innocent cameras were injured by people not using a solar lens to capture the eclipse.

One camera rental company, LensRentals, posted a blog detailing the different types of the damage to cameras and lenses that were returned after the eclipse. Among these include damaged sensors, melted shutters and damage to the lens iris. Most of the damage happened when cameras were left pointed to the eclipse, using the lens like a magnifying glass and melting some of the inside components. Except this time, instead of burning an ant hill until your parents call a therapist, you end up melting the critically important sensor in a camera that’s worth more than your kidney.

Luckily, LensRentals was prepared to deal with repairs by the forgone instructions and says the damage wasn’t as common as expected. Though the company says that the damage is considered neglect after the numerous warnings, so the added insurance doesn’t cover the damage. They hope this will serve as a warning to anyone wanting to photograph the next eclipse in 2024.

See more pictures of the damage. [ LensRentals ]

Capcom Set to Re-release Street Fighter II Cartridge For The SNES, Though it Might Catch On Fire

Capcom has teamed up with Iam8bit to release a limited run of Street Fighter II cartridges for the 30th anniversary for the game, which are fully functional. The run will produce 5,500 cartridges, with 1,000 being in ‘Glow-in-the-dark Blanka’ green and the other 4,500 in ‘Opaque Ryu Headband’ red.

Though something in the product page’s description suggests the game could catch on fire, “WARNING: Use of this reproduction game cartridge (the “Product”) on the SNES gaming hardware may cause the SNES console to overheat or catch fire.”

Okay, so the game is unlikely to have any issues whatsoever, and is almost certainly not going to set of a Hadouken in your living room. Though, it’s still best to exercise caution and you probably want to shelf this one anyway, as it’s going to be massively collectible to any Street Fighter fan.

The cartridges will sell for $100 each and will ship sometime in November, but just buy an SNES Classic, which will be $20 cheaper and even has Street Fighter II built in. Just kidding, you’ll never be able to find an SNES Classic that’ll cost you less than $200 and little bit of your dignity off some guy on Craigslist who hoards them like a troll.

[ IAm8Bit ]

Someone Made a Polaroid Camera That Can Print GIF’s (sort of)

People these days seem obsessed with bringing back old tech whether it be vinyl records, retro video games, or old film cameras. And as far as old cameras go, no company seems gets the rose-colored nostalgia treatment quite like Polaroid. I suppose there’s nothing quite as satisfying as taking a picture and having it print out into your hands seconds later.

Well Reddit user, abhi3188, decided to combine the look and feel of the old Polaroid camera, with the modern equivalent of communication, making a camera that prints out GIF’s. The project, named the Instagif NextStep, works by taking a short clip with the camera, which it then ‘prints’ out a cartridge with a small screen on it to display the GIF. Okay, so it doesn’t magically print moving images onto film paper, but it’s still a super cool idea. Once released the GIF even takes a second to fade in, like a real photo from an instant camera.

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