As the title of this blog suggests, I’m an Apple aficionado; particularly their mobile devices. I do stray into the OSX world from time to time here, but I like to think I keep my focus for the most part. Every once in a while my fascination with all things creative and clever overcomes me. This is a prime example of one of those times.
Living in Florida has afforded me a great deal of exposure to the outdoors. From my early childhood family outings and my time in the Boy Scouts I’ve enjoyed what the state has had to offer. Sometimes you don’t truly appreciate what you have until it’s no longer within reach; my career and the constant march of urbanization has taken many of the places I have fond memories of and what little time I have to visit the ones that still exist. Some of my best memories are of the yearly week-long camping trip the Scout troop would take every summer. They alternated from trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains for a 50+ mile hike to extended canoe and rafting trips down the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers here in Florida. Those long boating trips were fantastic; for those of you that have never had the opportunity to go canoeing it is far more enjoyable that I could convey in words. The peacefulness and serenity of being away from civilization is synergistically magnified by the time spent on the water. I’ve been unable to do even a day trip in one of our many local bodies of water due to the lack of vessel (or a means to transport it); there aren’t many suitable canoes out there that can easily be transported by Mini Cooper, even the convertible version.
That is, until now. An unexpected marriage of two of my fascinations- clever technology and Kickstarter- made its way to my inbox. The Oru Kayak is an origami-inspired answer to those love boating but lack the ability to transport one (or the storage space to keep it). The undeployed craft looks like a large art portfolio or giant-sized messenger bag, complete with shoulder strap. According to the developers it can be unfolded, frame placed, and be water-ready in just five minutes. The 12 foot long craft looks amazing- just take a look at their product demo:
Not surprisingly, the campaign has shattered its finance goal with weeks to spare. According to the site the manufacturers are already accepting preorders (although Kickstarter backers will get free US shipping and a discounted price).
It makes me happy to see so many worthy ideas brought to market via Kickstarter that may not have made it to production otherwise- a triumph for both innovation and technology. While it may deviate far outside the realm of what I had envisioned when I started writing, creativity of this sort needs to be shared.
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There isn’t a tremendous amount of open source software written for the Mac that I’m immediately aware of, but I do love the concept of it. For the uninitiated, open source refers to users having free and ready access to the source code of software, and the right to alter it to whatever purpose they choose provided that they continue to provide the same access to their modified version. The movement was spawned in reaction to budding copyright and control issues that early technology aficionados saw hampering the development of software. The open source movement led to a burgeoning underground community that has produced some amazing software (my personal favorite being VLC, a simple but powerful media player that can handle just about any format you throw at it). The crown jewel of open source has arguably been Linux in all its vast flavors. Once the tool of uber geeks, Linux has matured to the point that it’s possible for novice users to rely on it as their primary operating system. From Ubuntu to Red Hat, there’s a version of Linux out there that has been tailored to fit what you need of an operating system.
Now the concept of open source has been taken to its logical conclusion in a recent post by the knowledgeable anthonyvenable110. The practice of providing access to the inner workings of software has been transferred to something near and dear to my heart- soda. Yes, I’m a self admitted carbonation junkie, and OpenCola has opened new doors to my addiction. Unlike Coca Cola‘s secret formula, OpenCola provides instructions and ingredients so that end users may freely change it to tailor their tastes and needs (provided they observe the guidelines of the GNU Public License and allow others to do the same) , fully embracing the spirit of the open source movement. Now if I could only get Guinness to open source their brewery…
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Mac Life announced a huge sale going on now at my favorite game source, Steam. For the uninitiated, Steam is essentially an iTunes for gaming- the free downloadable client acts as a multi-OS store (even supporting Linux), library, and social platform with other gaming enthusiasts. Whether you’re a hard core gamer or just an occasional casual game player, they have something to suit your tastes.
The current sale has some fantastic offerings: Valve‘s Orange Box collection has been marked down to just $9.99. This includes Half Life 2, all following episodes, and Portal- some of the best First Person games ever made. Other favorites like Psychonauts, Portal 2, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas have been marked down to ridiculously low prices. If you haven’t enjoyed some of these classics now is the time!
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