Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

+ READ ARTICLE

The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Fighting Detroit's foreclosure crisis

Everyone has heard about the $100 homes in Detroit. What tends to stay under the radar is how many people are losing their houses altogether.

In Wayne County alone, experts predict there will be as many as 75,000 homes in foreclosure this year. That is an epidemic of dramatic proportions. The county government believes it will see about $44 million less in property taxes because of foreclosures and related housing issues.

RealtyTrac Inc., which follows foreclosure numbers, ranked Michigan as having the 7th highest foreclosure rate in the nation in October. A total of 16,468 Michigan properties received a foreclosure filing last month, an increase of nearly 45 percent from October 2008. One in every 275 households in Michigan received a filing notice in October.

People become paralyzed when they receive a foreclosure notice. They stop opening their mail. They contact a for-profit company for help.

Enter Jamele Hage and the Wayne County Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program.

The non-profit program provides comprehensive education, counseling, referral, intervention and other support services at no cost to Wayne County residents who are in delinquency, foreclosure or who have a mortgage product that the resident thinks may become a problem.

Hage, an attorney, was sitting next to County Executive Robert Ficano at a meeting in late 2007 when he whispered in her ear. The county needed a foreclosure program. And she should start it. It was either volunteer or be drafted, so this mother of three designed the MFPP. (She still serves as assistant corporation counsel for Wayne County and has nearly 20 years of legal experience.)

Ficano gave her $3,000 to start the program. They got a little office space on the 7th floor of a building on Temple, but they had to salvage office furniture from the basement. One staffer is a former client; she came in as a volunteer to help handle the overflowing voicemail and never left. Hage said the program is about results, not impressive titles or desks.

“We're putting our resources into the quality of the project,” Hage said.

Since its inception, the program has kept nearly 2,000 residents in their homes. Program administrators cannot help everyone they see; only about 45 to 60 percent can retain their homes. Hage said MFPP can give those who are unable to meet even a revised payment schedule a dignified way to exit their home and avoid having a foreclosure on their record.

“This is Neighborhood Stability 101,” Hage said.

What makes the MFPP unique is it has been set up – thanks to Hage's insistence – to be an almost entirely online application process. An Internet-based program lets people start their own casefile. Within hours, one of 48 housing counselors immediately take up the case and start filing paperwork to slow down or stop the foreclosure. Then, the staff analyzes the situation, calls the lender or bank and tries to mediate the situation and find a solution.

"It is, and always will be, a real team effort. I cannot do this without my team," Hage said.

If an applicant cannot use a computer, someone at the office will sit down with them at a desktop in the office and walk them through the process. Everything is completely confidential. No information is shared outside of the office.

Nationally, programs like this have home-retention rates of about 30 percent. Wayne County's rate is about 45 percent to as high as 60 percent. Wayne County's program has worked so well that the region's three other counties – Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw – are starting their own programs based on its experience. Las Vegas is in the process of opening their own version of the program as well.

“The epicenter is Detroit. Now, it's like waves moving out,” Hage said. “There are new battlegrounds: Livonia, Northville, Canton, Grosse Pointe. … Every single person has an obligation to push this program to everyone you know.”

Why should anyone care about foreclosures in Metro Detroit? Because it is one more nail in the coffin. For every foreclosed house within a 10-block radius, your property values drop 1 to 2 percent. That affects the whole community. It makes neighborhood open to crime, abandonment. It strains then destroys area businesses.

For information, contact the Wayne County Mortgage Foreclosure Program at 877-693-6199 or (313) 833-2948. Its web site is here. Another resource is the United Way's 211 hotline – it is a referral number for social services and other assistance programs.

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 Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

+ READ ARTICLE

The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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 MIT Student Creates Connect Four Playing Robot for Course Final - TIME
TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on

+ READ ARTICLE

When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

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