The science behind those viral videos of freezing soap bubbles

See the original posting on The Verge

It took a YouTube video, a walk-in freezer kept at negative 20 degrees Celsius, and some very cold-tolerant engineering students for researchers to finally figure out why freezing soap bubbles resemble glitter in a snow globe. The trick itself is a popular winter science experiment when temperatures dip below freezing: head outside, blow a soap bubble, gently plop it onto some snow or ice, and watch as crystals dance around on the film until the entire thing is a delicate ice ball. It’s visually stunning — but until very recently, people didn’t know exactly why bubbles freeze in this particular, mesmerizing way.

Normally, when a drop of water or a puddle freezes, it starts solidifying into ice at the coldest spot, where it comes in…

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PowerPoint will listen to rehearsals to help you stop swearing and stuttering

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Microsoft is adding an artificial intelligence-powered assistant to PowerPoint, to help improve people’s presentations. The new feature, dubbed Presenter Coach, will appear during a rehearsal mode for PowerPoint slides and offer feedback on your presentation skills by listening to audio from your computer’s microphone. Presenter Coach will pop up with tips about pacing and filler words so you’re not muttering or stuttering through a presentation, and also help presenters be more inclusive with their language, with suggestions like police officer instead of policeman.

If you swear during a presentation it will suggest that you don’t use profanity, and it will even highlight culturally insensitive phrases or alert you if you’re just lazily…

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The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera body is cheaper than ever

See the original posting on The Verge

Fujifilm’s X-T2 mirrorless camera body is $799 at B&H Photo and Amazon as the company (most likely) clears out its remaining stock of the 2016 model. The X-T2 regularly sold for $1,599 sans lens, though in months past, it briefly found its way down to around $900.

Now that it’s selling for $799, and likely to remain at that price until stock runs out, this might be a good time to consider it. The Verge’s Chris Welch reviewed the X-T2 when it was first released, and though it has likely seen the last of its firmware updates and favor has shifted to Fujifilm’s newer X-T3, this is still a great camera that’s easy to use, featuring buttons and dials that ensure expert control over your images.

Note: This price is for the body only. You’ll…

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I love this MSR Alpine kitchen knife

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This lightweight, durable MSR kitchen knife comes sharp and stays sharp.

You can also sharpen it quite easily.

I used to buy camping kitchen knives at the dollar store. I’d use them for a season, or part of a season, and then throw them away. They were cheap but unfortunately also disposable. Years ago this MSR Alpine Kitchen Knife came with a set of cooking kit. I have not needed a new knife since.

Good for chopping, paring, slicing and spreading — this knife will do it all if I’m camping alone and not feeling like taking out silverware. Sure, I’ll eat with the kitchen knife.

I have gotten a lot of use out of this blade and only had to sharpen it once. It holds an edge very well.

The Alpine Kitchen Knife is lightweight and has a bit of flex, but is a pleasure to work with. The knife comes with a lightweight plastic sheath for the storaging, as well.

MSR Alpine Kitchen Knife via Amazon Read the rest

LG’s 5G-equipped V50 ThinQ is coming to Verizon on June 20th

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Verizon is getting another 5G phone for its fledging network: LG’s V50 ThinQ, which will launch on June 20th, via Android Police.

The V50 released in the US last month as Sprint’s first 5G phone, and while we’ve known since it was first announced that it would be making its way to Verizon at some point over the summer, today’s announcement has finally given us the official release date.

The Verizon model appears to be nearly identical to the Sprint version, although it appears that Verizon has swapped in its specific 5G logo on the back of the device (no word yet as to whether it too will light up like the Sprint model’s logo.)

That means that spec-wise, you’ll be getting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 6GB of RAM,…

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Create Your Own Wiki With Angular and Firebase

See the original posting on DZone Python

Why is Storage as a Service (SaaS) and becoming more and more popular with businesses, and what advantages do these platforms provide? Using SaaS platforms can lead to a significant increase in productivity as well as a reduction in development and maintenance costs. It also saves tech leaders from the worries related to server security, as it is all offloaded to the storage provider. There are many different SaaS providers including Google’s Firebase service.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to build your own wiki using Firebase to store the wiki docs, and Angular for the front-end.

John Wick Hex turns you into a cold, calculated killer

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One night, game designer Mike Bithell and a friend went out to see a largely forgettable action movie, and afterwards the conversation shifted to what, exactly, made John Wick so engrossing. Bithell’s friend, Ben Andac, who previously worked as a producer at Sony, then asked Bithell an exciting question: what would he do with the John Wick license? After thinking about it, Bithell realized he’d want to create a strategy game as opposed to a first-person shooter, giving players a chance to occupy Wick’s fast-moving analytical brain.

“I thought we were just bullshitting about cinema” says Bithell, whose previous work includes the charming platformer Thomas Was Alone and the stealth strategy game Volume. What the designer didn’t know was…

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MongoDB gets a data lake, new security features and more

See the original posting on TechCrunch

MongoDB is hosting its developer conference today and unsurprisingly, the company has quite a few announcements to make. Some are straightforward, like the launch of MongoDB 4.2 with some important new security features, while others, like the launch of the company’s Atlas Data Lake, point the company beyond its core database product. “Our new offerings […]

A “brief history” of cheating at video games

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Back in the day, I had a Datel Action Replay wedged into my Commodore Amiga. More than just a cheat device, it let you peek into all the internal goings-on of a game, manipulating content as well as a few select variables, scrambling the reality so carefully devised by the developers and artists. But, let’s face it, more life, father, was where it was at. Engadget’s Andrew Tarantola offers a brief history of video game cheating.

As far back as the Commodore 64 era, players themselves used POKES to access the contents of a game’s specific memory cell before loading the program. The Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC all allowed POKES. Doing so allowed players to edit various values and, if done properly, boost their stats, impart damage immunity or otherwise modify how the game played. For example, using “POKE 755, 4” on an Atari 8-bit system instructs the graphics card to invert all on-screen text. Of course, finding the right memory cell was a hit-or-miss endeavor. Just as often as you’d find a POKE that boosts your characters powers, you’d find one that imparts the same stat boost to your enemies.

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The tiny Palm phone can now be bought unlocked and used on AT&T and T-Mobile

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The diminutive Palm phone is now getting an unlocked version sold directly through the resurrected Palm, making it available to everyone — not just Verizon customers.

The move marks the latest expansion for the shrunken down Android device, which launched first as a companion device meant to be used alongside your regular smartphone. Verizon would then go on to sell it as a standalone, $350 smartphone a few months later, and now, with an unlocked model, customers on AT&T, T-Mobile, and other carriers will be able to use it too simply by swapping their SIM.

Unfortunately, as The Verge’s Dieter Bohn noted in his review the Palm phone isn’t a particularly good phone, either as a companion device or a full-fledged phone — and especially…

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A light-up keyboard from Roli teaches you to play piano like it’s Guitar Hero

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Many people try to learn an instrument at one point or another in their life, and for a lot of us that instrument is the piano. But when you give up learning there’s no easy way back — not without paying for expensive lessons at least.

Music hardware startup Roli wants to change this with the launch of Lumi: a 24-key, light-up keyboard and companion app that teaches users how to play the piano from scratch, before transforming into a tool for jamming and even composition.

The keyboard and companion app are available to preorder on Kickstarter today with a base price of $249 and early bird sales as cheap as $150. Shipping starts in October.

Credit: Roli

A companion app teaches you to play without sheet music.

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These truly wireless earbuds raised over $2M on Indiegogo

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Even if you feel like AirPods are worth the price tag, you’ve got to admit there’s a certain anxiety that comes with using them. What if I lose them? What if they get wet in the rain? Or drenched in sweat? Or fall into the drink you dropped them into? Shiny tech is great, but when we’re talking about wearable tech, it’s got to be, well … wearable.

For people that want that wireless freedom but want to actually use it, there’s an alternative: xFyro ARIA True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds.

Let’s look at these things from the inside out. The wireless connectivity is up to the best that’s currently out there: Bluetooth 5.0, which not only produces a more accurate sound through the 16mm drivers but is up to 2.5 times more reliable. The sound gets even more immersive with a one-two punch of CVC noise isolation and ambient sound protection. It’s Google Assistant and Siri-enabled, which means the operation is a breeze. And the longevity is especially remarkable: You’ll get 8 hours of listening on a single charge, plus an additional 24 hours of power with a boost from the included charging case. It’s quick to juice up too, with 15 minutes of plug-in getting as much as 3 hours of playback time.

But the casing is where the real peace of mind comes in. The xFyro ARIAs are certified waterproof and dustproof with an IP67 rating. That means in the rain or in the hot tub, you can keep the soundtrack going without fear of losing your investment. Read the rest

Movie VFX pros revisit the visual effects from the Star Wars prequels

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No matter whether your memories of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels are fond or furious, there’s no denying that, at the time that films were released, their cutting-edge visual effects were unlike anything else out there–but how do they hold up today? It’s a question that the VFX experts at CorridorCrew take the time to answer.

Over the course of this fun 15-minute video, the ‘Crew examine what of the prequels’ VFX still hold up, what mistakes were made and, in some occasions, what didn’t work, even at the time that the movies were released.

Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

Wacom releases rechargeable Bamboo Ink Plus for Windows 10 tablets

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Wacom is releasing a new stylus for pen-enabled Windows 10 PCs that adds tilt support and a rechargeable battery. The new stylus, the Bamboo Ink Plus, supports both the Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) and the Wacom Active ElectroStatic (AES) protocol, meaning the stylus is compatible with devices from the MPP-supported Microsoft Surface laptops to the AES-supported Lenovo Thinkpad series of tablets. Users can switch to different protocols easily by holding both side buttons.

Unlike the previous Bamboo Ink, which required hard-to-find AAAA batteries, the Ink Plus is rechargeable via USB. Like the previous model, the Plus also has three different fine nibs (soft, medium, and firm), and has a triangular barrel which some artists find more…

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