Power Brick battery charges phones, clicks with Lego pieces

The trend in external battery packs for charging smartphones and other small devices is to make them smaller and more compact. The Coi+ Power Brick doesn't care about being tiny. It cares about being bumpy -- bumpy enough to offer a base for building Lego creations on top.

The 4,200 mAh power pack comes with four slanted official Lego bricks that can be attached to turn the device into a stand for your phone. Chances are, if you're interested in buying this, you already have a Lego stash of your own to add onto it. You could build a little throne and set your iPhone in it, or turn it into a landing pad for your "Star Wars" Lego ships.… Read more

New York AG to cellular carriers: Why was antitheft switch killed?

Way back when, street smarts meant keeping an eye out, being aware of your surroundings, and not walking on sketchy looking streets at night. While these safeguards still work, there's now a new precaution to add to the list: don't take out your cell phone in public, even during the day.

Smartphone robberies have sharply risen in the US over the last couple of years and crime reports show the statistics look to get even worse. That's why several lawmakers around the country have come together in the Secure Our Smartphone initiative to urge phone makers to … Read more

Mechanized Lego Joker's funhouse goes into insane detail

Where there is Batman, you'll find the Joker. Yin to Batman's Yang, chaos to his order. And for every dark and brooding Batcave, the Joker has his own base of operations -- usually an abandoned funhouse, made deadly according to the Joker's particular brand of macabre humor.

For last year's BrickCon, Carlyle Livingston II and Wayne Hussey built a massive 20,000-piece Lego Batcave. This year, a Vancouver Lego artist by the name of Paul Hetherington upped the ante -- with an even bigger three-level, 30,000-piece Batman and Robin Joker's Funhouse (labeled Gotham Park and seemingly inspired by Luna Park in Sydney, Australia). It even has mechanized moving parts. … Read more

From Romeo to JFK -- in Legos

You've seen the picture a thousand times. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, sit in the back of the limousine. It's the final moments of JFK's life, as seconds later, the president would be gunned down. But you've never seen it like this before -- made entirely out of Legos.

That scene, and others from the assassination attempts on the lives of 12 American presidents, are featured in "Assassination!" in which Brendan Powell Smith tells the stories of every significant attack on a US president, including the killings of Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, … Read more

Giant Lego snow globe contains London skyline

It's always snowing on the London skyline when you're looking at the giant Lego snow globe recently installed in Covent Garden in London. The globe is the creation of Bright Brick's Duncan Titmarsh, the first Lego-certified professional in the UK.

The globe contains detailed toy-brick re-creations of 14 famous London landmarks, including Big Ben, the London Eye, and the colorful egg-shaped Gherkin. It took 125,000 bricks and 75 days to put the massive display together.… Read more

Working BMO made out of Lego and Raspberry Pi

So a teeny-tiny working Mac is pretty cool. And who wouldn't want a 3D-printed portable NES? But a model of the BMO from "Adventure Time," made out of Lego and housing a fully functional Linux-based Raspberry Pi computer? Oh, be still our beating hearts.

Software developer Michael Thomas created this wonder for BrickCon 2013.

"I came up with the idea a few months ago," he told CNET Australia. "I had purchased a Raspberry Pi and was trying to come up with interesting unique projects to make use of it. Being a fan of Lego, I'm also always looking for creative Lego builds to take on. I had seen some other Raspberry Pi Lego cases, and I knew the two fit well together.… Read more

Superhot: In this FPS, time only moves when you move

As independent gaming development grows, so too are we seeing the proliferation of game jams where developers are tasked with designing a game in a short time. Last month saw 7DFPS, a game jam where the only requirement was to create a first-person shooter within seven days.

Now, we've seen some pretty cool games come out of these jams. Some have gone on to become hugely popular -- and one of those is currently in the making. Called Superhot and created by Polish studio Blue Brick, it brings something wickedly fresh and new to the arguably predictable FPS. … Read more

The 404 1,341: Where we're ready for the build-a-phone revolution (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Yes, a DJ school for babies is happening in Brooklyn.

- 4-year-old producer makes his own beat.

- "The Brick" takes mobile phones back to the 1980s.

- Phonebloks: A utopian world where smartphones are a bit more like Lego Mobile.

- AT&T apologizes, removes 9/11 tweet that offended many.

- Another 1.8 million people just ditched cable TV.… Read more

The Brick takes mobile phones back to the '80s

Sure, you could gain hipster cachet with a snazzy new iPhone, but nothing screams "before it was cool" louder than a massive brick of a phone that doesn't even fit in your handbag, never mind a pocket. Cue Binatone's The Brick -- a mobile phone that seems to have been beamed to us from the 1980s.

Remember the Motorola DynaTAC series of phones, or the Motorola International 3200 from 1991? In terms of both size and specs, that's more or less what you're looking at. … Read more

Can e-tailer Zappos demolish the brick-and-mortar model?

In April, Will Young led a group of his fellow Zappos employees on a trip to the nearby Westfield Mall in downtown San Francisco for an afternoon of people watching.

It was more than a social outing. Young, the director of Zappos Labs, has been busy trying to figure out ways to lure more shoppers away from brick-and-mortar stores and into the realm of e-commerce. Though online retail has seen incredible growth in recent years, it accounts for only a small piece of the retail pie. Young wants to change that.

So, visiting the mall and other shopping destinations in … Read more