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Get Your iPhone Fix

With the launch of Apple's iPhone just one day away (okay: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 10 seconds according to iphonecountdown.com), global phone-hysteria levels are at an all-time high. We're here to guide you through the mountains of coverage with pre-screened links to the most interesting bits.

Apple's press embargo on iPhone reviews was lifted Tuesday at 6pm, leading to a web-wide case of iPhone Mania: as reviews from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsweek hit the web, millions of iPhone fans clicked madly from one article to the next. Don't have the time (or energy) to read all four pieces of phone-related journalism? Check out Gizmodo's iPhone Review Matrix, which condenses the reviews into a handy chart.

For the past week, Apple has steadily posted additional iPhone information, apparently in an attempt to keep the iPhone faithful supplied with new videos and web content every day. Some highlights: the iPhone Guided Tour is a 24-minute video showing many of the phone's features, including tantalizing close-ups of a real live iPhone (gasp!) operated by a spokesmodel in a strangely Steve Jobs-esque outfit. If that's not enough geekery for you, check out the iPhone Activation & Sync video whose most exciting fact is: you don't activate the phone at the store -- instead you take it home, plug it into your Mac or PC, and activate it through iTunes (and yes, you can even transfer an existing phone number to AT&T service from within iTunes). But wait, there's more! If you still haven't downloaded enough iPhone videos, turn your gaze to the iPhone keyboard demo, which shows you how to go from hunt-and-peck to two-thumb-typing-ninja in just a few short days.

Because I know this still isn't enough for some of us, I'll throw in links to Get Ready for iPhone, a guide to what you should be doing now in order to get up and running Friday night. You may have heard about Greg Packer, the professional line-sitter who's first in line for an iPhone at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store (he has a blog about it), but perhaps more interesting is David Clayman, who is documenting the experience of being second in line. Madness or awesomeness? You decide.

Finally, I leave you with the iPhone rate plans. The short version: sixty bucks a month minimum, two-year contract required. Start checking under the couch cushions while you browse the AT&T Coverage Viewer and find a store where you can spend your Friday waiting for the phone. And if you're not getting a real iPhone, try making your own out of paper.

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History
The Queen of Code: Remembering Grace Hopper
By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer. She coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947 (which in turn led to the term "debug," meaning solving problems in computer code). She did the foundational work that led to the COBOL programming language, used in mission-critical computing systems for decades (including today). She worked in World War II using very early computers to help end the war. When she retired from the U.S. Navy at age 79, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the service. Hopper, who was born on this day in 1906, is a hero of computing and a brilliant role model, but not many people know her story.

In this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, directed by Gillian Jacobs, we learned about Grace Hopper from several biographers, archival photographs, and footage of her speaking in her later years. If you've never heard of Grace Hopper, or you're even vaguely interested in the history of computing or women in computing, this is a must-watch:

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Google
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Animals
Watch Christmas Island’s Annual Crab Migration on Google Street View
Google
Google

Every year, the 45 million or so red crabs on the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island migrate en masse from their forest burrows down to the ocean to mate, and so the female crabs can release their eggs into the sea to hatch. The migration starts during the fall, and the number of crabs on the beach often peaks in December. This year, you don’t have to be on Christmas Island to witness the spectacular crustacean event, as New Atlas reports. You can see it on Google Street View.

Watching the sheer density of crabs scuttling across roads, boardwalks, and beaches is a rare visual treat. According to the Google blog, this year’s crabtacular finale is forecasted for December 16, and Parks Australia crab expert Alasdair Grigg will be there with the Street View Trekker to capture it. That is likely to be the day when crab populations on the beaches will be at their peak, giving you the best view of the action.

Crabs scuttle across the forest floor while a man with a Google Street View Trekker walks behind them.
Google

Google Street View is already a repository for a number of armchair travel experiences. You can digitally explore remote locations in Antarctica, recreations of ancient cities, and even the International Space Station. You can essentially see the whole world without ever logging off your computer.

Sadly, because Street View isn’t live, you won’t be able to see the migration as it happens. The image collection won’t be available until sometime in early 2018. But it’ll be worth the wait, we promise. For a sneak preview, watch Parks Australia’s video of the 2012 event here.

[h/t New Atlas]

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