On Departure

An animation which attempts to express a personal journey centred around the loss of my younger brother Emmet.

Quantum iPad Case

Leather and canvas iPad case

Landmarks and Lions leather and canvas iPad case can be appreciated for it’s crisp lines, minimalist style and high quality construction. It’s a perfect compliment to the iPad. The Quantum iPad case is manufactured using time worn traditional leather crafting techniques. Each case is made to order by the owner, Canyon Crosby who hand cuts each leather piece, sews , and masterfully hand paints all the leather edges.

Leather and canvas iPad case

The Quantum iPad case is available in black /black, black /turquoise, and cognac /white with interior black/white striped cotton canvas lining.

10 Of The Best Apps For Traveling To Europe

The modern day traveler no longer needs to carry a small stack of books and complicated maps to travel around Europe. With only a few apps on your phone you can replace them all and save yourself the hassle of carting them around while maximizing your time in Europe.

1. uPackingList – Travel Organizer

uPackingList - Travel Organizer

Not everyone needs an app for helping them pack their suitcase, but for those people like me who are guaranteed to forget something important if left to their own devices, this list helps to make sure that you don’t. This app is available on both iOS and Android.

2. TripIt – Travel Planner

TripIt - Travel Planner

This app takes all of the confirmations you receive for reservations, plane and event tickets, and puts them together into one clean itinerary for you to reference. It allows you to add additional trips if you travel often as well. This app is available on both iOS and Android.

3. Google Translate

Google Translate

Google Translate translates phrases from just about any language you will come across. Though the translations are not always perfect, they are usually pretty close and just about as good as you can get. Not only will it work for written text, but it also has a voice function which will translate what you say into the local language, making it great when you don’t know the language or can’t seem to wrap your mouth around the native words! This app is available on both iOS and Android.

4. Wikitude


Wikitude is an augmented reality application. A user needs only to hold up their smartphone camera and the application shows various details and facts about the location. It also allows you to find locations and restaurants as well as play games through the camera program. This app is available on both iOS and Android.

5. The Lonely Planet Wifi Guide

The Lonely Planet Wifi Guide

Done in the same style as the amazing Lonely Planet books, this app gives you the kind of details about a location that you may have never known without it. Designed to help you understand and fully appreciate the places that you’re visiting, this app is great for the traveler who wants to do more than just look at pretty things, but wants to actually experience the locations they visit. This app is available on both iOS and Android.

6. Wifi Finder

Wifi Finder

These days being able to connect to wifi is essential for the modern traveler. This application is one of the essentials to keeping you sane as it locates the nearest wifi hotspots and lets you know whether they are paid or free. This app is available only on iOS. Here are more tips on finding free wifi everywhere.

7. Tipping Bird

Tipping Bird

Nearly everyone that is traveling to Europe is going to come across a situation in a restaurant or cab or some kind of establishment where they aren’t sure what the tipping etiquette is. In some places it is expected that you tip more, in others tipping is not expected at all. This application lets you know what the etiquette and amounts would be based on your location and who you would be tipping. It’s great for making sure that you’re doing the right thing. This app is available on Android.

8. MetrO & aMetro

MetrO & aMetro

These apps, one for iPhone and one for Android, are very similar and provide you with a series of maps for trains or subways in hundreds of major cities around the world. They allow you to find out when and where transportation is available from anywhere that you are. You can download them once right before you leave (to make sure you have the most updated version) and then do not need to be connected to the internet to access them again. MetrO is available for iOS and aMetro is available for Android.

9. Spotted by Locals

Spotted by Locals

Do you want to experience a location the way that the people who live there do? This application which gives you information and tips from those who actually live in the area. There is everything from restaurants to great places to hike that come from the people who are likely to know best! This app is available on both iOS and Android.

10. XE Currency

XE Currency

Useful and convenient, this application is a straightforward converter to let you know what the currency exchange in any given location is. This app is available on both iOS and Android.

These apps are among thousands designed to help you get the absolute most you can out of your trip. I feel that these are some of the coolest and most useful, but they only scratch the surface of what you may find. Post and let us know what other apps you find useful for European trips!

Michelle Fach is a travel writer with an active lifestyle blogging for Dobovo, the European travel company specializing in travel apartment rent (and covering unique destinations like Odessa or Kiev).

That’s because Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and browse through. It’s why most of the photographs uploaded to Instagram are beautiful and entertaining slices of life and not the tedious time in-between of those moments, when bills get paid, cranky children are put to bed, little spats with friends.
Instagram Video and the Death of Fantasy

Hello Lamp Post

Hello Lamp Post! has been selected for the Playable City Award.

We interpret the ‘Smart City’ as an idea that represents values such as clarity, accuracy, integration, efficiency and refinement. It is a top-down ideology, most desirable from the perspective of civic authorities and service providers.

The sensory extremities/ appendages of a smart city are its utilities and street furniture – objects so ubiquitous that they have become invisible to us. They include (but aren’t exclusive to) street lights, post boxes, bus stops and fire hydrants.

If these human ‘touchpoints’ are going to be smart, can they also be open, hospitable and played with at the same time? How can they be open to interpretation, surprising and personable?

This has been our area of interest, and what has informed our proposition for a core playable mechanic.

The CampStove

Charging Cellphones with Fire with The CampStove

Former design engineer Jonathan Cedar has created two cool devices that help generate green energy in remote locations and the developing world—and power smartphones and other mobile devices. Yahoo News reports:

The CampStove is available in the U.S. and Europe for outdoor recreational use and emergency preparedness. You stick wood (twigs, pine cones) into the small contraption to create a fire. You can then plug your mobile device USB cord into the base of CampStove to recharge your gadget.

The CampStove can charge a phone in about the same speed as a laptop, in other words not as fast as a traditional outlet. But Cedar said it’s “a speed that most consumers seem comfortable with.”
BioLite also sells a larger model called the HomeStove in emerging markets, and has already launched pilot programs in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organization, three billion people still cook on open, smoky fires. Cedar markets the HomeStove as a safer, cleaner alternative that offers a another major bonus: it also generates electricity for charging phones. The World Bank says nearly five billion cellphone users live in developing countries. Cedar’s target market therefore is enormous.

The CampStove. Via.

Tablets are for middle-aged people, smartphones are for 20-somethings

Photo by wilbertbaan

Photo by wilbertbaan

For the first time, a third of American adults own a tablet computer like an iPad, almost twice as many as the 18% who owned a tablet a year ago. So says the results of Pew Internet & American Life project’s just-released annual survey of tablet PC ownership.

One of the things that is especially interesting about tablet adoption compared to some of the patterns of other devices we’ve studied is how these technologies’ growth has played out between different age groups,” Research Analyst Kathryn Zickuhr said. “With smartphones, for instance, we’ve seen a very strong correlation with age where most younger adults own smartphones, regardless of income level. But when it comes to tablets, adults in their thirties and forties are now significantly more likely than any other age group to own this device.

The report is full of interesting details.

  • The proportion of US adults 18 and over who own a tablet PC nearly doubled in the past year, from 18% to 34%
  • Rich Americans are far more likely to own a tablet than the less affluent. Of those with household income greater than $75,000 a year, 56% own a tablet. People with a college degree are also tablet lovers: Nearly half of college graduates own a tablet (49%).
  • Adults in their late thirties and early forties have the highest rates of tablet ownership, whereas smartphones are most popular with younger adults ages 18-34, says Pew. Indeed, tablet ownership rates among adults age 35-44 is identical to tablet ownership rates among college graduates (49%).
  • Tablet preferences don’t cut along lines of gender, race or ethnicity: There are no “statistically significant” differences in tablet ownership rates between men and women, or across racial or ethnic groups. (That said, the women surveyed had a slightly higher tablet ownership rate than men: 35% of them own tablets, compared to 32% of men.)
  • 50% of parents with children living at home own tablets, compared to 27% of non-parents. A year ago, only 26% of parents owned tablets.

Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word.

We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn’t use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology.

Until now, gesturing has often been used to operate PCs and other devices. But with this interface, we’re not operating a PC, but touching actual objects directly, and combining them with ICT equipment.

The system is designed not to react when you make ordinary motions on a table. It can be operated when you point with one finger. What this means is, the system serves as an interface combining analog operations and digital devices.


Reclaimed Wood Bluetooth Speakers

Reclaimed Wood Bluetooth Speakers
I love this.

Salvage Audio Wireless Bluetooth Home Audio Systems are each handmade using reclaimed wood. Blending the character of the recycled wood with great speaker components creates a box that looks as amazing as the music you play through it. These powered speakers will play your music wirelessly via bluetooth or accept your music through an aux input. Plug in your iPhone, iPod, or any music player with a headphone jack with the included 3.5mm cable or sit back and control your music from across the room!

Cocosheaven Tote Bag


Because there can never be too many tote bags in the world. This tote bag is handmade with 100% canvas & leather shoulder strap. Hand dyed in blue with 100% white canvas fabric – perfect for summer.

Toca Builders

We severely limit our kids screen time, the iPad is an added dimension for children’s play and learning, and certainly no replacement for the kinds of interaction I had as a child. When they do have time using their iPad they often turn to apps built by TocaBoca, they are always loads of fun. I find them fun too.

Toca Builders allows you to join your new builder friends on an island far away and create a whole new world with blocks. Jump, walk, roll and rotate the builders to use their unique skills, and they will help to build whatever you can imagine. Toca Builders makes it fun to drop, spray, smash and lift blocks to construct new objects – may it be a house, lamp or maybe a banana? Let’s get started by putting down some blocks.

This won’t replace the challenge of Legos and wooden blocks but it looks like allot of fun.

How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?

Thumb UI

The users who we observed touching their phone’s screens or buttons held their phones in three basic ways: one handed – 49%, cradled – 36%, two handed – 15%. In the following sections, I’ll describe and show a diagram of each of these methods of holding a mobile phone, along with providing some more detailed data and general observations about why I believe people hold a mobile phone in a particular way.

Read more. Via Small Surfaces

Daily inspiring text messages fail to inspire US students to perform better

A groundbreaking experiment that bombarded US high school students with inspiring text messages was found to be a success on all counts except one: it made no difference to how the students performed in school. The Guardian:

Roland Fryer, an economist at Harvard University, helped establish the experiment involving nearly 2,000 pupils at state schools in Oklahoma City.

The students were given free mobile phones in return for receiving daily texts written by a trend-setting advertising agency, encouraging them to stay in school and study for exams.

Many of the students correctly answered quiz questions showing they had paid attention to the messages – but the nine-month-long randomised field study failed to find any improvement in the students’ academic results or attendance.

Fryer concluded that while the daily diet of texts changed pupils’ views about the value of education and caused them to say they were working harder in school, “there was no measurable increase in educational attainment or achievement”.

The aim of the study was “to assess whether students better understood the link between human capital and outcomes”, Fryer wrote in a working paper just published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The texts were sent at 6pm each day, including weekends – calculated as the best time to reach the sixth and seventh grade students, aged 12-13.

Read more.

Top Currency Converter Apps For iPhone

People fond of traveling often face the problem of currency conversion. Of course, if you are a genius mathematician you can easily calculate how much US dollars you need to purchase 350 EUR or 2,000 RUR. However, unfortunately, not all people are like this.

Sometimes, it is very difficult to understand adequacy of prices in foreign countries. As known, in some countries prices for some categories of goods are significantly lower than in the US, for instance. Thus, you should make sure you are aware of the prices. Currency converters are available online, however, it is not too comfortable to go online each time you need to convert currencies. Luckily, there are many converting apps for smartphones, iPhones, in particular.

Now, let’s enjoy this short list of the best currency converter apps for iPhone. If you don’t have an iPhone, it is high time you get one.

Currency Converter!

If you have an iPhone and you travel a lot, you should think of getting yourself Currency Converter! By the way it is also compatible with iPod Touch and iPad, so if you are an Apple fan you’ll enjoy the application. So, what does Currency Converter boast of? First off, this is an intuitive and user friendly interface. Secondly, this is a full offline mode, in case you do not have WiFi or 3G around. Thirdly, this is the price. You can get the app at iTunes for less than $1 – $0.99.

The application supports all major currencies, so you will be well armed with information when going abroad. You will quickly get used to the app interface and conversion of various amounts will not be a big problem anymore. I will recommend this application to anyone who often needs to convert various currencies and even amateur traders.

Quid Universal Currency Converter

Quid Universal Currency Converter is a more professional application, perhaps, suitable for seasoned traders. If you want to stay informed on currency exchange rates all the time, Quid app is exactly what you are looking for. It gets info on 180 word currencies, but if this is not enough for you, go ahead and add some more currencies and their exchange rates. Customization of the application is perhaps its biggest advantage, at least for picky users. The app price is its another great advantage. It’s $0.99 at iTunes – definitely affordable, especially if you do need currency conversion pretty often.

The Currency Converter App

It is another application with the main goal to convert currencies using the latest exchange rates. The list of currencies is quite broad, however, if you need to add some more units, you are certainly welcome to do so. Again, the application is fully compatible with all Apple mobile devices. It is possible to view all currencies and their exchange rates as one list or choose one base currency and a few other currencies that interest you. For instance, you can set US dollar as a default currency and the app will convert everything the US dollars. The price remains the same – less than $1.

As a professional trader and a financial blogger, Aleksey recommends to exchange e-money and look for the best conversion rates at reliable sites. Visit the link to get more information. And good luck!