Saturday, November 09, 2013

Check Out These 11 Awesome Hidden Features Of Google


girl kissing computer online dating

Google is great. That's not a secret. But the search giant can do more than you think.

For example, did you know you could make your Google Translator beatbox in German? How about give you an easier way to track packages?

These totally cool hidden features of Google just make us love it more.

Explore Mars!

Just go to

Change up your email address with periods; Google doesn't recognize them as characters.

Search the word "askew" and see what happens.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider


These Fantastic Funnels Filter Faucets as Fast as They Flow


These Fantastic Funnels Filter Faucets as Fast as They Flow

Whirlpool is tackling the issue of wasteful plastic water bottles with a new product that finally lives up to the company's namesake. The EveryDrop looks a giant plastic drip, but when turned upside down it works as a funnel that filters water from a faucet as fast as it flows—so there's no waiting hours for thousands of methodical drips to fall.


Watch These Crazy Animations of How Three Cities Commute


Watch These Crazy Animations of How Three Cities Commute

New York City mostly rides transit, Los Angeles loves its cars, and San Francisco has a dedicated population of bike commuters. UC Berkeley planning Ph.D. student Fletcher Foti recently built a brilliant data visualization that brings these facts to life by animating commuting patterns for the Bay Area, L.A., and NYC.


LittleBits and Korg team up on Synth Kit modular DIY instrument, we go hands-on


LittleBits and Korg team up on Synth Kit modular DIY instrument, we go hands-on

Here's a pro tip: if you want to make this editor smile, hand me something that makes a bunch of noise. There are few things more satisfying than pressing some buttons and turning a few knobs to generate an avalanche of digital sound. And if what makes that noise is something you built yourself, all the better. LittleBits has been encouraging kids (and childish adults) to build their own electronic doodads and projects for some time now. And some of those creations even had the capability to make noise. But, the new Synth Kit released in collaboration with Korg is dedicated to DIY audio cacophony. Inside the gold and black packaging is a pile of snap-together components that will let you build the analog synthesizer of your dreams... so long as your dreams is a simplified MS-20. The box holds a pair of oscillators, envelope and filter units, a keyboard, a four-step sequencer, a random noise generator, a two-channel mixer (and a splitter so you can create two independent audio sources), a delay effect and, of course, a power source and a speaker. It's more or less a deconstructed version of Korg's clasic MS-20. Just like previous Little Bits kits, all the pieces are color coded: blue for power, pink for input, green for output and orange for wires. Each component has magnets on either side that snap together only in one direction, preventing you from assembling a circuit in the wrong way and potentially damaging the components.

While the number of parts is fairly limited, they're all pretty flexible. The keyboard, for instance has two modes (hold and press), as does the noise generator and the sequencer. Even the oscillators can be switched between square and saw waves. That means those 12 bits in the box can actually generate quite a wide variety of sounds, from deep bass rattles and percussive ticks to swooping synth dives and arpeggiated leads. It's quite simple to get started designing your own instruments, and you'll probably even learn a bit about synthesizer design along the way. Of course, you can combine it with other LittleBits kits and add light sensors or displays to your homebrewed synth.

Founder Ayah Bdeir likes to claim that it's the easiest to use modular synthesizer with this sort of power. And she's probably right. While nobody is going to mistake you for the next Daft Punk, you can still create an impressive set of sounds. Some of which might even prove usable in actual music.


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iOximeter is a smartphone heart-rate monitor, powered by the headphone socket


iOximeter is a smart heartrate monitor, powered from a headphone socket

Connecting health-monitoring hardware to smartphones is a no-brainer. The phone does the heavy processing, offers up power and screen, and thus makes the hardware cheaper and more importantly , smaller. However, you still need to power the thing, which can be tough when you're trying to gauge vitals overnight or longer. Insert Coin competitor iOximeter reckons it's solved that issue by taking what it needs, power-wise, from your headphone socket. Using a special pulse sensor (that it already owns the intellectual property rights for), iOximeter drops the power requirements down to under 8mA, which means it frees up the typical smartphone battery port (micro-USB or Lightning; it's iOS- and Android-compatible) to continue charging.

"Because we can add more features through the smartphone app, unlike some relationships, it's going to get even better over time."

The sensor we toyed with at Expand was accurate to within 2 BPM at resting heart rates (it gets even better when you're riled), while it can also count the level of blood oxidation -- thus the name. That isn't where the capabilities stop however, and future development focuses on both respiration rate (intake per minute) and heart-rate deviation, which sounds like a scary metric that would deserve some monitoring. "Because we can add more features through the smartphone app, unlike some relationships it's going to get even better over time", said iOximeter's Yale Zhang, with a sigh. Aside from health business applications, where a cheap long-term monitor could make remote care a whole lot more feasible, the team has already seen interest from, oddly, yoga and meditation groups. These people are apparently looking to log and monitor exactly how relaxed (precisely!) they're getting during their mantras. No price has been set yet, although the team is promising it'd be an accessible one. We'll update when we get a price tag.%Gallery-slideshow119586%

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.

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BlinkScan is a flexible, fast and high-fidelity scanning solution


Your scanner is stupid. You might not know that, but it is. Thankfully, Expand NY Insert Coin semi-finalist BlinkScan is here to give you what you never knew you needed. It's a device that scans images, documents or even objects like many other scanners out there, but unlike those dumb machines, BlinkScan tailors its output. Instead of producing a single image with everything lumped together, it crops out the individual items scanned (so that the background is completely eliminated), straightens the resulting images and exports them as separate files to your photo editing software of choice -- all in about three seconds. BlinkScan also delivers super-high-quality pictures thanks to its unique image-capture method, which the company calls "perfect color capture." To get such fidelity, the device takes three separate 10-megapixel monochromatic images (red, blue and green) and combines them into a 36-bit, 30-megapixel image. %Gallery-slideshow119582%

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Simple.TV's second-gen DVR streams to mobile apps, ships December 12th for $249 (hands-on)


SimpleTV 2 lets you stream and save recorded shows just about anywhere handson

Simple.TV gave us a peek at its second-generation streaming DVR back in September, and today it's committing to a US launch. The dual-tuner set-top should arrive stateside on December 12th, when it will sell for $250 in a basic kit with both recording and live streaming to local devices. Matching new software, also available for the first-gen device, delivers TV to native Android and iOS apps alongside previous support for browsers and Roku players. Avid viewers can spring for a premium service that offers remote viewing, automatic recording and downloading either as an after-the-fact subscription ($60 per year, $160 lifetime) or bundled with the hardware ($300 per year, $400 lifetime). We gave the media hub a spin at Expand here in New York -- read on for our impressions of the pre-release gear. %Gallery-slideshow119615%

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Source: Simple.TV


Intel acquires Kno to boost its digital education library


Intel acquires Kno to boost its digital textbook library

Intel has long been cozy with the e-textbook developers at Kno, going so far as to license their hardware and preload their software on its own tablets. The chip giant clearly wants to take that relationship further, however, as it just acquired Kno outright. While Intel isn't providing the terms of the deal, it's not shy about revealing the motivations -- it's determined to grow its educational content library, which now includes over 225,000 titles thanks to the Kno deal. Not everyone is happy with the new alliance, though. TechCrunch has discovered that Kno founder Osman Rashid turned down a chance to join Intel after disagreeing with the bigger corporation's focus on international rollouts over concentrating on North America. While that's a significant loss, we doubt that Intel is complaining much. The buyout still gives it a rich educational content ecosystem that could help fend off rivals like Amazon, which recently bought TenMarks to bolster its own schoolroom cred.

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Source: Intel Newsroom, TechCrunch, CSR@Intel


Artists Share How They Make Money While Doing What They Love


Louden and Contributors

Contemporary artist Sharon Louden graduated with her MFA from Yale in 1991 with $115,000 worth of debt.

She has since settled all her student loans by selling her own art work, but it wasn't easy. As a professional artist, there was no roadmap to follow as she tried to pursue her craft and keep a roof over her head. 

Enter "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life," the book Louden edited featuring candid essays by 40 working artists on how they make a living.

"Artists used to come up under other famous artists," EFA Studios director Bill Carroll said at this week's book release event at Morgan Lehman Gallery in Chelsea. "Reubens wasn't just teaching you how to paint, but how to get commissions and work with clients."

That kind of commercial talk is largely absent in today's art curriculum. Dozens of MFA students are pushed into the real world without a clue as to how to sell their work and themselves. 

"It feels kind of like bathroom talk," contributing artist David Humphry said of the business side of art. "It's very intimate." 

Living and Sustaining book cover

The contributing artists shared their stories of doing everything from teaching and painting houses to working Craigslist jobs and investing in real estate to sustain their creative practices.

1. Network with artists, writers, and buyers

As uncomfortable as it may be for an artist to lea! ve the s anctity of the studio, nothing gets sold without interacting with writers who will bring attention to the art, the 500 or so well-to-do people who are interested in buying art, and the other artists who can give introductions to their art world connections.

"When you're young, you talk to everybody," contributing artist Ellen Harvey told Business Insider. "Your career gets its own momentum once you start meeting people. Artists rely a lot on other artists and you can't overlook that generosity. I think it's also important to buy other artists' work."

When times get tough, artists can sell the work in their collections or trade on the goodwill of being an active participant in the marketplace. 

2. Pay attention to your finances and make a budget

"Honestly, looking at my finances was the best thing for me," contributing artist Erik Hanson told Business Insider. 

"My goal has always been to have an art career. When I got money and I was presented with the option of paying my rent or going to Miami for Art Basel, I would go to Miami," he said. "I got into some really scary financial situations because I thought I had to sacrifice everything for the art. It forced me to soberly look at my money and ask if I'm spending it the best I can."

"I've really tried to be more responsible," Hanson said, "and get jobs that pay well." 

He primarily makes money by selling his art work, but also works odd jobs he thinks will fulfill his creative practice. Over the summer, he got a job on Craigslist to work with antique carousels at a carnival on Governors Island, south of Manhattan.

3. Plan ahead and take internships that count

"If you wait to think about your career until you first graduate, you're way behind," contributing artist Tony Ingrisano told Business Insider.

"I interned with three galleries and got a lot of experience with the behind-the-scenes work like art selling and handling, even down to things that are good for the website and marketing. When you're working for free [at an internship], you want to make sure you learn something."

Ingrisano, the youngest contributor to "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life," teaches drawing at Briarcliff College in Long Island when he's not making massive ink drawings in his own studio.

"People just assume that if you're in a gallery, all that work is sold and you're living well, but that's not the case. A lot of that art goes back to that person's studio. Having gallery representation is not the answer to economic stability," he said.

4. Commit to working as an artist

"I decided at a certain point that all money had to be made in the studio," contributing artist Kate Shepherd told Business Insider. She relies wholly on selling her artwork to make an income. 

"I did art jobs on an as-needed basis like copying paintings and doing portrait paintings. After a commercial piece, I'd make a work for myself based on that commercial piece. Had I had a waitressing or paralegal job, my hand wouldn't have been moving in the same constructive way."

5. Open a gallery, treat it like a business

Contributing artist Austin Thomas started investing in real estate in Brooklyn, and a year and a half ago, she opened a gallery space in Manhattan called Pocket Utopia

"Owning your own business gives you the most flexibility of all," Thomas told Business Insider. "You decide when you're open and closed. I feel like I'm even more influential in the art world because I sell other artists' works and try to make money for myself and them. Some of the! people [here for the book event] I've sold their work for the highest price it's ever gotten."

6. Get used to playing the real estate game

"I had to move my studio after so many years there because Etsy started taking over in the heart of Dumbo," contributing artist Jenny Marketou told Business Insider. 

"Etsy is willing to pay twice the rent, so I had to move," she said, "Luckily I travel so much that I could move to a smaller space in the same building. Space is the biggest issue for an artist based in New York City. In a few years I'll be completely out of Dumbo. I still have to pay the rent for where I live."

Marketou has an apartment in the East Village, and moving into a smaller studio actually lowered her overhead. She works in a lot of different countries where her work has been commissioned for biennials, after creating an international network of curators since she came to the city for art school in the 1980s. 

7. Only go into teaching if you love it

"If you don't have a passion for teaching," contributing artist Carson Fox told Business Insider, "absolutely don't go into it. The college level is outrageously competitive." 

"I was on a search committee for one sculpture instructor position. We received 300 applications and 80% of the people were right out of grad school. The people with little to no experience like that just don't stand a chance."

Fox works as an associate professor of art and art history at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. She advised applying for grants and residencies to diversify an artist's income outside of teaching.

8. Take advantage of the down economy

"The art market crashed in 1986 along with the economy," contributing artist Brian Tolle told Business In! sider. " It wasn't a great time to graduate, but the depressed economy meant the market was looking for cheap talent, and young artists benefitted as a result. The expectations were so low that it was easier to break in and when the economy started to recover, we were already in place."

Now Tolle routinely manages to create work on the budgets of public art work committees. He often gets a flat fee that has to cover his time and expenses in generating these massive projects. Tolle has three public works he will install this spring: one in Canada, one in Houston, Tex., and one in Brooklyn. 

SEE ALSO: 8 Ways To Invest In Art That You Probably Haven't Considered

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The 9 Best iPad Apps For Your Kids


star walk ipad app

The iPad is a wonderful device for surfing the Web, watching movies, even getting work done.

But because it's so gosh-darned cool, kids can't help but beg to use the device  once in a while (or, you know, all the time).

We've rounded up the best apps for keeping your kids engaged while providing valuable educational or creative content.

Of course, sometimes your kids just want to sit down and play a game; we've got you covered on that front too.

Pet Bingo is a wonderful app for kids that are still picking up arithmetic. It combines math-based puzzles with "Nintendogs"-style pet gameplay.

Click here to see Pet Bingo on the App Store >>

WWF Together is a beautiful app that will let your kids learn all about the world's most interesting animals in a format that takes advantage of the iPad's screen and touch controls.

Click here to see WWF Together on the App Store >>

Star Walk lets anyone with an iPad do amateur stargazing without the use of a telescope — you point your iPad at the night sky and details about what you're looking at are overlaid on the screen.

Click here to see Star Walk on the App Store >>

See the rest of the story at Business Insider