If your wallet is overflowing with credit cards, you’ll want to check out a new startup called Coin. While many companies are working on new ways for us to spend money, Coin decided to come up with a better credit card. Coin’s card stores information from your other credit cards so it can be used in place of them and lighten up your wallet. Coin looks and acts like a regular credit card and gives you access to multiple accounts through the card itself after you load information about your existing cards onto your smartphone, which then sends the info to Coin via Bluetooth. You may feel nervous about loading all your credit card info into one place, but Coin locks for security if strays too far from your phone. Coin’s backed by a bunch of investors but is looking for more money through crowdfunding. You can pre-order Coin now for $50, or wait until it launches in the middle of next year and snag it for $100.
Microsoft’s newest video game system, the Xbox One, is now available in stores throughout the United States and 14 other countries for $499. The Xbox One is priced $100 more than Sony’s new system, the PlayStation 4, which hit store shelves a week earlier. The price difference is mainly attributed to the Kinect, Microsoft’s motion-sensing camera. This is the new and improved version of the Kinect, better in every way over the original, which launched midway through the Xbox 360’s life and never really caught on. Kinect 2.0 has a better chance to thrive, though, because everyone will have it, evening the playing field for developers. Microsoft’s track record leading up to the Xbox One’s launch was rocky, as the company flip-flopped on many of its policies surrounding games and internet connectivity. Fans seem to be happy now – well, mostly happy anyway – and are turning out en masse to fork over their hard-earned cash for Microsoft’s latest and greatest. Will you be joining them?
Could the robots of the future be powered by urine? A team of scientists in the UK have developed a system that could keep robots powered for a long time on nothing more than our bodily waste. The system centers around an artificial heart, which provides a microbial fuel cell with the urine it needs to turn waste into electricity. The fuel cells contain microorganisms that convert the urine into electrons, which are then harvested into electrical current. The pumping device can pinged with an electrical current to force urine into the fuel cell. This latest ideas marks the fourth generation of what are known as ‘EcoBots.’ Previous versions were powered by rotten produce, dead flies, waste water and sludge. This latest iteration has ample fuel available, as the scientists have suggested the robots could refuel from public lavatories. The system uses less electricity than it provides but isn’t very efficient yet, so don’t worry about running into robots in public bathrooms any time soon.
Amazon recently teamed up with the US Postal Service to begin offering Sunday deliveries to its customers. In the past, you had to pay exorbitant amounts using Express Mail and tack on an extra fee if you wanted something delivered on Sunday. Not anymore. The new service has already begun in New York City and Los Angeles, and will expand to most of the rest of the United States next year. The USPS has struggled recently as fewer Americans are sending mail, opting to pay bills and communicate with friends and family online. This deal is expected to help the Postal Service’s turnaround effort as it brings in money and also opens the door for more partnerships with retailers eager to offer Sunday delivery. The move makes sense for Amazon as it takes aim at one of the few advantages brick-and-mortar stores have over the site: Sunday shopping. We may be the biggest winners of all, though, as we now have more shopping and delivery options than ever before. Shop away!
Android version 4.4 KitKat features a smarter Caller ID system that automatically displays business names when they call you, if you don’t have their number saved in your phone. But the feature also automatically displays your name and Google+ profile photo on every call you make. If you don’t want your face to pop up on anyone’s phone running KitKat, here’s how to opt out. Head over to Google.com/settings/phone, where you’ll find all phone numbers linked to your account. If you don’t want a particular number to be discoverable in KitKat’s Caller ID, uncheck the box next to that number. If you don’t currently have a phone number attached to your account, the page will say something like “No phone numbers associated with this setting.” If you see that message, you’re in the clear. Google is doing everything it can to spread Google+ to all corners of the mobile world, but knows you value your privacy, too. If you want to stay private, opt out soon, before you forget.
Remember when your cellphone bill was $30 a month? What if I told you that you could get that same price for unlimited talk, text and data on your iPhone? It’s easy, too. The first and most important step is to sign up for a T-Mobile prepaid plan. For $30 a month, T-Mobile offers 100 minutes of talk, unlimited texts, and unlimited data. Only the first five gigabytes of that data is at 4G speed, but using Wi-Fi networks will ensure you almost never go over that 5 gig cap. Next, sign up for a Google Voice number. Worried about having to remember a new number? Don’t be. Google Voice lets you automatically forward all calls from your old number to your Google Voice number. Finally, download the Talk-a-tone app, which lets you log into your Google Voice account to make calls and send text without using minutes. Between Talk-a-tone and FaceTime, you’ll never have to worry about minutes again. Unlimited talk, text and data for less than the cost of dinner? Sign me up!
Sony’s newest video game, the PlayStation 4, is now available in stores across the United States for $399 and is launching soon throughout Europe. Leading up to launch, the demand for the console was high, and Sony hopes to sell 5 million units by February. Sony will face stiff competition this holiday season from Microsoft, which is also launching a new video game console, the Xbox One. The PlayStation 4 beat the Xbox One to shelves by a week and is $100 cheaper, giving it two legs up over Microsoft’s newest console. The PS4 launched with 22 titles available on day one, available in stores and also as digital downloads. We’re transitioning into an all-digital culture, and the PlayStation 4 marks the true start of this movement in the home video game console realm. But with a hard drive that will hold less than a dozen games, will the PS4 make or break the digital movement? Find out for yourself and grab a PlayStation 4 today.
Are you looking for help with something and YouTube just isn’t cutting it? It’s time to check out Google Plus. Earlier this year, Google launched “Google Helpouts,” a new video chat helpline service. The program is now open to the public and brings live video tutorials, instructions and services to you through Google Hangouts. Whether your kid needs help with his chemistry homework or if you want to perfect your mashed potatoes before Thanksgiving, the service is for you. Enter what you need help with and sort the results by relevance, qualifications and overall batting average. You’ll see what the session will cost before you start – either a one-time flat fee or a rate per minute – and you can pay through Google Wallet once the session is over. The best part? Google is so confident in Helpouts that it’s promising a 100 percent money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied. Google Helpouts works on desktop, Android and iOS, so if you need help with something, head over to helpouts.google.com today.
Leading up to the iPad Air’s launch, T-Mobile announced that anyone who bought the new iPad through them would get 200 MB of 4G data per month for free. It wasn’t a ton of data, but free is free and you could use it to do some basic web stuff in a pinch. It turns out that was sort of true… with a hitch. Existing T-Mobile customers get the best of all worlds – the ability to pay for the new iPad in monthly installments plus that free data – but things get a little trickier if you’re new to T-Mobile. New customers can get the free data with no strings attached if they buy the new iPad outright from T-Mobile. But if you were hoping to finance the iPad over 24 months – just as T-Mobile offers for all of its smartphones, too – and get free data for life, you’ll need to sign up for a 500 MB plan at $20 per month. It’s still a good deal … just not a no-brainer.
Have scientists found a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease … through the use of lasers? A Polish-Swedish team of researchers recently discovered a way to use lasers to zap away the bad proteins in our bodies that cause diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The newly-developed laser can distinguish between healthy proteins and toxic amyloids and zap the bad proteins away without harming the good ones. One of the scientists on the team said this breakthrough was revolutionary because it was the first time anyone thought to try to use light exclusively to fight these diseases. These diseases are currently treated through the use of harmful chemicals that remove the bad proteins, but these chemicals can be harmful to the patient, too. The idea is similar to one thought up by a team of British researchers several years back. Those scientists used infrared light to stimulate brain cell growth and combat the disease. But if this new method works, it would completely eradicate the disease, rather than treat it. Let’s hope so.