Introducing the most comfortable and secure cell phone stand

Knuckies has launched their full line of cell phone stands, including nine (9) different models, available in nine bright colors.

Where other cell phone stands fall short, Knuckies fill the niche for any application. Whether you need to prop up your iPad to watch Netflix in bed or you want to safely and securely adhere your phone to your dashboard to make sure you don’t miss your next turn while following GPS, these phone stands are the only tool you need to keep your phone on hand, wherever you go.

The Facts

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Knuckies are unlike any other phone stands you see on the market. They’re not some phone case with ugly grooves cutting through them, doubling as a kick stand. They’re not stiff, stuck at an awkward angle to the point where you can’t extend them as far as you like.

“No other stand does that.”

“I can prop my phone at 45 degrees in portrait mode,” said Knuckies inventor and founder Michael Diaz. “No other stand does that. It also has a larger point of contact with your table for wobble-free stability.”

Knuckies are made of a highly durable 3D-molded plastic polymer that allows them to contour to your hand–or any surface you desire–so you can be confident in where you place your phone when you’re busy doing the dishes or even trying to pick up a beer, chips, a napkin, and a coaster all at once, for instance. This phone stand will grip to your hand, making it impossible for you to drop it, no matter what.

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These innovative little guys even spin 360 degrees, so you can practice your mad quick-draw skills and impress your friends.

See something super cool off in the distance that you need to take a photo of? With Knuckies, you don’t have to worry about digging in your purse to find your phone, or wresting it from your pocket in a moment when time is fleeting and you need that phone now.

Just spin your phone and blam! Photo taken. Proof that Sasquatch exists.

Background

Michael Diaz has been all over the place, picking up inspiration, here, and education, there. He was born in New Jersey into a 100% Cuban family who were mostly raised in New York.

Aside from a four-month excursion in San Francisco, he’s been living in Florida for the last 20 years, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Business Marketing from the University of Central Florida (where I graduated, too!)

Now, he’s been bitten by the creativity bug and he can’t stop inventing things, which is why he designed nine different models of Knuckies, right out of the gate.

“I absolutely love inventing and creating things,” Diaz said. “I am sure my future holds many magical gizmos/ projects aimed at making the world a better place.”

The Process

“I had just received an important phone call and my friend was continually interrupting me,” Diaz said. “Afterward, I thought it would be hilarious to see a cartoon of someone with a brass knuckle phone case punching their friend who was interrupting them. I would call it ‘Not Now Knuckles!’ ”
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Then he Photoshopped a sample image and posted it to Facebook. It wasn’t until he woke up one morning in San Francisco that he decided to buy the website notnowknuckles.com. Being consistently exposed to this ambitious culture, he felt inspired to pursue one of his ideas.

“I later went on to change the project name to Knuckies and drastically adapt the model to be a more ergonomic and incapable of being used as a weapon,” he said. “San Francisco exposed me to a community of people who were expressing and embracing themselves for who they were. By embracing myself more fully and learning to follow my intuition (like the people I met in CA) I was able to overcome obstacles and launch this product.”

Diaz chose Shapeways, a 3D printing company in New York, to produce his Knuckies.

“The process is absolutely magical.”

“They are individually 3D printed with a $100,000+ machine (Formiga P110)  through the process of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS),” Diaz said. “Layer after layer of fine plastic sand is shot and fused together with a laser until the entire model is completed. This process allows for super small gaps (.5mm) between moving/spinning/articulating parts with absolutely no assembly required. It is truly fascinating to me and one of the things I find most beautiful about Knuckies.”

There you have it. Knuckies are the future of phone stands. Get this gift for your favorite runner in the family, or someone who is simply very clumsy.

“Over the past few years I have seen Knuckies absolutely transform the way people use their phones for the better. It gives me hope for a breed of products that bring us back into the moment with tactile interaction,” said Knuckies founder, Michael Diaz.

Find Knuckies on Facebook, or visit the official website, for more information.

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Why upgrading to Windows 10 is no big deal

My first experience with Windows 10 is nothing out of the ordinary. The average person upgrades their OS every 5-8 years. So, if you’ve used Windows-based operating systems for the last 20 years, chances are you won’t freak out when you finally install Windows 10.

UI

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The user interface isn’t all that different from Windows 8. In the native start menu, you’ll see tablet-style tiles for news, Facebook updates, and suggested apps. If you don’t like this revolving flipboard of notifications, you can always install the Classic Shell and your start menu will go back to Windows 7/8. My favorite feature exists for the sole purpose of efficiency. When you click on the little arrow (woh2) near one of your frequently used programs, you have the option to click on one of your most recently opened files. So you can pick up right where you left off.

The Action Center is more for businesses, I think, what with the VPN controls and such, but maybe you want to see your Pinterest notifications, weekly alerts, and system status messages all in one place? I tend to ignore this thing on the right-hand side of the screen (it’s connected to the little thought bubble icon (woh) on the system tray/task bar). blog4

Naming Conventions

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See “All apps” instead of “All programs”, “Quick access” (boop) instead of “Favorites”. I find Quick access very handy, indeed. Quick access learns which folders you’re using the most, whether you’re frequently accessing a folder within your Desktop, somewhere in the cloud, or even on a remote server. So, instead creating a shortcut (how ’00s of you), now you can just click on the folder on the left-hand side of your File Explorer.

Edge

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Instead of Internet Explorer, we now have Edge. The icon (ee) is still quite similar, so I’m hesitant to click on it when I see it in the taskbar. I mostly use Chrome, as this wonderful browser has all my passwords, cookies, and bookmarks saved. And it loads fast. Why would you switch to Edge?

Cortana

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A long-winded sidenote about Cortana:

Cortana lives under the guise of a small circle (cort) lurking on your taskbar. She’s an AI named after the character popular in the Halo franchise, I imagine, and she’s hailed as the Windows equivalent to Apple’s Siri. However, she’s nothing like Siri. Cortana is a glorified search bar. So, instead of the Windows 8 version of the start menu search bar, you have to use Cortana, or look through your files yourself (see Quick Access section above).

Nothing personal about that at all. If I asked Siri, “What’s up, doll?” She responds with, “Helping Liam recycle solar panels, so we can all have a brighter future.” Now, that’s cute. Siri actually understands full sentences, too, so that’s comforting. Like Siri, Cortana does do things I tell her to. For instance, if I say, “Make a note,” she would start dictating for me, just like Siri.

However, when you activate Cortana, the stipulations state she tracks your browser history, she uses your location, she suggests things, and sends you alerts when it seems like you have all these other options to receive reminders (see Action Center above), and maybe you don’t want the office knowing you’re looking up guacamole recipes at work?

I’m disabling Cortana, FYI. (The circle icon then turns into a magnifying glass [meep].)

So, come on, Microsoft. Get with the times already. If you name an app “Cortana”, I expect her to be kind of buggy, severely accurate and timely, yet full of personality. Maybe I shouldn’t have played Halo and/or read the books so thoroughly…

Overall, switching to Windows 10 isn’t all that daunting. Sure, the text seems a little smaller and crisper than you’re used to, but you can always enlarge it in your Settings. So, don’t be scared to upgrade–especially if it’s free.

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The philosophical cess pool found in ‘Truck Stop Rainbows’

41+1bWs+hHL._SY373_BO1,204,203,200_Iva Pekarkova has spent her life writing books. In an interview with Prague Radio, she gives voice to an inner struggle between working for a living and rubbing two pennies together to keep writing.

Her first novel, Truck Stop Rainbows is not just a “road novel” as the English version’s cover portends. It’s much more like a philosophical memoir written in the point of view of a world-traveler who has never left her homeland of Czechoslovakia, as it was called then.

It reads like a memoir, complete with minute details only someone fully immersed in, yet voluntarily separate from, Western European culture would notice.

Like all great novels, the main character undergoes a transformation. In the beginning, Fialka is completely detached from her fellow Praguers. She forgoes the average college-aged woman’s routine and frequently finds herself sinking into acidic mud piles, allowing her body to become ravaged by venomous mosquitoes, all in the name of feeling connected to real life on earth. She takes photos of deformed flowers and hitchhikes to feel like she’s going somewhere in life, while she’s stuck living at home with her grandmother.

I stretched out my leg and lightly kicked a tuft of wormwood. As each fragrant stalk fluttered, it gave off another yellowish cloud of pollen, which settled on my sneakers. I sucked in the air. And each grain of pollen, each small messenger of life and growth glittered as it flew through the slanting sunlight, then continued on its mission. A long mission, and most likely unsuccessful: how many grains of pollen are there in the world and how many of them succeed in fertilizing a blossom… transmitting their essences, their I’s? Each of those grains had its own I, thought they swarmed as chaotically and soullessly as humans… In the slanting sunlight outside Brno, each grain of pollen became my private star–and I couldn’t resist: I was once again looking for parables in everything. Patrik always claimed that I was addicted as addicted to parables as I was to hitchhiking, hopelessly addicted. He said I should write the Hitchhiker’s Bible, who else but me…? Chapter One, Verse 1: In the beginning there was darkness upon the face of the earth and no one stopped for anyone. And God said: Let there be truck drivers! And they were begotten of the mud of sins, and they grew fruitful and multiplied, thanks to the earnest efforts of the hips and crotches of the women of the highway… Hitchhikers by the side of the highway… Hitchhikers by the side of the highway are the most religious of people. They pray for mercy–the driver’s; the ritual of prayer consists in the raising of the right thumb (the left thumb in barbarous lands) and the lowering and lifting of the outstretched hand… Are these not divine offices? In that slanting morning sun, as you travel from the east, your shadow will take the form of an elongate, distorted cross…

And she spends a lot of time listening to Kryl with her friend Patrick.

While other novels may rush toward an inevitable conclusion, try to shove actionable moments into a plot that doesn’t seem altogether feasible in the real work, Pekarkova’s first novel could be the long-form diary of an iconoclast Czech girl. At times, it reminded me of Black Earth City, a memoir set in Russia, in that both authors reveal tangents plausible in everyday conversation, complete with differing views on each side of the argument. Pekarkova’s novel, however is labeled as fiction, but I’m sure there’s a lot of truth in there.

Nothing’s sugarcoated. Her grandmother had to wait in line for three hours to buy milk and eggs, and Fialka didn’t feel too bad about it. During the second phase of the book, as she become Fialka 2, she said shouted at her grandmother, decrying her “duty”. Even while she’s building up a silent rage to let loose on her, inside she’s already regretting the woman’s she’s become.

But now… now, with those piles of bank notes Grandmother never saw and would never comprehend growing in my room, now, because of them and in spite of them, there was growing in me a repugnant form of frugality, a thrift born of fear, you might say obviously I couldn’t take my multiplying deposits of mammon and chattels off to any bank, and the idea was gradually sneaking into my mind that any petty burglar could relieve me of it all at any time. You’ve become a miser, Fialinka.

Then after a shouting match, a lot of crying, and a little forgiveness, the young woman goes to the market herself to learn there are six clerks working on two registers, with a line of people bickering at each other about who gets the next basket, while the four other clerks sneak around stacks of snacks to try to suss out potential thieves.

“It was interesting to see people’s faces become combative when they so much as walked past a store, to see their elbows sharpen, hear their voices become harsher–to see how the law of the jungle ran wild and flourished in Prague, the law that the winner would be the one who fought the hardest and offered the best bribes… it was interesting to observe these instincts in humans enclosed in a barbed-wire cage, it really was. Too bad I had to live there!

This sounds like real life to me, there’s no way she’s making this up. She paints a picture of a darkest and most grey environment that no one in their right mind would want to live in, yet when she gets a free ride out of there, she quickly snuffs out the fire on that one-way-ticket to love train, and becomes comfortable with her communist outlook. She gives up on love quicker than she ever gave into, the thought of marrying a man from Sweden was just too difficult for her to imagine, and after a passionate affair, she settles back into her old routines.

She chastises herself for living in this place, yet simultaneously feels privileged to have the freedom to practically penance herself as a way of coming closer to nature. Then her best friend, Patrik, becomes diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and she everything changes.

Survival of the fittest, as you can imagine.

She thinks his seems grim, but he takes pleasure in the little things, even in his fragile state. He would slam his crutches down the stairs to frighten the neighbors, but he relished in the fact that they couldn’t bat an eye against the fact of his crippled state. They were too embarrassed. And he was having fun at their expense. At their expense! What a way to make your head spin.

The best symbolism could be seen in the way she transformed mentally, dumbing herself down to blend in and even surpass other road whores so that she could afford to buy her best friend a wheelchair, until she slowly lost sight of the reason why she starting taking the unfamiliar, yet economically more viable Northern Road as opposed to the cozy and comforting Southern Road.

She played with her skills in language–German, Russian, and English–to make small talk with truckers, all the while pushing Fialka 1 down into the crevices of her mind, eventually altogether quelling her need to seek out rainbows, the little glimmers of hope and adventure she had once sought as a means to escape her everyday meaningless life, in favor of the spontaneity of the road.

During this time of change, the counterweight for her increasingly addled brain became her mental compass. Patrik was delving deeper into Eastern philosophy and trying to help her see the error of her ways.

Patrick spoke about the ability to drop out of the inane rat’s marathon of life, about freedom of thought unlimited even by incapacitation of the body. He held forth on dualism and monism, and got the two hopelessly mixed up; finally he concluded from all this that moderm society had completely forgotten about the soul, and hence the soul had atrophied. Anything you didn’t use, according to him, withered aweay–it was even possible to neglect the body, to leave it behind, and it would atrophy, it would die, as some might say–but the soul, the soul would still soar freely through space. Only through great knowledge was it possible to redeem oneself from afflictions of the soul and body.

He was the one who goaded her on, the one who told her she couldn’t act, she couldn’t pull it off, couldn’t fake a smile to get what she wanted from the cops who were ever present on the roadways, always trying to stop her in her tracks, to reel her wild nature back into the worldview of the productive citizen.

Patrik held his temples with both hands, as if he thought his head might fly off at any moment. “Has it ever occurred to you, Fial, why it really is that people go insane? Or have all those psychological theories of yours already made you crazy? Have they gotten to you yet? People go insane from too much thinking, not from too little… But as soon as they come upon even the slightest sliver of truth, you psychologists immediately sic the body-snatchers on them with the straitjackets, declare them certifiable, and stick them behind bars. Then they fill them up with Valium. To pacify them. To reorient them. So they become stupid and normal again… behind bars and on drugs!”

Truck Stop Rainbows is about reincarnation, about morals, about the struggle to understand the Self, and it is much more than a “road novel”, as the English version declares. I wish I could read the original manuscript in Czech, but alas the poetry that the translator, David Powelstock, has imbued into this book has given the text a life of its own, and I’m grateful for having read it.

 

Featured image via the International Business Times

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Someday River’s EP will transport you back to the sea

Listening to Someday River makes you feel like being a kid again. Without a care in the world, they transport you to that moment when you put the conch shell up to your ear to hear the “whoosh!” of the ocean.

It’s been almost three years since I saw this band live. Thankfully, the internet provides. Now, I can keep up with these guys as soon as they post a new song–and guess what? Someday River‘s releasing a new EP on May 13, but you can listen to two singles featured on the album on Souncloud.

Brief backstory

Greyson Paul Charnock has seen his band Bellows through many iterations and has finally settled on renaming the new three-man-band Someday River. After all this time, the vibe and overall song structure remains unchanged, so you can sink back into that familiar feeling that everything’s going to be OK.

Here is the band lineup as it stands today:

  • Greyson Charnock (Guitar, Vocals, Synth)
  • Sean Boyle (Percussion)
  • Kyle Fournier (Bass)

Two new singles

Day Changer flows like the summer breeze. The members of the band patiently, yet expertly lull you into a comforting state of mind, as you find your shoulders have started on a jaunty little journey of their own volition.

There’s a beachy bend to the guitar riffs that springs to mind visions of the sea. You can almost smell the saltwater drifting through the speakers.

Ever have that feeling when you’re on the way to work, trying to get psyched about your workload, but your brain is still stuck in bed?

That’s how Sleeping Sideways affects you. It makes me want to pull over and take a time-out from the oncoming rush of the future and reaffirm what’s important in life, like calling your lady up and apologizing for the argument you had the night before.

Overall Assessment

Someday River’s new EP is turning out to be the perfect panacea for that anxiety-driven stress-out moment of panic at 3 p.m. on a Friday, when all you want to do is shut down the computer abruptly, and say, “Peace out!” because you’re tired of the monotony of the work week and dying to feel some warm sunshine on your skin.

Their music will subconsciously alleviate the pain of the work day and send you to far off destinations where the ocean breeze is calling you home.

The vocal effects Grey chooses creates a vision of his untethered spirit soaring above the planes of mundane existence. His lyrics show that he’s taken a birds-eye view of the disenfranchised mass of humanity, projecting his voice down into the hallows of an enormous chamber.

He’s trying to remind us to go with the flow, to love each other, and to let the problems of past fade as they should–for at least the length of a song.

Paired perfectly in sync with Sean’s drums, he and Kyle are on the same level when it comes to creating a vibe of simplistic harmony.

So Chill

Someday River‘s sound is so floaty–in the best way–like they don’t have to try very hard. You don’t imagine these guys sitting around recording and nagging each other to get each pitch perfect; it seems to happen naturally. It’s as if they’re jamming, then it works, and someone says, “Let’s do it again, but lets’ record it this time.”

I’m definitely forward to the new EP, Sleeping Sideways, slated for release on May 13.

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Why I’m no longer watching Game of Thrones

*Spoilers: If you haven’t seen se6e02, then don’t read this*

First and foremost, it’s all very predictable, really. Aria Stark was just getting good at something, losing herself in the kill, and fighting for a righteous cause–survival. And Sansa has always been a bit of a pansy, let’s be honest. Tyrion’s not doing a lot of anything, except for trying to tame dragons with sheer wit (not surprising, as he’s been doing this metaphorically throughout the series, except now in episode two of season six, he’s actually attempting such a feat physically).

And Jon Stark is alive again. We all knew this would happen, right? I, personally, thought the White Walkers would take him; there was this nonverbal connection between the two leaders of the clans at one point in the last season.

Either way, what a downer. And to see the Red Woman naked, aged to her appropriate stature (what is she, 120 years old?) was kind of a let down.

Trying to introduce this series to anyone two episodes into the sixth season is one of the worst ways to spend your night.

Now, if you were to show a friend any random episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that would warrant a rockin’ time, in my opinion, but don’t just show someone Game of Thrones mid-season, especially if the show has started careening downhill.

 

Featured image via SCREEN RANT

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