Pope says nope to smartphones at dinner

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Pope Francis welcomes the presence of smartphones - but not at dinner.
Pope Francis welcomes the presence of smartphones - but not at dinner.
Photo: Catholic Herald

We know Pope Francis is a fan of technology. He is on Twitter with 8 million followers and when in public, the guy never turns down a selfie request.

But His Holiness wants us all to put away our smartphones when seated at the dinner table.

Japanese helper-bot is as adorable as it is ridiculous

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This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
Photo: Sharp/YouTube

Now if Cupertino really wanted to make Siri something special, they would give her a head, arms and legs, and make her dance when she plays music.

Sharp Electronics has either jumped ahead of Apple or jumped the shark tank with an animated robotic smartphone called RoBoHon. It does everything your current smartphone does but with moving appendages, an adorable, futuristic face and a sweet voice to make it a very personable sidekick.

Outdoor battery charger saves you from having to completely rough it

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The goBAT 6000 can charge your smartphone up to three times during your outdoor adventures.
The goBAT 6000 can charge your smartphone up to three times during your outdoor adventures.
Photo: SCOSCHE

The whole point of rustic camping or any outdoor adventure is to unplug from the world. But your iPhone and all its apps are so darn useful to your active lifestyle, your idea of rustic still needs a place to recharge the battery.

SCOSCHE Industries has a portable battery pack to help keep things primitive, well for 2015 anyway. The goBAT 6000 can handle mud, water and dubious weather, and has the power to charge your smartphone three times.

Pope’s arrival in America greeted by a sea of smartphones

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Pope Francis gets engulfed by eager smartphone users in Washington, DC.
Photo: IIP Photo Archive/Flickr CC

Pope Francis landed on U.S. soil for the first time last week on Tuesday, September 22. He has talked to victims of sexual abuse, spoke out about his views on immigration and gave several moving speeches across the country. However, the pope was also able to impact American culture in a way that is completely unintentional: he put the mobile phone revolution on giant display.

The last time a pope visited the United States was back in April 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI was still at the reigns of Catholicism. A lot has happened in seven years. Modern smartphones were only starting to become prevalent back then. Apple had just released the first iPhone less than a year ago and Android was still in development.

The change in our culture needs no explanation because photos of crowds swarming Pope Francis through his journey across America manage to say it all. Crowds glow with endless displays.

Turn your kitchen timer into a time-lapse video tool

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The Hobie attaches to a kitchen timer for an inexpensive way to get time-lapse and 360-degree videos.
The Hobie attaches to a kitchen timer for an inexpensive way to get time-lapse and 360-degree videos.
Photo: Overlab Experimental Design

Photography equipment can be expensive, but there are plenty of items lying around the house that can help you get your shots. Why buy a pin-hole camera made of fine hardwood when you can make one out of an oatmeal container?

Designer Mattia Ciucciarelli wants to spare us the cost of an expensive tripod head for time-lapse and 360-degree videos with a device he calls the Hobie that attaches to the common kitchen timer.

Samsung cruises past Apple in white-hot smartphone market

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Looks like Samsung and Apple pretty much own the smartphone market, though there are some scrappy contenders starting to make headway.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), handset makers shipped a total of 337.2 million smartphones worldwide in the last quarter of 2015 (Q2). This is up 11.6 percent from last year, an amazing bit of growth considering how many smartphones are already on the loose.

Satechi external batteries are like lightning in your pocket

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The Satechi SX20 portable power station can charge up to four devices.
The Satechi SX20 portable power station can charge up to four devices.
Photo: Satechi

If your device dies, you can usually find a place to plug in. But that’s only if you carry your charging cord and even if you’re lucky enough to have it on you, you’re stuck at the outlet until you’ve got enough juice to go.

The electronics accessory company Satechi has made it easier to stay charged on the go with three new portable energy stations for pretty much anything with a USB port.

Cloe is Siri with a human touch — and a life

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Cloe, a concierge service that  provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe
Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.

Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.

The smartphone as personal security guard

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STOP-ATTACK is an app that can quickly activated to record audio and video and instantly sends out alerts to emergency contacts if there is threat of assault. Illustration: STOP-ATTACK
The STOP-ATTACK app can be quickly activated to record audio and video, and instantly sends out alerts to emergency contacts if there is threat of assault. Illustration: STOP-ATTACK

With the number of smartphone muggings high enough to earn the crime its own category in the police stats, holding a pricey little computer in your hands is like toting a big target.

However, you could also be holding a layer of security: Several apps have emerged that sound an alarm to family, friends and law enforcement in the event a smartphone owner feels threatened, faces an assault or suddenly gets nervous about their surroundings.