Avoid Cell Phone Driving Distractions with ZoomSafer January 31, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Cell Phones, CES and Macworld , 1 comment so far
While working on our CES coverage, we had a chance to talk with Matt Howard, founder of a software company called ZoomSafer, which is designed to prevent the urge to text and use your phone while driving.
We all know as new drivers how we shouldn’t text and drive, as it not only impairs our ability to drive properly and puts us and our car at risk, but it also puts everyone else on the road around you at risk. No text, email or Facebook update is important enough to risk your life for.
So what is ZoomSafer and how do they get rid of this urge (which we all admittedly have at times)? ZoomSafer is an app for your BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone (the Windows Mobile app is currently in beta, with other platforms like Android also in the works) that runs in the background on your phone, and by using GPS, senses when your driving (when it senses your GPS is going over 15 MPH) and automatically blocks incoming texts and other updates from coming up on screen and distracting you while you drive. The texts are all still there, and once you stop driving you can reply back to them as you please, but ZoomSafer prevents it from flashing all over your screen and thereby becoming a distraction.
It will also lock out your keypad to help fight the urge to send that quick text back, and will also even send out an auto-reply for you saying your driving right now and can’t text/email back. If you really need to check to see if you got a new text, ZoomSafer can read you your texts (albeit in a very computerized voice) and even let you record replies to send back. Now you can still make and receive calls, but they will need to be over a Bluetooth or other hands free device. You are the one who turns ZoomSafer off once you reach your destination, and if you are a passenger in a car and want to use your friend’s phone, you can still exit the app and use the phone and text, IM, email whoever you want (and yes, if you’re a driver and want to ignore ZoomSafer, by all means you could).
We know this seems harsh, but considering how many teen deaths are caused from distracted driving (some studies say this is the leading cause of teen deaths) and how using your phone while driving is illegal in 21 states already, we feel this is a very important PSA to mention. The app itself is free to download, though it will cost either a $2.99 monthly subscription or $25 one time fee to use, something we don’t find too bad at all considering what it could help save.
You can learn more about ZoomSafer at their site here. Video of what ZoomSafer is and how it works after the break.
Colorix—Review January 29, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Apple, First Look/Reviews , 2comments
There are a lot of great puzzle-like games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. We recently had a chance to test out a new one called Colorix, a kind of Tetris-Bejeweled mix, and it actually plays pretty well, a great quick game for the bus or killing time.
Made by Mobo Studio, the goal of Colorix is simple— take the sets of 3 colored marbles falling down and try to get match 3 colors together in a row. You can make a row in any direction—horizontally, vertically, and diagonally– and can also get matches in different combos, like having one match lead directly to another. The more matches and combos you get, the more points you accumulate, with the goal to get as many points as you can while avoiding the marbles reaching the top of the screen. Simple, right?
As the marbles fall, you have the power to place the sets of 3 where you want (though they only fall vertically), and while it falls you can either speed up the fall by 2x tapping on the spot you want them to fall (getting you more points), or use swipes to change the order of the marbles. When we first started playing we thought this was way too easy (we picked up the controls pretty easily after playing it a little), but after playing for a little bit, we started to realize a whole bunch of different combinations to get even more points using special marbles (such as Rainbow ones that change after they’re placed—as seen above in the pic). As you get more points and move up to higher levels, the game does also get tougher, with more color combinations and black marbles that stay on the board for a certain amount of turns and block spaces and combinations (as seen in the number 4 marble above).
Gameplay in Colorix is also very smooth, with quick load times and no stuttering during gameplay. The graphics are also surprisingly good for a game like this, with everything looking slick and colorful.
While it isn’t as feature-packed as say a Bejewled or Tetris, Colorix is a solid game for those look for a cheap, fun puzzle game that while not intense, is still very addictive and we’re gonna give Colorix a very good 4 out 5.
Colorix is available now in the App Store for a not too bad price of $1.99 (with a free Colorix Lite version also available now). You can check it out in the App Store here (link opens iTunes)
The Apple Tablet is Real– Meet the iPad January 27, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Apple, Computers, Tablets , 2comments
The Apple iPad
Well, it’s official. Apple has finally ended the months (and years) of speculation today, with the announcement of the iPad tablet. What is the iPad? Well for starters, think of it as an iPod Touch– just on so much steroids that it would make Jose Canseco jealous.
Intel Youth Rock Stars Summit January 27, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Announcements, Computers , add a comment
So, later this week, I’ll be flying out to California to join several other teen technology bloggers at Intel’s Youth Rock Stars Summit, at Intel Headquarters. We’ll be seeing (and showing you guys) some of the newest Intel tech, especially related to mobile devices for students. Coverage of the event will be both here, as well as on our Twitter feed.
Joining me will be:
Teresa Wu of College Candy and By Teresa Wu
Chris Lesinski of Hack College
Kelly Sutton of Hack College
Corvida Raven of SheGeeks
Daniel Brusilovsky of Teens in Tech (tentative)
Serena Wu of Social Geekette (tentative)
Julia Rubin of Under the Button
Arielle Patrice Scott
Disclosure: As per FTC Guidelines and the WOMMA Code of Ethics, I’m disclosing that my travel and accommodation expenses are being covered, and that I will be receiving a Dell Mini netbook as part of my attendance.
About the Intel Youth Rock Stars Summit:
Intel’s Youth Rock Stars Summit brings together bloggers that reach youth audiences in an all-day, immersive event at the Intel headquarters. On this day, attendees will get to preview some of the latest developments in Intel technology, including the all-new Intel Core 2010 processor family, mobile devices for students on-the-go, gaming and more. Attendees will even get to meet Intel “Rock Star” Mario Paniccia!
Apple Pre-Event Rumor Roundup January 26, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Apple, Rumors , add a comment
Seeing as that in under 24 hours Apple will finally announce it’s new “creation,” the rumor wire has been burning up on the internet. Seriously, there is every type of rumors here from an actual possibility, all the way to “some guy in his basement’s magic wish.” And while we tried our hardest to stay away from all these rampant rumors, here’s a few of the latest and coolest ones, with our thoughts on if we believe it will actually happen.
Live ESPN Coming to the Xbox 360? January 24, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Rumors, Video Games , add a comment
What with Facebook, Netflix and Twitter already playing on Xbox Live, and with a new Halo and, of course, Project Natal coming out later this year, you’d think Microsoft has done enough to pump up 360 owners for another great year. Well, for all us 360 owners who love all things sports and ESPN, things look to be getting even better.
According to the New York Times, Microsoft is having “super secret” meetings with Walt Disney Co. (the owners of more than Disney land and Disney channel—they also own ABC and ESPN) in order to bring live streaming of ESPN to the 360 (think kinda like the current ESPN360, we know—a perfect name, that lets you watch live games on you computer).
The rumors also say that, unfortunately, this may require some sort of subscriber fee, though if its any consolation, it might be live streaming and some interactive games. Of course seeing as neither Microsoft and Walt Disney haven’t said anything on the topic, take this as an awesome rumor for now.
And I believe this very well could happen. Microsoft over the past couple of years have pushed something called IPTV, or TV over the internet, with the 360 helping drive its case. Getting ESPN and perhaps other Disney-owned channels would be a great way to really build this service up and really make the case for people to ditch their regular cable or satellite.
What you think? You think/want this to happen? You watch any movies or do other things with your 360 beyond gaming? Do you want the 360 to become your “cable box?” Sound off in the comments.
TeuxDeux Reveuxw! January 19, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews , 2comments
How Deux Yoeux Keep Together?
This one’s a new one, but it’s real good. I promise.
Those of you who follow the site know that I’m a big fan of online stuff that lets me stay sane and together across multiple computers and devices (especially in school). So… here’s my new favorite tool for doing that: TeuxDeux (pronounced “ToDo” – you can probably guess where this is going…)
TeuxDeux is an online ToDo list. (Yup. You guessed it.) As if happens, a very, very, very, nice one. As you can see above – it looks fantastic. The interface is clean, simple, and easy to understand. It’s broken down into two groups – stuff that has a date, and stuff that doesn’t. You just type into the text box, either for a specific date or as a “Someday” item, and it adds it. Once there, it’s there until you cross it off or delete it.
Need more time for something? Items are easily dragged and dropped across days. And since everything is online, you can get to your list anytime, anywhere. Which is an obvious plus.
Finally, TeuxDeux comes at the finest of prices – it’s completely free. Not free-but-you-have-to-pay-subscription-fees-if-you-want-more-features free, not free-but-has-annoying-ads-every-5-seconds, just free. And in its current state – it’ll stay that way (they are considering a paid version in the future). They also have an iPhone app being worked on as well.
So – wrap up. There are plenty of great ToDo applications out there – but TeuxDeux isn’t reinventing the wheel. It’s taking the idea and doing it in the best possible way. Which is perfect. For students looking to organize themselves a week at a time, in what is a beautiful and simple manner, from anywhere – try TeuxDeux.
So far, it’s helping me keep track of myself and my crazy amount of work for midterm week, and it’s doing it well. Check it out here.
Apple Planning An Announcement for Next Week January 18, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Apple , add a comment
We wonder what this could be? Perhaps it’s some sort of tablet device *cough* *cough*. Well, whatever it is that Apple is planning, we’ll know soon enough as invites of an Apple event to “come see what’s our latest creation.” We’ll of course have all the info on what’s announced next week, January 27th, so make sure to check back then.
In the meanwhile, any guesses on what will be announced?