Raspberry Pi Zero Stepper Driver, First of Many Modules

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The Raspberry Pi in general (and the Zero W model in particular) are wonderful pieces of hardware, but they’re not entirely plug-and-play when it comes to embedded applications. The user is on the hook for things like providing a regulated power source, an OS, and being mindful of proper shutdown and ESD precautions. Still, the capabilities make it worth considering and [Alpha le ciel] has a project to make implementation easier with the Raspberry Pi Zero W Stepper Motor Module, which is itself part of a larger project plan to make the Pi Zero W into a robust building block …read more

Pokémon Quest is better on mobile than the Switch

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Game Freak’s free, “rambunctious action RPG,” Pokémon Quest, is finally available for mobile devices. Though it may have launched on the Nintendo Switch first, it’s the iOS and Android versions that feel like the most natural place to play the game.

Pokémon Quest’s model is not conducive to long stretches of play time. The cube-y, cutesy adventure is a mix of tap-driven battles and passive gameplay popularized by games like Neko Atsume. You split your time between a base camp, where you can train your pokémon or cook up food to attract new friends, and adventuring through the island. But your actions are gated by time limits. If you want to fight, you’ll have to make sure you have the battery energy to do so; cooking meals requires you…

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Nintendo Switch Gets Internal Trinket Hardmod

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If you haven’t been following the Nintendo Switch hacking scene, the short version of the story is that a vulnerability was discovered that allows executing code on all versions of the Switch hardware and operating system. In fact, it’s believed that the only way to stop this vulnerability from being exploited is for Nintendo to release a new revision of the hardware. Presumably there are a lot of sad faces in the House of Mario right about now, but it’s good news for us peons who dream of actually controlling the devices we purchase.

To run your own code on …read more

Sign up for the Disrupt SF Virtual Hackathon today

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Developers and creators, this is your shot to flex your technical building skills for a chance to win free passes to Disrupt SF 2018 — and maybe even $10,000! Sign up today to participate in the TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 virtual hackathon! Here’s how the virtual Disrupt SF Hackathon works. Our expert judges will review, evaluate and score every eligible […]

Tech in a time of travesties

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“Violence is like XML,” a hacker friend once said to me sardonically, re the USA’s endless flailing military presence in Afghanistan, “if it doesn’t work, you’re obviously just not using enough of it.” This is true of the tech and Valley attitude towards life in general. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks […]

Original Content podcast: Summer movie madness with ‘Solo’, ‘Incredibles 2’ and more

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While we generally keep the Original Content podcast focused on the latest movies and TV shows from the big streaming services, we’ll occasionally go further afield when it like something might relevant to TechCrunch readers — or when we just feel like it. This week, we’re joined by Greg Kumparak to offer rapid-fire reviews of […]

WTF is dark pattern design?

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If you’re a UX designer you won’t need this article to tell you about dark pattern design. But perhaps you chose to tap here out of a desire to reaffirm what you already know — to feel good about your professional expertise. Or was it that your conscience pricked you? Go on, you can be […]

Here’s 12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels that you should check out this July

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Robots are a regular staple in science fiction, from Isaac Asimov’s book I, Robot to the latest episode of Westworld. So while I was at an event in Boston, I picked up Generation Robot: A Century of Science Fiction, Fact, and Speculation by Terri Favro. It’s an interesting and funny book about the intersection of science fiction and reality, and Favro blends memoir, tech reporting, and even a bit of science fiction to look at where robots have come from, and where they could be going in the coming decades. It’s a quick, light read, and it’s a good chaser to Paul Scharre’s fantastic Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War.

Here’s 12 science fiction and fantasy books hitting stores this month that you should check out.

July…

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A cold case is reopened in the BBC and NRK’s podcast Death in Ice Valley

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There are a ton of podcasts out there, but finding the right one can be difficult. In our new column Pod Hunters, we cover what we’ve been listening to that we can’t stop thinking about.

On November 29th, 1970, a family discovered the body of a woman in Norway’s Isdalen Valley in Bergen. It was a strange scene: the body was burned, and an autopsy later found at least 50 sleeping pills in her stomach. Investigators discovered a pair of suitcases at a nearby train station, loaded with money, clothing without labels, eight fake passports, and some other objects, only to have the case abruptly closed.

To this date, the so-called Isdal Woman has never been identified, and the case has stoked the interest of journalists, mystery authors, and…

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Fallout 76 won’t have cross-platform play because of Sony

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Earlier this month at E3, Bethesda unveiled a new Fallout game: Fallout 76, an online, multiplayer survival game. The game will be available on the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PCs when it’s launched this November, but according to the game’s director, it won’t allow for cross-play, because of Sony.

Todd Howard told GameStar.de (via CNet) that “we would love to do [cross-play]” in Fallout 76, “but right now that’s not possible.” The reason, he says, is Sony, which is “not as helpful as everyone would like it.”

Sony has already irritated fans by blocking cross-play on Fortnite between Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch players, and during E3, issued a statement saying that “we’re always open to hearing what the PlayStation community is…

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Heartwatch Monitors Your Ticker

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The heart! A pump of the most fantastical kind, it is capable of operating for decades without rest. It’s responsible for supplying vital oxygen to the body’s subsystems, and can be readily monitored with modern technology. [Dave Vernooy] wanted to build a watch that could take heartrate and blood oxygen measurements – so he did.

Named Heartwatch, the device is a DIY smartwatch build with a bunch of exciting features. Heart monitoring is taken care of by the MAX30102 sensor which integrates all the hardware to sense heart rate and oxygen saturation into a single tiny plastic package. There’s then …read more

Everything coming to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now in July

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We’re in the middle of summer-movie season, but while you may want to catch splashy, big-screen-friendly movies like The Incredibles 2, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and the upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp in theaters, there’s also still plenty of new programming on your streaming service of choice. This July, Netflix is adding a sixth season of Orange is the New Black to its lineup, as well as Extinction, the new science fiction / horror film from Hounds of Love writer-director Ben Young. The original Jurassic Park trilogy will also be arriving on the service as of July 1st, and for something more cerebral, Spike Jonze’s excellent AI love story Her will come to the service on July 29th.

Amazon Prime will once again add a number of…

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PCB Holder Quick-fix Turns Out To Be Big Improvement

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When something needs improving, most hacks often make a small tweak to address a problem without changing how things really work. Other hacks go a level deeper, and that’s what [Felix Rusu] did with his 3D printed magnetic holders. Originally designed to address a shortcoming with the PCB holders in his LE40V desktop pick-and-place machine, they turned out to be useful for other applications as well, and easily modified to use whatever size magnets happen to be handy.

The problem [Felix] had with the PCB holders on his pick-and-place was that they hold the board suspended in midair by gripping …read more

Aquarium Controller Starring Arduino Gets A Long Video Description

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There’s an old saying that the cobbler’s children have no shoes. Sometimes we feel that way because we stay busy designing things for other people or for demos that we don’t have time to just build something we want. [Blue Blade Fish] wanted to build an Arduino-based aquarium controller. He’s detailed the system in (so far) 14 videos and it looks solid.

This isn’t just a simple controller, either. It is a modular design with an Arduino Mega and a lot of I/O for a serious fish tank. There are controls for heaters, fans, lights, wave makers and even top-off …read more

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