Review: iKettle, the iPhone-controlled kettle for gadget-loving tea drinkers

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Any tea drinker will know the experience. You wander into the kitchen to put the kettle on to make tea, wander back to the living-room or office and half an hour later realize you forgot all about it. So the second time you stand there waiting impatiently for it to boil. This is the problem the iKettle sets out to solve.

That, at least, is my excuse. The reality, of course, is that it’s a kettle with wifi – how could anyone reasonably expect me to resist … ?  Read more

Apple & AT&T begin sending $40 checks to original 3G iPad buyers

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Apple and U.S.-based wireless carrier AT&T have begun sending out $40 checks to buyers of the original iPad WiFi + 3G in the United States over a “bait-and-switch” regarding the device’s data plan. The backstory is that when Steve Jobs announced the 3G iPad in January 2010, he announced a deal with AT&T for a $30/month unlimited iPad data plan.

When the 3G iPad launched in late April 2010, this plan was available, but AT&T eliminated the plan just about one month later in early June 2010. Lawsuits followed in the months and years following the shift in data plan strategy claimed that customers overpaid for the 3G iPad believing that they would be able to use the device to access unlimited amounts of data.

In September 2013, Apple and AT&T settled and agreed to pay $40 to each affected iPad buyer. For iPad buyers who had not yet purchased an unlimited data plan, a discount on the replacing 5GB plan was offered. The two companies began sending the checks out late last week, and they began arriving today. You can view the entire check stub and letter from the payout fund below:

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This Yves Behar-designed smart cup can tell you about your drink’s nutrition

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A partnership between famed industrial designer Yves Behar and company Mark One are today announcing the Vessyl, smart cup that seeks to track data for the nutrition in beverages. The concept sounds simple. Pour a drink into the sensor-packed Vessyl cup, and an accompanying iPhone application will instantly tell you the type of beverage (like soda or milk), the brand (perhaps Coke or Pepsi), calorie content, fat content, and sugar content…

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Walgreens & Walmart testing iBeacons, Motorola Solutions launches iBeacon marketing platform

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Walgreens-owned drugstore chain Duane Reade announced today that it’s updating its iPhone app with support for iBeacons it recently installed in 10 of its New York city locations. It and Walmart are just two of the latest big name chains said to be testing the technology, while Motorola Solutions announced today its own indoor location platform that includes a combination of Bluetooth iBeacons and Wi-Fi based features.

Like other implementations that we’ve seen in retail and grocery stores, Duane Reade has installed the Bluetooth iBeacons in order to beam offers, coupons and product info to customers in proximity that have the company’s iPhone app installed: Read more

iPhone case will measure heart-rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation & lung function

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A prototype iPhone case tested by Engadget aims to provide a comprehensive array of vital signs, encompassing heart-rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation & lung function.

Readings are done with your hands in a comfortable position, and the health tracker was able to return our vital signs as well as a fancy ECG graph of our heart in just a few seconds. Out of the box, you’ll be able to pair it with your Wi-Fi scale and fitness tracker, so you can keep an overall picture of your health in the same place …  Read more

Tired of waiting for Apple to upgrade the Mac mini to Haswell? Make your own …

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If you’ve decided you’ve waited long enough for Apple to update the Mac mini with a Haswell processor, you can always create a Hac mini.

A user posting on the Hacintosh site tonymacx86.com has documented his successful squeezing of an Intel DH61AG motherboard with i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply into a 2010 Mac mini case …  Read more

Google Play app arrives on iOS to stream movies and shows over WiFi

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Today, Google has released a new application for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to allow Google Play users to stream purchased movies and TV shows. You cannot rent or purchase content via this application: you must download it from Google Play on Android or the web and then the purchased titles will be available to stream via this app. The application is only supported in the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. WiFi is currently required for streaming. The app also allows streaming to the ChromeCast.

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New Space Gray iPad mini quietly begins hitting Apple Store shelves

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Silently announced alongside the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, Apple has begun selling a Space Gray version of the first-generation, non-Retina display iPad mini at its physical retail stores.

Sources say that the model is now available via several Apple Stores, but not every store. Interested customers should call their store to ensure availability…

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Review: Eye-Fi Mobi, a cool idea let down by poor reliability

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An increasing number of cameras these days have wifi built-in, allowing instant viewing of photos on your iPhone or iPad, and from there instant sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and so on. Which can leave those of us with less sociable cameras feeling a little left out in the cold.

Eye-Fi has offered solutions to this for some time, in the form of wifi-equipped cards that you can insert into your older or pro camera and transmit the images to a PC or Mac. This approach worked, after a fashion, but had two big problems. First, setup was far from easy, and second, transmission was via a wireless router. Fine at home, where you probably didn’t need it, not so fine when out & about, where you probably did.

This was the problem the Eye-Fi Mobi set out to solve: a $50 (8GB) or $80 (16GB) SD card that transmits photos direct to an iOS device running the free Eye-Fi app, with no router required. I decided to give it a try …  Read more

New MacBook Air software issue artificially limiting 802.11ac transfer speeds

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In its extensive review of the new 2013 MacBook Air, AnandTech notes an issue with the machine’s new 802.11ac WiFi capabilities that it says is limiting the faster Wi-Fi chip’s potential. While it was able to get an average of 533Mbps using the iPerf networking tool, Anand found real world file transfers would only get 21.2MB/s or 169.6Mbps:

I disabled all other wireless in my office. Still, no difference. I switched ethernet cables, I tried different Macs, I tried copying from a PC, I even tried copying smaller files – none of these changes did anything. At most, I only saw 21.2MB/s over 802.11ac. I double checked my iPerf data. 533Mbps. Something weird was going on. I plugged in Apple’s Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet adaptor and saw 906Mbps, clearly the source and the MacBook Air were both capable of high speed transfers. What I tried next gave me some insight into what was going on. I setup web and FTP servers on the MacBook Air and transferred files that way. I didn’t get 533Mbps, but I broke 300Mbps. For some reason, copying over AFP or SMB shares was limited to much lower performance. This was a protocol issue.

According to the review, the problem is likely with the OS X networking stack that is for some reason artificially limiting the capabilities of 802.11ac: Read more