Home brewing is rewarding but it’s also often fraught with peril — if you don’t thoroughly sterilize all of your equipment or if you drop in the yeast while your wort is still hot, it can ruin hours of hard work. Bloomberg Businessweek has written a profile on former Windows engineer Bill Mitchell, who left Microsoft in 2010 to work full-time on PicoBrew, a startup that’s dedicated to take away as many potential pain points as possible for home brewers.
Old-school RPG fans still get nostalgic when you bring up Baldur’s Gate, the classic Bioware D&D-based adventure that set the standard for computer RPGs when it was released all the way back in 1998. In fact, the Balur’s Gate series’s popularity has been so enduring that studio Beamdog has overhauled it with improved graphics and features while also adding touch controls to make it easy to play on tablets. Although Beamdog released its Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for the iPad a while ago, the studio has finally gotten around to porting it to Android, and it’s now available on the Google Play store for $9.99. Although the iPad version of the overhauled Baldur’s Gate received mixed marks for its buggy controls, early reviews of the game over at Google Play are pretty strong, as it’s currently averaging a score of 4.5 stars based on 72 reviews.
One of the problems with space travel is how wasteful it is — the rockets that help propel space shuttles into the atmosphere fall off once they reach a certain height and are often completely unsalvageable after they crash back down to Earth. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has just posted a new video showing off its Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket in action and it looks like the team at SpaceX have done some mind-blowing engineering work. As you can see, the video shows the F9R taking off and then hovering 250 meters in the air before slowly descending and then gently landing right back on the launch pad it took off from. Musk and SpaceX are working on perfecting reusable rockets as one way to make space travel more economically feasible for more people. The full video of the F9R follows below. More →
Sure, Apple Maps might send you into a death trap in the Australian outback or onto an airport runway, but it does do things that other mapping services don’t, such as being able to find imaginary monsters. AppleInsider points out that hunters of the Loch Ness Monster claim that they found an image of the mythical beast on a satellite image provided by Apple’s iOS Maps, which was something that they didn’t find when they tried looking for it on Google Maps. More →
It’s pretty safe to say that computer science Professor Willy Susilo won’t be relying on a fingerprint scanner to keep his mobile phone secure. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Susilo says that the fingerprint scanners used by Apple and Samsung are mere “gimmicks” that hackers can easily fool and that don’t give users and real biometric security. More →
Although Samsung often gets tagged as a copycat in the realm of smartphones, the company really does produce some remarkable innovations, particularly in the realm of displays. Patent Shot has spotted a recently filed Samsung patent for a new kind of transparent display technology that can be used to convincingly add digital images to the real world and thus blur the line between virtual reality and physical reality. More →
Well, here’s something happy to think about as you head into the weekend. Phys.org brings us word that three former NASA astronauts are going to present new research next week showing that there have been 26 asteroid crashes since 2001 that have caused “atomic-bomb-scale explosions” that have fortunately been far away from major population centers. The research, which was conducted by the B612 Foundation, used data from a nuclear weapons warning network to measure the impact of major asteroid strikes on the Earth’s surface. More →
It’s safe to say that former Apple CEO John Sculley has some regrets in his career. In an interview with The Times of India, Sculley admits that ousting Apple cofounder Steve Jobs as CEO way back in 1985 was “a mistake” that cost the company dearly and set it on the path toward near-oblivion. However, Sculley says that the decision was much more justifiable at the time it was made because Jobs’ always-difficult personality was even tougher to rein in during his younger years. More →
The launch of the iPhone 6 is still months away but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some incredible deals on the iPhone 5s. Case in point: MacRumors points out that RadioShack is now selling the iPhone 5s for just $99 with a two-year contract from Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, which happens to be one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for Apple’s latest flagship phone. The new price for the 5s at RadioShack is the same on-contract price that Apple originally charged for the iPhone 5c, so now it looks like interested buyers now have even less reason to pick up a 5c than they did before. What makes this deal even better is that MacRumors says that you can get $100 off the iPhone 5s at RadioShack if you trade in your iPhone 4s, which means that you can basically get the device for free as long as you’re willing to swallow a two-year service agreement.
Is HTC finally, at long, long last, going to get a decent marketing campaign? The Wall Street Journal reports that HTC has officially brought on Paul Golden, Samsung’s former U.S. marketing chief, to be a consultant to HTC chairwoman Cher Wang. During his time at Samsung from 2008 through 2012, Golden was instrumental in establishing the company’s Galaxy brand as the main alternative to Apple’s iPhone through a series of first-rate ads that often took humorous shots at Apple fans’ expense. What this means for HTC’s future marketing efforts is unclear but we can bet that there won’t be any more horrendous Robert Downey Jr. spots or ads about Hipster Troll Car Washes going forward.
Facebook on Thursday took the wraps off of a new feature that, depending on your perspective, is either incredibly cool or incredibly creepy. For this reason, the company has wisely decided to make this new feature strictly an opt-in affair to avoid completely freaking out users who are sensitive to privacy. More →
iPhone fans are fanatically loyal to their favorite device but they can also give credit where it’s due. iMore writer Allyson Kazmucha, who writes obsessively about how to get the most out of your iPhone and iPad, has conducted a very thorough camera shootout involving the iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). While Kazmucha typically found that the One (M8)’s new camera lagged behind the iPhone 5s’s camera in terms of quality, she couldn’t say the same thing about the Galaxy S5′s camera, which she said was in some ways superior to the iPhone 5s’s. More →
Sleazy astroturf campaigns are nothing new in the corporate world but Verizon may have just taken things to a whole new level. Ars Technica reports that New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) recently received hundreds of identically worded emails from different people that all supported Verizon’s demands that it be let off the hook for building out broadband infrastructure that it had agreed to build as part of an agreement with the state that dates back to two decades ago. There’s a problem, however: Some of the people who supposedly sent emails to the board say they did no such thing.