Category Archives: Technology

Charge Your Phones At A Solar Powered Bench By Soofa

There is an innovator deep down in all of us and someday, we all hope to invent something that is truly kickass. Thankfully, while we actually get down to it, there are others out there keeping the torch shining brightly, until we take over of course. The latest innovation in line with the phrase, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that!” is a great one.
Soofa – and no, this is not the wrong spelling of sofa – is an amazing creation that can be put to use in our everyday lives. It helps clean up the environment among other things too, and for this reason alone, is a great innovation. What is it? A bench. So what does it do? A lot more than just sit there that’s for sure.
How does Soofa work?
Yes, Soofa is a bench, but a very different one. This bench is powered by the sun, which will store energy and provide it to those in need of a quick charge for their phones and tablets while they hang around waiting for the bus. With the ability to charge two devices at a time, it’s a great place to strike up conversations too!
Apart from its phone charging abilities, Soofa keeps an eye on the environment too by collecting urban environmental data such as noise and air pollution levels.
Connected to Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless network, this information is relayed to a dedicated website that displays this information for everyone to see. Other information includes the number of solar hours the particular bench has provided, a weather forecast, and even numbers of passersby.
The makers of Soofa say that they hope the product reactivates the city to create a new shared social experience.
To top it all, every bench has a unique name to boast of too. Now, does that sound like a normal bench to you?
Where can I find one?
These solar powered benches have moved beyond the creation stage and its popularity and plans under discussion suggest that Soofa will be put to use on quite a wide scale across the US. For now, it has made its debut in Boston where the project is being funded by Cisco and the city does not have to pay a dime. A bench, Hedy, even made it to the White House for the Maker Faire!
So, the next time your mobile phone is out of juice, simply look around for a Soofa. While your phone is charging, have a chat, and give your weary legs a break!



LG G3 Smartphone Review

LG G3 Smartphone Review: An Impressive Flagship Offering

Some reviewers and market experts are already hailing the LG G3 smartphone as the best device of 2014. Does the flagship model of the LG family truly make such an impression though? Let us explore.

LG G3 smartphone: A lowdown

A flagship phone that is also on a budget – if this is good enough a reason for you to buy the G3, well there’s no stopping you. Because when one weighs the price against what’s on offer, the G3 certainly beats the flagship of other brands. In the US, around $200 is what one would have to shell out for a G3 on contract, a great buy surely.
And here’s what you get for your money

  • A 5.5 inch Quad HD screen
  • 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad Core processor
  • 3GB RAM with 32Gb, 2Gb RAM with 16GB
  • 16GB/32GB internal memory + 64/128GB expandable
  • 13 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front camera
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Android KitKat 4.4.2

Looks like a good enough list for the price? Let’s get to the pros and cons to see if the entire package is as good as it looks.
The Pros

‘Phablets’ are what most people love these days and with a 5.5 inch screen, the G3 certainly makes it to this segment. The design is simple and compact, yet functional and those who love this combination will fall in love with the phone at first glance. The buttons are placed at comfortable angles and though holding the phone and operating the buttons is easy, the customizable knock feature of course reduces the use of even these. The display is brilliant, thanks to the high(est) resolution, and equally impressive is the UI skin. A thoughtful feature is the size-adjustable keyboard. The processor clocking at 2.5 GHz does its job well and the expandable memory ensures you are never out of space. The speakers are great and so are the cameras, the camera even comes with a smart laser range finder.
The drawback

The element that goes against the G3 is its battery life, and the large, high-resolution screen we otherwise love, is clearly the reason.
The verdict: As a package, the LG G3 smartphone certainly comes out ahead of the existing lot of devices. Would you go for it?

Facebook Friendship Bracelet

 Companionship Even After Tomorrowland

There are plenty of social networks out there, and then there’s Facebook! No less than a revolution that took off as the reach of the internet increased, the social network is the largest and most popular one today. Then there’s Tomorrowland, a music and dance festival that has awed every party and concert enthusiast and promises the best stage performances, in an atmosphere that makes it the world’s most rocking party! Now, what do we get when we put these two powerhouses together? A Facebook friendship bracelet!


The Tomorrowland Idea

Innovative, fun and an idea that made news all over the internet, the Tomorrowland music festival’s unique way of connecting with its audience was applauded in every circle. The festival is a popular one anyway with an impressive performance lineup, extraordinary stage designs, and a music and dance experience like no other. This year, to add to the mix and make it the best ever, the organizers introduced the Facebook friendship bracelet, a concept that gained fans immediately. The aim was simple – to help the concertgoers stay in touch with each other long after the concert was over, and to make these new connections over Facebook.


So How Does This Facebook Friendship Bracelet Work?

The ‘magical’ Facebook friendship bracelet came in a collection-worthy Tomorrowland treasure case, which even came with a key of its own. Doing everything from being the wireless, and of course paperless, entry ticket to the Tomorrowland concert, to allowing access to the various events and services.
The chief function of the bracelet however, began when the bracelet wearer could sign up on the Tomorrowland website and fill in the necessary details, during which the unique number on the back of the bracelet helped in the confirmation process. Once this was done, the wearer had to connect to his or her Facebook profile and voila, the registration was complete.
Now, the magic that unfolded at the Tomorrowland concert was amazing. All that the wearer of the Facebook friendship bracelet had to do was hold it in close proximity of another wearer and press a heart-shaped button on the bracelet. Once this was done, an automatic friend request was sent at the end of the day listing all the people this activity was conducted with. Then, depending on what the wearer decides, the friend request could be accepted or rejected.
The pros were two-sided of course, one could connect with someone they liked even if they did not actually exchange details (their bracelets did that for them), and then again, if one did not wish to actually stay in touch, all they had to do was decline the friend request.
The idea of the Facebook friendship bracelet was a hit with the Tomorrowland fans and possibly helped it gain many more too!
What are your thoughts on the bracelet?

Ford Facial Recognition: Keeping Your Car Safe and Personalized 

The tech world is galloping ahead and thankfully, radical changes on this front are now being made to that one component of our lives we just can’t do without – our cars! While even our phones have seen amazing revamps in the last few years, allowing us to personalize settings we prefer, we somehow cannot say the same about the vehicles we use every day.
Ford, one of the largest automotive players in the world is hell-bent on changing this however, and is all set to make innovative moves, bringing in features such as facial recognition technology to its cars. Here’s a peek into all that’s in store.

Project Mobii

Project Mobii is the name of the project Ford Motor has underway and in collaboration with Intel Corporation, is undeniably the leading trendsetters in the tech realm. Though the project is in still in the research stage, Ford is aggressively pursuing it as a solution that it can soon offer its customers.
The concept is to merge the workings of your car with an app loaded on to your smartphone. As the owner, you are of course entitled to control the settings of your car and Mobii allows you to do just that. Whether it is you at the wheel or your teenage kid, the cameras in the car will allow you to keep an eye on them at all times. Moreover, the technology will also allow you to check for belongings in the car. So the next time you wonder if you’ve left your laptop in the car, all you have to do is check an app on your mobile. Features that are convenient enough for the ultramodern car owner in you also include gesture recognition capabilities that control the air conditioning or even the sunroof.
How it works

The workings are simple, though of course based on high tech software as well as hardware components. When a person enters a vehicle equipped with Mobii, the system runs a program that enables it to authenticate the identity of the driver through facial recognition technology. If the person behind the wheel or in the car is a new face, the owner of the car is alerted on his smartphone. A picture of the occupants is sent to the owner, who then, decides on the information as well as access rights to be sent to the driver. The settings the driver has access to, as well as other details such as the itinerary etc. are all controlled by the owner of the car through his smartphone.
This is an important feat accomplished by Mobii for two reasons – firstly, since it is important from a privacy point of view, and secondly, the personal settings of the owner and other regular users stay unchanged.
The advantage

Whether it’s parents seeking to keep an eye and control the driving habits of their children or an employer wishing to make sure that his employee is not taking advantage of his property, this offering from Ford is sure to come in handy for many car owners. While other car manufacturers are in the race with similar in-car technologies too, Ford and Intel do seem to have a head start with Mobii.

7 Best iOS Apps: Enhance the Experience 

The wonder of owning an Apple product is multiplied when you download the best apps that are doing the rounds. Here’s a random list of 7 impressive iOS apps you should definitely try out.

  1. Anchor Pointer: This navigation app is among the long list available but is certainly a cut above the rest. This one helps you drop virtual anchors at specific GPS locations so you can always come back to the points you wish to come back to, with great directions. If you plan to meet up with a friend who also has the app, the compass will direct you both to each other. You can even make a list of anchors.

  3. Makeup Genius: This one from L’Oreal not only allows gals to get a good long look at their beautiful selves but also lets them try some makeup on. Depending on how the eyeliners, shadows and umpteen cosmetics look on their virtual image they can then decide which ones to buy.

  5. Fly: This one’s a video editor that lets you shoot your stuff from four iPhones at once and then import these four videos and work on them on a single screen, chopping off the stuff you don’t want and merging the best bits together. You can add the magic of voiceover, picture-in-picture and try a bunch of other stuff.  As a video editing app, this one’s quite simple to use too.

  7. What’s so special about yet another recipe app, right? Well,’s app is quite different that way and allows you do a lot more. The app has access to more than 500,000 recipes from the website, and you can pull recipes from other websites too. It also allows you to bookmark recipes and create your own recipe box apart from generating shopping lists and meal plans.

  9. AirPano Travel Book: This app can save you a load of money! It gives you amazing panoramic images of the most interesting places in the world you would otherwise spend a fortune on to visit. The panoramas offer a bird’s eye view too, something you wouldn’t always be able to accomplish even if you visited these sites. The great news is that the list is always growing.

  11. Cam Dictionary: If you travel to foreign locales more often and are confused whenever a menu or any other written bit of information in a foreign language is set in front of you, the CamDictionary app is just for you. All you have to do is hover your device’s camera over the text and it translates it for you, with speech as well as text options. Multiple languages are made possible through Collins dictionaries.

  13. FileThis: Where are those documents and bills when you need them most? This app makes sure you never lose track of them again, allowing you to click pictures of them.


Reading Rainbow Kickstarter

Reading Rainbow Kickstarter: Breaking Records While Spreading Literacy
There was a time not so long ago when brilliant ideas remained bottled up in our minds due to the lack of funds to help them get out and make it in the real world. The internet has changed all that forever and today, if your ideas are good enough, you will surely find the finances through like-minded individuals or simply those who believe in it. The concept is know as crowdfunding and the magic it is creating is truly changing the game.
Kickstarter is one such global crowdfunding platform that has helped people achieve their creative dreams earlier than they ever expected. Now, the biggest dream that has made it to the top of the list, speeding ahead of every other crowdfunding initiative and being marked as an overwhelming success, is the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign.
What was the campaign about?
The story of Reading Rainbow began as a literacy television series for kids and stayed on air for more than 20 years until 2006. Then, in 2012, it took the form of an educational interactive book reading and video field trip app and met with an awesome response that had 16 million subscribers signing up. Recently, through a Kickstarter campaign, the team behind Reading Rainbow and host LeVar Burton, of Star Trek fame,  put forth their intent of taking their literacy campaign further so that as many children as possible could access this fun way of learning how to read. It all began with an appeal for a million dollars so that the Reading Rainbow app could be made available on the internet, with the funding going towards various goals including access through the Android platform as well as other streaming devices. More importantly, the funding was to help the company waive subscription fees for classrooms that simply did not have the funds to access this educational extravaganza.
Did the campaign reach its goal?
What did the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign achieve – certainly a lot more than it expected to! Kickstarting the campaign with an aim to raise 1 million dollars, the campaign met this goal in only 11 hours and then went on to harvest a whopping amount of over 5 million dollars. And since Seth MacFarlane had promised an additional million dollars to match the initial goal amount, the total amount stood at more than $6.4 million, with every extra million allowing an additional 500 classrooms access to the program. The campaign proved to be the most successful crowdfunding platform ever, and the best part is that people rallied behind a campaign that was aimed at improving literacy among our future generations.
All in all, the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign proved to be a heartwarming episode that showed how people still care, while also proving the amazing opportunities that lie in the crowdfunding segment. For now, everyone associated with Reading Rainbow and Kickstarter are smiling away and readying themselves for a great future!

iPhone 6 Sets New Sales Record

The hype around the iPhone 6 phones was enough to send Apple fans as well as critics into a tizzy and now that the phones are here, everyone’s scrambling to get their hands on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
In the first 24 hours of Apple announcing the phones, pre-orders poured in, touching a whopping 4 million, and that set the trend for the amazing sales figures that the two products registered in only the first weekend. While the market waited anxiously to see what the phones would look and feel like, die-hard Apple fans were already lining up in front of stores, proving that they trusted their favorite brand completely. While official prices for the phones stood between $199 and $499 along with a two-year contract, the premium being paid for the gadgets hovered around $1000 and more in the secondary market!
The weekend was of course the biggest indication of the excitement surrounding the phones. Forgoing its humble screens of 4 inches this time around, the iPhones on sale are 4.7 and 5.5 inches in size, easily giving the other ‘phablets’ in the market a run for their money. This was only one of the reasons for the phones’ mammoth popularity and combined with several other features thrown in by Apple’s latest innovations, make them a device to die for and the crazy sales numbers reflect that excitement too.
The first weekend saw sales figures for both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus add up to a ridiculous high number of 10 million units. A record for iPhone sales for the first weekend – this, when the phone hasn’t even been made available in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market yet! Not that the Chinese were going to wait to get their hands on the phones because many who stood in line for long hours to grab these latest products from Apple were actually being paid to do it. Some of these heady gadgets are already on their way to China and other countries before official sales there even begin.



Coke EKOCYCLE 3D Printer

You can count on 3D printing as one of the technologies that is set to make it big on every front. From industries to households, this technology has a place everywhere and every sector is waiting for the technology to make its way to the mainstream. Now, the EKOCYCLE Cube 3D Printer has entered the fray, and this new entrant might be the product that redefines what we do with our waste too.
It’s not every day that and Coca-Cola come together to create a tech product that is a promising player on the recycling front too. EKOCYCLE is just that, a device that balances innovation in printing technology with a tricky issue we all have been grappling with, waste management.
The thought that drives EKOCYCLE
Recycling is a term that has been making the rounds for years and yet hardly has any representation in mainstream technology, let alone be a part of our lives. With the EKOCYCLE 3D printer, recycling is a component that works just fine with printing and this development is in fact responsible for providing an innovative and ‘dope’ recycling solution.
The technology
3D printers require special cartridges and the EKOCYCLE offers users the ability to use printer cartridges composed of recycled plastic from used PET bottles. The printer costs roughly $1200 and the plastic in each cartridge will be equivalent to three bottles. So, instead of adding to the millions of tons of environmental debris, the recycled cartridges can be used to create something new, and useful.
The products that can be printed in the EKOCYCLE can measure up to 6 inches in size, not very impressive when you think about it, but certainly could work for specific purposes. Phone cases, showpieces, bracelets and other accessories can of course be part of the list, though the color range is restricted to red, white, black and the color of plastic. Innovator has even included 25 free product designs to go along with the printer in an effort to encourage buyers.
How is it catching up?
It’s been a little more than a year since the EKOCYCLE journey began and everyone is already talking about it. The trick is simple, to think forward while adopting new technologies, all in an effort to solve real-time crises. The EKOCYCLE 3D printer was always part of the big leagues with Coke and backing it up. Now, MCM, Levi’s, Case-Mate, Beats by Dr. Dre, RVCA and New Era have backed the movement too.
It took an entertainer’s scientific instincts and one of the largest consumer drink conglomerates to develop a new 3D printer that is making waves in the industry. How far it will go, only time will tell. For now, the EKOCYCLE 3D printer is gaining the attention of not only printing enthusiasts, but also newbies who wish to try it.



Blackphone Privacy Phone

Blackphone Privacy Phone: Privacy and Security First
The NSA fiasco enraged US citizens as well as others across the globe and the repercussions have been serious indeed. Edward Snowden’s revelations proved how one man could bring down such a powerful organization in the eyes of the world. Thankfully, his revelations also inspired security experts and innovators to develop gadgets and technology that can protect users from snooping eyes. The Blackphone is one such smartphone that claims to protect the owner from everything NSA or even remotely NSA-like, apart from other perks of course.
The concept behind the Blackphone
While the world was up in arms against the NSA, the folks at Silent Circle, a US company, and Geeksphone, a Spanish company, saw a great business opportunity. The two companies got together to form SGP Technologies in Switzerland, all in the quest to provide consumers with a device that is secure in every way. Privacy concerns and security threats have been on top of everyone’s minds with the endless hacks and Snowden’s revelations and the Blackphone is the answer that SGP Technologies hails as the best solution.
How does the Blackphone work?
As sinister as the name sounds, the Blackphone is actually being sold as man’s best friend in a world that is highly vulnerable to hacks and privacy invasions. With the NSA as well as other organizations, and even the business world, keeping track of emails and calls of customers, a solution to help users stay away from the unnecessary limelight was required. Blackphone thus adopts several measures to ensure that emails sent as well as calls made through the device are untraceable and secure.
Firstly, it uses a version of Google’s Android operating system that is supposedly highly secure. Calling it Privatos, the manufacturers claim that this OS is the best out there as far as security features are concerned. Hiding details of phone calls, text messages and even video calls through encryption, the software gets to work in the same manner for online activities too. Hiding surfing histories and enabling users to use VPN features with which they can disguise their online activities with the help of proxy servers, the phone also fights against information collection attempts by Wi-Fi hotspots.
Other features add to the secrecy quotient too, like special ‘Silent Circle’ apps, a security center that helps gain maximum control over the activities of the phone as well as tools that help users share files without identifying themselves. Add to this the feature of self-destruct that can be activated should you ever lose your phone.
The verdict
Not everyone is convinced about the watertight security of the Blackphone in spite of the developers’ tall claims. Experts also explain how there is no device that could, or should be, NSA-proof. The debate of course can go on and only time will tell how safe and secure the Blackphone really is. For now though, it seems to be the safest bet out there.

British Airways’ Experiments with Happiness Blanket

British Airways’ Happiness Blanket: In Search of “A Good Flight’s Sleep”
The first time someone flies, it is all about excitement and discovering something new. Well sadly, it does not take more than that first flight to know that flying isn’t romantic or thrilling at all, and is instead a pretty drab affair! Then, as the frequency of our travels increase, we begin to hate flights more and there comes a time when we simply cannot take it anymore. The jetlag, the monotony, the tasteless food and more disconcerting elements simply get to you.
Well, if this is how you feel, you can find some solace in the fact that British Airways is looking for innovative ways to change all this, all with the help of a blanket!
The idea
The main idea behind the happiness blanket experiment conducted by British Airways was to find ways to help its passengers experience a more comfortable flight experience, along with a peaceful sleep. While jetlag is a primary reason for fliers to hate flying, some airlines have adopted new ways to make the journey as comfortable as possible and this experiment is yet another one in this direction. Apart from the sleep factor, the airline also wished to learn about the elements that relax a passenger, thus helping it adopt these measures while minimizing the areas that are disturbing.
What is this happiness blanket anyway?
Well, for starters, it is just like a normal blanket a passenger usually uses on a flight, except that it is equipped with cutting edge technology, such as neural sensors. Tagged as the ‘Happiness Blanket’ this one was handed to passengers on a London-New York flight as part of an experiment to see how the moods and comfort levels of passengers changed while in the air.
Woven with LED lights that glowed in colors ranging from red to blue the wireless blankets came with neural headbands that gave out Bluetooth signals transmitting changing emotional levels. Red indicated disturbing neural patterns and blue indicated a relaxed composure, the changes allowing researchers to study the times when a person in flight is most relaxed, or the most disturbed.
So what did British Airways learn?
The happiness blanket experiment certainly helped British Airways learn a few things about passengers and their emotional relaxation as well as sleep patterns. Here’s a lowdown.

  • Passengers were tense in the initial stages of the flight and took a while to settle down and relax
  • Good food increased the comfort levels of passengers
  • The variety of in-flight entertainment changed moods too
  • Sleep was the biggest factor for relaxation

Now, equipped with some well-researched firsthand knowledge, British Airways hopes to make relevant changes and improvements to the in-flight experience of passengers. So the next time you get into plane, you may not be handed blankets that light up, but you just might notice some welcome changes to help you relax and sleep well!


Back To School – Laptops

It’s time for a new school year and the most important item on the back to school shopping list is the laptop. Since you’ll be spending a small fortune in buying a dependable machine, a little homework on this front is always a good idea.
The following tips will help you choose a laptop that will stay by your side throughout the year, offering you steady and reliable performance at all times.
Online research: Online, you will see plenty of reviews for laptops. Not all of them may be honest enough, but look through a few and you will get a clearer picture as to which machine best suits your needs.
Get down to it yourself: While online reviews help, it’s often better to get your hands on the real thing to make sure it is the right one for you. Visiting a computer store and checking out a few machines you have zeroed in on helps.
Pay attention to the details: While buying a laptop, you need to pay attention to the tiny details too. Just because a product looks good, it does not mean it is highly functional. So while the style quotient is important, it should not be the only criterion for your decision.
Screen size: This would depend on the work you expect to do on your laptop. If it’s simply a backup machine, a small screen will do. If you plan to use it for every task under the sun, a bigger screen is a good option.
Keyboard: Laptop keyboards are not always the same as desktop keyboards so make sure the keys you regularly use are on the laptop, especially the number pad if you need one.
Processor: If you plan to use your laptop for heavy tasks, get ready to spend $$$ on a great processor. This component is the heart of your laptop and you should choose this wisely. A higher Gigahertz (Ghz) generally spells higher speeds.
RAM: If you have a great processor, but have low-capacity RAM, the configuration is pointless. Match the RAM to the processor speed.
Hard Disk: If you think you will store many heavy files such as graphics on your laptop, go in for higher disk space of 1TB or more. If it will only be word files and other documents, even a hard disk with 500 GB space or less will suffice.
Hunt for discounts: Once you’ve decided on the machine you wish to buy, don’t just go ahead with the deal. Hunt for bargains and discounts. If there is a special offer on accessories, make sure you need them before you decide to spend those few extra bucks.
Armed with these tips, your hunt for a great laptop is sure to get easier and when you’re back in school, you will have a worthy machine by your side.


The 7 Best Android Apps You Probably Don’t Have

Best Android Apps: Improving the Google OS’ Experience With one of the most popular operating systems across devices, Android is a developer’s haven, allowing them to conceive and develop the most stimulating apps. Here’s a list of 7 truly interesting apps to check out.

  1. Duolingo: If the limitations of your language skills are keeping you from having a normal conversation with others, Duolingo is the app that will steer you towards the light. A great app for learning a new language, it makes learning fun with a rewards system, and it’s free! For now, it has a list of 14 new languages for English speakers. Of course, there’s an entire list for other native language speakers who wish to learn English.

  3. Garmin Viago: A navigation app, this one offers a lot more than the others do, including turn-by-turn navigation, lane assist, current speed, speed limits as well as a customizable experience with the option for upgrades – plenty of reasons to advance from a free app for sure.

  5. Bright Nest: If you feel the need for a cleaning guru at home, Bright Nest handles the position well! A home maintenance app, it gathers details on your home as well as living conditions, in turn giving you tips and guiding you on how to maintain your living space. Reminding you of repairs and other schedules, it is your perfect partner on the home front.

  7. Offline Reddit: This one is a special treat for Reddit fans when they are offline. Allowing you to download comments, posts and images from Reddit when you have an internet connection, it lets you check them out when you don’t. The app also has additional features like comments sync as well as multithread downloading. You can even schedule specific times for downloads.

  9. Blek: The touchscreen has been a blessing to game developers and players alike and Blek is surely one that makes you thank the technology. It looks a lot like modern art and challenges your puzzle solving skills with its deceptively simple interface. All you have to do is connect the colored dots while swiping across the screen, avoiding the black ones. If it seems like it’s too easy of a challenge, wait until you are addicted to it and just cannot put it down without freeing those poor doodles!

  11. Lapse It Pro: If you love photography, you will love this app. If you love time-lapse videos, you will love this app even more! Lapse It Pro automatically shoots a series of images and then renders them to FLV, MP4 and MOV files, creating magical time-lapse videos. There are plenty of options to edit the images as well as the option to add a soundtrack.

  13. Fitocracy: If fitness is your craze or even if you are wishing for some motivation to stay fit, this one’s for you. With badges, quests and rewards, this one makes working out and staying healthy fun!

These are our chosen 7. Which one’s your favorite?