It comes up again and again: "Steve, please recommend a great speaker." Good question, but there are a lot of factors to consider before coming up with a definitive answer. A lot depends on what you're looking for and how you define "great." Nailing down the price is the first step, but if there's one thing I've learned about audiophiles, it's that taste always plays a big part in evaluating sound quality. That's why, in my reviews, I describe how a speaker sounds with different kinds of music.
There's no … Read more
Who wears short-shorts...with gadget-charging capabilities? Attendees to the U.K.'s Isle of Wight music fest, that's who.
At the outdoor festival in Glastonbury, England, this weekend, mobile carrier Vodafone will try on its new Power Shorts, which harvest movement to boost the battery life of mobile devices. Need more power out there in the open field? Start dancing!
The shorts -- created with help from scientists at the University of Southampton -- incorporate a Power Pocket that contains foam-like ferroelectret materials with pockets of permanently charged surfaces. When the material gets squashed or deformed through movement, kinetic energy gets produced. Vodafone says a full day's walking and dancing will charge a smartphone for more than four hours (not much, but way more than campers can expect from those hawthorn-tree outlets). … Read more
For over a year now I've championed Kingsoft Office Free 2012 as one of the top Microsoft Office alternatives for Windows, and with good reason: It's one of the best-looking clones out there, with superb file-compatibility to boot.
Yesterday, Kingsoft unveiled Office Free 2013 (Windows). (Please see below before you install it.) I'll go out on a limb and say it's now the single best free replacement for Microsoft Office, for a couple of very good reasons.
In case you're unfamiliar with it, Kingsoft Office includes three modules: Writer, Spreadsheets, and Presentations. Needless to say, … Read more
The solar-powered Solar Impulse is another leg closer to completing its mission across America.
Flown by Solar Impulse co-founder and Chairman Bertrand Piccard, the plane landed smoothly at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport at 1:28 a.m. local time Tuesday.
Taking to the skies on Monday morning from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Piccard -- and the plane -- stayed in the air for 21 hours and 21 minutes, marking his longest flight to date.
The landing in St. Louis also saw the debut of an inflatable mobile hangar, which will be the aircraft's home until it takes off … Read more
San Francisco bike workshop Rock the Bike had a bike stolen a few weeks ago. It wasn't just any bike; it was a serious electric cargo bike called the Mundo 500. That means the heavy bike, locked to itself, posed quite a challenge for the determined thieves, who couldn't have just pedaled off with it. Nonetheless, they managed to take it.
So began a search aimed at recovering the valuable bike. Paul Freedman, Rock the Bike's founder, started asking around under freeway overpasses and spread the word through friends and on Facebook. Three weeks later, it was sighted, locked to a signpost. The blue bike's custom modifications led to a confirmed match, and a unique recovery operation was under way.… Read more
My first encounter with one of Adam Audio's smallest speakers, the ARTist 3, took me by surprise last year. That little speaker is still in the line, but when I learned Adam just introduced a less expensive, but slightly larger desktop speaker, the F5, I was eager to get it in for review. The ARTist 3 has a better tweeter, bigger amps, a more robustly designed cabinet, and it's a lot nicer looking. The F5's black vinyl-covered cabinet is strictly business, and at $499 a pair it lists for $300 less than the ARTist 3.… Read more
How serious is Intel about battery life on its next processor? Very.
On Thursday, the world's largest chipmaker hauled out two chip experts to brief journalists on the ways Intel's fourth-generation core processor, aka Haswell, reduces power consumption and boosts battery life.
Intel is claiming a 50 percent improvement in battery life for devices using Haswell compared to the current Ivy Bridge silicon.
The chip will be officially introduced on June 3 and is expected to power future Windows, Apple, and Chrome OS computers.
The information below was provided by Rani N. Borkar, general manager, Intel Architecture Development … Read more
One thing I learned during my recent travels is that you can never have enough juice for your mobile gadgets. For example, if you're relying on your smartphone for GPS navigation in an unfamiliar city, you don't need the added stress of a low or dead battery.
Solution: pack a power pack. Like this one: Tumbletrade.com has a 12,000mAh mobile battery pack for $19.99, shipped. It includes everything you need to charge virtually any mobile device -- tablets included.
Update: Sorry, folks, this sold out almost immediately after I posted. When I ordered, five colors … Read more
Google is in the process of acquiring Makani Power, a startup building power-generating cable-tethered flying wings, and is incorporating the technology within its Google X "moonshots" division.
"We look forward to working with our new colleagues at Google[x] to make airborne wind a cost-effective reality," the company said on its Web site. "This formalizes a long and productive relationship between our two companies, and will provide Makani with the resources to accelerate our work to make wind energy cost competitive with fossil fuels."