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NORAD Tracks Santa

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The Gadget Report will take a little detour today, since it's Christmas Eve and any gadget gift should have been purchased by now. So let's take a look at what technology has done for Christmas!

NORAD1.jpgNORAD has been monitoring the skies in defense of the continent. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (I know, but NAADC is not as easy to pronounce) is under the command of both the US president and the Canadian prime minister. Every Christmas Eve, they take on a very special mission as they track Santa in his sleigh and provide backup defense if it should ever be needed. Here's how that started, according to Wikipedia:

In 1955, a Colorado Springs-based Sears store ran an advertisement encouraging children to call Santa Claus on a special telephone hotline. Due to a printing error, the phone number that was printed was the hotline for the Director of Operations at the Continental Air Defense (CONAD). Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call on Christmas Eve of 1955 from a six-year old boy who began reciting his Christmas list. Shoup didn't find the call funny, but after asking the mother of the second caller what was happening, then realizing the mistake that occurred, he instructed his staff to give Santa's position to any child who called in.

When NORAD was organized in 1958, the phone tracking service continued. For years, NORAD has made their communications on this event available for radio broadcast, and added an internet feature in 1997. Tracking has already begun at the NORAD Tracks Santa site.

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Spéciale
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Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
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Spéciale

Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

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Retro Games Limited
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The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
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Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]

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