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The U.S. no longer requires Apple’s assistance to unlock an iPhone 5s phone running iOS 7 used by the accused in a drug investigation, stating that an “individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case.”

The Department of Justice has withdrawn its application in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

DOJ had earlier appealed to District Judge Margo K. Brodie an order from Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, ruling that Apple could not be forced to provide assistance to the government to extract data from the iPhone 5s.

“Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case,” DOJ wrote in a filing to the court late Friday. “Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone.” The filing did not provide information on who the individual was and in what capacity he was acting.

Jun Feng, the accused in the methamphetamine possession and distribution investigation, provided the passcode to investigators, said The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the matter. Feng has already pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced. He had earlier told investigators that he didn’t remember the passcode.

The filing in the New York court has parallels to another dispute between Apple and the government over assistance in cracking an iPhone 5c running iOS 9 used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino killings in December. In that case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the government had demanded Apple’s assistance but later asked the court to vacate its order as it had accessed data stored on the phone, using a tool from a third party.

The tool addressed only a “narrow slice” of iPhones, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said earlier this month. While it could unlock the the iPhone 5c running iOS 9, the tool does not work on the iPhone 5s or 6, he said. Apple, meanwhile, demanded to know in the New York case whether the government had exhausted all other options to get to the data.

Judge Orenstein had ruled that Apple can’t be forced to extract data from the iPhone 5s under a statute called the All Writs Act, the same law invoked in the California case.

The government’s reading of the All Writs Act, a statute enacted in 1789 and commonly invoked by law enforcement agencies to get assistance from tech companies on similar matters, would change the purpose of the law “from a limited gap-filing statute that ensures the smooth functioning of the judiciary itself into a mechanism for upending the separation of powers by delegating to the judiciary a legislative power bounded only by Congress’s superior ability to prohibit or preempt,” Orenstein had written in his order.

The government’s withdrawal of its demand for Apple’s assistance in both the New York and California cases leaves unresolved a key legal issue whether the government can compel device makers to help break the encryption and other security in their products, which is an issue of significance both to tech companies and privacy groups.

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Top 10 Ways To Fix “Last Line No Longer Available” On Iphone

iOS sometimes has trouble detecting your preferred calling line, especially if you have different phone plans linked to your iPhone. So when you dial a number, it displays the “Last Line No Longer Available” error and prompts you to “call using your remaining line.”

This error often happens on Dual-SIM iPhone models, but users with single-SIM iPhones also get the error sometimes. We’ll show you different ways to fix the issue.

Table of Contents

1. Set Default Line for Affected Contacts

Do you get the “Last Line No Longer Available” error for a particular contact or phone number? Configure your iPhone to start calls and message conversations with the contact/number from your preferred line.

Open your call log and tap the

info icon

next to the contact or phone number.

Tap the

last used: “” (unavailable)

option below the contact name or number.

Select your


or preferred phone number in the “Always Use” section.

You should no longer get the “Last Line No Longer Available” error when you redial the number. Try other troubleshooting solutions below if the error persists.

2. Clear Your Recent Call Log

Deleting the entire Recents call list in the Phone app fixed the issue for some iPhone users. If the error pops up for a specific person/number, delete the number/contact from your call log, and redial the number. Clear your entire call history if the error pops up when you dial any number.

Note: If the number isn’t in your Contacts, write it down or copy it to your clipboard before clearing your call log. Tap the info icon next to the phone number, long-press the number, and tap Copy.

Open the Phone app, head to the Recents tab, and tap Edit in the top-right corner. Next, tap the red minus icon next to the number/contact and Delete. Repeat this step for all entries of the phone number or contact in your call log.

Tap Clear in the top-left corner to clear out your entire call log and tap Clear All Recents on the pop-up.

Redial the phone number or contact and check if clearing your call log resolved the issue.

3. Re-Enable Airplane Mode

Airplane mode refreshes your iPhone cellular network modem and could fix the “Last Line No Longer Available” error. Turn airplane mode on and back off, redial the number, and check if the call goes through.

Open your iPhone’s Control Center, tap the Airplane icon, wait 10-30 seconds, and tap the Airplane icon again.

Alternatively, open the Settings app, toggle on Airplane Mode, and turn it back off in 10-30 seconds.

4. Turn Off Wi-Fi Calling

Making calls over Wi-Fi can interfere with regular cellular calls and trigger the “Last Line No Longer Available” error. Temporarily disable Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone and check if that resolves the issue.

5. Disable Automatic Network Selection

Cellular network providers recommend allowing your iPhone to choose the best available cellular network in your location. However, the feature sometimes prompts the “Last Line No Longer Available” error on iPhones with e-SIM or dual SIM functionality.

Open the


app, select



Mobile Data

, and tap

Network Selection


Toggle off


and wait for your iPhone to load all available networks in your region.

Select your preferred network provider and check if you can now make calls in the phone app.

6. Reinsert Your SIM Card

Problems with your SIM card can prevent your iPhone from making cellular calls. Removing and reinserting the SIM tray might fix the issue if you use a physical SIM card.

7. Check for Carrier Settings Update

8. Reboot Your iPhone

Press and hold the Side button and Volume Up/Volume Down button for 3-5 seconds. Then, drag the slide to power off slider and wait 10-30 seconds for your iPhone to shut down completely.

To reboot your iPhone, press the Side/Power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.

9. Update Your iPhone

Apple often releases software updates that fix issues with cellular phone calls. Check your iPhone’s Software Update menu and install the latest version available.

Downgrade to a previous stable iOS version if you’re getting the “Last Line No Longer Available” after updating your iPhone.

10. Reset Your iPhone’s Network Settings

Resetting your iPhone’s network settings can fix cellular and network connectivity problems.

Enter your iPhone’s passcode and tap

Reset Network Settings

on the pop-up.

Dial the phone number when your iPhone comes back on after the network settings reset.

Fix Last Line No Longer Available Error

We discovered that this error is prevalent among iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models running iOS 15 and iOS 16. Contact Apple Support or visit a nearby Apple Store if the issue persists after trying these troubleshooting fixes.

Honor Magicbook 14 (2023) Review: No Longer A No


Stylish design

Powerful components

Nice keyboard

Above average speakers


Minimal performance gain

Worse battery life

New display only on top model

Limited ports

Our Verdict

Putting new Intel chips inside the same laptop with a sizeable price hike makes for a hard sell, when the MagicBook 14 had previously nailed the mid-range value option.

The Honor MagicBook 14 has been one of the best-value laptops you could buy for the past couple of years, offering a brilliant all-round package of design, specs, performance and features. Its new model for 2023 makes the switch from AMD to Intel chips, and becomes a lot more expensive in the process.

Models vary by region but there are those with the Core i5 and Core i7. I’ve tested the latter which features the same CPU found in the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2023).

While the MagicBook was previously a mid-range laptop, the new top-end specs, and the accompanying price, mean it now has some stiff competition.

Design & Build

Externally, the new MagicBook 14 looks no different to the previous model we tested in late 2023 – and that was no different to the original. That’s perhaps not a surprise as 2023 is very much a year of laptops getting internal rather than cosmetic upgrades.

It’s also not a surprise because this is a good looking laptop, although I wouldn’t be complaining if Honor had managed to trim a little off here and there. Still, at 15.9mm and 1.38kg, it’s perfectly portable.

The aluminium chassis is robust and provides a high-end look and feel. I particularly like the bevelled edge around the lid that’s coloured blue to match the logo, which stands out as the light catches it. It comes in Space Grey and Mystic Silver.

It’s certainly more attractive than many mid-range laptops we’ve tested, with the plastic bezel around the screen the only real element that sets the MagicBook 14 apart from flagship models. That bezel is very thin (4.8mm) around three sides which results in a screen-to-body ratio of 84%.

One could argue that the part of the bezel at the top is too thin as, like all Honor and Huawei laptops, there’s no room there for a webcam. Instead, that lives in a pop-up key in the keyboard. It’s a neat solution for privacy but if you make lot of video calls then the angle is very awkward and unflattering.

There’s no SD card slot but the MagicBook 14 has a reasonable range of ports including HDMI, two full-size USB-A ports, a headphone jack and USB-C. The latter is used for charging but doesn’t support Thunderbolt.

It’s also worth noting that one of the USB-A ports (the one on the right side) is the old 2.0 version. That’s fine for a mouse, but the 3.2 Gen 1 USB-A port on the other side is around seven times faster for file transfers: it took just 20 seconds to move a 6GB folder from an external SSD compared to over two and a half minutes with the USB 2.0 port.

Honor doesn’t state the speed of the USB-C port, but you’ll want to use it primarily for power as it could only manage USB 2.0 speeds in my tests.

Keyboard & Trackpad

This is an area where laptop makers often save a bit of cash but the keyboard and trackpad on the MagicBook 14 are suitably decent.

Typing is a pleasant experience with the keys offering a speedy and responsive action. The keyboard is also backlit and offers two levels of brightness, plus a top row of ‘F’ and function keys making it quick to access various controls.

It’s not flawless as, like most laptops, has tiny half-size up and down arrow keys, unlike the layout on a full-size desktop keyboard. That’s about my only complaint, though.

Like the Huawei MateBook 14, there’s a power button with an embedded fingerprint scanner. It works well and provides a quick and easy way to log in as we’re all so accustomed to on smartphones.

Screen & Speakers

As mentioned earlier, the laptop has a plastic bezel around the display (Huawei’s MateBook versions have a glass front) but that doesn’t mean the screen quality is poor. In fact, this is a decent screen and is a classic area where you tend to see corners cut when not spending the big bucks.

As the name suggests, this is a 14in screen and offers a Full HD resolution (there’s also a MagicBook 15 if you want a larger display). It might look the same as its predecessor but offers better performance with better brightness and colour reproduction, according to Honor.

This checked out in testing. The trusty SpyderX colorimeter showed the screen can reach 354 nits, 99% of sRGB and 75% of both Adobe RGB and P3. The previous model topped out at just 220 nits and a mediocre 63% sRGB and 47% for Adobe/P3.

That all makes for a noticeable improvement and the lack of a glass front (as seen on the MateBook) means fewer reflections. Indeed, the matte finish combined with the good brightness levels means it’s suitable for use in a range of situations.

However, only one model in the range has this display: the one with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The others have a lower-grade display of unspecified quality.

If it’s of any use to you, the hinge allows the screen to fold flat against your desk. More important to note is that Honor doesn’t offer any touchscreen options in the range.

Like most laptops, the stereo speakers are underneath but unlike most of those, these sound very good. There’s a nice balance of tones and even a slight warmth of bass. They even sound good without having to pump the volume, with 60% plenty enough to make music loud, avoiding distortion.

Honor says the speakers offer virtual surround sound but I didn’t find they provided such an experience.

Specs & Performance

One of the major changes to the MagicBook 14 (and 15) this year is the switch to Intel chips. It’s interesting considering Huawei moved to AMD for the MateBook last year and the Ryzen processors have been excellent choices.

Nevertheless, Honor has gone with Intel’s latest 11th-gen Tiger Lake silicon here (just like like many rivals) and there’s a simple choice of a Core i5-1135G7 or a Core i7-1165G7.

This particular configuration, then, really isn’t a mid-range laptop anymore and matches the core specs of the flagship Huawei MateBook X Pro (2023).

Performance is great, tackling demanding tasks with ease, despite not having a separate GPU. Still, the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics is powerful enough to handle photo editing and some gaming as long as you don’t expect too much: this isn’t a gaming laptop.

As you can see below, the Honor MagicBook 14 benchmarked very well compared to its predecessor as well as rivals. Beating the XPS 13 and X Pro is impressive, however, it’s not a big jump with 300 extra points in Geekbench 5 compared to its predecessor and that’s not even against an equivalent Ryzen 7.

It put into question whether the price hike is worth it.

The MagicBook 14 has a dual heat pipe and 38% better air intake compared to the previous generation. I found the ‘Supersized’ fan kicked in for demanding tasks and sometimes when charging but it’s a fairly quiet fan.

In terms of wireless, you get the latest standards in Bluetooth 5.1 and Wi-Fi 6 with 2X2 MIMO Dual Antenna.

Battery Life

There’s no improvement in battery life compared to the previous MagicBook 14 we tested. When playing a looped HD video with the brightness set at 120 nits – a result of 11 hours and 35 minutes is still solid, if unremarkable these days.

The late 2023 MagicBook 14 lasted over 13 hours so things have gone slightly backwards. Note that if you’re thinking about the MagicBook 15, this has a smaller battery at 42Wh compared to 56Wh and Honor claims it lasts for only 7.6 hours.

Charging remains speedy at 65W and there’s no in-line power brick, so the charger is more like a smartphone’s with a USB-C to USB-C cable. This makes it easier to carry around and can be used for other devices, too. Just note that the brick is a little wide so may impede adjacent sockets when plugged in.

Charging the MagicBook 14 from completely empty in our usual 30-minute test saw it reach 39%. That’s 5% off what Honor says and what we found on the previous model, but still a decent speed.


Windows 10 Home comes as standard here but Honor adds a couple of useful features on the software front starting with a PC Manger for controlling things like the power plan and drivers. This is also a pop-out bar with other handy bits like notifications, documents, clipboard and basic apps.

The main thing you’ll want to use is the Honor Magiclink which allows you to pair a smartphone with the laptop via an NFC chip – the sticker in the corner. Once connected you can transfer files easily, take calls on the MagicBook, create an instant hotspot and use the phone’s interface on the laptop.

The caveat is that you need an Honor or  Huawei phone running EMUI 9.0 or Magic UI 2.0 or later for compatibility.

I didn’t have a compatible phone to test this out but it’s effectively the same as Huawei Share on the MateBook 14 which I did find useful when reviewing that.

Even if you don’t have a compatible phone, you can use the My Phone app to connect any Android phone and get a similar experience.


At the time of writing, I’m still waiting for final confirmation of which models will be on sale in the UK and other markets. Things are relatively simple though, it seems, with a choice of Core i5/i7, either 8- or 16GB of RAM and either 256- or 512GB of storage.

I do know the Core i5 model costs £799 or €849 (with an assumed 8GB/256GB) and the Core i7 model with 16/512GB tested here is €1199 – UK price TBC, although we can guess at £1,149. They will be available from Amazon but have not appeared yet.

With the previous MagicBook 14 models priced at £549 then £669, Honor has not taken long to move out of that affordable mid-range price bracket and into the more premium space.

This means it has a different set of rivals including the Dell XPS 13, HP Envy 13, Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 to name but three.

See other rivals in our best laptop chart.


While the upgrades are welcome, it might not have been the best decision for Honor to move into the premium end of the laptop market.

The MagicBook 14 was one of the best – if not the best – value-for-money laptops you could buy, but now it competes with flagship models from the top names.

Don’t get me wrong, performance of the top-of-the-range model I tested is excellent and the display is a big improvement on the previous generation. And it still comes in a stylish and well-made chassis. But you’d expect these things given the corresponding increase in price.

However, the Core i5 model doesn’t get that improved display and even the Core i7 isn’t a big improvement compared to the Ryzen 5 in the last model and battery life has gone backwards.

At this price, things that were previously acceptable due to the much lower price are now more obviously downsides when compared to rivals.

The webcam – now a more important part of a laptop than ever – is awkwardly positioned and there’s only one fast USB port, which isn’t even the USB-C one. There’s no SD card reader and there are other signs of its mid-range past such as a plastic screen bezel and trackpad.

This is still a good laptop, but you should consider its rivals as well as the older AMD-powered models which you may well find at more tempting prices.

Specs Honor MagicBook 14 (2023): Specs

Windows 10 Home

14in FullView LCD display, Full HD (1920 x 1080)

100sRGB (available on 16/512 model)

Intel Core i5-1135G7 or Core i7-1165G7

Intel Iris Xe Graphics

8/16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel RAM

256/512GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage

1x USB-C

1x USB-A 2.0

1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1

HDMI out

3.5mm headphone jack

Wi-Fi 6 2×2 MIMO

Bluetooth 5.1

Honor MagicLink 2.0

720p pop-up webcam (720p)

Fingerprint sensor

Stereo speakers

56Wh battery (10.5hr battery life)

65W Type-C fast charger

322.5 x 214.8 x 15.9mm


Space Grey or Mystic Silver

Otterbox Unveils New ‘Otter + Pop’ Case For Iphone W/ Built

OtterBox announced at CES 2023 today that it is partnering with PopSockets on a case designed specifically with PopGrips in mind. PopSockets are the incredibly popular plastic circles that people are attaching to the back of their iPhones.

The new “Otter + Pop” case from OtterBox + PopSockets aims to fix a few of the biggest annoyances with the concept…

The Otter + Pop case is part of Otterbox’s Symmetry Series, which is its sleek line of cases for the iPhone. On the surface, the Otter + Pop looks very similar to other Symmetry cases, but the back is where things get interesting.

On the back, you’ll find a built-in PopGrip. What’s notable here, however, is that the PopTop lays completely flush with the case. This means there is no bulge on the back of your iPhone because of your PopSocket when it’s not in use. This fixes one of the biggest annoyances with the traditional PopSocket design.

“OtterBox and PopSockets collaborating on an integrated case was a no-brainer,” said Jim Parke, OtterBox CEO. “Our fans love variety, customization and sleek protection. With Otter + Pop, we can deliver that in one thin iPhone case that combines our legacy of protection with all of the unique attributes that PopSockets delivers.”

Further, the PopTop can be removed with ease, allowing you to swap designs and even remove it completely if you so desire. Individual PopTops can be purchased starting at $8, allowing you to diversify your phone’s apparel.

The PopSocket has become an incredibly popular trend, especially among younger iPhone users. It offers several benefits, including easier one-handed use and providing a built-in kickstand. Many people, however, have found the cumbersome design to outweigh those benefits, but that seems to be the exact problem Otterbox is looking to solve.

The Otter + Pop cases will go on sale later this spring in three colors: black, blue, and mauve. According to The Verge will be available for the iPhone XS, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. There is no iPhone XR version, and we’ve reached out to ask about the iPhone XS Max. Prices start at $59.95.

If you want to try out the concept of a PopSocket before dropping $60 on Otterbox’s case, they are available for under $10 on Amazon.

OtterBox and PopSockets Announce Swappable, Unstoppable Otter + Pop

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Jan. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — OtterBox Symmetry Series and PopSockets PopGrips are a match made in heaven. Championed by trendsetters everywhere, the combination is now available in a truly integrated fashion. Introducing Otter + Pop, a Symmetry Series case with built-in PopGrip and swappable PopTops to create a completely customizable experience for every look, style, scene or vibe.1

Otter + Pop is coming soon for iPhone in a variety of swappable, unstoppable combinations.

“OtterBox and PopSockets collaborating on an integrated case was a no-brainer,” said Jim Parke, OtterBox CEO. “Our fans love variety, customization and sleek protection. With Otter + Pop, we can deliver that in one thin iPhone case that combines our legacy of protection with all of the unique attributes that PopSockets delivers.”

“A case with an integrated, swappable PopSockets grip, made by the strongest case brand in the world, which happens also to be a Colorado company? Sounds like a good idea to me,” said David Barnett, PopSockets founder and CEO.

Otter + Pop combines the streamlined design of Symmetry Series with the versatility of a PopGrip to make iPhone easier to use than ever before. It starts with a sleek, one-piece iPhone case that protects against drops and bumps. The integrated PopGrip lays flush with the case when not in use and provides easier one-handed operation and hands-free viewing when needed most.

Swappable PopTops make customizing the case for any occasion a breeze. Each case comes with a case-matched PopTop color, but any swappable PopTop can be used with a simple turn and a snap to create a one-of-a-kind swappable, unstoppable look.

Otter + Pop is coming soon for iPhone on chúng tôi and chúng tôi Select swappable PopTops will also be available to match each case color. Otter + Pop will start at $59.95 MSRP, while individual swappable PopTops will start at $8 MSRP.

About OtterBox:

OtterBox innovates bold products that deliver confidence and trust in any pursuit. From its humble beginnings with a drybox in a Fort Collins, Colo., garage, OtterBox has honed and leveraged its expertise in manufacturing and design to become the No. 1-selling smartphone case brand in the U.S. and a leader in rugged outdoor lifestyle products.2

About PopSockets:

David Barnett is the founder and CEO of PopSockets. He was a philosophy major at Emory, a physics major at University of Colorado Boulder, received his PhD in philosophy from NYU, and from 2005-2023 was a philosophy professor at University of Colorado Boulder. His research specialized in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind, before he reached enlightenment, stopped doing philosophy, and became an entrepreneur.

In 2010, Barnett was looking for a way to stop his earbud cord from getting tangled, and he achieved this by gluing two buttons to the back of his phone and wrapping the earbud cord around the buttons. As ugly as the buttons were, they worked. In the course of improving on the idea, he developed about 60 different prototypes, making the buttons expand and collapse via an accordion mechanism, so that they could function as both a stand and a grip. In 2012, Barnett launched a KickStarter campaign for an iPhone case that would have two PopSockets grips integrated into the case. In addition to getting successfully funded, the KickStarter campaign enabled Barnett to show the world his dancing prowess. Two years later, in 2014, Barnett launched the business out of his garage in Boulder, Colorado, and has subsequently sold over 40 million PopSockets grips around the world.


1 Symmetry Series is NOT protective against water. Will provide added protection against drops and shock.

2 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service: Cell Phone Device Protection / Units Sold / January 2023 – June 2023

©2023 Otter Products, LLC. All rights reserved. The OtterBox name and OtterBox trademarks are the property of Otter Products, LLC, registered in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Florida, California, Washington D.c. And New York City To Receive Retired Space Shuttles

[Updated] After the final flight this summer, America’s space shuttles will retire to four locations across the continent, from California to Florida. Houston, home of Mission Control, was snubbed — it will receive shuttle seats, with actual training simulators leaving the JSC grounds for other museums in the midwest.

Atlantis will go to KSC, home of every historic launch in NASA history. The news provoked cheers from the audience assembled to hear NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announce the orbiters’ new homes, on the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle flight and the 50th anniversary of the first human spaceflight. Millions of visitors to KSC and the other institutions will be inspired by the chance to see a real, flown shuttle, he said.

Endeavour will wind up at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Bolden said.

Discovery, the first shuttle to officially retire and NASA’s most-traveled orbiter, will go to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Space shuttle Enterprise, which never reached orbit but served as the first test vehicle, already inhabits that space, and it will be transferred to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York.

“Take care of our shuttles,” Bolden told the recipients, his voice breaking, as it did several times throughout his speech.

Olga Dominguez, assistant administrator for NASA’s Office of Strategic Infrastructure, led the process of determining where the shuttles would wind up. In a press conference Tuesday, Dominguez said her office studied each location’s regional population and its potential for broad domestic and international access, as well as cost of transporting the orbiters and other factors.

“It is unfortunate that the middle of the country did not fare as well as the coasts,” she said. “But we are giving them many of our specialized simulators … they will also have a wonderful story to tell about NASA and about the space program.”

Many other institutions had lobbied for shuttles, most notably Johnson Space Center, home of NASA’s Mission Control. JSC will receive seats flown on the shuttle, Dominguez said. Houstonians were upset, to say the least; several media representatives peppered Dominguez with questions about why the nation’s fourth-largest city did not get a shuttle. One reporter asked where Houston failed.

“Houston did not in any way, shape or form fail,” Dominguez replied. “We simply did not have enough to go around.”

Several other museums and educational institutions will be allocated various shuttle artifacts, Dominguez said. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago and Texas A&M University will each get shuttle simulators; the Museum of Flight in Seattle, which is building a new wing, will receive a full-size fuselage training module; and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, will get a crew-compartment training module.

Congress had directed NASA to look at each location’s connection to the space program, and Dominguez noted several connections in New York, L.A. and Florida. The shuttles were designed at Rockwell International outside L.A., and Edwards Air Force Base, their backup landing site, is nearby; the USS Intrepid, now a museum in New York, served as the primary recovery ship for the Mercury 7 capsule; and the Smithsonian is the curator of Enterprise, along with many other national space treasures.

But she didn’t mention Houston, where most astronauts live, and whose connections to the space program are more immediately obvious than those of New York or L.A.

In his speech earlier Tuesday, Bolden said he appreciated the KSC employees’ gratitude, and acknowledged it had been a difficult decision. He promised other competing institutions would receive shuttle components and hardware.

Bolden, a former astronaut who flew on Atlantis, teared up while he spoke of the crew members who perished in the Columbia and Challenger disasters. “They were all true American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

“NASA is focused first and foremost on safely flying the last two flights,” she said.

Bolden also told NASA employees to stay focused on ensuring the final two missions are completed safely. He also had hopeful words for the post-shuttle era: “We will continue to lead the world in human exploration and discovery, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” he said.

Everyone who spoke on Tuesday’s shuttle commemoration celebrations had similar words, hoping for a future successor that will again send Americans into space. But they carefully sidestepped the fact that NASA does not yet have one.

The orbiters are slated to reach their final destinations by the end of 2012.

No Apple? No Problem! New Toys Take Center Stage At Macworld Expo

Macworld Expo without Apple is a smaller, lower-key affair, but that hasn’t kept Apple enthusiasts from attending the show. The show floor is as packed with attendees as ever, despite Apple’s absence. And in a sense, the lack of Apple isn’t such a bad thing, as it lets the show’s focus shift from the giant Apple booth to smaller vendors, some of which had impressive wares.

As you might expect, most of the products are Mac-only, but they’re interesting and unique enough that any geek will appreciate them. Here are a few apps and gadgets that caught my eye during a day on the show floor.

Inklet: Turn Your Trackpad Into a Tablet

Inklet is a software add-on for Mac OS X that lets you use the multitouch trackpad on recent Apple notebooks as a graphics tablet. To use it, hit the designated hotkey; a drawing area will appear on your screen. To draw, you can either use your fingertip on the trackpad, or use the Pogo Sketch stylus ($15). In my brief hands-on, I found it a little awkward to use, so you’ll probably experience a bit of a learning curve. The Inklet software costs $25, but you can download the trial from the Ten One Design site.

GameSalad: Develop Games Without Learning to Program

GameSalad is a developer tool that makes it possible for anyone to create a game without having to learn how to write code. It uses a drag-and-drop interface similar to that used in Apple’s Automator scripting software.

Drag in an image–a space ship, for example–then add in “rules” which tell it how to respond to your interaction. In a brief demo, I dragged in a spaceship image, then assigned rules which told it to turn left when I pressed the left arrow key, and right when I pressed the right-arrow key.

Using GameSalad, you can create games for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Mac OS X, and the Web. The (Mac only) development kit is a free download from the GameSalad site, though you’ll need to pay an annual fee to create and publish iPhone games (fees start at $99 per year). If you’re less interested in buiding games and more interested in playing them, see the GameSalad games browser.

Djay: Remix Your iTunes Library

Are you a DJ or music enthusiast? If so, you may want to look at Djay. This $50 Mac application lets you remix music directly from your iTunes library. With it you can mix multiple songs, “scratch” the virtual records with the trackpad, or create an “automix,” which will automatically mix your music. Djay also works with the Vestax Spin controller, a $250 MIDI controller available through the Apple Online Store.

Tunebug Shake: Turn Your Bike Helmet Into a Speaker

The Tunebug Shake is a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s similar to the Kerchoonz K-Box: It turns the surface it comes in contact with into a speaker. In the Shake’s case, the surface in question is your bike helmet. The Shake comes with two mounts: The Gecko Mount for skater and snowboard helmets, and the TuneStrap mount for more typical bike helmets.

You can preorder the Shake–and its sibling, the Vibe–from the Tunebug site. The Shake costs $120, while the Vibe–effectively a corded version of the Shake–costs around $70.

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