Magellan unveils RoadMate GPS units with auto-replies to calls, earns fellow drivers’ gratitude

Magellan unveils RoadMate GPS navigators with autoreplies to calls, earns gratitude from other drivers


Phone use while driving is still a serious problem in the US, even for those trying to quit — which makes us happy to see Magellan doing its part to change travellers’ habits. Out of five new RoadMate GPS units the company is releasing to the world, the Bluetooth-equipped, 4.3-inch 2255T-LMB and 5-inch 5265T-LMB models both carry a Safe Texting mode that can reply to any inbound voice call with a text, supplying either the arrival time or the promise of a call later on. All five of the navigators support a portrait view for more details of the road ahead, and the top two 5-inch devices support Magellan’s $150Back-Up Camera for delicate parking jobs. We’ll have to wait until September before the RoadMates arrive, but the sub-$200 prices will be a relief to other drivers who want at least a few more eyes on the road.




Samsung announces 75-inch ES9000 smart TV for Korea, with similarly gigantic price tag (eyes-on)

Samsung announces 75inch ES9000 smart TV for Korea, priced at $17,424 eyeson


Anyone looking to fill half of their lounge with Samsung LCD just got a new size to choose. The 75-inch ES9000 is the bigger brother of the ES8000 that we saw earlier this year and ahead of the official launch in Korea, we managed to get an early eyes-on at a Samsung event held yesterday in London. In short, if you loved the LED-backlit display of the 55-inch model, you’re going to adore the ES9000, which features the same smart TV brains alongside a retractable webcam unit housed on the top edge. The picture was pleasingly rich and sharp — presumably due to the aforementioned backlighting and the ES series’ edge-to-edge design. The bevel is a mere 7.9mm and Samsung has decided to coat the frame in a gentle Rose Gold coating which, due to the TV’s slightly shady location, was a little trickier to pick out. That premium finish is matched by a premium price tag, however, and will hit checkbooks for 19.8 million won (around $17,450). Despite the UK appearance, retailer John Lewis (which hosted the event) couldn’t confirm whether retail models would be coming to its stores in the future. But if you can afford 75 inches of TV, you can also afford a quick flight to Seoul to pick one up.

source: engadget

Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Music-Listening Experience

Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Music-Listening Experience

You love your music, but your listening experience may not be as great as you think it is. Messy libraries, bad players, crappy headphones, and poorly encoded files are just a few reasons that your songs may not sound their best. Here are our top 10 ways to upgrade your music from every angle.


10. Clean Up Your Music Library


It’s tough to listen to your music if you can’t find it. While not particularly sexy, one of the best upgrades you can perform is cleaning up and organizing your music library. Mac iTunes users can benefit from Doug’s AppleScripts, but for the most part this is going to be a pretty boring chore. Put a nice mix together on a separate computer or music player and enjoy your favorite songs while you strip your library of its duplicates and unwanted tracks. It won’t be fun, but it’ll be well worth the effort.


9. Mix It Up with Some Live Shows


You can carry around just about any song you want these days, but that’s rarely better than seeing your favorite bands live. If you want to make sure you never miss an important show, Songkick is an app for iOS and Android that’ll keep an eye on your music library and know when bands you like are playing. It’s a free download, and a painless way to keep on top of the performances you don’t want to miss.


8. Find Those Obscure Songs by Searching YouTube Comment Threads


Finding new songs via YouTube can be awesome, except when you can’t actually find them. A lot of YouTube videos pick some great tunes and then completely neglect to attribute the musician. You’re probably not the only one who has watched this video and found the lack of credit annoying, so your best bet is to expand all the comment threads and search through them for the name. Chances are you’ll find it and be able to download the song for yourself.


7. Utilize a Streaming Music Service


You can fit a lot of music onto a portable media player, but you don’t have to limit yourself if you use a streaming music service like Spotify or Rdio. Not only will you have access to a ton of music you don’t own, but that access also provides you with a great resource for finding new music you don’t know you like yet. Not sure which streaming service to pick? Check out our comparison.


6. Backup and Sync Your Collection Across Computers


Your music collection will always be difficult to maintain if it spans multiple computers. The easy solution? Syncing. If you’re just syncing a bunch of folders you don’t have a problem, but if you’re dealing with iTunes (and some other music players) you will run into frequent conflicts. To learn how to make syncing work well, check out our guide tosyncing iTunes with Dropbox. If you just want to sync locally, you can use Cubby orMediaRover instead. The bonus of syncing online, of course, is that you can access your music collection from anywhere with an internet connection. You’ll have to pay storage costs to do this, but it’s worthwhile if you want constant access.


5. Unleash Your Headphones’ Full Potential with a USB DAC and Amplifier


When you plug your headphones into your computer—or, especially, your portable music player—you’re probably not getting the best possible audio quality. A Digital-Analog Converter (DAC) and Amplifier can correct that problem. The downside is that you have to have an additional gadget attached to your headphones, but this is mostly irrelevant if you’re using a desktop computer. Smaller versions are available for portable devices, too, so they’re not as obtrusive. They’re not that expensive and you can read all about them here.


4. Make Some Truly Smart Playlists

Top 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Music-Listening ExperienceSmart Playlists are a wonderful, often underused feature of iTunes and many other music players. The reason for their neglect is often a lack of ideas. One fitting option is to create a smart playlist that targets neglected tunes. Just tell it to include anything that hasn’t ever been played, or has only been played a couple of times. Another great one is a “best of the year” playlist that aggregates your songs with the most plays in a given year. An easy way to put together smart playlists fast is to tell it to look for a specific word in the comments field of any given song. Then go and add that comment to any song that’s relevant and your playlist will update automatically. This might be tedious initially, but whenever you want to add a song to a playlist you can just edit the comments rather than figure out where that playlist is and drag it over. Want more ideas? We’ve got an entire top 10 just for them.

3. Choose the Right Bit Rate for Your Music


Some people think bit rate doesn’t matter, and others will only listen to lossless files. There’s definitely a difference between a 128kbps MP3 and a FLAC-encoded tune, but that difference starts to disappear when you up the bit rate of your highly-compressed music files. In fact, most people can’t tell the difference between a 320kbps MP3 and a lossless file (or even less), especially with most consumer-grade headphones and speakers. You should figure out if the bit rate really makes a difference to you and your best bet for encoding your music. You want your music to sound its best, but “best” tends to average at about 192kbps.


2. Upgrade Your Crappy Headphones on the Cheap


Just because your headphones are cheap doesn’t mean they have to sound that way. A$30 pair can become a $300 pair, you canadd noise reductionturn them into a smartphone headset, and much more. There’s nothing wrong with just buying a great pair, but if you want to save some money you can always upgrade the crappier set you already have.


1. Listen to Music Socially and Discover New Songs Through Your Friends


Ultimately, the number one upgrade to your music is twofold: finding great new songs that you love and connecting with other people through the process. Social media has spawned several ways to make this happen easily, so you can hear about new music you might like through people you like and actually know your interests. Many of the previously mentioned streaming services connect with Facebook so you can see what your friends are listening to, but that’s mostly annoying. The best way I’ve seen to use Facebook to find new music is simply to ask. Post on your wall that you want suggestions of new songs to check out to expand your interests and let your friends come up with a few playlists for you. That should give you plenty to explore for awhile. You can also use services like MonstroSoundshare, and to discover new tunes as well. There are lots of options, so just choose the one that suits you—and your friends—the best.


source:Whitson Gordon

First solar-powered boat to circle the world pulls into home port, contemplates next move

First solar-powered boat to circle the world pulls into home port, contemplates next move


It’s been two years since we last heard of the 98-foot-long solar-powered boat, which at the time was gearing up for its big journey around the world. Well, some 19 months and 37,286 miles after setting sail from Monaco, the MS Turanor PlanetSolar has finally made it home. The PlanetSolar broke four Guinness world records along the way, including the all-important “first circumnavigation by solar-powered boat,” and it made stops on six continents to promote solar energy. Oh, and the team fended off Somalian pirates in the process, too. Now that it has a moment to catch its breath and soak up some rays at leisure, the MS Turanor could become any number of things — from the world’s largest solar battery to a “green luxury yacht.” The latter option would certainly befit its chichi home port



Biegert & Funk bring the literal time to your wristwatch with QLOCKTWO

Biergert & Funk bring the literal time to your wristwatch with QLOCKTWO W



It’s a common desire among everyday folk: we often say we’d like to read more, if only we had the time. While it’s unlikely to fill your noggin with the prose of Hemingway or the poetry of Whitman, a newwristwatch from Biegert & Funk promises to quench your thirst for words and literally provide you withthe time. Known as the QLOCKTWO W, the timepiece is a portable revision of the company’s original wall clock, both of which display the current time in everyday language. Priced at €550, the watch is scheduled for arrival this autumn and will be available in black or stainless steel variations, with either rubber or leather bands. As another option, those who find English far too mundane may spring for the Deutsch version.