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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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The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
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Jeff Bezos Is Helping to Build a Clock Meant to Keep Time for 10,000 Years
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo
The Long Now Foundation, Vimeo

Few human inventions are meant to last hundreds of years, much less thousands. But the 10,000 Year Clock is designed to keep accurate time for millennia. First proposed in 1989, the long-lasting timepiece is finally being installed inside a mountain in western Texas, according to CNET.

The organization building the clock, the Long Now Foundation, wanted to create a tribute to thinking about the future. Founded by computer scientist Danny Hillis and Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, the group boasts famous members like musician Brian Eno and numerous Silicon Valley heavyweights. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is putting up the $42 million necessary to complete the project, writing that “it's a special Clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking."

Measuring 500 feet tall when it's completed, the clock will run on thermal power and synchronize each day at solar noon. Every day, a “chime generator” will come up with a different sequence of rings, never repeating a sequence day to day. On specific anniversaries—one year, 10 years, 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years—it will animate a mechanical system within one of five rooms carved into the mountain. On the first anniversary, for instance, the clock will animate an orrery, a model of the solar system. Since they don’t expect to be alive for many of the future anniversaries, the clock’s creators won't determine animations for 100, 1000, or 10,000 years—that'll be left up to future generations. (To give you an idea of just how far away 10,000 years is, in 8000 B.C.E., humans had just started to domesticate cows for the first time.)

Though you can sign up to be notified when the clock is finished, it won’t be easy to see it up close. The nearest airport is several hours’ drive away, and the mountain is 2000 feet above the valley floor. So you may have to be content with seeing it virtually in the video below.

Clock of the Long Now - Installation Begins from The Long Now Foundation on Vimeo.

[h/t CNET]

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Tynker
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Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons
Tynker
Tynker

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker

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