Brushing your teeth with a smart toothbrush is unnecessarily arduous

See the original posting on The Verge

My family freaked out when electric toothbrushes came out. They’re passionate about oral health, and, finally, they could own a tool that’s more on par with a dentist’s. So everyone in my family now has an electric toothbrush.

The excitement hasn’t continued with the announcement of smart toothbrushes. Do we need a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush? Will that really enhance the mundane brushing experience?

I brought the Colgate E1, the Sonicare DiamondClean Smart, and the Playbrush on Circuit Breaker Live to find out. Unlike the other two brushes, the Playbrush is just a Bluetooth dongle that fits any regular, non-electric toothbrush. I’ve been testing the Sonicare for a few months at home, and within a week, I had already given up on…

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Samsung’s Galaxy S9 launch video leaks out

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We already knew the vast majority of novelties and innovations set to debut at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event tomorrow. The only thing we were missing was a well-produced video running us through the new Galaxy S9’s features, and Samsung has kindly obliged — courtesy of its launch video, which managed to sneak out in public a little bit early.

“The Phone. Reimagined.” is the tagline for the new device, which is set to be the first smartphone with a dual-aperture camera while keeping most of the other specs relatively unchanged from the predecessor Galaxy S8. The video shows a new built-in automatic translator in Samsung’s camera app, which looks to work very much like Google Translate’s option for live translation via the camera….

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These Small PCBs are Made for Model Rocketry

See the original posting on Hackaday

Model rocketry hobbyists are familiar with the need to roll their own solutions when putting high-tech features into rockets, and a desire to include a microcontroller in a rocket while still keeping things flexible and modular is what led [concretedog] to design a system using 22 mm diameter stackable PCBs designed to easily fit inside rocket bodies. The system uses a couple of 2 mm threaded rods for robust mounting and provides an ATTiny85 microcontroller, power control, and an optional small prototyping area. Making self-contained modular sleds that fit easily into rocket bodies (or any tube with a roughly one-inch …read more

The simple joy of projecting a horse on your friend

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For my work job, I was handed a Nebula Capsule to review. The portable projector is the size of a soda can, it runs Android TV, and it has a surprisingly loud built-in speaker. The 100 lumens of brightness isn’t a lot, and neither is the 480 x 854 resolution, but it works acceptably for watching YouTube or Netflix in a dark room on a white wall. It’s not nearly as powerful as its well-received larger sibling, the Nebula Mars, but it is much more portable.

Unfortunately, this projector has a fatal flaw: a terrible IR remote that only picks up on about half of my click attempts, no matter where I aim it. This is absolutely the most painful when attempting to type in a Wi-Fi password using the remote’s D-pad, but it’s bad enough that just…

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Why Ellen Page loves horror when she can’t stand gore

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To mainstream viewers, Ellen Page is probably best known as the eerily composed star of the revenge-horror movie Hard Candy, the roller-derby movie Whip It, or the teen-pregnancy dramedy Juno, which earned her Best Actress nominations at the Oscars and Golden Globes. But for genre fans, she’s earned her fame in different ways, as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and as one of the stars of Christopher Nolan’s Inception. She’s been in big, terrible blockbusters like Flatliners and terrific little Indies like Tallulah, but there’s a familiar theme to her movies: she seeks out roles where vulnerable, struggling women take decisive action, where her characters don’t let their fears control their lives.

That…

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Alcatel announces five phones and two Android Oreo tablets

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Alcatel 3V

Alcatel is kicking off this year’s Mobile World Congress with a whole lot of phones. It’s introducing three series of phones today, within which there are a total of five models. All of them are below €230 (about $283 USD); one is the very first Android Go phone; And on top of all that, Alcatel is announcing two tablets running Android Oreo.

Just a quick primer on Alcatel: the company is known for making lower-end phones but has tried in recent years to make them stand out a bit more, so that people might actually seek them out. That’s not true of most of the models being introduced today, though there are some highlights that trickle down from higher-end phones, like dual cameras and 18:9 displays. Alcatel is also introducing a new…

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The first Android Go phone is here

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Last spring, Google said it was taking another shot at reworking Android to keep it running fast and smooth on lower-end devices. The initiative was called Android Go, and the very first phone running it — technically, “Android Oreo (Go Edition)” — is being announced today by Alcatel. It’s called the Alcatel 1X, and, well, it’s not all that much to get excited about.

That’s partly because the 1X is a low-end phone, which means it has to impress on value rather than specs and flourishes. But it’s also because, in our initial hands on with the phone, the operating system didn’t run all that smoothly, despite Google’s optimizations. Stay tuned as we’ll have more impressions on Android Go throughout the week, but Alcatel hasn’t given us a…

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Fully 3D Printed Nerf Thirst Zapper

See the original posting on Hackaday

In case you weren’t aware, there is a whole community out there that revolves around customizing NERF guns. In that community is a subculture that builds their own NERF guns, and within that group is a sub-subculture that 3D prints NERF guns. So next time you are contemplating how esoteric your little corner of the hacking world is, keep that in mind.

Anyway, [Wesker] is currently making his way in the world of 3D printed one-off NERF guns, and has unveiled his latest creation: a fully 3D printed “Thirst Zapper” from Fallout 4. Except for the springs, each and every …read more

11 new trailers you should watch this week

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One of my favorite moviegoing traditions is seeing the Oscar-nominated animated shorts each year, which always get bundled together around this time and played in some smaller theaters. The package is always a mix: some good shorts, some okay ones, some really bad ones, and, of course, whatever Pixar made that year, which is inevitably great.

This year was very much the same. Pixar’s short, Lou, which was originally attached to Cars 3, was adorable and the perfect mixture of story and slapstick comedy — something animated shorts often lean on a bit too hard. There was also a very long but often fun and charming BBC adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, which could have been trimmed down but ultimately still captures some of Dahl’s goofier…

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The Rite Press takes low-tech coffee making to high-tech highs

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 If coffee be the food of innovation, pour on. Give me excess of it that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die. And if you wish to pour me coffee, do so from the Rite Press, a clever hack on the traditional French press that adds a few features that even high-end models don’t have. The press – which costs $35 for a half-liter model and $40 for the liter model – has… Read More

Microsoft Surface Pro deals continue and Google Pixel XL phones get a huge markdown

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Last week, Microsoft announced that it would take $200 off of Intel i5 versions of the Surface Pro for the laptop’s five-year anniversary. The deal was only supposed to last through Presidents’ Day, but we’re well past the holiday and you can still get one of the popular touchscreen laptops starting at just $799. We don’t know how long this deal will be around, and we’re pretty lucky we still have it right now, so act fast.

Laptops aren’t the only hardware category being discounted this week. B&H is marking down Google Pixel XL phones for a limited time. For $579.99, you can get an unlocked Pixel XL with 128 GB of storage. If you’re in the market for a new phone and you don’t want to pay the $1,000 that gets you into the iPhone X or…

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Programming as craft

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Can programming be a craft? I was thinking about this as I was reading Matthew Crawford’s excellent book The World Beyond Your Head. Much like Crawford’s earlier work Shop Class as Soulcraft, he argues that craftsmanship is an activity that doesn’t just provide us with satisfaction, but also makes us fundamentally human by enchanting us with the world right around us. He… Read More

Microchip Introduces Tiny Cheap Linux Modules

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Linux is in everything these days, and that means designers and engineers are crying out for a simple, easy-to-use module that simplifies the design of building a product to do something with Linux. The best example of this product category would probably be the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, followed by the C.H.I.P. Pro and its GR8 module. There are dozens of boards with Allwinner and Mali chips stuffed inside that can be used to build a Linux product, and the ‘BeagleBone on a Chip’ is a fantastic product if you need Linux and want to poke pins really, really fast. …read more

There’s a semi-secret Burning Man calendar that you can (shockingly) buy

See the original posting on Boing Boing

While some can only think of the Burning Man as a party in the desert, diehard Burners, its citizens, will tell you that it’s much more than it. They’ll tell you that it’s a year-round community whose leadership is, amongst other things, determined to protect their unique culture from commodification. People looking to exploit the culture with “commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising” will promptly be shutdown. Amazingly, besides some coffee and ice, nothing at the annual Burning Man desert event is for sale.

In fact, decommodification is so important to them that they’ve made it one of their 10 Principles.

Now, I’ve been in the Burning Man community since 1995 and I’ve just learned this week that the Project does actually have one product for sale: a calendar. You can buy it online, like I just did.

Through a recent blog post on her site, I discovered that my pal Arin Fishkin has been the calendar’s designer since its beginning in 2004. In the post, she not only shares the calendar’s history — highlighted by lovely sample pages of each year’s edition — but also tells why an organization that protects itself from commodification is selling it to begin with. She writes:

The funds from the purchase price go to producing the calendar which is primarily gifted to staff, volunteers, visiting dignitaries, politicians and….mayors. As I understand it, having items available for purchase is one way to claim and protect their trademark. So we make this beautiful thing, that is mostly given away, and mostly kept secret. Burning Man doesn’t tell their (my) community it’s out there, or how to find it…

I get it, advertising a product for sale is against what Burning Man stands for, the community of passionate citizens would have a dramatic and pyrotechnic response – and they’d be right. But I imagine they’d be psyched to have something to gift to friends who love the event, and especially those that will never step foot in Black Rock City.

Cat’s out of the bag now. If you want to buy the only officially-branded Burning Man product out there, head over to Arin’s site to learn how to get your hands on one (or more). Keep in mind that it’s “Burn-to-Burn,” so it’s the 2017-2018 version that’s available now.

Previously: Eat Fuck Kill, the legend of the playa’s first meme

Thanks, Marnee!

This tool helps your site beat the SEO scramble

See the original posting on Boing Boing

The web is vast, and while there’s room for everyone, competition is stiff when it comes to landing on that first page of a Google search. That’s why developers aren’t afraid to spend exorbitant amounts of time and money on search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure their sites rank higher than others. However, not all of us have these resources, especially when we’re just starting out. That’s where SEOPop comes in. This tool helps you visualize your site’s SEO performance and gives you tips on how to improve it, all for $9.99.

SEOPop analyzes a website to generate an SEO report card based off of an extensive list of factors and then creates an in-depth audit of the URL being examined. From there, you can look at your site’s report card, identify problems, and see how it stacks up against the competition. You’ll get insights on your site’s speed and loading times, plus you’ll also receive breakdowns of your social signal impact in SEO, including Facebook and Twitter page analysis.

SEOPop gives you the means to improve your site’s exposure while keeping tabs on your competition, and it’s on sale for a limited time. Normally retailing for $149.99, lifetime subscriptions are available for $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

You’ve Never Seen A Flipping Eyeball Like This One!

See the original posting on Hackaday

Inspired by some impressive work on textile flip-bit displays, and with creative steampunk outfits to create for Christmas, [Richard Sewell] had the idea for a flippable magnetic eye in the manner of a flip-dot display. These devices are bistable mechanical displays in which a magnet is suspended above a coil of wire, and “flipped” in orientation under the influence of a magnetic field from the coil.

In [Richard]’s case the eyeball was provided by a magnetic bead with a suitable paint job, and the coil was a hand-wound affair with some extremely neat lacing to keep it all in place. …read more

Tachometer Uses Light, Arduinos

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To measure how fast something spins, most of us will reach for a tachometer without thinking much about how it works. Tachometers are often found in cars to measure engine RPM, but handheld units can be used for measuring the speed of rotation for other things as well. While some have mechanical shafts that must make physical contact with whatever you’re trying to measure, [electronoobs] has created a contactless tachometer that uses infrared light to take RPM measurements instead.

The tool uses an infrared emitter/detector pair along with an op amp to sense revolution speed. The signal from the IR …read more

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