This week: in case you’ve been living in a box, Apple released new iPhones; e-learning hit the news in a big way this week with two announcements; there’s new competition for the Magic Trackpad; get a sneak peek at the new Kindle Fire HD; put the Soil HQ on your mom’s Mother’s Day list now; and three quick links for some afternoon fun.

Apple, Apple, and more Apple
Dominating the tech blogs this week—and the mainstream media—was Apple’s Tuesday announcement of new iPhones. If you somehow managed to miss the news or need to catch up, check out this piece: Apple iPhone 5s and 5c: everything you need to know. It pretty much covers it all.

E-learning is hot stuff
There were two e-learning related announcements this week. First, a company called Mindsy launched in the UK and it’s using a Netflix-style subscription model. They just received a bunch of new funding to expand their existing 5,000 video library. A monthly subscription gives you unlimited access for $29.

If that wasn’t enough for you, the development of the Open Education Alliance was announced this week. This is a consortium of online organizations who want to close the skills gap. Google is endorsing the alliance but also announced a new partnership with edX. EdX, a non-profit organization backed by Harvard and MIT, plans to plans to launch with Google. This site hopes to be the YouTube of learning content where anyone can create and upload their own digital course. TechCrunch has a more detailed story about the partnership.

Bamboo TrackpadCompetition for Apple’s Magic Trackpad
Wacom released its new Bamboo Pad this week. Unlike the Apple Magic Trackpad which only works well on their machines, the Bamboo Pad works on Macs AND PCs. And it’s more than just a trackpad—you can use your Bamboo Stylus with it too. I’ll admit it, I’m a Mac user at home and love my Magic Trackpad. Here at work though, I haven’t had a good trackpad option for my Windows machine (which has been somewhat of a bummer). I may just have to give the Bamboo a try!

New Kindle Fire HD?
Hitting the web this week were alleged leaked photos of the new Kindle Fire. BGR has the photos and it appears that along with an updated angular shape, the speakers have been moved and the buttons have been changed. Bets are, this new Kindle Fire will hit Amazon before the holidays. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything.

soiliqSoil IQ aims to make your backyard garden high tech
The Soil IQ company has created a high-tech wireless soil sensor for small gardens. The goal? To help regular folks grow more healthy food. The sensor will track and stream soil nutrients, the pH levels, temperature, moisture and sunlight information. According to the article on TechCrunch, “They’ve built an analytics platform that makes recommendations to home gardeners about how to optimize seed selection, fertilization and watering.” SWEET! I want one real bad.

And now, some Friday fun links:

Image: Newmoticons
Image: Newmoticons
    • • Be sure to check out some of

the awesome “Newmoticons”

    • like: Ben Franklin, Woody Allen, “It was him, ” “Dazed tween,” and more. Then visit

    • for even more.

• If you haven’t watched this incredible aging video, you should. It’s amazing because it’s sooooo smooth and seamless. Highly recommend for an afternoon break.

• You NEED to watch this music video today—all of the music, other than the vocals, come from a collection of obsolete gadgets. It’s amazing and cute.

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