Technology & Gadgets

Get a Gripping, Terrifying Timelapse View of Earth

Almost everyone reading this has perused Google’s collection of satellite images, either on Google Maps or with Google Earth. Perhaps you’ve wanted to get a bird’s eye view of your own home or visually traveled to some far away political hotspot. But one place you haven’t easily been able to travel via satellite image — back in time.

At least, that was the case until recently. Last Thursday, to be specific. That’s when Google — together with TIME Magazine, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey — launched Timelapse, a zoomable, interactive web tool that lets you easily compare satellite images taken between 1984 and 2012 of nearly any location.

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Spot the Station

The International Space Station operates about 230 miles above the surface our planet. That’s high enough for its crew to float weightless. But, surprisingly to many, that’s low enough for the station to be seen with the naked eye by an earthling at see level. The key is knowing where — and when — to look.

To that end, NASA has created a new website: Spot The Station.

The website lets space enthusiasts input their hometown and cell phone number. Once signed up, anytime conditions allow for you to get a good view of the space station, NASA will send you a text!

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Take a Google Street View Tour of the Amazon

You might think of Google Street View as that feature of Google Maps that let’s you look at ground level photographs of your childhood home, a new restaurant you are trying to locate or some other street-side destination. But for several years now, Google has been expanding Street View to all sorts of locations that, well, don’t have any streets. You can use Street View to climb up the Swiss Alps, trek in Antarctica or tour some of the world’s greatest art museums. And, now, you can also use Google Street View to explore along the Amazon River.

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The Best Websites For Selling
Used iPhones, Electronics

Spot Cool Stuff just got a new Apple iPhone. Which begs the questions: What should we do with our old one?

Turns out, that old iPhone is worth some money. There are dozens of websites through which you can sell old electronics. And not only iPhones, but MP3 players, calculators, gaming consoles, computers—both desk and laptop—external disk drives, cameras and camera lenses, printers, eBook readers, DVD players and more.

Once bought, your item will either be refurbished or recycled. So it’s a win-win. You get money for something you won’t use anymore anyway. And the planet gets one less toxic piece of a landfill.

After researching all the used electronics buying services we could find, Spot Cool Stuff found four that we can especially recommend. Here they are, in order of preference:

Note: The prices listed below are for a working 32GB Apple iPhone 3GS with a few small-ish scratches on the front and many more in back. Prices seem to fluctuate quite a bit. All the websites reviewed here will pay for your shipping costs but are based in the United States. In fact, for all but one you must be in the US to sell them your gadgets.

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Borrow Lenses:
Camera & Lens Rental Online

Professional and semi-professional camera equipment can be expensive. Really expensive. Potentially the-equivalent-of-buying-a-car expensive. For photography enthusiasts who can’t afford high-end camera gear—or are leery about making the financial plunge for it—there’s a cool website that will let you rent cameras, lenses, lighting another photography accessories: Borrow Lenses.

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No More Problems Sending
Outgoing SMTP Email

Spot Cool Stuff is writing these words from one of our favorite coffee shops. We love this place’s drink selections, its vibe, its river views—and its free wifi. But there’s one problem: We can’t send emails from here. Or, at least we couldn’t until recently.

If you’ve used your laptop at a restaurant, library, hotel, airport or other place with a public internet connection chances are you’ve run into similar outgoing email issues. The problem is that some internet connections block particular outgoing ports and/or connections to SMTP servers. This isn’t an issue using website-based mail services like Gmail or Hotmail. It can be when using an email program like Outlook, Eudora or Mac Mail.

Happily, there’s an easy, efficient solution to these email troubles: SMTP2GO.

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Light In The Box: Wholesale Bargains From China

Browsing through the items on Light In The Box might not be quite the adventure and bargain offered by markets in China. But it isn't far off.

If you’ve traveled to China and been to an electronics or fashion market there chances are you’ve been struck by two facts:

1) How cheap the prices are (relative to North America and Europe); and

2) How many products are available there that aren’t in your home country.

To take advantage of these facts you could travel to China with extra room in your suitcase. Or, you could shop at what might be Spot Cool Stuff’s single favorite online store: Light In The Box.

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