Fair trade ebooks: how authors could double their royalties without costing their publishers a cent

See the original posting on Boing Boing

My latest Publishers Weekly column announces the launch-date for my long-planned “Shut Up and Take My Money” ebook platform, which allows traditionally published authors to serve as retailers for their publishers, selling their ebooks direct to their fans and pocketing the 30% that Amazon would usually take, as well as the 25% the publisher gives back to them later in royalties.
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When your child’s favorite YouTube celebrity is a secret racist

See the original posting on The Verge

I’m not a parent, but I feel like I took a step into legitimate adulthood earlier this month when my wife and I spent a weekend babysitting a friend’s two-year-old. Happily he was an easy kid to look after, but he’s still a two-year-old, and as I discovered (and you parents already know), he required near-constant surveillance. If we wanted a moment of freedom — to cook, to grab a drink, to go to the bathroom — then the only surefire option was to park him in front of YouTube.

His channel of choice was Little Baby Bum. It’s a giant in the world of kids’ YouTube, with nearly 10 million subscribers and almost 500 videos, each one setting a simple song to cheerful 3D animations. As far as kids shows go, it’s markedly inoffensive, using…

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This limited edition all-black OnePlus 3T is going to be ridiculously rare

See the original posting on The Verge

The OnePlus 3T is a hell of a flagship — of that we’re certain — but OnePlus does go a bit overboard with its attempts to hype the brand sometimes. The latest example is a new limited edition version of the 3T developed in collaboration with Parisian retailer Colette. The handsets costs €479 ($510), looks incredibly slick with a new all-black colorway, but will be rarer than hen’s teeth. Only 250 units will be available to buy from the Colette store in Paris on March 21st from 11AM local time.

At least “limited edition” here really does mean limited.

The special edition handset will come with 128GB of internal storage, an engraved rear case, and all the other 3T specs including 6GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 821 processor, and a…

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Microsoft is adding game chat transcription to Xbox One and Windows 10

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft is starting to roll out a new game chat transcription feature that will convert your game voice communications into text. The new pilot feature will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10 shortly, and the first game to support it will be Halo Wars 2. It’s designed to convert in-game voice communications into text, or typed text into audio.

While it’s primarily an accessibility feature, the ability to transcribe other players voices into text could be useful for gamers who don’t want to listen to audio or want to avoid blocking or muting particular players. It’s also a great way to capture all of your swearing, or claims of wall hacks during multiplayer games. It appears the feature will need to be supported in games directly,…

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Google Maps in MVC 4 with Custom InfoWindow

See the original posting on DZone Python

Introduction

I was recently investigating using Google Maps in a web-application and couldn’t find a clear example that showed how to do it with MVC 4. Hopefully, this article fills that gap! Technologies used include MS C#, MVC 4, jQuery, and of course the Google Maps API.

Background

There were some "gotchas" I encountered while putting this together. The first is that (at least for me), using a jQuery selector to link my div that would contain the Google map didn’t work. I had to specifically use the JavaScript document.getelementById call. The second was sizing. Using the default size (which was teeny weenie) wasn’t cutting it for me, so I increased width/height. Turns out Google Maps didn’t like that too much. After a bit of digging I found a post that said to create a quick in-page style that set the max-width to "none"; then it worked.

Roam the Wastelands with this Fallout-Themed Mini Geiger Counter

See the original posting on Hackaday

For anyone who has worked with radioactive materials, there’s something that’s oddly comforting about the random clicks of a Geiger counter. And those comforting clicks are exactly why we like this simple pocket Geiger counter.

Another good reason to like [Tim]’s build is the Fallout theme of the case. While not an item from the game, the aesthetic he went for with the 3D-printed case certainly matches the Fallout universe. The counter itself is based on the popular Russian SBT-11A G-M tubes that are floating around eBay these days. You might recall them from coverage of this minimalist Geiger counter, …read more

Helpling, Rocket Internet’s home services company, raises further €10M as on-demand space cools

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Helpling, the Rocket Internet-founded company that lets you book a range of home services online, is disclosing €10 million in new funding. The round was led by Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG), the joint venture between Rocket Internet and Ooredoo, and also includes a number of other existing investors. Read More

AMD Announces Ryzen 5 Lineup: Hex-Core from $219, Available April 11th

See the original posting on Anandtech

As part of our initial Ryzen 7 review, AMD also teased the presence of two more elements to the Ryzen lineup, specifically Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3, both aiming at a lower cost market and allowing AMD to sell some of the silicon that didn’t quite make it to the Ryzen 7 lineup. Today is the official announcement for Ryzen 5, featuring four processors in hex-core and quad-core formats, all with Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) and all using the same AM4 platform as Ryzen 5.

Ryzen 5

Whereas Ryzen 7 was AMD’s main attack on high-performance x86 and a shot across the bow against Intel’s high-end desktop platform, Ryzen 5 is targeted more at mainstream users. The goal here is that where Intel has four cores with no hyperthreading, AMD can provide six cores with SMT, effectively offering three times as many threads for the same price and potentially smashing any multithreaded workload.

Without further ado, here is where the Ryzen families stand:

AMD Ryzen 7 SKUs
  Cores/
Threads
Base/
Turbo
XFR L3 TDP Cost Cooler
Ryzen 7 1800X 8/16 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 95 W $499
Ryzen 7 1700X 8/16 3.4/3.8 +100 16 MB 95 W $399
Ryzen 7 1700 8/16 3.0/3.7 +50 16 MB 65 W $329 Spire
RGB
AMD Ryzen 5 SKUs
  Cores/
Threads
Base/
Turbo
XFR L3 TDP Cost Cooler
Ryzen 5 1600X 6/12 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 95 W $249
Ryzen 5 1600 6/12 3.2/3.6 +100 16 MB 65 W $219 Spire
Ryzen 5 1500X 4/8 3.5/3.7 +200 16 MB 65 W $189 Spire
Ryzen 5 1400 4/8 3.2/3.4 +50 8 MB 65 W $169 Stealth

Traditionally we are used to a part with fewer cores having a higher clock frequency, however perhaps due to the voltage scaling of the design, we see a matched Ryzen 5 1600X in frequency to the Ryzen 7 1800X, but the rest of the Ryzen 5 family are offered at a lower TDP instead.

All the Ryzen 5 parts are unlocked, similar to the Ryzen 7 parts, and all four exhibit some movement in XFR mode, with the 1500X offering +200 MHz depending on the cooler used. AMD is going to offer some of these SKUs with their redesigned Wraith coolers:

It is worth noting that the Wraith Spire for Ryzen 5 will not have RGB lighting, whereas the Wraith Spire for Ryzen 7 does use an RGB ring. OEMs will be able to use the higher-end Wraith Max stock cooler for their pre-built systems. AMD stated that at present, there are no plans to bring the Wraith coolers to retail as individual units, however they will keep track of how many users want them as individual items and regularly approach the issue internally.

To clarify some initial confusion, AMD has given me official TDP support numbers for the coolers. The entry level Wraith Stealth is 65W, the Wraith Spire is 65W for high-ambient conditions (AMD states this might be considered an ’80W’ design in low-ambient), and the Wraith Max is 95W for OEM builds using Ryzen 7 95W parts.

All the Ryzen 5 parts will support DDR4 ECC and non-ECC memory, and the memory support is the same as Ryzen 7, and will depend on how many modules and the types of modules being used. Recently companies like ADATA announced official support for AM4, as some users have found that there were memory growing pains when Ryzen 7 was launched.

Platform support for Ryzen 5, relating to PCIe lanes and chipset configurations, is identical to Ryzen 7. Each CPU offers sixteen PCIe 3.0 lanes for graphics, along with four lanes for a chipset and four lanes for storage. Chipsets can then offer up to eight PCIe 2.0 lanes which can be bifurcated up to x4 (AMD GPUs can use chipset lanes for graphics as well, however at reduced bandwidth and additional latency).

Competition

The high-end Ryzen 5 1600X, at $249, is a shoe-in to compete against Intel’s i5-7600K at $242. Intel’s CPU is based on the Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and we’ve already shown in the Ryzen 7 review that by comparison Ryzen is more circa Broadwell, which is two generations behind. AMD won’t win much when it comes to single-threaded tests here, but the multi-threaded situation is where AMD shines.

Comparison: Ryzen 5 1600X vs Core i5-7600K
AMD
Ryzen 5 1600X
Features Intel
Core i5-7600K
6 / 12 Cores/Threads 4 / 4
3.6 / 4.0 GHz Base/Turbo 3.8 / 4.2 GHz
16 PCIe 3.0 Lanes 16
16 MB L3 Cache 6 MB
95 W TDP 91 W
$249 Price (MSRP) $242

Here we have twelve threads against four, at a 95W TDP compared to a 91W TDP (the 1600 is 65W, which looks better on paper). It is expected that for situations where a compute workload can scale across cores and threads that the AMD chip will wipe the floor with the competition. For more generic office workloads, it will interesting to see where the marks fall.

On the quad-core parts, there are several competitive points to choose from. The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, at $189, sits near Intel’s Core i5-7500 at $192. This would be a shootout of a base quad-core versus a quad-core with hyperthreading.

Comparison: Ryzen 5 1500X vs Core i5-7500
AMD
Ryzen 5 1500X
Features Intel
Core i5-7500
4 / 8 Cores/Threads 4 / 4
3

AMD Announces Ryzen 5 Processors With 4 and 6-Core Chips Starting At $169

See the original posting on Slashdot

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Today, AMD unveiled additional details with respect to the entire Ryzen 5 processor line-up. Unlike the Ryzen 7 series, which consists entirely of 8-core/16-thread processors, the Ryzen 5 family has two tiers consisting of 6-core/12-thread and 4-core/8-thread processors. The entry-level part is the Ryzen 5 1400, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with base and turbo clocks of 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz, respectively. The Ryzen 5 1500X has the same quad-core configuration, but with base and turbo clocks of 3.5GHz and 3.7GHz, and also has support for an extended XFR frequency range of up to 3.9GHz. The Ryzen 5 1600 is a 6-core/12-thread processor, with 3.2GHz base and 3.6GHz boost clocks. And at the top of the stack is the Ryzen 5 1600X — which has a similar 6-core configuration — but cranks things up even further to 3.6GHz/4.0GHz. With XFR, the absolute maximum frequency for all of the Ryzen 5 processors will be somewhat higher, but AMD hasn’t disclosed specifics for all parts. AMD’s Ryzen 5 processor line-up will work with the very same AM4 platform as the higher-end Ryzen 7. Ryzen 5 series processors will be launching officially on April 11, with prices starting at $169 for the Ryzen 5 1400. An additional $20 will get you a Ryzen 5 1500X, while the 6-core Ryzen 5 1600 and 1600X will sell for $219 and $249, respectively.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Makeblock raises $30 million for robot-building kits for kids

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Remember when kids could simply play with their toys? They still can. But parents are increasingly spending on toys that are chockablock with tech components, and that promise to turn their kids into software developers or robotics engineers. The Toy Industry Association, which held its International Toy Fair in New York last month, has even identified robotics-education as a major trend… Read More

Fighting Custom Actions in Rails Controllers

See the original posting on DZone Python

I have never seen a Rails project which doesn’t have custom actions in the Rails controllers. And that makes me upset. Here I’m going to describe my thoughts about custom actions, why people use them, why I hate them, and how to deal with them.

Let’s say we want to build a simple posting system. We have already created a model Post and need to add a controller. Everybody knows about REST and we obviously want to build a RESTful application. So we create a controller:

Scrap Wood and Metal Combined for DIY Mecanum Wheels

See the original posting on Hackaday

Some scrap wood, a few pieces of sheet metal, a quartet of old gear motors, and a few basic hand tools. That’s all it takes to build an omni-bot with Mecanum wheels, if you’ve got a little know-how too.

For the uninitiated, Mecanum wheels can rotate in any direction thanks to a series of tapered rollers around the circumference that are canted 45° relative to the main axle.  [Navin Khambhala]’s approach to Mecanum wheel construction is decidedly low tech and very labor intensive, but results in working wheels and a pretty agile bot. The supports for the rollers are cut …read more

Surfing Like It’s 1998, The Dreamcast’s Still Got It!

See the original posting on Hackaday

If you were a keen console gamer at the end of the 1990s, the chances are you lusted after a Sega Dreamcast. Here was a console that promised to be like no other, a compact machine with built-in PowerVR 3D acceleration (heavy stuff back then!), the ability to run Windows CE in some form, and for the first time, built-in Internet connectivity. Games would no longer be plastic cartridges as they had been on previous Sega consoles, instead they would come on a proprietary DVD-like Sega disc format.

It was a shame then that the Dreamcast never really succeeded in …read more

Fire Hazard Testing

See the original posting on Hackaday

How do you know that new appliance you bought won’t burn your house down? Take a look at any electrical appliance, and you’ll find it marked with at least one, and most often, several safety certification marks such as UL, DIN, VDE, CSA or BSI. Practically every electrical product that plugs into utility supply needs to go through a mandatory certification process to ensure it meets these conformity test requirements. Some examples include domestic and industrial electrical appliances, tools, electrical accessories, consumer electronics and medical electronics.

When you look through a typical safety test standard, you’ll notice it breaks down …read more

The BeagleBone Blue – Perfect For Robots

See the original posting on Hackaday

There’s a new BeagleBone on the block, and it’s Blue. The BeagleBone Blue is built for robots, and it’s available right now.

If a cerulean BeagleBone sounds familiar, you’re not wrong. About a year ago, the BeagleBone Blue was introduced in partnership with UCSD. This board was meant for robotics, and had the peripherals to match. Support for battery charging was included, as well as motor drivers, sensor inputs, and wireless. If you want to put Linux on a moving thingy, there are worse choices.

The newly introduced BeagleBone Blue is more or less the same. A 9-axis IMU, barometer, …read more

Starfish Cat, Bowling Ball Bot, and Stargate all Claim Prizes

See the original posting on Hackaday

We saw a huge outpouring of builds for the the Hackaday Sci-Fi Contest and it’s now time to reveal the winners. With 84 great themed projects submitted, the judges had a tough task to pull out the most impressive both in terms of creativity and execution.

Here are our four winners. Two come from the Stargate universe. One is a cuddly yet horrifying character of unknown origin but unarguably Sci-Fi. The other is the best use of a bowling ball we’ve seen so far.

Grand Prize

The grand prize goes to [Jerome Kelty] with Animatronic Stargate Helmet. [Jerome] has built …read more

Hardware Tribes Growing Up Around Artisanal Electronics

See the original posting on Hackaday

Consumer electronics are design beasts that must serve many masters. There’s a price point for the product itself, a ceiling for the feature set (lest it not be ‘user friendly’), and to take the risk of actually manufacturing something there needs to be proof of the market. A lot of great things make it through this process, but some really unique and special gear goes completely around it.

So is the story of this AND!XOR hardware badge being built for DEF CON 25. This is not the official conference badge, but the latest in a growing trend of hardware/firmware engineers …read more

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