Bus-ted! Coach driver fired for using iPad at 60 mph

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Talk all you want about the declining market share of the iPad, but some people are still willing to risk their life over Apple’s breakthrough tablet device.

One such person is Irish coach driver Sean Purcell, who recently lost his job after CCTV showed him driving his coach with his elbows at more than 60 miles per hour so that he could operate his iPad.

Now that’s a true Apple fan. Wait, what?

CCTV cameras on Purcell’s Aircoach showed him first taking his hands off the steering wheel to reach for his iPad, and then continuing to drive either one-handed, or using his elbow, so that he could play on it.

He was fired over the incident, but later tried to argue it was an unfair dismissal — only to have that objection overruled by an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) hearing.

Purcell had argued that there should have been no problem with him using the iPad because “it was not a mobile phone he was using.” We guess he hadn’t heard about drivers being ticketed for using next-gen technology like Google Glass while on the road.

In the end it was ruled that Purcell was, “not fully concentrating on the road in front of him, which constituted a serious breach of health and safety procedures and endangered other road users.”

Fortunately, his coach was empty at the time of the iPad incident, but that doesn’t excuse dangerous driving.

NBC will let iOS users stream the Super Bowl with no cable account.

NFL Super Bowl

If you have an iOS device you’re going to be treated to a full day of Super Bowl XLIX coverage thanks to NBC’s new streaming promotion it’s appropriately calling “Super Stream Sunday.” NBC announced the plans today, which include the full live stream of the NFL’s season finale along with pre-game coverage that will start at noon EST on Sunday, February 1st and finally wrap up some 11 hours later.

All the content will be streamed via the NBC Sports Live Extra app, which has had a bit of a rough go on the App Store since its debut back in 2012. The app holds an overall App Store rating of just two stars with over 20,000 ratings. Most reviewers have taken issue with spotty compatibility on various devices and issues with the ability to log in under certain cable providers. Thankfully, the Super Stream Sunday content will not require you to have a cable provider account, so it’s a total free-for-all.

Withings Home brings HD webcam, air quality monitor to the connected home.

Withings Home

Withings is a fascinating company. They started out quietly a few years back, selling one of the first Wi-Fi connected bathroom scales and then added a growing family of “connected self” devices including the Withings Pulse Ox activity monitor, the Aura Smart Sleep System, a wireless blood pressure cuff, and more. Now the company is beginning to ship items for the connected home with the arrival of Withings Home (US$199.95), a home monitoring camera with the added benefit of air quality monitoring.

We hope to review Withings Home soon, but here’s a taste of what the device provides. First, it packs a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor that can capture up to 30 frame per second 1080p video. Next, it shoots that video with a 135° wide angle lens for a super wide field of view, and offers automatic de-warping so your views of home don’t look like a bad special effect.

Like my current favorite webcam, the Dropcam Pro, Withings Home offers an electronic PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) function. Rather than having a rotating and tilting robotic base, a tap on the Withings Home app screen lets you zoom in and receive an enhanced image showing details.

The Withings Home app (free) for iPhone and iPad displays still images that are snapped based on noise or movement triggers. A Home Diary feature provides a continuous timeline of what’s gone on at home, and you can get a time-lapse rerun of the past 12 hours of action in your home. Withings also plans to offer a cloud recording service in the near future.

The extra added Withings Home feature that’s really quite impressive is its built-in ability to track past and current levels of VOC (volatile organic compounds) in your home. VOCs are emitted by cleaning products and pressed-wood furniture, to name a few sources, and can be quite harmful. The base of Withings Home will glow red if VOC levels reach unhealthy levels so that you can open a window or door to get some fresh air.

Look at this tiny iOS keyboard, just look at it.

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iOS-compatible Bluetooth keyboards are a dime a dozen these days, and it’s hard to get excited about any kind of new typing accessory when so many of them look like direct clones of each other. The TextBlade is — as its creator WayTools describes — “an entirely new class of touch-typing device.” It’s hard to argue with that.

The TextBlade is a tiny, fold-out, full-sized set of QWERTY keys that have full travel and mimic the mechanical feel of a desktop keyboard. The keys themselves are arranged on a pair of bars that magnetically connect to each other and the space bar section that doubles as the battery. WayTools claims a one-month battery life on a full charge and a quick-charge feature that offers three days of battery life with a charge of less than 10 minutes.

The TextBlade is so far removed from anything I’ve seen before that at first I assumed it had to be a concept that was nowhere near a retail debut, but it’s apparently available for order right now for delivery by March. We’ll be attempting to get our hands on one ASAP for a review, so stay tuned.

Twelve South loves you and is giving you a Christmas present.

Twelve South Dual-Screen Wallpaper Collection, photos by Scott Gordon
Those of you who have dual-screen setups for your Macs are going to love the nice Christmas gift that accessory manufacturer Twelve South is sending your way. The company has partnered with San Francisco photographer Scott Gordon to create sets of dual-screen backgrounds that you can download and install for free.

According to Twelve South Creative Director and Co-founder Andrew Green,

“I’ve always enjoyed the dual-screen experience with my Macs, and the best way to make the most of that setup is with gorgeous dual-screen backgrounds. In the spirit of the holiday season, we’ve partnered with San Francisco photographer Scott Gordon to share a stunning set of dual-screen backgrounds with you. Happy Holidays from everyone at Twelve South.”

The collection of backgrounds is titled “Collection 1: Fall in San Francisco”, which seems to be a subtle hint that there will be future collections coming from Gordon and Twelve South. Visiting the page for the collection, you have your choice of four different wallpaper duos — Golden Gate, Nightscape, Cloudveil, and Soma — all of which come in a variety of sizes and resolutions.

Frankly, this is tempting me to get a 27-inch iMac with Retina display to sit next to my “old” 27-inch iMac so I can get a stunning set of San Francisco images… Many thanks to Andrew Green, Twelve South, and Scott Gordon for this fun and useful gift.

Tim Cook is CNN Moneys CEO of the Year for 2014.

Apple
CNN Money has named Apple’s Tim Cook as the best CEO of 2014. Citing a rise in the value of the company’s stock by 40 percent during the year, a share price near an all-time high, and very successful launches of both the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Apple Pay, Cook beat out BlackBerry’s John Chen, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and GM’s Mary Barra – among others – for the prestigious spot on the list.

The site had this to say about Cook:

Cook has arguably the toughest CEO job in America. He’s had to convince skeptics that Apple can still innovate after the death of Steve Jobs. He’s proven all the naysayers wrong.

Cook was also recently lauded by the Financial Times as “Person of the Year”, praising him for leading the company through the release of Apple Pay and the impending launch of Apple Watch, as well as for putting principles (renewable energy, human rights, and accessibility to name a few) before profits.

Apple Store ‘die-in’ sends message to ‘capitalist America’ about police violence.

Protesters upset with the Eric Garner grand jury decision descend upon the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Photo: MSNBC

Protesters streamed into an Apple Store in New York City on Friday to stage a “die-in” and call attention to a man who died at the hands of a police officer.

The peaceful Apple Store invasion came on the third night of protests after a grand jury failed to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who was stopped on the street for selling cigarettes. Garner, who was asthmatic, died after Officer Daniel Pantaleo applied an apparent choke-hold.

The dying man’s cries of “I can’t breathe” have become watch words of a growing protest movement to address perceived injustices when black men encounter white police.

Inside the store, protesters — some carrying selfie sticks, bullhorns and coffee cups — chanted slogans and sprawled out on the floor to feign death. Many posted photos of the protest on Twitter.

Brooklyn protester Zandir Santos, 30, said Apple was targeted along with other high-profile stores to send a message to corporate America.

“The CEO of Apple knows we shut his store down — that means capitalist America is going to take us seriously,” he told USA Today. “We are going to shake up your business and we want to hit you where it hurts.”

Aside from the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, protesters on Friday also hit Macy’s Herald Square store (just as they did on Black Friday to call attention to a similar grand jury ruling in Ferguson, Missouri).

At the Apple Store, protester Chernell Brown laid on the floor in to call attention to the Ferguson case, in which Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was shot to death by a police officer after resisting arrest.

“This is our house,” said Chernell Brown, according to USA Today. “No more business as usual. Revolution is not comfortable.”

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