All posts in “Tech News”

Bathe in Elon Musk’s musk courtesy of this creepy air freshener

What does a dream smell like? The promise of distant worlds? A hairline that defies time and space? Or, perhaps, something more terrestrial — a magical underground tunnel, whisking you away to destinations heretofore only envisioned one sunny afternoon daydream? 

And, if you could ever pin that most elusive of scents down, package, and sell it, how much would it cost? Thankfully, we need wonder no more, as a group of enterprising individuals is now offering an Elon Musk-based air freshener for the very attainable price of $6.90. 

Dubbed, yes, Elon’s Musk, the product bills itself as “the perfect gift for any Tesla fan,” and is sure to turn a few unscented heads. 

“The original Elon’s Musk air freshener, with our own specially designed musk scent,” intones the site’s ad copy, as if channeling some Musk fanboy Siren call. “High notes of Tesla leather, and low notes of rocket fuel.”

Leather and rocket fuel. Say it with me. Leather and rocket fuel

But how did these visionaries arrive at this exact blend of manliness and daring do? Did they, possibly late one night, swab the unsuspecting billionaire are he distractingly gazed skyward? Or maybe they took a different approach, somehow reverse engineering the scent from the mogul’s tweets?

Image: elon’s musk

The answer, it turns out, is much more prosaic: they guessed. 

“We’ve never actually smelt him, but we imagine it’s something like this air freshener,” reads the company’s FAQ page. “We genuinely put a lot of time into this. It’s the closest thing to Musk we could imagine.”

And while Musk diehards may be disappointed that this product is not the result of rigorous, science-based tests (and subsequent failures), we are not bothered in the slightest. Because smells, like dreams, are ephemeral — the harder you try to hold on, the more they slip away. 

But hey, I guess that’s why Elon’s Musk is available in packs of three. 

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Apple is already being sued over one of the iPhone X’s features

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, announces features of the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus in Cupertino, California on Sep. 12, 2017.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, announces features of the new iPhone X at the Steve Jobs Theater on the new Apple campus in Cupertino, California on Sep. 12, 2017.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

The iPhone X isn’t even out yet and Apple is already being sued over one of its biggest features.

A developer is suing Apple for copyright infringement, alleging that Apple stole the “Animoji” name from the developer’s app of the same name.

“This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement,” reads the complaint, which was flied in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday.

The Animoji app, which has been in the App Store since 2014, allows people to send animated texts to friends via iMessage and other messaging apps. In the suit, Emonster kk, the Japanese company behind the app, alleges that Apple was fully aware of its app and the name, which is trademarked.

Apple declined to comment, but the lawsuit describes a pretty aggressive fight over the trademark.

Emonster kk says Apple began trying to buy its trademark in the summer of 2017. That’s when, according to the suit, Animoji’s creator Enrique Bonansea was approached by a series of companies with names like “The Emoji Law Group” who tried to buy the trademark and “threatened to file a cancellation proceeding if Bonansea did not sell the mark.”

Bonansea believes that Apple was really behind these groups. A day before Apple’s iPhone X event, one of these groups filed a cancellation request with the U.S. Patent Office.

Interestingly, Apple’s use of the “Animoji” name may have ended up helping the app — at least in the short term. The app, which has only seen about 10,000 downloads overall, saw a sizable bump in downloads in September around the time of Apple’s iPhone event, according to data from Sensor Tower. The increased downloads were likely the result of people searching for Animoji following Apple’s keynote.

Still, the company says its business has suffered since Apple’s launch — both because its app is no longer the top search result for “Animoji,” and because they’re now having to rush out their next update.

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Nokia’s retro 3310 3G is coming to the US for $60 on October 29th

The 3G version of Nokia’s resurrected 3310 was announced in September as theoretically working in the US, unlike the 2G version released earlier this year. But at the time HMD Global, which owns the rights to Nokia phones, didn’t say when (or even if) the 3310 3G would be coming to the US.

Now, we know the answer to both of those questions: the phone is available for preorder starting today at Best Buy for $59.99, with the phone set to release on October 29th. If you’re thinking about picking one up, be aware that it should work on AT&T and T-Mobile because both are GSM networks, but it won’t work with Verizon and Sprint’s CDMA ones.

The slip ‘n’ slide of solar panels are easier to transport and may save lives

Renovagen is a company based out of the UK that specializes in solar energy. They have created a new system of solar panels that is portable and easy to use called ‘Rapid Roll’. The panels are easy to roll out of a truck or trailer. The island, Flat Holm in Great Britain, is currently being powered by these roll-out panels. The goal of the company is to be able to make Rapid Roll accessible to areas in need of power quickly, specifically those damaged by a natural disaster.

Apple sued by Japanese company that owns Animoji trademark

A Japanese company, which owns the trademark for “Animoji” in the US, is suing Apple for using the word to name its iPhone X feature.

The Tokyo-based company, Emonster, filed the suit on Wednesday in US federal court, saying, “Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself.” The company’s CEO, Enrique Bonansea, is a US citizen living in Japan.

Emonster’s Animoji app on iOS, which shares the same name as Apple’s iPhone X feature.

Emonster owns an iOS app called Animoji that launched in 2014, which lets people send emoji that are animated in a loop like GIFs. The app asks you to compose the message kind of like how you would format a line of code in Python or Javascript, with parentheses and brackets that separate the kinds of effects you want to add to text or emoji. The app costs $0.99 on iTunes.

The iPhone X’s Animoji feature, meanwhile, lets people transform their face into customized moving emoji, taking advantage of Apple’s face recognition technology. It was the funniest and quirkiest thing about Apple’s new flagship phone. The lawsuit alleges that because both the Animoji app and the iPhone X feature are on Apple’s platforms, and because they both involve moving animation, the court should rule one out.

According to the suit, Apple knew about Emonster’s ownership of the Animoji trademark because the app is in the Apple Store. Apple allegedly offered to buy the trademark, and when it was turned down, kept using the name anyway.

Although Emonster has owned the trademark for Animoji since 2015, Apple filed a petition this September to cancel the trademark, so the registration is now under review. Apple said that because of a filing error, Emonster registered the trademark to a nonexistent business and therefore can’t actually own “animoji.”

Emonster is seeking an unnamed amount of money in damages and a court order to immediately block Apple from continuing to use the name. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.