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QR Codes

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Last week we announced that we're giving away a BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA in NYC through a special QR code hunt a week from today. But what on earth is a QR code? Well, if you've ever been to Japan, you probably already know, because they're very popular over there already in billboard ads and magazines. This should come as no surprise seeing as QR codes are used in conjunction with mobile phones and the Japanese have had cameras on their cell phones since like 1928 (!)

Also, QR codes were invented by the Japanese to track car vehicle parts way back in 1994, so it's no wonder they're ubiquitous there already. Here in the States, however, they're just beginning to catch on a little bit. QR stands for quick response—as in, you scan the code with your phone's camera and you're immediately taken to whatever the code has be programmed to do. The code might send you an SMS, it might take you to a Web page, it might trigger a video or even have your phone call a phone number.

Recently, we got a Target catalog in the mail with a bunch of QR codes next to some of the toys. When you scan one, you get a video commercial showing you what the toy could do. Likewise, New York Times tech writer Nick Bilton's new book, I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works. uses QR codes in conjunction with video. Each chapter has a QR code at the top of it and when you scan them, some take you to YouTube videos of Nick talking about the chapter. You get to meet the author through the video and even interact with him through the YouTube vid comments.

Many Nokia phones are now coming with scanners and code readers built into them. Then there are all the wonderful free apps available for download to iPhones and Androids and the like. My favorites include ScanLife, RedLaser and Mobiletag. If you get a little high off of scanning groceries at those automated check-out lanes, you'll really love using QR codes. For more, check out the Rocketboom video below.

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Cinera
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technology
This VR Headset Promises a Movie-Viewing Experience That Rivals Theaters
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Cinera

Movies in 2017 are typically viewed one of two ways: on a big screen in the theater or from the comfort of your home. A new VR headset called Cinera claims to combine the best of both experiences. As Mashable reports, the device, currently seeking support on Kickstarter, lets viewers enjoy theater-quality home entertainment without so much as lifting their heads, let alone a finger.

Unlike other VR headsets on the market, Cinera is designed primarily for watching movies and TV shows rather than playing video games. Inside there are two screens—one for each eye—which create a 3D, IMAX-like effect. According to the product’s Kickstarter page, the picture resolution is eight times that of an iPhone and three times that of a professional theater screen. And because Cinera is all about enjoying theater-quality media in the comfort of a home setting, it includes one vital feature most VR headsets don’t have: an adjustable arm that holds up the hardware so your head doesn’t have to.

With less than a week to go in the campaign, Cinera has already surpassed its $50,000 funding goal at least five times over. Cinephiles looking for a different type of VR experience can reserve their headset for a pledge of $450 with shipments set to go out in November.

[h/t Mashable]

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Reactions, Youtube
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science
Here's Why Your Phone Battery Can Explode
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Reactions, Youtube

When you hear about exploding batteries, what comes to mind? If you're like most, you think of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the disastrous Samsung device that was recalled last October (and subsequently banned from airlines) after a string of reports indicated it was catching fire.

While Samsung might be the latest—and certainly, most public—example, it is far from the first. This phenomenon in which a battery spontaneously explodes is called thermal runaway, and it has been plaguing the consumer market for as long as lithium-ion batteries have been around.

There are a few reasons for thermal runaway: overcharging, overheating, physical damage, and, as is often the case, faulty manufacturing. (The Samsung Galaxy explosions were caused by overheating and faulty manufacturing by two separate battery suppliers.)

So, one lithium-ion battery factory explosion and several third-degree burn victims later, why haven't we figured out a safer way to engineer these smart devices? Well, in short: A solution is well underway. A group of researchers are currently troubleshooting a battery they believe to be noncombustible, longer-lasting, and capable of holding three times more energy.

To learn more on the chemistry behind this phenomenon, watch the video below from Reactions:

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