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Backerjack Podcast #14: Breathing sensors, social servers, and heat-seeking bedroom bots

In Episode 14 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • Neobase, a home server that lets you create your own private Facebook for sharing with your (small) circle of friends. Now all your base are belong to you!
  • Wakē, a focused light and speaker combo that mounts over your bed to wake you gently without disturbing those sharing the boudoir
  • Prana, a wearable sensor that scores your breathing and posture and lets you practice via a video game

“Dentist Charles Schneider skipped lunch and went to the library instead. He’s heading back to his clinic with the books ‘Temporal Paradoxes’ and ‘Retrocausaility in Practice.'”

There’s an undercurrent of weirdness in Does Not Commute (universal, free with in-app purchase) that Fox Mulder would love. The beautiful and challenging strategy game from Mediocre Games has you driving various vehicles — from sedans to speed boats to ice cream trucks — through several neighborhoods, being careful to beat the clock and avoid the other drivers. It’s challenging, thematic and a lot of fun. Here’s my look at Does Not Commute.


Boy, this is a good-looking game. Does Not Commute’s splash screen shows the dashboard of a big old 1970’s American sedan, with no airbags, no Bluetooth stereo, no digital anything. It’s pointed towards the horizon at the end of a lonely road, where a huge, ringed planet dominates the sky. Right away, you know something’s up.

Once the game loads, you’re looking at the car’s radio. Swipe to browse levels and watch replays (more on that later). You can also adjust the music and sound effects volume levels. Each “station,” or level, has its own theme song which is another nice touch. Simply tap one to begin.

Game play

Your job is to move a vehicle from Point A to Point B within the allotted time. Tap the screen to steer your charge to its clearly-marked destination. Once that’s done, you start over with another vehicle…and it starts to get weird.

As you pilot the second vehicle, you notice that the first one retraces the route your drew for it in round one. Once you guide the second car successfully, you’re presented with a third car. Again, vehicles one and two re-trace their route as you pilot vehicle number three. The pattern continues — and traffic increases — until you’ve guided thirteen vehicles to their destinations before time expires. Speaking of time…

Does Not Commute plays loosey-goosey with the concept of time. Forget that a vehicle you drove away five minutes ago is just starting off again. You can also rewind time. Let’s say you drove the ice cream truck directly into a large building. It takes damage and drives significantly slower than when it was fully functional. That won’t do, as you’re playing beat the clock here. In that instance, you can tap the rewind button to return all vehicles to their start positions, so you may try again. However, this time-bending privilege ticks one second off the clock.

*Read: previous selections for “What you should play this weekend.” *

Apple notes that, currently, the Smart Case covers the iPad screen, so there’s no visual way for the tablet to provide notifications to the user while the screen protector overlays the display. The case also uses magnetic coupling instead of a power connector. 

The patent involves a connector configured to receive electrical power and a control signal between the Smart Case and the iPad. Apple says that, by providing a data and power connection between the tablet and the accessory device, the iPad’s processor can “command” illumination elements disposed in Smart Case to be illuminated. 

Each of the illumination states can be associated with an operating state of the iPad, allowing the tablet to visually communicate operating state information even while its display is covered.  For example, you could see how much battery life remains on the iPad.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.