Crowdfunding Spotlight: IBOX

Crowdfunding Spotlight: IBOX

Mar 12, 2014

Given their rather simple construction and it is still a developing market, single board computers are a popular item on crowdfunding websites these days. Single board computers are devices such as the Apple TV, Raspberry Pi, or, technically, even the Chromecast. Unfortunately, many of these projects are simply underpowered, cheap money grab attempts, and there are very few innovative ideas; which is partly responsible for the small number of established names in this field.

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight shines on an established idea with a creative twist. Enter the IBOX, a single board computer that is powerful, stylish, and comes with a 32-pin multi-function expansion interface. That last item might not seem like a big deal, but for the more tech savvy this is something that is incredibly useful. With the help of a breadboard and some minor soldering now this tiny micro-PC can display all sorts of laboratory instruments or other technology accessories.

The IBOX is comparable with many Arduino cores which add to it’s versatility, and the possibilities of it’s use are endless. It is also a legitimate desktop entertainment box with the included HDMI out and the IndieGoGo webpage has links to different operating systems depending on it’s use. There are two kinds of Android listed as well as a lightweight version of Linux. On the front of the box is an IR sensor which will make the box compatible with remotes, and the SD expansion slot ensures that the movies will never stop coming.

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In terms of being a straight up computer, the specs may seem slight, but the dual-core processor and 1GB RAM will be enough to power the lightweight Linux through single-application processes. This is especially useful for possibly an educational setting where just a few small apps are being used, and for the basement tinkerer the IBOX has the possibility of becoming a vital, cheap tool.

Speaking of the cost the IBOX was debuting with products shipped at donations as low as $50, but that has climbed up to $70 with what I would guess as a final retail price somewhere below $100. This puts it more expensive than it’s closest rival, the Raspberry Pi, but it is close enough where it’s aesthetic and performance advantages could be enough to persuade potential buyers.

KickStarter Spotlight: ScanBox

KickStarter Spotlight: ScanBox

May 9, 2012

Scanners are annoying. They’re loud, slow, and take up an inordinate amount of desk space. Plus, there are driver updates and proprietary software to deal with. Most of my experiences when scanning has just been used informally to send a document or a sheet of notes over to another individual. These scans do not have to be professional quality, and speed is really an important factor. Also, if I am on the road or away from my desk, emailing a document is impossible. Well Australian designer David Evans has come up with an unique solution that for some people might totally replace their scanner at home called ScanBox. David’s design is an incredibly simple trapezoidal box with a base that is just big enough for a normal 8.5″x11″ piece of paper. Placing a smartphone on top and centering the camera onto the small slot allows for a steady, high quality look at the paper below. This is obviously for people who have higher resolution cameras and probably will not work for night owls with poor light.

For those who need to send multiple documents a day and need them to be of the highest quality, then ScanBox is probably not a good fit. However, most of us are just looking for a quick way to share that page of notes or a photograph with a friend, in which case ScanBox works great. ScanBox also allows for “scanning” of 3-D objects which is obviously something normal scanners cannot do. No more waiting for a computer to open the scanner software and load the attachment, everything is done instantly with any smartphone. Sending image files is not ideal, I understand. That is why there is a corresponding app, already on the Play Store, called CamScanner which takes those scans and automatically converts them to .PDF form. Also, this app allows for multiple page scanning, advanced image processing, upload to cloud storage, and much more. So ditch that scanner and help David Evans change the way people send documents forever, and like all KickStarter projects, ScanBox cannot become a reality without your help.

Theme Thursday: Color Box EX

Theme Thursday: Color Box EX

Mar 22, 2012

After a few weeks of ADW Launcher, I have finally switched back to a theme from, in my opinion, the superior GO Launcher named Color Box EX. The last few themes have revolved around darker themes that didn’t involve much color but Color Box EX, as its name implies, breaks that mold. As stated in previous posts, consistency and continuity are one of the biggest factors of a great theme.

The best themes are those that smoothly blend unsupported app icons in with the custom themed icons. Color Box EX does this better then any theme that I have reviewed so far. The colorful icons are a treat and fit nicely in with the chosen background. Color Box EX places existing and unsupported icons into randomly colored tiles that blend in perfectly with the default embossed ones. This turns the app drawer into a veritable bag of Skittles as opposed to the usual mindless crawl of mismatched icons. Going along with the colorful layout is the simple yet brilliant multi colored bar along the bottom of the screen below the dock. This neat accent plays perfectly off of the dark, textured background that comes default with the theme, and the candy colored icons really pop when placed against this great wallpaper.

Contrasting again to the bright, boxy containers are the app drawer and home screen icons. These wire-framed, glowing blue logos stick out and note the difference and importance of the command they represent. The 2 dollar price tag does not bother me at all because it is obvious looking at Color Box EX that a lot of personal care was put into this theme and I was really impressed with it from the moment it started running. The great play between the dark, textile background and the bold colorful icons combined with the perfect continuity throughout make this a theme that is well worth checking out for those with GO Launcher.

Box Gives 50 GB of Storage to Android Users

Box Gives 50 GB of Storage to Android Users

Feb 28, 2012

Think that Dropbox’s space limitations are too limiting? Then Android owners will especially love Box. This cloud storage service offers a killer feature for users who sign up through the Android app: 50GB of lifetime storage for the low, low price of free. Files can be shared through Android’s built-in sharing services. Note that unlike Dropbox, there does not appear to be a free desktop synchronization app, so that space does come at a price, although files are easily available via the web as well. Apps can integrate with Box, such as File Expert, which can log in to Box accounts and access files from there. Unlike iOS, Box integration in apps is less of a potential issue because of Android’s built-in sharing features.

As well, Box is running a contest for businesses to give away twenty Samsung Galaxy Tabs and twenty Enterprise subscriptions to Box. Submissions are due by March 8th. The Box app is available for free from the Android Market.