Charity auctions are hardly unique — but ones with rewards like this certainly are. The RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights Auction ($150 and up) includes a huge range of experiences and packages for you to bid on, from tickets to comedy shows, sporting events, and concerts, to meet, drink, dine, and even act with celebrities like Peyton Manning, Francis Ford Coppola, Alec Baldwin, Robert DeNiro, Anderson Cooper, or even Apple CEO Tim Cook — which might be the most valuable face time of all. Pun intended. No matter what you bid on, though, you can feel good knowing your money will go to help promote human rights advocacy around the world.
We love taking pictures with our iPhones, but sometimes we wish there was a way to share them that didn't involve glowing screens. The Mosaic Photo Book ($20) is looking to meet that need. Arriving in the form of an app, Mosaic lets you choose twenty photos to fill your book, then order it right from your phone. Your book will be printed within 48 hours and shipped via second day air, so before you know it, you'll have your own linen-covered, 7-inch square keepsake that doesn't require a battery to use.
It was plenty handy when it launched, and now that we're all carrying around phones and tablets that make for perfect reading canvases, it's downright indispensable. Instapaper (Free to signup, $5 app) is, for the uninitiated, an online service that lets you save nearly any webpage for later reading, thankfully stripping away nasty ads, formatting, and any other potential distractions, leaving you with nothing but beautiful words. And now, thanks to the latest iOS app update, you can also quickly browse through any links your friends are sharing on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, transforming it from a simple reading tool to a constantly-updated source of awesome articles.
We can't say we're really surprised by this new Instagram Blurb Book ($11 and up) service — after all, iPhoto's been letting us order books of our digital photos since before we had decent enough cameras to take them with. But unlike those books, these are based on the photo's you've taken with your iPhone and uploaded to Instagram, which means you need Blurb's special image resolution enhancement and high-quality printing to get the most out what are really glorified cell phone pics.
Finally. As our European friends have been telling us for years, Spotify ($Free) is what the long-rumored iTunes subscription service was supposed to be. Boasting a catalog of 15 million songs, it lets you search for and listen to specific songs, artists, and entire albums (for up to 10 hours a month), after which you'll need to pony up $5 for the Premium service and unlimited computer-based listening or $10 for the Unlimited service, which gives you app access from your iPhone or Android device, the ability to download music for listening offline, enhanced sound quality, and much more. Sorry iTunes Match, but you're no match for this.
Thanks to our friends at Chevy, we've got 300 early access invites to Spotify. Get 'em while you can.
Let's face it: fax machines are damned irritating. Like a local newscast that refuses to go HD, it's a relic of a time before the Internet was ubiquitous and used for everything from business correspondence to grocery shopping. HelloFax ($5 and up) aims to bridge this gap by offering online faxing services that let you send, receive, fill out, and even sign faxes straight from your web browser, giving you one less thing you have to print out.
We're already living in the future, so why is it we still need silly things like cash and credit cards? Google Wallet (Free) is aiming to get rid of those relics from a bygone era by connecting your credit card — Citi MasterCards or Google Prepaid cards only, to start — with your NFC-capable Android phone to let you pay at any PayPass-capable terminal, and also letting you take advantage of exclusive Google Offers to help you save money at the same time. Next up? The flying car.
Our thanks to Gillette for sponsoring our mobile articles this month.
Like Doc Brown's message to Marty from 1885 to 1955, you can now send honest-to-goodness telegrams across the ocean or across time with Telegram Stop ($6). This ingenious online service allows you to type in your message — complete with -(STOP)- for periods and full stops — and send it on a vintage-looking card to anyone you want at any (current or future) time you want, replacing a simple electronic communiqué with something much more permanent and memorable. You can even upload photos to be printed and sent along with your message. Take that, MMS.
We love ninjas, pirates, robots, and zombies here at Uncrate HQ, but there's only one of those that we'd actually consider becoming. Private Ninja Lessons ($200) can help you on your way to becoming a stealth assassin or just improving your self-defense skills. The 90-minute sessions — held in Bronxville, NY — are led by an actual Shidoshi, and include history, tradition, and philosophy lessons before the ninjutsu-based self-defense, awareness, and combat strategy practice begins, possibly including some weapons training, but most likely not teaching you how to effectively throw a ninja star.
Finally, you can watch Hulu on your TV, iPhone, or iPad — so long as you're willing to pay for it. Hulu Plus ($10) is a new ad-supported subscription service from the online video house that lets users watch a huge number of shows — including current season episodes of shows like 30 Rock, Modern Family, and Family Guy, as well as the entire run of classics like The X-Files, Arrested Development, and Miami Vice — in streaming 720p HD on a wide range of devices, including Internet-enabled TVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung and Sony, the PS3, the Xbox 360, and, of course, Apple's iDevices.
Keep your eyes glued to the action, no matter where you go, with the FLO TV Personal Television ($200). The service offers live and time-shifted content from leading channels such as ESPN, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, NBC, Fox, and more, all of which can be enjoyed on the player's 3.5-inch touchscreen, with a built-in stand and stereo speakers adding to the experience. Also awesome is availability of UFC events and the live mobile coverage of all 64 matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, including a dedicated 24-hour World Cup channel, so you can relive all of the bad calls over and over again.
Continuing our 5th anniversary celebration, we're giving away 5 of these bad boys. To enter, just make sure you're subscribed to our daily dispatch. We'll choose one of you gents at random, and you'll be watching Landon here squeak to the knockout round.
There's few things we hate more than having to give up a beloved pair of jeans because of wear, tears, or holes that outgrew their stylishness. Luckily, we no longer have to. Denim Therapy ($7/inch) is a jean repair service that works miracles on broken denim, restoring pair after pair to respectable-or-better condition while retaining all the marks, softness, and fit that some from a well-worn pair of leg covers. For those of us who've made a semi-serious investment in our jeans, it's a life saver, and you don't even have to leave the house — which is great, because you'll be pants-less for about two weeks.