Gadgets

Night Golf, Anyone? Motion-Activated LED Golf Ball Lights Up on Impact

This is the Light-up Golf Ball from Night Sports. It’s an LED-infused golf ball that lights up in one of four colors when you hit it, and stays lit for eight minutes while you go find it for your next shot. Each ball has a 40-hour battery, too. There’s no cool laser trail like in the above photo, unfortunately, but we can all agree that the laser trail time-lapse effect makes the above photo look too cool to pass up. I’m not saying you should use these balls to sneak onto a world-class golf course in the middle of the night when there’s nobody around, but I guess you could argue that I’m not not saying it. Whatever you decide to do with your life is your business, but if you sneak onto a world-class golf course in the middle of the night, leave it a better place than you found it. Same goes for the daytime, too. Replace your divots, is what I’m actually saying. Also, maybe don’t use these things on water holes or if you have a tough time keeping your shots in the fairway, because a four-pack costs $30. That’s $30. For four golf balls. That’s $7.50 each time you shank one. You can also buy a three-pack for $25 ($8.33 every time you shank one). They’re expensive, in other words, but stuffing LED lighting into golf balls can’t be cheap. No word on whether these balls play like regular balls, though the company behind them (unsurprisingly) says, “Night Sports Light-up Golf Ball provides the high performance aerodynamics, control, accuracy, feel and distance you expect from a professional quality ball.” The three reviews on Amazon are all five stars, but they each look suspiciously similar in tone and length. Here’s a video of what the balls look like when they’re hit: Light-up Golf Ball [Night Sports USA via OhGizmo!]

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Get Here Faster, Retirement: This Is a Segway-like Rideable Golf Scooter

You can’t see the man’s face in this photo, but he is weeping. He is weeping tears of joy – the salty, warm tears of joy that could only have been elicited by the feeling of riding around on the lovechild of a Segway and a golf cart. The $4,500 Ride On Golf Cart Scooter has a dull name – I’d suggest Ultimate Freedom USA Golfglide 3000, but I’m not in marketing – and is good for 27 holes at up to 11 miles per hour. It’s rechargeable, with a full charge promised in five hours. It’s not the first rideable standing golf cart in the history of rideable standing golf carts — here’s me getting frothed up about one all the way back in 2010 — but the fact that it’s being sold by Hammacher Schlemmer is a step in the right direction for the entire category. There’s handlebar-mounted throttle and reverse controls, and the whole shebang is steered by leaning left or right. It can handle 20-degree inclines, which might be good for courses in Florida or other relatively flat areas, but things might get a little dicey on hillier tracks. There’s also a cupholder, and the entire apparatus folds down to a foot and a half thick so you can pop it in the back of your Dodge Neon when you’re done playing. If I were to retire tomorrow, this would be one of my first purchases even though my financial advisor would threaten to quit if I bought it. “It’ll pay for itself after a couple hundred rounds,” I’d keep saying to anyone who’d listen. The Ride On Golf Cart Scooter [Hammacher Schlemmer]

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GameFly Gets Into Mail-Order Movie Rentals

Netflix’s DVD business is about to get some competition from GameFly, which is testing mail-order movie rentals on top of its existing games service. GameFly confirmed to VentureBeat that it will offer DVDs and Blu-ray discs to subscribers, with a beta program beginning on April 4. Customers with a two-disc or higher game rental plan will get into the beta first, and movies will count against their disc limit at no extra charge. GameFly’s game rentals are twice as expensive as Netflix’s movie service, though, starting at $16 per month for one disc at a time. Combining game and movie rentals seems like a no-brainer, but no one’s been able to make it work so far. Blockbuster added games to its mail-order DVD service in 2010, but the effort was widely panned for having a three-month delay on new releases. (Blockbuster finally scrapped the entire mail-order service late last year, while also closing all of its U.S. stores.) Netflix also planned to add game rentals a few years ago, as part of an ill-conceived plan to create a separate company for the mail-order business, called Qwikster. The Qwikster spin-off never happened, and game rentals died along with it. The problem with game rentals is that they’re much more expensive to carry than movies, with most new games selling for $60. GameFly is in a better position to add movies because the costs are lower, and customers are already paying a higher price for game rentals. As VentureBeat points out, GameFly’s biggest weak point is its limited supply — and resulting long wait times — for newer games. Subscribers may feel burned by the company’s investment in movies rather than more games, but at the same time, movie rentals can help fill in for the summer doldrums when there aren’t many new games coming out. The future isn’t exactly bright for optical media, as streaming video services take over and game consoles make a bigger push into downloads. But at least console owners still have a DVD player in the living room;

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GASP! Apple CarPlay Software Runs on BlackBerry’s QNX Platform

Apple has managed to rouse those of us in the tech press from the early-March doldrums by taking the wraps off CarPlay, the company’s in-vehicle iPhone interface that was revealed nine months or so earlier and simply named iOS in the Car. BlackBerry news site N4BB managed to confirm with the spokesperson of a company called QNX that the CarPlay interface rests atop QNX’s widely-used “infotainment platform” – a fancy term for the thing with the screen in between you and your passenger that you poke at with your finger — the screen, not the passenger — to change the radio station. I suppose poking at your passenger might ultimately achieve the same result. The fact that Apple’s in-car software is running atop a QNX platform would be less than newsworthy except for the fact that BlackBerry bought QNX back in 2010, and has used QNX technology as the basis for its ill-fated PlayBook tablet and the most recent version of its smartphone software, BlackBerry 10. So, yes: Apple software is being powered by BlackBerry, in a sense. QNX has been the glue holding together many an in-car entertainment – sorry, infotainment – system for years and years now, so it’s likely this CarPlay interface would have been running atop it whether BlackBerry was in the picture or not. It could almost certainly run atop non-QNX systems as well for all we know. In other scandalous news, the camera sensor in the iPhone is widely believed to be made by Sony, and the iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro displays have come from the likes of Samsung and LG over the years. I know, right? It’s like learning that Santa Claus doesn’t… you know what? On second thought, I’m not going to spoil that one. Apple CarPlay Infotainment System Runs on BlackBerry’s QNX [N4BB via BGR]

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5 New Uses for Chromecast

It’s been about a month since Google opened up Chromecast to all third-party developers, and new apps are now starting to trickle in. While we haven’t seen any major streaming services add support recently, smaller developers have been adopting Chromecast in some interesting ways. If you’ve got Google’s $35 TV dongle, here are some new tricks you can do with it: Dayframe Turn Your TV into a Photo Frame As long as you’re in the living room and not actually watching TV, you might as well liven it up with some photos. Dayframe creates slideshows from your smartphone and from online sources such as Flickr, Google+ and Facebook, and even allows you to stitch together playlists. The app is free to try, but most of the good Chromecast features require a $3 in-app purchase. Mirror Video from Your Phone’s Web Browser An experimental feature in Google’s Chrome beta for Android lets you send videos from the browser to the television. To activate it, enter chrome://flags/#enable-cast in the address bar and hit “Enable,” then restart the browser. It’s far from perfect — some video sources I tried just crashed the browser — but it’ll probably improve with time. GamingCast Play Some Games Chromecast isn’t much of a game console just yet, but a couple of new apps are showing potential. QCast is a free quiz game where players answer on their respective phones or tablets, while the scoreboard shows up on the big screen. If you’re willing to spend $1.50, GamingCast offers a suite of games — including Snakes, Pong, Xonix (Qix clone) and Tetrominoes (Tetris clone) — that you control with your phone..It’s an interesting concept, even if it’s kind of tricky to use the touchscreen while staring at your television. Hopefully that Game Boy emulator isn’t far behind. View Some New Streaming Sources Podcast Addict We’re still holding out for official support from more apps such as Vudu, Rdio and Twitch.tv, but in the meantime, check out TWiT Cast, an unofficial TWiT.tv Chromecast player for Android. And if you’re in need of a free

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