A developer named Brian Min has created this vintage-looking computer keyboard inspired by the classic design of mechanical typewriters. The old school style “Qwerkywriter” even has the ability to connect to a tablet in addition to desktop computers. You can watch several videos of how the typewriter-themed device was created over on its Kickstarter page (which has already reached its goal of $90,000) ... Discuss

 

Wireless carriers—typically known for being paragons of virtue and honesty—are under the microscope today, as the Federal Trade Commission alleges that T-Mobile was knowingly loading customers' bills with "hundreds of millions" of dollars worth of fake charges from third-party accounts.

The process is called "cramming," wherein third-party services (like flirting tips or celebrity gossip) get added to customer bills and then buried under jargon. While you generally have to opt in twice to such services, the FTC is accusing T-Mobile of "just buying phone numbers from random places and billing these consumers without any notice whatsoever," according to FTC lawyer Brian Shull. For T-Mobile's part, their CEO John Legere called the FTC's complaint "unfounded and without merit" ... Discuss

 

Your favorite middle school accessory is making a triumphant comeback. Kensington, the company behind the iconic back-to-school supply said that they are “drawing on our company’s nostalgic past” for the new “Mead-inspired” foldable cases for tablets. Basically, they’re just fancy iPad cases, but who wouldn’t want to carry around their tablet in a retro reminder of simpler organizational times? ... Discuss

 

Facebook has been messing with your mind. The social network recently partnered with researchers to intentionally see if they could manipulate the emotions of nearly 700,000 users—without their knowledge. Their massive social experiment (which took place in 2012) showed that by manipulating the algorithm that determines what posts are shown in users’ feeds, they could affect the overall mood of individual users. As Business Insider explains, “The scientists say they found that when people saw fewer positive posts on their feeds, they produced fewer positive posts and instead wrote more negative posts. On the flip side, when scientists reduced the number of negative posts on a person's newsfeed, those individuals became more positive themselves.” The only problem is, none of the users knew they were being experimented on.

Many media watchers have called the tests unethical, and have criticized the site for not seeking permission—beyond a purposely vague Terms of Use agreement—for involving them. Even a statement released by Facebook further explaining the tests and apologizing for any “anxiety it caused” in an effort to quell the uproar has been seen as intentionally unclear, not addressing some of the concerns of users. (Like, Why exactly was the U.S. Army a backer for this research?) The The Atlantic notes that Facebook evidently changes their algorithm all the time for tests on users, so we may all just be a part of on-going research anyways ... Discuss

 

We’ve all been there. You’re hosting a gathering of hungry friends, but have no idea exactly how many pizzas to order. Thankfully, the new “Pizza Counter” app is here to help. The app factors in questions like, “how many people need to be fed?”, “how hungry are they?” and “what’s the largest size pie you can order from a local pizza provider?” to give you an precise calculation, ensuring no pizza is wasted. According to this review from The Daily Dot, the app is pretty intuitive, though our team has taken it upon themselves to just go ahead do several rounds of pizza-ordering and consuming, just to make sure it’s accurate ... Discuss

 

A small German group called Blitzortung is doing some good work out there: creating a real-time map of the world's lightning strikes. It's crowdsourced by volunteers who set up lightning strike detection kits which instantly relay the information to Blitzotung, and it creates this map . The kits cost about $275 (and, crazily enough, can detect lightning strikes from anywhere in the world) and you can actually be part of the project yourself, if that's your thing. Discuss