All posts by John Skrhak

John Skrhak | Gadgets, Sports and Toys Fanatic | Read about them all here.

Fear the beards? More buzz about the Mavs’ .500 whiskers

DALLAS – The Mavericks’ .500 beard pact was breaking news to Shawn Marion.

“Who the hell said that? When did they say it?” Marion asked after Friday’s practice. “Somebody told that (expletive) to me last night. I didn’t hear anything about it. I don’t know, are we? I could do it.”


Should Rick Carlisle join the “Beard Brigade” until the Mavs get to the .500 mark?

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OK, let’s try to answer one Matrix question at a time.

Dirk Nowitzki made the pact public when asked whether his wife, Jessica, approved of his new whiskers, saying he and several teammates wouldn’t shave until the Mavs were .500 again. This happened after Wednesday night’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers, and the pact was confirmed by Vince Carter, who credited O.J. Mayo for the idea.

The pact is optional, according to Carter, who said only players who has beard experience were originally approached.

“I don’t really see what’s the big deal, but everybody’s making a big deal out of it,” Carter said. “It was something that came out of the blue. (Mayo) said, ‘Hey, let’s grow our beards.’ That’s easy for me. And sometimes Dirk has one, (Chris) Kaman has one. We just asked people that grow beards mostly.”

PODCAST ESPN Insider Marc Stein joins Ben and Skin to talk about the Mavericks, the “500 beards,” trades possibilities and the Lakers.

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Marion, who sports a thin, neatly trimmed mustache and goatee, said he’d consider conditionally participating in the pact.

“I could pull it off,” Marion said. “It’s going to be neat if I do it. I’m not going to let it just be rough, rough. But, no, I’m going to trim it up.

“I’ll do it if everybody is going to do it, but if everybody doesn’t do it, I ain’t going to do it. So everybody’s got to be on board.

“We’ve got a lot of these kids on this team that are baby faces. A lot of them can’t grow hair. They might glue on a beard or something.”

As far as coach Rick Carlisle concerned, the facial hair is fine by him.

“I’m all for it,” Carlisle said. “I’m in favor of anything that creates solidarity and focus on a certain mission. So I like it.

“No one’s approached me about it yet. I doubt they will.”

And if they do?

“I’m open-minded,” the cleanly shaven Carlisle said.

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Sandboxr lets us easily make custom-posed, 3D-printed figurines (video)

Sandboxr lets us easily make customposed, 3Dprinted action figures video

Where was Sandboxr when we were kids? Instead of dragging our parents around on a hunt for the perfect figurine, we could have used the company’s new web app to easily manipulate a virtual model and get a 3D printed statuette in the exact pose we wanted. There’s compensation for the lost opportunities of our childhood, however. The creation tool allows for customized accessories, scenes and sizing, and it’s expected to have reasonable prices of about $12 for a 2.5-inch character and over $20 for a 3.5-inch version. The best news may simply be the likelihood of a figurine existing in the first place — Sandboxr sees itself as a platform for everyone from 3D animators through to game developers and dedicated toy companies, many of which can use existing 3D models to start a collectible line. The printing service is currently invitation-only and plans a Kickstarter fundraising drive to scale larger, but it’s easy to see an end to the days of limited edition figurines — much to the delight of our inner child.

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Crave Ep. 108: Moth-operated robots

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This week on Crave, Japanese scientists teach moths to drive mini trucks, and a new app called Dognition claims to improve our relationship with man’s best friend. Also, we decide if a $30 million
Death Star Kickstarter campaign is worth it, and Montana is apparently full of
badasses! Those stories and more, plus a round of “Into It, Not Into It.”

Crave stories:

– Montana for badasses? The USA according to Search Assist

– Motor moth: Scientists build insect-driven robot

– ‘Dognition’ app asks how smart your pooch is

Into It Not Into It:

– Monopoly fans diss robot, choose cat as new token

– Xbox 720 to require Internet connection?

– Apple eyes another patent for solar-powered iPhone

– Trying to lose weight? Breathe into this gadget

– Open-source Death Star project launched on Kickstarter

Social networking:

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Tesla rolls out remote app for Model S

Tesla Model S app

Tesla’s new app will let Model S owners view their cars’ charging status.


When we reviewed the Tesla Model S, we came away very impressed by the driving character and the cabin electronics, but some features, common on other high-end or electric cars, were missing. Tesla made up for one of those features by making a smartphone app available that will let Model S owners view their battery levels.

These types of apps have become common for electric
cars; Ford offers MyFord Mobile for the Focus Electric and Honda has its HondaLink EV for the Fit EV. The electric car includes a mobile data connection, which owners can use to view everything from battery status to the car’s location. These apps often include features such as remotely starting or stopping charging, if the car is currently plugged in, and locking or unlocking the doors.

Tesla’s app does not seem to be as expansive in its utility as some. In a blog post, the company says drivers can monitor charging, start climate control, and honk the horn. The mobile data connection means that the app will work anywhere the phone has coverage, although if the car is parked somewhere with no mobile data coverage, the app will not work.

An image of the app released by Tesla also seems to show the car’s location.

Tesla demonstrated one of the virtues of the Model S in its implementation of the new app, its ability to deliver software updates to the car remotely. Past updates have covered bug fixes and the addition of voice command.

The Tesla app is available for iOS and

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3-pointer: Vince Carter’s ‘out-of-body,’ double-pump, reverse dunk


DALLAS – At this advanced age, doses of Vinsanity aren’t premeditated.

They just happen from time to time when the situation calls for it and Vince Carter‘s 36-year-old legs are willing and able.

[+] Enlarge
Vince CarterGlenn James/NBAE/Getty ImagesVince Carter had an “out-of-body experience” going to the basket for a reverse dunk that was reminiscent of the days of Vinsanity.After a couple of sick days, Carter’s legs had a little extra lift Wednesday night, when a turn-back-the-clock dunk highlighted a 17-point performance for the sixth man formerly known as “Half Man, Half Amazing.”

Carter’s driving reverse dunk late in the second quarter definitely fit the amazing description. He blew by Portland center J.J. Hickson with a baseline drive, planted his left foot, soared to the other side of the hoop and threw down a double-pump, two-hand reverse. Carter commemorated the moment with his traditional rev-it-up gesture, but he did it with raised eyebrows, as the slam surprised him as much as anyone.

“That was an out-of-body experience, brother,” Carter said with a big grin after he played a key role in the Mavs’ 105-99 win over Portland. “When I did the pump fake, I didn’t say, ‘Oh, I’m going to reverse dunk it.’ Not at all! It just happened. It’s like drive, drive, drive and I don’t know what said, ‘Go on the other side and dunk the ball.’ I don’t think that way anymore.”

Carter believes the last time he threw down a reverse dunk in a game was when he caught a lob pass from Jason Kidd. No, not last season. Back in their days as New Jersey Nets.

That moment of vintage Vinsanity was Carter’s most memorable bucket of the game. His 22-foot fadeaway with 26.9 seconds remaining to beat the shot-clock buzzer and stretch the Mavs’ lead to five points was the most important.

“That’s what he does,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He makes tough shots and plays for others.”

And, occasionally, Carter still makes highlight reels.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ must-have win to start their homestand:

1. Juice gets loose: The controversial ending of last week’s loss in Portland ate at O.J. Mayo. He’ll never get to replay those final 3.3 seconds, when he was called for a charge that the NBA office admitted the next day should have been a blocking foul.

But Mayo made the most out of his next shot at the Blazers, scoring 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting during Wednesday night’s win.

“Mayo was phenomenal tonight, early on attacking and really looked comfortable all night long coming off down screens and attacking off pick-and-rolls, just one or two dribbles and up,” Nowitzki said. “He just looked comfortable all night long. That was fun to watch.”

2. Defensive difference: Coach Rick Carlisle challenged his team to crank up the intensity after the Blazers burned the Mavs for 61 points in the first half, when Portland hit 46.7 percent of its shots from the floor, including 9-of-16 from 3-point range.

The Mavs responded by holding Portland to 38 points on 38.5 percent shooting in the second half. The depth-starved Blazers scored only 17 points on 30 percent shooting in the fourth quarter.

“The intensity level definitely picked up,” big man Elton Brand said. “There starters play heavy minutes, so that might have had something to do with it.”

3. Matrix doubles up again: Shawn Marion put up 13 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double in the last four games.

Marion has 11 double-doubles this season, more than twice the total of any teammate. Brand’s five double-doubles ranks second among the Mavs.

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CE-Oh no he didn’t!: Vodafone’s Vittorio Colao says 4G is for ‘technofreaks’

CEOh no he didn't! Vodafone's Vottorio Colao says 4G's for 'technofreaks, early adopters'

Prefer the internet to be, um, fast? That puts you outside the norm, according to Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao. Speaking to investors, he said that he’d visited an EE store to try out 4G LTE speeds for himself and “all I saw [were] technofreaks.” As reported by Mobile News, the CEO added that only “early adopters” would notice the difference between LTE and HSPA+ and none of his friends or colleagues have told him “that we need this fast internet.” While he may want to start running with a different crowd, EE’s already hoisted him on his own petard with a new Twitter campaign — “EE welcomes technofreaks.” See the coverage and image after the fold for more.

[Image credit: WikiMedia Commons]

CEOh no he didn't! Vodafone's Vittorio Colao says 4G for 'technofreaks, early adopters'

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