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Functional Apple 1 auctioned off for $671.4K, sets new Sotheby's record
With $671,400, you could buy roughly 2,040.7 base-model iPad minis before taxes. One unnamed buyer, however, just laid that amount out for a single Apple 1 from 1976. Auctioned through a Germany-based Sotheby's, The New York Times Bits blog notes the price beats out the firm's $640K record from another unit last November. Interestingly, this current seller refurbished this latest Apple 1 to working condition, after paying only $40K for it privately. We'd be remiss not to mention that the seller also had Steve Wozniak grace it with a signature. You'll find more info at the source, while we wrap our heads around how this makes last summer's auction price of $374.5K look like a relative steal.
Source: NYT Bits
Mercedes-Benz plan will put QR codes on cars to speed up rescues
We joke that most people don't like QR codes, but those codes link to a lot of information through one snapshot -- and Mercedes-Benz may just use that efficiency to save lives. The automaker is putting the symbols on vehicles so that emergency crews just need a phone camera scan for easy access to rescue sheets, which are schematics that show where to cut into a wrecked car when recovering trapped passengers. With such immediate knowledge, rescuers don't have to wait for a model confirmation or else risk cutting wires and fuel lines. While we'll initially see the QR codes only in Mercedes-Benz cars made this year and beyond (placed inside the fuel door and on the opposite side B-pillar), the company isn't being selfish: it's refusing to patent its method in the hope that every vehicle manufacturer will quickly embrace the technology.
Glass Nest lets users control their homes from their heads
Those who already own Google Glass are more likely than most to embrace new technologies like Nest's thermostat, so it only makes sense that an especially eager adopter would find a way to combine the two. That would be James Rundquist and his new Glass Nest app: Glass owners now just have to announce that they're coming home (or heading out) to make their Nest units change the climate. More exacting homeowners can fine-tune the temperature, too. While the utility is both unofficial and quite limited at this stage, Rundquist has posted source code that lets anyone expand on the project. If you're in the rare position of owning both gadgets, we'd suggest giving Glass Nest and its code at least a cursory look.
iPhone biosensor cradle brings us one step closer to having tricorders (video)
It seems like every day we're getting a little bit closer to having tricorders, and today's no exception. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have designed hardware and software that turns the iPhone into a powerful biosensor that's useful for toxin and pathogen testing as well as medical diagnosis. The package consists of a cradle that contains an assortment of lenses and filters which line up with the handset's camera, along with an app that guides the user through the testing process. At the core of the device is a photonic crystal slide which basically turns the iPhone into a high-resolution spectrometer. While the cradle only contains about $200 worth of parts, it's just as accurate as laboratory equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars, with the added bonus of being hand-held. The team just received an NSF grant to explore other applications for the device and is working on a cradle for Android phones. Hit the break for a demo video and a peek into the future.
Source: University of Illinois
Hipstamatic's photo filter app Oggl now open for everyone
Hipstamatic's subscription-based photo filter app is now publicly available on iTunes, a few weeks after its invite-only launch. Oggl is a free download, and you get five of its parent app's virtual lenses and films that you can mix and match to concoct your own filters from the get-go -- it also lets you edit a photo's effects after you've taken it. But if you find its small selection of lenses and films limiting and you'd prefer to have the whole enchilada (read: all Hipstamatic filters), you've got to part with $2.99 per quarter or $9.99 per year. No word yet on whether an Android version is in the works, but a preview of the app shown at the Nokia Lumia 925 launch event indicates that it's on its way to Windows Phone 8.
Report: Xbox One has remote play between consoles so a friend can help
Unnamed sources speaking with Polygon say the Xbox One has a remote play feature between consoles, both hardwired and online, allowing friends to take over gameplay remotely. The demonstration the sources claim to have witnessed featured one Xbox One connecting to another using "a local hardwired connection between consoles," with a Skype call bridging the two users. A similar feature is available on Sony's next-generation console, the PlayStation 4, both between consoles and via PlayStation Vita.
The other piece of the report adds to a bit we already knew concerning the new Kinect. "At some point, we'll be able to have conversational understanding," Microsoft hardware lead Todd Holmdahl told us last week. That "some point" may be sooner than later, as Microsoft reps were apparently already demonstrating the functionality, and said it'll be available either at launch or "post-launch within the first few months."
The Vikings head to the UK exclusively via Lovefilm
Yearning to watch Norsemen amass loot while raiding foreign lands? If you're in the UK, you can now watch US cable show The Vikings exclusively via Lovefilm Instant. The Amazon-owned service has made all nine episodes of the historical drama -- shown in the US and in Canada on History Channel -- available for streaming. The service's subscribers in Germany won't be left out, but as the show isn't slated to go live for them until June 15th, they have a bit of waiting to do. This new addition to Lovefilm's roster is a clear effort by the service to bolster its TV show offerings, seeing as it's struggling to catch up to Netflix UK in that area. Lovefilm also inked a deal with Warner Bros in April to air popular TV titles One Tree Hill, The West Wing and Nip Tuck, although Netflix will have its own exclusive when Arrested Development season four launches tomorrow.
Filed under: Misc
Google's 'last step' in Buzz shutdown: moving all data to Google Drive
Google's social networking effort Buzz shut its doors last year but has popped up yet again, for what may be the last time. In an email that just went out to former users, Google noted it's packaging Buzz data into two files which will be stored on their Drive accounts. One is private, which will hold all of their posts both public and private, and another is public, which will contain a copy of any of their public Buzz posts, accessible to anyone who has a direct link (old Buzz links will redirect here.) One important note, is that your comments on others posts will be saved to their Drive files, and you won't be able to delete them once the shift happens "on or after July 17th." Need to do a total wipe / some selective editing? Check the link below to see your profile or the text of the message for a more thorough explanation after the break.
Source: Buzz Profile
Meet Magura's eLECT, an electronic suspension fork for tech-savvy cyclists
If you're looking to trick out your bike, Magura's eLECT might be the electronic suspension system you crave -- if you're willing to sacrifice optimal reaction time. Using a 3D accelerometer, the eLECT analyzes terrain with a 0.2 second window to adjust to how bumpy or smooth your ride is. At first glance, 0.2 seconds seems impressive, but it equates to a distance of 3.6 feet when traveling at 12.4MPH. Indeed, on challenging trails, a lot can happen in 3.6 feet, and eLect's reaction time might be a touch on the slow side. While the system isn't quite perfect, it does offer some sweet options. For example, cyclists can toggle between automatic and manual control of the compression damper using the accompanying Bluetooth remote. Magura's eLECT isn't the first of its kind -- RockShox and Fox both have their own e-suspension systems -- but it's one of the lightest; the combined weight of the damper and remote is a mere 0.2 pound. There's no word yet on availability or pricing, but you can check out the results of Bike Radar's test ride at the source.
Source: Bike Radar
LG may bring Google TVs to Korea, China soon; seeing 'good returns' in the US
While Eric Schmidt's proclamation that "most" new TVs would have Google TV embedded last year didn't come true, LG stated today that it's bringing the platform to more regions soon. The Korea Times reports an unnamed company executive at the KCTA Digital Cable Show stated the platform is yielding good returns, with average sales of 10,000 units per month. He went on to state that LG Electronics would bring Google TVs to Korea later this year -- following the integrated IPTV boxes offered by LG Uplus -- and China after that. Microsoft is apparently ready to follow Google TV's lead with HDMI passthrough and TV overlays, we'll see if it can gain traction at home and overseas before others catch up.
Source: Korea Times