Gadgets: The Infinitely Geared Bike

Popular Science selected the infinitely geared bike as the "Best of What's New" in recreation for 2007. It's called The Ride by Ellsworth Bikes. Instead of 21 discrete gears, this bike has ball bearings that control two discs, at different angles to smoothly move through a range of gear ratios. You control the gears by twisting the handlebar. It's an idea based on a 1450 Leonardo Da Vinci sketch, so they call the gear system NuVinci. See it in action in this explanatory video. A fact sheet is available in .pdf form.

OK, I'm impressed. But to get a better view, I asked a serious cyclist.

These things are perfect for the casual cyclist. They are sealed up, so they don't get dirty no matter what the weather. They don't need to be adjusted and are virtually maintenance free. You don't need to worry about gear ratios and which chainrings to use in what combination. You can just get on and pedal. That's why this is really ideal for "casual or commuter" cyclists. And as I said, internal hubs have special advantages for recumbents and trikes.

He went on to explain that for a serious cyclists, there are a couple of drawbacks. The gearshift assembly weighs nine pounds by itself, adding a lot of weight to a bike that would be carried a lot. Also, hardcore cyclists like to change out freewheels and gears, which is not feasible with the NuVinci system. But even these cyclists are impressed with the technology. Future advances in the NuVinci system may allow for toters and tinkerers, and the price of The Ride (or other infinite gear models) may eventually come down from the current $2,995.00.

Many thanks to PAgent for assistance in this article.

Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

Live Smarter
The Easy Trick That Will Help You Organize Your iPhone Apps Faster

With millions of apps to choose from, your smartphone’s home screen might get a little cluttered from time to time. Holding and dragging apps one by one to organize them can seem like more of a chore than it’s worth, but fortunately, there’s an easier way to do it.

As spotted by Finer Tech, iOS 11 lets you lump multiple apps together to move at the same time. With one hand, tap and hold an app until it enters “jiggle mode” and move it away from its current location. With your other hand (or other finger, if you're particularly coordinated), tap the apps you’d like to move with it, and they’ll instantly be grouped together.

If you're hoping to trick yourself into using your social media apps less by moving them all to page three (as some experts recommend), this hack will save you a few minutes of dragging and dropping.

This video provides a handy demonstration of how it’s done:

While you’re at it, you might as well uninstall any apps you haven’t touched since you downloaded them, as they can be a drain on both memory and battery.

[h/t Lifehacker]


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