Bryan Gardiner, writing for WIRED Science about Corning's Gorilla Glass, the tempered material–first invented in the '50s!–that covers iPhones and other devices (emphasis mine):
All this destruction and controlled mayhem has paid off. Compared with the first version of the glass, Gorilla Glass 2 is 20 percent stronger (a third version is due out early next year). The Corning composition scientists have accomplished this by pushing the compressive stress to its limit—they were being conservative with the first version of Gorilla—while managing to avoid the explosive breakage that can come with that increase. Still, glass is a brittle material. And while brittle materials tend to be extremely strong under compression, they’re also extremely weak under tension: If you bend them, they can break. The key to Gorilla Glass is that the compression layer keeps cracks from propagating through the material and catastrophically letting tension take over. Drop a phone once and the screen may not fracture, but you may cause enough damage (even a microscopic nick) to critically sap its subsequent strength. The next drop, even if it isn’t as severe, may be fatal. It’s one of the inevitable consequences of working with a material that is all about trade-offs, all about trying to create a perfectly imperceptible material.
You might not recognize the 3D-printed model home above at first glance. (I didn't.) It was one of the models displayed today by Bre Pettis at the unveiling of the Makerbot Replicator 2, the fourth-generation desktop 3D printer designed and manufactured here in Brooklyn that sports a new 100-micron resolution and a larger fabrication table–perfect for architectural models. Like this one, produced by one of the Makerbot staff, a former architect.
But it's not just any ol' pleasantly generic American home. It's a scale model of one of the Sears Catalog Homes, the mail-order domiciles that shipped ready-to-erect in railway shipping containers after your great-grandfather ordered one from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.
Makerbots might only be able to print items a little smaller than a cinder block today, but this little 3D-printed wink above shows where they hope to end up.
When asked what the team's immediate goals are, she obliquely states, “To make Steam games more fun to play in your living room.” That's the team's one-year goal, at least. The challenge is making games that require a mouse and keyboard palatable to people who are used to a controller, or to people who just don't want to migrate PC controls to the comfort of their living room. Working in tandem with Steam's newly beta'd “Big Picture Mode,” Ellsworth's team is creating a hardware solution to the control barriers found in many Steam games. She wouldn't give any hints as to what that solution is exactly, but she left no options off the table – from Phantom Lapboard-esque solutions to hybrid controllers.
 A hardware hacker perhaps best known for making the best-selling “64 Games In One” joystick that you plugged right into your TV a few years back.
As an unabashed gadget enjoyer, I've done a pretty good job over the last few years of weening myself from impulse purchases. It was worst when I was a full-time gadget writer, strangely enough, when almost everything I wanted to play with was just an email to a PR person away; somehow I kept buying more stuff I arguably didn't need.
Now I'm more tempered in my purchases. Nothing irks me more than to have something sitting around that I never actually use.
Somehow, though, I bought a $129 BioLite CampStove in the early summer, despite being busy with a fulltime job that didn't allow for a lot of camping. (I haven't done much camping since I moved back to New York City, at least compared to when I lived in Oregon.) The BioLite sat on a shelf for a few months, save for when I'd pull it down to show it to a pal: Hey, look! This camp stove burns wood but also charges your iPhone. I was pleased primarily that such an object existed, even if I didn't need it.
When my girlfriend and I went to Oregon for vacation a few weeks ago, I almost forgot to back the BioLite, despite that our plan was mostly to hit a bunch of national parks and car camp.
Instead, we took the BioLite along and ended up using it very nearly every morning and evening–at least a dozen times. And it's even better than I'd have hoped.
First, the nerdly bit: the USB charging works. It's literally a bit uneven, as the BioLite only kicks on its charging function when it has 1) filled up its own internal battery that drives its combustion fan, and 2) when there's enough heat in the fire chamber to be converted into electricity. With an iPhone, at least, you'll hear the chime that denotes charging every so often, usually after you add a little bit more tinder to the fire. I don't know if that affects the battery or charging in any way, but I will say that my iPhone had a weird bug after a few days where the battery indicator was stuck at 99% for a while. (Something that many who aren't using BioLites to charge have experienced.)
Still, it worked. And fairly quickly, adding 10% or 20% in the amount of time it took to cook a typical meal. I would expect you could recharge an iPhone to capacity in about an hour, but I never bothered.
The reason I never used the BioLite for an hour was that I didn't need to. The stove burns hot and fast, boiling water in five minutes or so, and toasting a bit of bread or a tortilla in less than 30 seconds.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, sure, the BioLite can charge your phone, but what actually made me want to write up my experience with it is that it's an incredibly effective, convenient little stove.
To understand why, it helps to understand why there's a battery in the thing in the first place. The idea behind the CampStove (and its big brother, designed for developing economies, the HomeStove) is that a battery-powered fan creates a vortex inside of the burn chamber, increasing both the heat and the combustion rate by adding more air–and thus more oxygen–from outside the burn chamber.
You see it working when you press the button on the front, turning on the fans. (Which you're instructed to do after the little fire inside, which you start with tinder or a firestarter like you would a normal campfire, has burned for about 10 seconds.) Small holes inside the burn chamber start swirling air around the little bits of wood you've tossed inside, both increasing the heat but also giving the smoke a chance to combust fully.
That's the biggest visual sign that the BioLite is working: the smoke disappears. That makes for a much more pleasant cooking experience; you're not kicking so much smoke and soot into your face or onto your pots as you would with a normal campfire.
Don't get me wrong: it's still a little wood fire. There's going to be some smoke. But it's far less smoke than typical when burning wood.
And burning wood is ultimately what makes the BioLite so convenient. We bought split pine firewood at almost all of our stops, simply to have a campfire to sit in front of each night. Just chipping little 2-inch shafts off of a single piece of firewood was plenty of wood to cook a two-person meal or make coffee in the BioLite. In fact, after a couple of days, I stopped making my own little wood chips and just looking around our camp sites and picking up wood from previous campers off the ground. In one stand of Ponderosa pine near the Painted Hills in Oregon, I found a pine tree that had split and fallen and was able to gather enough wood of the perfect size to last us for at least a couple of weeks. I was sad to have to leave it with a friend when we left.
Having the right size wood is definitely important, though, as the BioLite's burn chamber can only accept a small amount of wood at once, and pieces that are more than about an inch in diameter don't fit cleanly inside, especially with the big, metal prong for the heat-to-electricity exchanger nearly bisecting it at the top. That means you'll be feeding the BioLite quite a bit–every five minutes or so was my experience, especially with fast-burning pine. That can be mildly annoying when cooking a meal, but it just means you take the pan off the rolled metal scallops at the top of the BioLite, chuck in a little piece of wood, and go back to cooking.
The need to constantly feed the BioLite, plus the mild but audible whine from the fan, means you probably wouldn't want to light a fire in the stove and keep it running all night in lieu of a campfire. But that's not what it's designed for, so there's no ding there.
I've always been frustrated with camp stoves. I don't like buying fuel for them. I don't like packing out my spent canisters. They don't smell like wood smoke. While the BioLite CampStove isn't tiny or ridiculously light, it packs up into about a quart-sized container and obviates the need for bringing fuel along. Combined with its ability to recharge USB devices in the field–like the fantastic Joby GorillaTorch, another camp favorite–I feel confident in saying that I won't be looking for another camp stove anytime soon.
And now that I've done my little review, I'm going to throw the burn chamber in the dishwasher and clean it up. Can't have it looking shabby on my shelf.
Nick Wingfield, writing for the New York Times about the lack of zazz in the iPhone 5:
Technology analysts say smartphones could again see big changes akin to the one Apple introduced in 2007. Wearable computers are a source of fascination among many Silicon Valley companies, especially at Google. The company has put tremendous effort behind Project Glass, eyeglasslike frames that can display texts, e-mails and other information from a smartphone on a miniature screen in front of the wearer’s eye.
Google has said it plans to release a version of the technology for developers that would cost $1,500 in the first half of next year and a consumer version sometime after that.
The iPhone 5 looks just fine. It's a mature product. I'll probably get one at some point. (I'm in the weird position of needing an iPhone 5 not because I'm unhappy with my 4S, but because I'll be getting a bunch of iPhone cases to test in the near future that will only fit to the 5.) Anyone who is complaining about its lack of innovation is missing the point: it's a mass-market product that doesn't nor shouldn't change everything up year to year.
But the very same nerds and early adopters who clamor to upend the way they interface between the real and digital worlds are stitched together are starting to look towards AR and VR as not just a “someday this will happen” future, but one next possible thing to wow the public and open up a whole new area of consumer sales.
Notch: I got a demo yesterday. Holy moley, it’s good. VR has always been so bad it couldn’t catch on. This one, I feel, is just above the threshold of actually catching on. The immersion I got was superb, and I got very, very nauseous, but I tried moving my head back and forth. It doesn’t do position, it just does rotational tracking right now. So if you move your head, you kind of go up, down…
Then you feel sick. Which is a good sign. That’s not a pleasant experience, but it means it’s actually working. You’re really expecting it to move. I’ve talked to those guys, and I’m definitely going to look into having that for the space game. And I’ll try to convince the guys to do it with Minecraft.
The problem is it has to be 60 FPS, and that’s very hard to guarantee with Minecraft, because someone could make a very complex city and you can’t render that at 60 FPS. So we’ll see.
this was an organic decision, not a sponsorship. Also, we didn't have to make any color modifications to our test devices for the show. It was a happy coincidence that our test colors matched the palette of the DVF collection beautifully.
Among an otherwise glowing hands-on experience report with the Oculus Rift, another mention of motion sickness:
Did you feel nauseous/sick or get a headache during or after use?
No headache at all, but I have to say that after about 10 minutes, I felt really sick in my stomach. I had eaten a rather heavy meal right before my gaming session and that made it probably much worse, but it was unpleasant. I usually don't have big problems with reading in a car or motion sickness in gaming, so this was very surprising for me. To be fair, I was standing up and putting the thing to the test, making fast turns, jumping around, standing really close to ledges, looking up and down repeatedly, using the analogue stick in different ways – so this has probably worsened the motion sickness I experienced. Also, Nate and Palmer said that they are aware of the issue and can adjust for it. For example, positional tracking should help a lot to alleviate the motion sickness problems. Also, Nate pointed out that swaying while standing as well as using the right analogue stick too much worses the motion sickness. I did both probably too much.
The nauseous feeling got worse, but sitting down felt much better. It was a little less immersive that way, but still great. It worked surprisingly well even when sitting down, which is a huge plus if you ask me: If you want to sit down in your living room and relax, you can – and still get an immersive experience.
The nauseous feeling stopped about 10 minutes after playing, but I felt a little woozy for about 2 hours.