MIDI to CV/Gate The Easy Way

See the original posting on Hackaday

Let’s say you’ve got a modular synthesizer. You’re probably a pretty cool person. But all your cool laptop DJ friends keep showing off their MIDI-controlled hardware, and you’re getting jealous. Well, [little-scale] has the build for you.

The Teensy 3.6 is the current top-of-the-line Teensy from PJRC, and it’s [little-scale]’s weapon of choice here. With USB-MIDI and two 12-bit DACs on board, it’s made creating an interface between the worlds of analog and digital music into a remarkably simple job. Control voltages for pitch and velocity are pushed out over the analog pins, while pin 29 is used for gate …read more

Building a Realtime Chat App With Django and Fanout Cloud

See the original posting on DZone Python

Chat is one of the most popular uses of realtime data. In this article we’ll explain how to build a web chat app in Django, using Django EventStream and Fanout Cloud. The Django EventStream module makes it easy to push JSON events through Fanout Cloud to connected clients.

Introduction to Django and Realtime

Django was created in 2003 when websites were orders of magnitude simpler than they are now. It was built on a request-response framework – the client sends an HTTP request, Django receives it, processes it, and returns a response back to the client.

Apple is Really Bad At Design

See the original posting on Slashdot

Joshua Topolsky, writing for the Outline: Once upon a time, Apple could do little wrong. As one of the first mainstream computer companies to equally value design and technical simplicity, it upended our expectations about what PCs could be. “Macintosh works the way people work,” read one 1992 ad. Rather than requiring downloads and installations and extra memory to get things right (as often required by Windows machines), Apple made it so you could just plug in a mouse or start up a program and it would just… work. Marrying that functionality with the groundbreaking design the company has embodied since the early Macs, it’s easy to see how Apple became the darling of designers, artists, and the rest of the creative class. The work was downright elegant; unheard of for an electronics company. […] But things changed. In 2013 I wrote about the confusing and visually abrasive turn Apple had made with the introduction of iOS 7, the operating system refresh that would set the stage for almost all of Apple’s recent design. The product, the first piece of software overseen by Jony Ive, was confusing, amateur, and relatively unfinished upon launch. […] It’s almost as if the company is being buried under the weight of its products. Unable to cut ties with past concepts (for instance, the abomination that is iTunes), unable to choose clear paths forward (USB-C or Lightning guys?), compromising core elements to make room for splashy features, and executing haphazardly to solve long-term issues. […] Pundits will respond to these arguments by detailing Apple’s meteoric and sustained market-value gains. Apple fans will shout justifications for a stylus that must be charged by sticking it into the bottom of an iPad, a “back” button jammed weirdly into the status bar, a system of dongles for connecting oft-used devices, a notch that rudely juts into the display of a $1,000 phone. But the reality is that for all the phones Apple sells and for all the people who buy them, the company is stuck in idea-quicksand, like Microsoft in the early 2000s, or Apple in the 90s.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Teletype Machine Resurrected

See the original posting on Hackaday

A teleprinter is, at its heart, an automatic typewriter.  It’s electrically controlled and has some smarts to be able to decode an incoming message and has something that will move the keys.   These printers have been in use since the late 1800’s and [AethericLtd] have refurbished an old 1930’s design and given it a bit of steampunk flair.

As is common with older mechanical devices that have been sitting for extended periods of time, the first thing this machine needed was a bath. The machine was separated into its three main parts and soaked in a degreasing solvent. The keyboard …read more

Reuleaux Coaster

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What’s better than a cool build? A cool build with valuable advice! Add a few flashy pictures and you have [Martin Raynsford]’s Reuleaux triangle coasters blog post. [Martin Raynsford] wanted to share his advice about the importance of using jigs and we’re sold. He was able to make 100 coasters in a single day and if he’s like us, after number ten, the work gets a little hurried and that is when mistakes are made.

Jig is a broad term when it comes to tooling but essentially, it holds your part in place while you work on it. In this …read more

Building a Series A SaaS valuation estimator (2017 edition)

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 I have financed nearly 50 early-stage companies and the question of proper valuation comes up in every financing. There is the obvious tension: Generally speaking, the existing shareholders would like the highest valuation possible, while the new investors would prefer the lowest. For founders, understanding how VCs look at valuation is critical for a successful fundraising process. Read More

Amazon’s Echo devices can now call mobile numbers and landlines for free

See the original posting on The Verge

In case you missed the announcement during Amazon’s very busy hardware event earlier this week, the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show have all gained the ability to place voice calls to numbers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for free. If you want to receive calls from regular numbers, you’ll need the new $35 Connect box that Amazon unveiled on Wednesday, which also allows you to use your home telephone number for Echo calls and dial emergency services like 911 or premium rate / international numbers.

But this is still a nice upgrade from the original version of Alexa calling that Amazon rolled out, which only let you call other Echo owners or people with the Alexa app installed and set up on their smartphone. Now you can just tell…

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Sic semper evello mortem rattus norvegicus

See the original posting on Boing Boing

California’s heavy rains led to a bounty for wildlife in the woods where I live. The local rat population has soared, due to a lack of predators, and apparently they have declared my woodshed home.

I would have thought rats would steer a clear path around a home with several cats and dogs. My Great Pyrenees spreads gallons of dog urine over the yard to warn invading animals to steer clear. My Maine Coon cat, Heart, constantly patrols the inside of the home, and I sometimes leave bags of his spent litter outside the back door to allow their scent to permeate the area. None of this has deterred the Norwegian Tree Rat from establishing a base of operations in my woodshed.

Apparently clearing the Spring and Summer’s over-grown vegetation back from around my house was a cultural misstep and I have offended the rodent kingdom. Not happy to stay in their thinned back ivy and cypress hedges, rats have set up a refugee colony in my woodshed, or greatly expanded a long minor outpost. I’m not excited to move a cord of wood just to displace this rodent insurrection. Luckily I do not see any signs of them inside my home, where canine and feline alike patrol constantly. Their presence, however, is easily detectable around the foundation of my home. Yuck! I can also hear them in the shed and bushes when I step outside to smoke weed at night. Do not fuck with my rituals, rats. Do not.

I decided it was time to take action before things got more serious. I had a few traps around from the last time I saw rat-sign, several years ago. I would set them.

I use old fashioned wood and metal springs rat-sized snap traps. You can get them for less than $2 each via Amazon in packs of 12. You may not need 12. I think I may be needing several dozen. When I first moved into my home, 10 years ago, the prior owners had left a lot of those city-park style “pet and kid safe” black boxes full of warfarin based rat poison all over the property. I thought the potential for local rat predators to suffer out of bounds for someone who chooses to live near lots of wildlife. It was years before I saw evidence of any rodentia, so when they did appear I used the tried and true method of snap traps.

I’m typing this with a gouge in one of my thumbs from setting the traps, so I do need to exercise more care. I caught myself on a sharp bit, rather than breaking fingers in the trap but BE CAREFU! This trap will cause immense pain to humans and pets. You can bend the bait/release platform a bit to increase or decrease trap sensitivity. I tend to find the traps come too sensitive out of the package, but are easy to get set right. Spend some time before baiting the trap making sure you can set it and then place it where you want it without it going off. This will be much cleaner in the long run.

In the world of baits there appears to be only one that works reliably, and it works so well I do not know why anyone hunting Norwegian Tree Rats would bother with anything but smooth Skippy peanut butter. School children, dogs and those awful vermin all love the stuff. I use the peanut butter for getting the dogs to take pills, and getting rats to die. A teaspoon scoop covers the bait-plate and is sticky enough the rats set off the trap and meet their doom.

Another reason I prefer the all wood/metal traps is that I can just throw them away with the dead rodent. There have been local reports of rabid bats that give me pause. I don’t need to muck around with bloody, ant covered rat carcasses to save a $2 trap that may now smell like death and not work anyways. I have read that the yellow plastic bait-plate traps are “better” because they have pre-set sensitivity spots and the surface of the plate is larger for easier set-it-off-leverage. I just think the plastic gets in the way of recycling the nasty trap, and costs a bit more.

I also stuffed steel wool into every hole I saw in the exterior of my home that may admit vermin, I hear the vermin do not like that.

I have been setting two traps a night for the last 2 nights. 4 rats are dead. I am going to set two traps a night for the next week. I realize I can never and will never eradicate them, but I’d like to push the population back to where they stay out of sight, again.

I will let you know how the battle progresses.

Simultaneous AP & Client on the Pi Zero W

See the original posting on Hackaday

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is a great platform for IoT projects, with a smattering of GPIO and onboard WiFi. However, security is an important consideration when it comes to the Internet of Things and it can be beneficial to keep your IoT devices on a separate network for safety’s sake. [Albert] wanted to do this all on board the Pi Zero W, and figured out how to get it acting as an access point and a client all at the same time.

[Albert] starts off with a fresh install of Raspbian Stretch, and sets the Pi up in OTG …read more

Nintendo’s loyal fans line up to ensure the company doesn’t screw them out of an SNES Classic

See the original posting on The Verge

Robert Bartkowski arrived outside Nintendo New York in Rockefeller Plaza two days ago around 5PM. His camping supplies are modest: a chair, some blankets, and a lot of patience. His food, as well as his bathroom breaks, are dependent on a smattering of stores across from him.

Despite being subjected to the wilds of New York City for hours without end, the 20-year-old is in good spirits. He’s come to buy the SNES Classic, and less than an hour remains until the store opens its doors at 9AM. “Why line up so early?” he muses. “Honestly, because last year with the NES Classic, it was selling out like hotcakes. You could barely get your hands on one. I want to make sure I get the SNES Classic before it has the chance to sell out.”

Bartkowski…

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Nintendo is shutting down the Wii Shop in 2019

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Nintendo will shut down the Wii Shop channel on January 30th, 2019, marking the end of an era for the service that first came online for Wii consoles in December 2006. The shutdown will happen gradually: users will still be able to add Wii Points until March 26th, 2018, and still be able to use those points to purchase content until the shop fully goes offline in January 2019.

Additionally, at some point — Nintendo hasn’t put an exact date on it yet — you also won’t be able to re-download previously purchased Wii and Virtual Console games or the Wii System Transfer Tool to move files to the Wii U. Nintendo recommends that if you have games you want…

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On the astounding lack of extraterrestrials ‘round Here

See the original posting on Boing Boing

If you’ve ever looked around and wondered, where are all the aliens, hit Play, below. No, you won’t find an alien. But you’ll hear a luxuriously unhurried interview with British astronomer Stephen Webb. He has probably given this question more careful thought than any living person, and many (but by no means all) of his reflections can be found in his brilliant book, Where Is Everybody.

This is the eighth episode of my podcast series (co-hosted by Tom Merritt), which launched here on Boing Boing last month. The series goes deep into the science, tech, and sociological issues explored in my novel After On – but no familiarity with the novel is necessary to listen to it.

Today’s interviewee is a world-leading expert on the subject of Fermi’s paradox – which is encapsulated in his book’s title. And the paradox’s roots are quite literally as old as Earth itself.

Life arose here – presumably from dead matter – almost as soon as the collisions and volcanism of planetary formation calmed enough to permit its existence. If that’s a normal pattern, billions of planets out there should harbor some form of life. Because some of those planets are billions of years older than ours, their brainier occupants could have far surpassed today’s technology when our forerunners still had fins. Yet we see no evidence of this. And it’s not for a lack of seeking it, as there are scientists who have done little else for decades.

There isn’t just one possible solution to Fermi’s paradox. There are at least 75 by Stephen’s count, and we discuss several. Our interview is delightfully wide-ranging, as Fermi solutions touch on every aspect of science, and several branches of sociology. This makes the paradox a worthy subject of study for anyone – even those with zero interest in extraterrestrials.

You can subscribe to my podcast within any podcast app. Simply use your app’s search function (type in “After On”) to find and subscribe. To subscribe via your computer on iTunes, just click here, then click the blue “View on iTunes” button (on the left side of the page), then click “Subscribe” (in a similar location) in the iTunes window. Or follow the feed http://afteron.libsyn.com/rss

La-La Land Records: movie and TV soundtracks for the absolutely obsessed

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I just came across this amazing company, La-La Land Records, that releases soundtracks of movies and TV shows.

But they don’t just release ordinary soundtracks, like their score to the new movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle. They also produce obsessively researched and mind-bogglingly complete soundtracks for older properties.

For example, they offer a 3-CD set for the Henry Mancini soundtrack to the 1965 movie The Great Race, which must have a running time longer than the movie itself.

But it’s on televisions series that they really shine. The Star Trek: The Original Series soundtrack is a 15-CD monster that will set you back $224.98. The complete DVD set for the series (which includes music and dialog and moving pictures) only costs $39. The La-La Land soundtrack set is beautifully packaged, and includes such tracks as “Zap the Space Ship” and “Mudd’s Farewell/Back in Orbit”

If you love the incidental music from the TV show Lost In Space, you are really in luck. Their 12-CD set contains over 14 hours of musical interludes like
“A Running Start / Never Fear / Zeno’s Plan”, and includes a 104-page booklet.

This stuff is not for me; I couldn’t even make it through the end of one of those sample tracks. But I’m strangely glad this stuff exists. Some might call this music entertainment detritus, but others clearly love it, and for them and for posterity, it’s been expertly curated, cataloged and archived.

Here’s some raw GoPro Hero 6 Black footage shot in 4K at 60fps

See the original posting on The Verge

GoPro announced the Hero 6 Black yesterday, and a headlining feature of the new camera is its ability to shoot 4K footage at 60 frames per second. This is something that’s been long awaited by many power and pro users who want just a little bit (about two to three times) of slow motion capability at what is typically the highest resolution most people are shooting or watching. It may not be an ability you’ll ever use on a GoPro, but even if that’s the case these videos will help you get an idea of what the company’s newest camera is capable at one of its limits.

These videos were shot handheld (attached to a tiny tripod grip), in GoPro’s ProTune mode with the “flat” color setting and, I believe, some sharpening that I forgot to turn off…

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It’s time to give Firefox another chance

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 If you’re like me, you switched your default browser over to Chrome years ago and never looked back. Chances are, before you made the switch, you used Firefox or Internet Explorer. What made Chrome stand out back then was its speed and simplicity, especially at a time when Firefox felt like it was getting slower and heavier with every update. But times have changed. Read More

We’re Using the Word Firmware Wrong

See the original posting on Hackaday

I had an interesting discussion the other day about code written for an embedded system. I was speaking with Voja Antonic about ‘firmware’. The conversation continued forward but I noticed that he was calling it ‘software’. We later discussed it and Voja told me he thought only the parts of the code directly interacting with the microcontroller were firmware; the rest falls under the more generic term of software. It really had me wondering where firmware stops being firmware and is merely software?

The topic has remained on my mind and I finally got around to doing some dictionary searches. …read more

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