Hulu’s Live TV app now lets you personalize the Olympics to your liking

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Teased earlier this month at CES, Hulu today has quietly launched its personalized Olympics experience in its Live TV app. The company hasn’t officially announced the new feature, but the option to track your favorite Olympics events pops up when you launch the app today, allowing you to pick from various events like figure skating, ski jumping, snowboard, luge, alpine skiing and many… Read More

The latest Android One phone looks like an updated iPhone 5C

See the original posting on The Verge

Remember the iPhone 5C? Apple’s foray into making a plastic-cased, brightly colored line of theoretically cheaper iPhones may not have lasted long (largely due to people preferring the nicer aluminum models and the fact that they weren’t actually all that cheap), but Sharp’s new Android One S3 phone looks like it’s picking up the style of Apple’s short-lived experiment, with a few improvements, via GSMArena.

The Android One S3 costs 32,400 yen (roughly $300), putting it far more in line with mid-range and budget phones than the 5C ever was. The phone is also larger, with a 5-inch IGZO LCD display at 1080p resolution. The rest of the specs are uninspiring, at best — a Snapdragon 430 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage,…

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Oops! Don’t say ‘Google’ in your Alexa voice app, Amazon says

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 The competition between Alexa and Google Assistant is fierce. How fierce? Cover all of Las Vegas in Google Assistant ads for CES fierce? Put voice assistance in weird things like a light switch or a fridge fierce? How about “don’t dare utter our competitor’s name in your voice app” fierce? Yep, Amazon has banned Alexa app developers from saying “Google”… Read More

Supermedium launches its virtual reality web browser backed by Y Combinator

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Virtual reality’s content problem has been so frustrating for users because the medium’s promise has been that it can take users anywhere. As developers continue to build up these worlds, Supermedium is launching out of Y Combinator’s winter batch with a browser that it hopes can show people the promises of virtual reality content that lives across the web. While Oculus… Read More

Lexip’s joystick-mouse combo is a strange but promising hybrid

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 While at CES I try to avoid getting bogged down by dozens of random gadgets, and this time I mostly succeeded — but the mouse reviewer in me was intrigued by Lexip’s new gaming mouse that’s also a sort of floating joystick. It’s a strange but cool idea, and although the learning curve is high, I can see some hardcore gamers and productivity fiends getting a lot of use… Read More

The Engineering Analysis Of Plastic-Dissolving Lubricant

See the original posting on Hackaday

Over the years, E3D has made a name for themselves as a manufacturer of very high-quality hotends for 3D printers and other printer ephemera. One of their more successful products is the Titan Extruder, a compact extruder for 3D printers that is mostly injection-molded plastic. The front piece of the Titan is a block of molded polycarbonate, a plastic that simply shouldn’t fail in its normal application of holding a few gears and bearings together. However, a few months back, reports of cracked polycarbonate started streaming in. This shouldn’t have happened, and necessitated a deep dive into the failure analysis …read more

Square made an illustrated children’s story to explain bitcoin

See the original posting on The Verge

Governments, journalists, experts, and more have issued or written guidance on how to understand bitcoin. But none of these guides are as helpful as Square’s new illustrated story about the birth of Bitcoin that even small children can understand.

The explainer, called “My First Bitcoin and the Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto” and titled in blazing ombre letters, uses colorful illustrations of machines and whirring gizmos to explain Bitcoin, all drawn by Square’s Cash App brand and design team. Satoshi Nakamoto refers to Bitcoin’s creator, about whom little is known.

The illustrations depict bitcoins as shiny letter Bs that can be chopped up into valuable fractions, kind of like a huge diamond. They’re made with “very complex math,” as…

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Harley-Davidson’s first production electric motorcycle will debut in 2019

See the original posting on The Verge

Harley-Davidson has been toying around with the idea of an electric motorcycle for about four years now, but yesterday the company committed to putting one into production. There are no specs just yet, but Harley executives say to expect it to hit the market “within 18 months.”

The new bike will presumably build on the somewhat meager performance specs of LiveWire, the prototype electric motorcycle Harley-Davidson rolled out back in 2014. That bike was able to go from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, which was impressive, but it was limited to just 55 miles of range in “economy” mode. Electric motorcycles have come a long way in the few years since then, so it’s likely that Harley-Davidson’s first production bike will be far more…

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An ode to the audio jack as an engineering marvel

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Plenty of folks have bemoaned the disappearance of the audio jack from phones. Among other problems, it’ll create “DRM for audio”, since any sound that reaches your need-to-charge-them-all-the-time earbuds will now be served up by software-defined bluetooth — so phone- and app-makers will be able to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks on your music-listening, halting any signals they don’t like or don’t approve of.

All well-discussed problems! But here, Charlie Hoey writes something deeper — a lovely ode to the audio jack as a vestige of sheerly analog engineering.

As he notes, the audio jack speaks in the language of voltage. This grounds it in the world of pure physics, and makes it hackable for all sorts of weird and unexpected purposes, like the way Stripe uses it to read the magstripes on bank-cards:

The series of voltages a headphone jack creates is immediately understandable and usable with the most basic tools. If you coil up some copper, and put a magnet in the middle, and then hook each side of the coil up to your phone’s headphone jack, it would make sounds. They would not be pleasant or loud, but they would be tangible and human-scale and understandable. It’s a part of your phone that can read and produce electrical vibrations. [snip]

Entrepreneurs and engineers will lose access to a nearly universal, license-free I/O port. Independent headphone manufacturers will be forced into a dongle-bound second-class citizenry. Companies like Square?—?which made brilliant use of the headphone/microphone jack to produce credit card readers that are cheap enough to just give away for free?—?will be hit with extra licensing fees.

Because a voltage is just a voltage. Beyond an input range, nobody can define what you do with it. In the case of the Square magstripe reader, it is powered by the energy generally used to drive speakers (harvesting the energy of a sine wave being played over the headphones), and it transmits data to the microphone input. [snip]

I don’t know exactly how losing direct access to our signals will harm us, but doesn’t it feel like it’s going to somehow? Like we may get so far removed from how our devices work, by licenses and DRM, dongles and adapters that we no longer even want to understand them? There’s beauty in the transformation of sound waves to electricity through a microphone, and then from electricity back to sound again through a speaker coil. It is pleasant to understand. Compare that to understanding, say, the latest BlueTooth API. One’s an arbitrary and fleeting manmade abstraction, the other a mysterious and dazzlingly convenient property of the natural world.

(CC-licensed image via William Hook)

Dumbledore to stay in closet for new Fantastic Beasts movie

See the original posting on Boing Boing

A decade ago, J.K. Rowling famously told the world that Dumbledore was gay. Just don’t expect it to be shown any time soon.

“Not explicitly,” Yates replied when asked if the film makes it clear that Dumbledore is gay. “But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other’s ideas, and ideology and each other.”

Yates then added a bit more about what Dumbledore is like in the new film: “He’s a maverick and a rebel and he’s an inspiring teacher at Hogwarts. He’s witty and has a bit of edge. He’s not this elder statesman. He’s a really kinetic guy. And opposite Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, they make an incredible pairing.”

Most opinions are of the kind that this is cowardly, homophobic and sad. One opinion that might matter more than yours is that of China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. But the supposedly growing influence of foreign censors on Hollywood wouldn’t explain the oleaginous smarminess of “all the fans are aware.”

Quantum Communications in Your Browser

See the original posting on Hackaday

Quantum computing (QC) is a big topic, and last time I was only able to walk you through the construction of a few logic gates, but you have to start somewhere. If you haven’t read that part, you probably should, because you’ll need to understand the simulator I’m using and some basic concepts.

I like to get right into practice, but with this topic, there’s no avoiding some theory. But don’t despair. We’ll have a little science fiction story you can try by the end of this installment, where we manage to pack two bits of information into a single …read more

Polymail looks to unify business email tools into a single web app

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Touchscreen Email Concept If you’re more of a Gmail power user (or even semi-power user) and other email services geared toward work, you’ve probably installed plenty of plugins like Rapportive to make your job a little bit easier. And while it’s all fine to try to pull together a suite of plugins to make that a little bit easier, a startup called Polymail is hoping to rope that all into a single hub… Read More

Trump’s new lawyer: Harvey Richards, Lawyer for Children!

See the original posting on Boing Boing

FOLLOW @RubenBolling on the Twitters and a Face Book.

IF you like Tom the Dancing Bug, be part of the team that makes it happen: INNER HIVE! Join for exclusive early access to comics, extra comics, commentary, and much more.

GET Ruben Bolling’s new hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures. (”Filled with wild twists and funny dialogue” -Publishers Weekly) Book One here. Book Two here.

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing!
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HAPPY WORLD and its dark underside is a game you’ll want to play more than once

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Earlier this month, a game called HAPPY WORLD by Jimi Masuraki was released on itch.io. When I first downloaded it, I honestly thought I might play it for 15 minutes during my free-block at school, at then uninstall it and be done. But after five or ten minutes of completing simple quests and making the digital people happy, I realized that this wasn’t another free lackluster game.

Not only did the adorably simplistic art style and funny nonchalant conversations between the player and the entities in the game cause me (and a few of my classmates) to laugh out loud, but once I got home and got further into the story, I found that there was intentional – and dark – lore in the game that was left for the player to discover on their own. I immediately knew that I was going to have to finish the game to unravel all the secrets — and in just less than an hour I did — but it wasn’t the ending that I was looking for. I restarted the game and started my attempt to figure out how to trigger the game’s true ending, and I was not at all disappointed.

I do not plan to spoil anything here, but if you are looking for a quick, free, and overall fantastic game to play, I recommend HAPPY WORLD. It’s an incredible mix of a happy-go-lucky simple world, and a darker, more depressing one hidden underneath. I truly doubt you’ll be disappointed. You can download it for free here.

Also, you can go to Jimi Masuraki’s Patreon page here, because he makes pretty great, fun games that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Observables With Angular 5

See the original posting on DZone Python

We have a case where we use observables to populate the UI from the external data asynchronously. Angular uses the same thing for this task, so let’s see how we can use the observables and use them in an Angular application.

What Are Observables?

Observables are a lazy collection of multiple values, or data, over a period of time. Observables open the continuous channel of communication where multiple values are emitted over time. This allows us to determine the pattern of the data.

Friday Hack Chat: Circuit Python

See the original posting on Hackaday

Back in the olden days, if you wanted to learn how to program a computer, you used the BASIC interpreter stored in ROM. This is how an entire generation of devs learned how to program. Now, home computers do not exist, there is no programming language stored in ROM, and no one should inflict JavaScript on 8-year-olds. What is the default, My First Programming Language™ today? Python. And now it’s on microcontrollers.

For this week’s Hack Chat on hackaday.io, we’re going to be talking all about Circuit Python. Circuit Python is based on the Open Source MicroPython, a Python 3 …read more

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