Sometimes your Kickstarter dream isn’t what you envisioned

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The Xounts Up, a speaker in the shape of a pyramid, reached its goal on Kickstarter earlier this month. I know because I received PR on it. Two hundred and twelve people backed it, allowing it to successfully raise more than $78,000. Those 212 people will walk into their homes later this year when the Xounts Up ships, and they’ll see this:

Yes, The Verge was sent a $269 Xounts Up speaker, and we chose to protect you all from it. Whenever someone walks by the Verge-ified Xounts Up, which we hide in a closet, they marvel at how truly ugly it is and why anyone would be interested in it. But Xounts does make its pyramid look good in its promotional material, as demonstrated by 212 invested backers.

Xounts…

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Wi-Fi Gets Multi-Gigabit, Multi-User Boost With Upgrades To 802.11ac

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The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced its certification program for IEEE 802.11ac Wave 2, a technology that has been around on the market for more than a year. Wave 2 can deliver up to 6.8Gbps and lets an access point interact with more than one device at a time. Wave 2 features MIMO (or MU-MIMO) which improves the MIMO technology that lets Wi-FI transmit over more than one stream through the air. Wave 2 standard utilizes channels up to 160MHz wide (up from 80MHz channels available with Wave 1). It also creates more spatial streams and uses spectrum more efficiently, the industry group said on Wednesday. Ars Technica adds:On top of MU-MIMO, wider channels, and more streams, the Wi-Fi Alliance says Wave 2 features now being certified bring “support for a greater number of available channels in 5GHz,” a change that “makes more efficient use of available spectrum and reduces interference and congestion by minimizing the number of networks operating on overlapping channels.” You may have already noticed routers supporting some of these features, since the specification details have been available for a few years. In fact, routers with MU-MIMO started appearing in July 2014, and you can find routers that use 160MHz channels. The certification program takes a while to catch up with real-world implementations, but it ensures compatibility between devices and may spur faster adoption by vendors. End-user devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops must also be updated to take advantage of new features such as MU-MIMO.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

We tried Ghostbusters: Dimension, the world’s most immersive VR experience

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At Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Times Square today, we got to try out one of the world’s most expensive and immersive virtual reality experiences. On July 1st, Sony and a Utah startup called The Void will open Ghostbusters: Dimension, which lets you become a ghostbuster in what The Void likes to call a “hyper-real” world.

Dimension is part of a larger exhibit based on the new Ghostbusters movie, which also includes wax versions of the stars and a walk-through haunted house experience. With two partners, you enter an elaborate stage where the real world is mapped to the virtual one, capturing ghosts by shooting a plastic gun that stands in for a proton pack. You can see and talk to your fellow “ghostbusters” in VR, and you can feel the…

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Google Maps on mobile is adding support for multiple destinations

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Google Maps is an incredibly useful smartphone app, and I use it every single day. But there are some things that it’s still really stupid about. Sure, the Android and iOS app can tell you about gas, food, and other places to stop along your route from point A to point B. But what if you want to add another destination? What about point C? Until now, only the desktop version of Google Maps has allowed you to get directions for a trip that spans multiple stops. Thankfully that feature is now headed to mobile — starting first with Android.

It’s rolling out now, and you’ll know you’ve got it when you see a new plus icon underneath the directions field in Maps. Hit that and you can add another place to stop at. And another. And another…

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Opinion: Brexit is tragic, but the UK’s tech ecosystem is open for business

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Politic relationship between Europe Union and Great Britain. Brexit This is a guest post by Matt Clifford, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First Almost no one in the UK tech ecosystem wanted Brexit. Most of us are worried about the impact on our country and the continent – but one group that’s well positioned to thrive is the UK’s startups. I’ve spent much of the last few days talking to Entrepreneur First’s portfolio and there… Read More

3D printable, fully articulated Lion Force Voltron

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Holy cow! This is one of the most complex, and amazing, 3D printed objects I’ve seen: Lion Force Voltron! Swedish designer Juri designed and printed this fabulous model of the first Voltron.

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The lions all merge to form Voltron, just like you remember!

More photos, and the files so you can build it yourself (ha! ha! ha!) are available free at My Mini Factory!

Are you ready to form Voltron?

Trump falls to single digits in international poll

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The Pew Research Center conducted an international survey between April 4 and May 29 regarding attitudes towards the U.S. and when it came to Donald Trump, the wanna-be president fared miserably. In fact, positive ratings were in the single digits in nearly half the countries surveyed. According to the AP:

In seven of 15 countries outside of the U.S. polled by Pew Research Center, Trump’s ratings are in the single digits. Large majorities in 11 of the countries have little or no confidence in the prospective Republican presidential nominee ability to manage international affairs. That includes 92 percent of Swedes, 89 percent of Germans and 82 percent of Japanese.

Trump did, however, do a bit better in China, where 40 percent polled have zero confidence in him, but 39 percent have no opinion.

The survey polled 20,132 people from 16 countries, including Canada, 10 countries in Europe, four in Asia, and the U.S.

When compared to Hillary Clinton, “a median of 59 percent in Europe have confidence in the Democratic contender — compared with just 9 percent for Trump.”

Read more details here.

Amazon Prime Will Knock $50 Off an Android Phone If You Watch Amazon’s Lock-Screen Ads

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It’s no secret that Amazon’s Fire Phone tanked on the market. But while the e-commerce giant is keeping a distance from smartphone manufacturing business for some time, it is not ignoring the platform. The company is now willing to offer its Prime members a $50 discount on two unlocked phone models should they agree to see ads on the lock-screen of their smartphone. Recode reports:Unlike the Fire Phone, which used Amazon services in place of Google, these two phones (the fourth-generation Moto G and Blu R1 HD) will include all the standard Google apps (Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, etc.) along with Amazon apps for shopping, watching video and playing music. With the discount, the Blu phone will sell for just $49, while the price of the Moto G drops to $149. The move is clearly a modest one but could at some point become more significant, particularly if Amazon is willing to strike deals with other hardware makers to include its apps and services.The bigger news is Amazon finding its way into Google Mobile Services-powered Android smartphones. Most of the Amazon-branded devices don’t have Google Mobile Services (Google Play, Google Play Services, Gmail etc).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Kills Windows 10’s Messaging Everywhere Texts, To Bolster Skype

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Reader tripleevenfall writes: The ability to respond to text messages received on your phone with the same app on your PC. It’s a dream that’s been a reality for Mac users since 2014, and Windows 10 Mobile users were supposed to get the feature, called Messaging Everywhere, with the Anniversary Update rolling out August 2. But that’s not happening anymore. Instead, Microsoft thinks it has a better idea: add Messaging Everywhere to an upcoming version of Skype for Windows 10 PCs.Microsoft commentator Brad Sams writes, “Skype barely works; let’s add new features. Texting from your phone is cool, let’s remove it. 0.0% people want this.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jessica Williams is leaving The Daily Show

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After four years as one of the show’s highest profile correspondents, Jessica Williams is leaving The Daily ShowEntertainment Weekly reports that the comedienne is set to leave this Thursday to focus on a show she’s working on with Comedy Central going forward.

“I feel so many emotions,” she told EW. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot about myself on the show. I’m 26 now. I’ve learned so much, I always kind of feel like it’s grad school — a sort of continuation of my education.”

Williams joined The Daily Show in 2012 as both the youngest and…

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D-Link announces three new Wi-Fi cameras

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D-Link introduced three new Wi-Fi cameras today, all of which come with sound and motion detection, night vision, and local recording. The HD Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-936L) features a 720p camera with 4x digital zoom, and can record continuous, scheduled, or detection triggered video on a microSD card (up to 128GB). It also features a Wi-Fi signal locator to help you choose the best place to place the camera for an optimal connection, remote viewing through the mydlink Lite app, and it’s the cheapest of the three cameras, coming in at just $79.

The HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5030L) has all the same specifications as the HD Wi-Fi Camera, but includes 340 degree pan and 110 degree tilt capability, allowing you to remotely change the angle…

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Use borderless cards for three card monte

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Everyone should know how to play three card monte. I learned decades ago and it has been immeasurably helpful.

This video by The Card Trick Teacher will teach you the con, and the sleight of hand. It is very simple to learn ‘the throw.’ The thing these internet videos leave out is, don’t use bordered cards! You’ll get caught really, really quickly.

These Bee Club Special playing cards do the trick. The pattern on their backs runs right up to the edge of the card, and it is very hard to see that the throw is happening. They are also made by US Playing Cards, and are the same lovely quality as my beloved Bicycle decks.

Remember, you need a few friends to make this hustle work.

Bee Premium Playing Cards (Colors may vary) via Amazon

The ultimate Apple I/O death chart

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The internet has been ablaze the past few weeks about Apple potentially removing the headphone jack from the next iPhone — a move that’s been heavily rumored for months, and has everything from blurry leaked case images to Wall Street Journal articles backing it up. We don’t know if it’s going to happen, but there’s a bunch of fun pieces to read about the pros and cons of removing the jack, and other fun pieces to read about how Apple might do it.

Also, I hate this idea, and wrote about it.

But anyway! One of the most strongly-held arguments about Apple removing the headphone jack is that Apple has historically been first to drop a legacy technology, sometimes even before the rest of the industry is ready. Apple’s vertical integration,…

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Rihanna’s Sledgehammer video is premiering in IMAX theaters tomorrow

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Rihanna’s Star Trek Beyond soundtrack contribution “Sledgehammer” is a massive ballad, so it feels appropriate that the song’s video is making an IMAX-sized debut tomorrow morning. The Floria Sigismondi-directed clip is the first music video ever shot entirely with IMAX cameras, and it’s going to premiere in IMAX theaters tomorrow (June 30th) at 9AM ET. The Fader is reporting that the video’s supposed to premiere alongside screenings of The Legend of Tarzan, but that doesn’t mesh well with Rihanna’s tweeted time unless there are morning screenings in your area. We’ve reached out for clarification and we’ll update once we know more.

Rihanna tweeted out a brief teaser for the video this morning, and it looks suitably alien: she’s…

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Samsung might use a glowing ring to let you know when you have a text message

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Samsung’s Galaxy J2 will come with a new Smart Glow ring that tells users when they have a notification waiting to be addressed, SamMobile reports. That same ring will also be included in other upcoming devices. The ring surrounds the rear camera and acts in place of the blinking LED light Samsung uses on current Galaxy devices. At first, it’ll give three types of notifications: “priority alerts,” “usage alerts,” and “selfie assist,” which helps users take a selfie with their rear camera.

The selfie assist glows blue when the rear camera detects a face and then takes a photo two seconds after that detection. Usage alerts provide notifications pertaining to storage and memory. Also, the Smart Glow’s light can change color depending on…

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DoorDash, going beyond food delivery, will soon bring you alcohol

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doordash pretzel DoorDash started off as a restaurant delivery company — but, like many on-demand delivery companies, its ambitions are certainly much higher than that. And it’s taking one step beyond food delivery today by adding the ability to purchase alcohol through DoorDash. While DoorDash may have already delivered food from breweries or restaurants that offer paired food, it still… Read More

AWS’s Elastic File System is now ready for production use

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aws_logo Over a year ago, Amazon’s AWS cloud computing unit announced the beta launch of the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS).
While AWS already offers a number of cloud storage services in the form of S3, Glacier and Elastic Block Store, the idea behind EFS is to offer AWS users access to a more straightforward file storage system that at least partly mirrors the features of the kind of… Read More

The Wileyfox Spark is woefully inadequate

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The British smartphone maker Wileyfox has returned with its third budget smartphone, the Spark, following up the Swift and Storm models launched last year. The Spark line of smartphones — there are three different variations of it, so hold on to your hats — runs Cyanogen OS 13, a heavily modified version of Android 6.0.

Wileyfox will release the Spark, Spark+ (more RAM and storage), and the Spark X (bigger screen) over the next two months, which is ambitious, but you should definitely avoid the lower-end Spark given its paltry amount of RAM and storage. Reports from users have the 8GB Spark offering less than 2.5GB of actual space after updating the pre-installed apps.

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