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How this penny-wise landlord is fighting a postage-stamp increase

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Penny-wise landlord

"A landlord in Maryland just redefined what it means to be a cheapskate," says The Huffington Post. "After the U.S. Postal Service raised the cost of a first-class stamp by a penny to 46 cents, a landlord in Maryland decided to up monthly rent charges by one cent to make up for the increased cost, according to a letter sent to tenants that was published by the Consumerist. The letter says the rent 'hike' will go into effect for bills due March 1."

Child-friendly newspapers

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"An augmented-reality app that 'translates' grown-up newspapers for children has been developed in Japan," reports BBC News. The Tokyo Shimbun, one of the country's biggest dailies, has worked with advertising firm Dentsu to create the software. "It allows children to hold a smartphone over the newspaper to see a child-friendly version of the text. In a promotional video, Dentsu said the app could 'create a future for the old media newspaper.'… The demo video shows a father laying a newspaper out on a table as the child holds his smartphone over the page. Cartoon characters appear on the screen, explaining stories and drawing attention to important words."

A smarter pen

"A pen has been designed that vibrates to tell users when they make a spelling mistake," says The Daily Telegraph. "The prototype is programmed to recognize movements associated with each letter form. If it detects a deviation in either spelling or grammar it gives a gentle buzz to bring the writer back on track. It is being developed by the German company Lernstift in a bid to help children write more quickly and more accurately. It is also hoped the pen could catch on with people of all ages, especially those who have become too dependent on computer spellcheckers." Creators Falk and Mandy Wolsky were inspired by their son's early writing attempts, according to their website. They explain: "From the very first words there were errors."

Tablets easier for elderly?

"People young and old prefer reading paper books to tablets and e-readers, but older individuals could find themselves reading faster and with less effort on a tablet," says "The news came from a small study released this week in PLOS ONE from researchers at the historic epicentre of the printed word – Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Among 360 readers ages 21 to 34, no difference in reading speed or brain effort was detected between reading a book, a Kindle e-reader and an iPad. But big differences were recorded among 21 users ages 60 to 77 when they read the same text on paper instead of the devices. In fact, using an iPad improved speed and reduced effort compared to paper and e-readers. Researchers measured eye movements and brain activity from EEG readings to determine ease of reading."

Watch video on your nails

"Forget the latest garish designs from the manicurist," says the New Scientist. "The next fashion hit for your hands could be NailDisplay, which shows content from your smartphone or tablet on a tiny screen worn over your fingernails. Chao-Huai Su and colleagues at the National Taiwan University in Taipei say it could display a magnified view of the portion of a smartphone's screen beneath your fingertips, making it easier to tap accurately on buttons like the ones shown on the phone's virtual keypad. It could also control a music player by showing buttons or video on your nails, or display a photo of someone calling you on the phone."

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Thought du jour

"I just invent, then wait until man comes around to needing what I've invented."

R. Buckminster Fuller

U.S. designer and inventor (1895-1983)

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