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Your new disease, America: Compulsive gadget-hoarding

If we can't unearth a new illness, syndrome, or phobia at least once a month, we are not America.

I am delighted, therefore, that by merely keeping my eyes open I can bring news of the latest.

Americans are suffering in hordes from compulsive gadget-hoarding.

I hope that, by merely writing that sentence, I can confront you with something that you know is true.

I hope that you can look your friends in the eye at your next social event and declare: "Hullo, I'm Claudia. And I'm a compulsive gadget-hoarder."… Read more

Crave Ep. 151: Neil Young's Pono dreams soon to come true

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Neil Young's PonoMusic service blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal in one day. Are FLAC files the next wave in music? We also hear some jams from a cyborg drummer on Earth, and wake up to the sweet smells and sounds of the Bacon Alarm. Read more

The Food Cycler: Home is a compost heap for your kitchen counter

Promising to reduce your carbon footprint at the touch of a button, Food Cycle Science announced its first in-home composter this week, the Food Cycler: Home. With an approximate size of 1 cubic foot and claims of an odorless drying process that takes just 3 hours, the Food Cycler is designed to be a convenient alternative to traditional composting methods.

Of course, that level of convenience doesn't come without a cost. In the case of the Food Cycler: Home, that cost is an MSRP of $499, though Food Cycle Science says that the device will actually sell for $399 … Read more

At Christmas, a gadget is all some people have

We eat. We drink. We are merry.

We are enveloped in those we love, even if they don't always love us.

We pull out our phones to record the events. This is a special time. We are all together.

But at Christmas, not everyone experiences togetherness. Not everyone can turn to someone next to them and tell them a story, a feeling or a memory. Not everyone can wave their iPhone around the room, in an attempt to preserve the moment.

There are people who will spend Christmas alone.

While we, especially in these pages, debate the merits of … Read more

Crave Ep. 150: Will dogs speak human in 2014?

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Strap your dog's mind-reading headgear on. It's the last Crave show of 2013 and we're predicting that in 2014 dogs will be talking. No More Woof uses a Raspberry Pi computer to turn your dog's thoughts into audible phrases. The European Space Agency launched a satellite carrying a 1-billion pixel camera that will 3D-map the Milky Way, and a Romanian man has built a full-size drivable car out of 500,000 Legos. Better buckle up, because 2014 will be here much faster than the Lego car can drive. Read more

Crave Ep. 149: Is that a drum in your pants or...?

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This week on Crave, we're staking out Santa with the Santa Stakeout Kit from OpticsPlanet. We try to say a tongue twister that MIT researchers say is the trickiest of all time. And now you can play your pants like an instrument with DrumPants! Yep, it's an orchestra in your pants. All that and more on this week's Crave show. Read more

Crave Ep. 148: App turns you into the dog whisperer

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This week on Crave, we take a look at a robotic guitar tuner that tunes your guitar for you. We also learn how to remote-control dogs from 100 feet away with an iPhone app, and Captain Picard sings us a geeky Christmas carol. All that and more on this week's Crave show. Read more

FCC considers lifting cell phone ban on planes

The Federal Communications Commission is considering green-lighting the use of cellphones and mobile broadband services on airplanes above 10,000 feet.

The agency, which has restricted the use of cellular devices for making phone calls or surfing the Web in-flight, is circulating a proposed rulemaking among its commissioners. The agency will introduce the item at its December open meeting, and will then allow for public comment on the proposal.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday that it's important for the FCC to keep up with changing technology.

"Modern technologies can deliver mobile services in the air safely and … Read more

RoboJase the robot comedian: Wired for wit

Working as a stand-up comedian isn't an easy gig. Night after night, you bare your soul in front of a microphone, hoping for nothing more than a room full of people laughing at your jokes. You refine your material, research the latest news headlines, and even make a few props to get applause and a paltry paycheck. And now, you have to compete with a robot.

Meet RoboJase, an artificially intelligent android modeled after Jason Bradbury, host of "The Gadget Show" in the UK.

"The idea for RoboJase came about when North One TV, makers of 'The Gadget Show,' tasked us with replacing ourselves with artificial intelligence," Bradbury told The Guardian. … Read more

The many faces of multipurpose gadgets, part 2

Why wear a plain old dress when you can don one that flies? Or that same old, same old sweater that just sits there being a sweater when you can opt for one that turns you into a game controller or TV remote?

In part two of our series on multipurpose gadgets, we take a look at still more products that do double or even triple duty for the price of one. From a mouse that doubles as a portable speaker and triples as a speakerphone to false eyelashes that also control gadgets, these creations take versatility very, very seriously. … Read more