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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Real Life iPhone Costumes Put Your Crappy Halloween Outfit to Shame [VIDEO]

FYE, Mark
Dressing up as Balloon Boy, Kanye West or some other Internet hit this Halloween? Don't even bother: these real life iPhone costumes already took 1st and 2nd place for best novelty outfits ever.

The costumes took 3 weeks to build, with each weighing 85lbs and requiring a car battery to be worn between the wearer's legs. An iPhone 3GS is attached to a 42 LCD screen (not touch screen, alas), turning the wearer into a human-sized iPhone...
...Does geekery know no bounds?
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

MTA Could Turn Swiping Your Metrocard Into a Fun Game!

Fye, Mark


Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

In a piece exploring the ramifications of new MTA chair Jay Walder's fascinating new ideas for subway fares, such as charging less for rides at night and on weekends, the Times interviewed behavioral economist Dan Ariely, who had this so-crazy-it-just-might-work suggestion for increasing off-peak ridership:

"Instead of reducing all fares by 50 percent on weekends or late at night, he suggested, maybe the transit agency should make every other fare during those hours free, turning a turnstile into a slot machine of sorts. He remembered an experiment he was part of years ago at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, rigging a vending machine so that every third candy bar was free. Sales increased by 30 percent."

YES, please do this! Anything to make the world more fun, right? Though it's all fun and games until famous subway rider Mike Bloomberg gets his first free fare.

Link Prices All Over Town to the Time [NYT]

Read more posts by Lindsay Robertson

Filed Under: metrocards, mta, subway fares, subway hell

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Turn RSS Feeds Into Printable Email PDF Newsletters With Tabbloid

I am a big fan of RSS but I know of many people who live inside their email inbox and refuse to come out.  Some people prefer the simplicity of email and some just don't want t0 come out of their comfort zone.   Which is fine.  As I always say, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.  Nevertheless, not using RSS means you are constantly checking countless sites for updates one at a time and that is a lot of time which could be used someplace else for something else.

There's an option to have RSS feeds converted into printable PDF newsletters (which can then be emailed to you) and the service is called Tabbloid.   The only slight drawback to this service is that the recipient has to, at least, have a basic understanding of what a RSS feed is (so they can enter it into the right boxes).   But assuming they know what a RSS feed is when they look at one, they can set up Tabbloid to have website updates emailed to them as a very neat and tidy PDF newsletter which they can then read at their leisure and pleasure (and print out if they want).   Or a RSS-knowledgeable person could set it up for them.

You could also use this service to start collecting blog posts in PDF format as a kind of archive.   Have them emailed to you and then archive them for posterity.  There's quite a few possibilities to this service.

Getting it set up is a cinch - and you don't even need to set up an account!

1.  Add the RSS feed

When you click to get started, you will be asked to enter the RSS feed in the first box in the top left.   Let's choose MakeUseOf's feed as an example :

Or as you can see, the site also offers lists of recommended feeds, if you are not sure what to subscribe to.   MakeUseOf isn't there though!   Oh dear..

You can see on the right hand side which feeds you have chosen and you can remove any of them at any time.

Enter Your Email Details

Now you have to enter your email details.

You can choose between daily delivery and monthly delivery (just remember that with a monthly delivery and a very busy feed like MakeUseOf's, you are going to get a HUGE file!).   Also choose your delivery time and time zone.

If you want to preview the issue before clicking on "save delivery options", just click the big blue "generate sample issue now" button and you will get a PDF to preview.   One thing here though - your issue will come through without a pdf file format at the end (which is slightly irritating I have to admit).   So in Explorer, open it by right-clicking on it, choose "open with" and then choose Adobe Acrobat or any other PDF reader.

You can view a sample issue here that I quickly made using the MakeUseOf feed.

As you will see, all weblinks are clickable and the layout is fantastic.   One little minor gripe that I would make is that the rest of the newsletter is not very customisable.   You can't give the newsletter another name for example.  But that is all very minor and may only bother you if you wanted to make a personalised newsletter to send out to your blog subscribers.   But if you only want to use Tabbloid for post archiving purposes or to read RSS feeds inside your email, then it seems to be a perfect service.

Do you know of any other similar services that do a better job?  If so, tell us all about them in the comments.

Did you like the post? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section!

New on MakeUseOf ? Get cheat sheets and cool PDF guides @
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Robotic 'mood tail' is everything you hope it to be, and more

Why hang on to your emotions when you can wag them proudly with a robotic mood tail? Sure, you may never have asked that question yourself, but intrepid DIYer Wei-Chieh Tseng seemingly has, and he's done something about it. Apparently, the tail makes use of the ever dependable Arduino and an RFID reader to detect different emotion cards that set off varying degrees of tail-wagging, or you can simply control the tail yourself using a Wii nunchuck -- because, why not? Did we mention there's a video? Check it out after the break.

Continue reading Robotic 'mood tail' is everything you hope it to be, and more

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets, Wearables

Robotic 'mood tail' is everything you hope it to be, and more originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 15 Oct 2009 18:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Area Man Murders Palm Pre At Local Bar

[FYE -Mark] "If you're Palm you're hoping that Pre owners love their phones so much that they cherish and protect them for always. So when a guy who owns a Palm Pre drops it in his beer just to see what happens, you can't be too happy. It just doesn't say a whole lot about how much a person values a phone when they drop it into a mug of beer.

On the upside, it stays on for about a minute before giving up the ghost. Compare that to the possibly real video directly below it of an iPhone 3GS that was dropped in a pool and kept recording video."
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Gantter – The Ultimate Free Creative Project Management Tool

For the most part, I'm a very task oriented and "to-do list" sort of guy. At work I'm able to manage the many projects and even small tasks that I'm responsible for through Microsoft Project - which is, in my humble opinion, one of the most powerful project and task management applications available for desktop PCs.

The problem is that most home users of moderate means can't usually afford the Office package that includes Microsoft Project. The majority of home computer users will have the standard office package, such as the 2007 Home and Student edition which has Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote.

However, at home I also have a number of involved and complicated projects that I'm trying to manage, as does my wife and if you have any teenage kids at home - project management software could help them tremendously with managing their time between homework, school projects, sport events and everything else life dishes out upon a vibrant and busy family. I am very pleased to present a shockingly free and very creative online project management tool called Gantter.

Free Creative Project Management Software Just By Typing a URL

Here's what blew me away. I'm accustomed to testing dozens of free applications every month, and most of the time you need to at least provide an email address or some other way to identify yourself. Surprisingly, when you first visit the Gantter website, you'll see yourself instantly staring at what looks like Microsoft Project. The website itself is the application, and once you visit it, you can instantly start creating your own project management file.

For me, such a creative way to use a project management application is like a dream come true. You can create a Microsoft Project compatible file for any project that you've got going on. This application lets you save those files (or even PDF exports) onto your USB flash drive. Later, when you want to make changes to your project, just go to any computer, pop in your USB drive and visit Gantter, where you can open that file and modify it however you wish.

It doesn't matter whether the computer you're using has MS Project or not. And if you already use MS Project at work? Even better - now you can take your work anywhere with you and edit those MS Project files remotely, whether you're working on a computer at an Internet Cafe, a library or anywhere else.

I decided that I would finally start writing that novel that I've always wanted to get started on but couldn't because these MakeUseOf article deadlines keep getting in the way - so why not work on my novel while I'm working on a MakeUseOf article?  My first step was to create my task list for the novel project.

Creating the task list is fast and easy, but the real power of this online application is where you set the predecessors (the work you need to get done before you can start on that task). Just like in MS Project, Gantter automatically schedules out all of your work based on what you need to do and when you need to do it. All you need to think about is one task at a time.

For example, here I've clicked on setting up the predecessor for writing the second chapter, which I can start doing the moment the first chapter is done (I don't need to finish revising the first before I get started on the second.)

Also, on this screen you can add additional notes for this task, as well as assign resources that you've configured in the "resources" section of the application. Gantter takes all of this information that you feed it and generates a nice, clear schedule (Gantt chart) for you off to the right side of the screen.

Exploring the software a bit, it's apparent that this isn't some cheap, fly-by-night web app - this is a well thought out and very well programmed online application that works fast and efficiently throughout my testing on Firefox and Internet Explorer. The features are many, as you can see from my drilling through the menus.

Saving and Accessing Your Projects

So, what do you do when you're done planning out your project and you want to save the file? Obviously, you can't store the data in your account, because you don't have an account. If you pretend that this application is just like any other desktop application you use, then the answer is simple - just click save!

That's the beauty of Gantter - it's like you're using a desktop application even though you're using your Internet browser. You can either save the file or export it to MS Project. Saving downloads your file as a "project.xml" file, which you can access later from this same website.

Copy the XML file to your USB drive, and later when you come back to the website (no matter where you are in the world), just click File -> Open and you'll be able to browse to your USB drive and open up your saved XML file.

Simple. Easy. Convenient. Those are the three words I think about when I use this awesome online application. No sign-up required, no download required and no money required. The application was written by Volodymyr Mazepa, a Ukraine-based IT project manager - one IT manager who clearly knows his stuff. I encourage anyone who uses this application to click on Help -> About and send Volodymyr a hearty thank-you for his excellent work and for offering us this high-quality online application at no cost, a very rare act of kindness these days.

Do you have any online project management apps that you prefer? What do you think of Gantter? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

Did you like the post? Please do share your thoughts in the comments section!

New on MakeUseOf ? Get cheat sheets and cool PDF guides @
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