Watch neural-net racing cars learn to drive

See the original posting on Boing Boing

It’s not quite natural selection—creator Johan Eliasson picks which cars get to reproduce—but there’s something amazing about these virtual cars learning to drive around a track without even knowing they are cars.

Teaching a neural network to drive a car. It’s a simple network with a fixed number of hidden nodes (no NEAT), and no bias. Yet it manages to drive the cars fast and safe after just a few generations. Population is 650. The network evolves through random mutation (no cross-breeding). Fitness evaluation is currently done manually as explained in the video.

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How to Connect Your React Application With Redux

See the original posting on DZone Python

An exciting adventure for React developers is when they connect their React application with redux and when you have made it this far in reading about React, that means you are on the way to explore the out of the box concept of how you can manage global states in your application. This article will be helpful for React developers in integrating React applications with Redux.

Though React gives us the ability to manage state for our components, the dependency of the parent components on the child components and state management between two components becomes complicated with the increasing size of the application. To resolve this issue we have a third-party library called Redux which gives us all these wonderful features we need for global state management. Read Further at React Application with Redux.

Peak Design’s new tripod is full-featured but surprisingly compact

See the original posting on The Verge

Peak Design just announced its latest product: the new Peak Design Travel Tripod. The five-section Travel Tripod is available in either aluminum or carbon fiber and comes with Peak Design’s custom ball head attached. Peak Design is launching the tripod through a Kickstarter campaign today, with pricing set at $349.95 for the aluminum version and $599.95 for the carbon fiber model. It is expected to ship to retailers for the holiday season this year.

Like Peak Design’s popular bags and other camera accessories, the Travel Tripod is full of clever design and engineering bits. Since it’s designed to be as portable as possible, the tripod can compact down into a very small footprint and easily fit in the side pockets of many of Peak Design’s…

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Bose announces its smallest smart speaker yet and launches Google Assistant support

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Bose today announced its new Home Speaker 300, a two-pound smart speaker that measures a little over six inches tall and delivers “powerful bass and true 360-degree sound.” The aluminum-clad Home Speaker 300 is priced at $259.95, so you’d hope for top-notch audio performance for that kind of money. This latest speaker can link up with Bose’s other smart speakers and soundbars for a multiroom music system not unlike what you get with Sonos.

The Home Speaker 300 is clearly styled after the larger $399.95 Home Speaker 500, but downsizing meant getting rid of the LCD that shows album artwork. It has the same playback controls on top, along with several preset buttons that can quickly pull up your favorite playlist or internet radio station….

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Eero mesh Wi-Fi systems are cheaper today, and Google Nest Hub is almost half off

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Today is a good day if you’re looking to buy some networking gear or PC accessories. There are some other popular products on sale, too, like the Google Home Hub smart display, which is under $70 for a limited time.

Eero’s mesh Wi-Fi kits are discounted at Amazon today. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a substantial price drop. It was March, in fact, when Amazon celebrated its Eero acquisition by knocking $100 off of each tier of the company’s mesh Wi-Fi systems. Today’s sale isn’t quite as steep, though it’s worth checking out if you missed the previous deal a few months back.

Prices start at $239 (usually $299) for a mesh Wi-Fi kit that includes an Eero Pro unit and an Eero Beacon. You can place them at different points around your…

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The Honor 20 Pro is a capable flagship announced at the worst possible time

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Two days after Google threw the future of Huawei’s Android devices into disarray, its sub-brand Honor is announcing its flagship lineup for the year. The Honor 20 (not to be confused with the Honor View 20 released earlier this year) and Honor 20 Pro will sit at the top of the budget brand’s range, featuring Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 processor, quad rear cameras, and side-mounted fingerprint scanners, all fronted by a large 6.26-inch display, complete with a hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera. The Honor 20 Pro will retail for €599, while the Honor 20 will be slightly cheaper at €499 or £399 in the UK. Honor says that both of these devices will be “available soon.”

I’ve been using the Honor 20 Pro, the more premium of the two…

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New Toy Story 4 trailer introduces Keanu Reeves’ Canadian hero, Duke Caboom

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The Toy Story franchise is one of Pixar’s most beloved series, but the last three films felt like they were missing a little something: a touch of Canada. A new trailer for Toy Story 4 rectifies that with a new toy voiced by Keanu Reeves named Duke Caboom.

Duke Caboom is a real “poser,” according to Bo Peep, but he’s the perfect toy to help track down a missing toy. Reeves is a bonafide Canadian who grew up in the snazzy area of Yorkville, Toronto, and he brings that confident attitude to Duke Caboom, “Canada’s greatest stuntman.” Reeves’ character doesn’t get too much on-screen time in the trailer, but it’s just enough to tease an action figure that kids will want their parents to buy after the movie’s over.

Duke Caboom seems like a…

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Wyze’s next smart home product is an $8 light bulb

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Wyze is known for its budget-friendly smart home products, and its latest addition is an $8 smart lightbulb, fitting called the Wyze Bulb. It’s already up for preorders today in Wyze’s app, with shipping planned for later in June, via ZDNet.

Wyze will only sell the bulbs as $30 four-packs to start at launch, although it plans to sell individual bulbs for the aforementioned $8 price point soon after. The Wyze Bulb will support Alexa, Google Assistant, and IFTTT (not HomeKit), and it can be integrated with Wyze’s other products through its app. The bulbs are 800 lumens, and they allow for control of brightness and color temperature.

The budget bulbs should fit right in next to Wyze’s other products, including the…

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Seraphim Space Camp launches its latest mission, with 7 SpaceTech startups

See the original posting on TechCrunch

U.K. space accelerator Seraphim Space Camp appeared last year as the first ever UK SpaceTech accelerator and being, frankly, the only accelerator of its type, it has quickly shored-up a number of partnership links and hoovered up many of the startups in the… space. As is traditional with accelerators, it’s unveiled its latest cohort of […]

The Honor 20 Pro: A Quad-camera Hands-On Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

As a sister brand of Huawei, Honor in the last few years has seen quite a rising success in terms of delivering high value devices. In fact Honor’s smartphones have become so popular that the brand by itself is able to take a notable amount of marketshare percentage in multiple markets, aiming to become #3 in some countries.

Today Honor is announcing the new Honor 20 Pro – a continuance of the company’s mainline series which made it so popular to begin with. The new Honor 20 Pro takes elements from Huawei P30’s series, such as new camera systems and adds its own touch, deriving design decisions from this year’s Honor View20.

The Honor 20 Pro continues to use the 48MP sensor we first saw in the View20 and adds a 3x optical zoom module, a new wide angle camera module, and curiously enough a new dedicated macro camera module. We’ve had the phone for a few days and were able to do some camera testing as well test essentials such as the battery life of the phone. 

Premiere Rush, Adobe’s video-editing app for YouTubers, is now available on Android

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Adobe’s Premiere Rush CC, which arrived on the desktop and iOS last October, is now available on Android. The video-editing app is a simplified, mobile version of Adobe’s more powerful Creative Cloud software, but borrows some key features from Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Audition. For example, there are motion graphics templates from Adobe Stock for smooth transitions and auto-ducking features that balance and adjust audio to the background music.

Adobe says the app is tailored to YouTubers and online video creators, with exporting options optimized for social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. That means you can input your video title and add metadata like descriptions in Premiere Rush, without having to go…

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Tyrion subtly won the Game of Thrones

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Warning: spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones’ finale, “The Iron Throne.”

In the Game of Thrones finale, Bran Stark — inarguably the least useful character who managed to survive all eight seasons of the show — became king of Westeros. If you’re spitting bile right now, that might be because you’ve thought of the Iron Throne as the series’ putative prize, and you’re feeling rightfully let down by the injustice of handing that position to an undeserving, fairly creepy sideline observer. But rewind for a moment and ask yourself, who’s more important: the person who sits on the throne, or the person who puts him there and keeps him there? And what if the whole point of Game of Thrones is that the throne is no prize at all?

The Game of Thrones…

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Mozilla is making Firefox faster to compete with Chrome

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Mozilla is promising big performance gains with its latest Firefox browser update today. The Mozilla community went through Firefox with a fine-tooth comb to identify areas where the browser could speed up and load webpages quicker. This means scripts for Instagram, Amazon, and Google all load between 40 and 80 percent faster, and things like the auto-fill module doesn’t load unless there’s an actual form on the page.

Alongside these changes, Mozilla is also suspending idle tabs in Firefox if you only have 400MB of RAM left on your system. That should improve multiple tab performance on systems without much RAM, and it means the unused tabs will simply be suspended until you click them again. Firefox is also getting a lot faster at just…

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Vizio’s 2019 4K TVs are now available, AirPlay 2 coming soon

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Vizio has announced that its latest 4K TVs are now available at retailers. The company’s TVs have always stuck a very impressive price to performance balance, and that seems likely to carry on this year with more local dimming zones and improved brightness performance in several models. Plus, Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit will soon be coming to Vizio TVs new and old.

The TV lineup is led by the P-Series Quantum X, Vizio’s flagship 4K HDR model that comes in 65-inch ($2,199.99) and 75-inch ($3,499.99) sizes. Those are obviously a step up from the prices that most consumers associate with Vizio, but the company believes the P-Series Quantum X can compete with the very best 4K TVs on the market right now. With 384 or 480 local dimming…

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An apology to George R.R. Martin: ending Game of Thrones is really hard

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We all owe George R.R. Martin an apology. HBO’s Game of Thrones, the adaptation of Martin’s unfinished book series A Song of Ice and Fire, has concluded, wrapping up nearly every outstanding plot point in an abbreviated sprint to the end in the final episode, “The Iron Throne.” Overall, it was a tidy ending to what felt like a largely unsatisfying season, one that saw the most-discussed TV show of the past few years go out, not with a bang, but with a rushed, corner-cutting whimper.

Writing the ending to Game of Thrones is, in fact, harder than it looks.

Image: HBO

Warning: spoilers ahead for all of Game of Thrones as well as the published books

“Where’s the next book?”

The question has…

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Build custom Alexa skills by using Raspberry pi

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Raspberry Pi is one of the world’s most versatile open-source computers. Alexa is a home automation hub with limitless potential. Together, they’re a dream team for ambitious makers, opening the door to everything from automatic lights to voice-controlled robots. Learning Raspberry Pi is meant to be relatively easy for newbies, but its applications with Alexa require a whole new toolset.

The Complete Raspberry Pi & Alexa A-Z Bundle can give even the greenest beginner those tools.

The first of these four online courses focuses on Raspberry Pi, giving new programmers a taste of its potential. This opening boot camp lays out all the components of your Pi and lets you prepare your first SD card. Within the first few lessons, you’ll be building rudimentary LED circuits, and by the end of the course, you’ll be able to play retro Sega, Playstation and Nintendo games on your own makeshift game console.

Another Raspberry Pi “essentials” course will build on that knowledge, diving into how your computer can link up to the Internet of Things with simple Python commands.

In a Raspberry Pi3 course, you’ll be learning how to configure the unique Raspbian Operating System in no time. In less than 5 hours of lectures and examples, you can progress through file work and basic system commands to the final project: The creation of a complete Amazon Echo clone.

Finally, you’ll use those newfound Python chops to program any Alexa device. Here’s where the possibilities really open up, as you work with GPIO pins and incorporate infrared sensors into the new skills you’ll create. Read the rest

Dark modes are here for Google Calendar and Google Keep

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Google Calendar and Google Keep have become the latest Google apps to receive a dark mode on Android, allowing you to save battery life or maybe just enjoy a darker aesthetic at the press of a button. Google Calendar will support the mode on devices running Android Nougat and above, while Keep’s will also be available on Lollipop. Google Keep’s dark mode can be enabled in its settings menu, while for Google Calendar you’ll need to head into the Theme sub-menu in Settings. Sorry Apple users, there’s no news yet of the feature coming to either app on iOS.

The updates have come just in time for Android Q’s system-wide dark mode feature, called Dark Theme. When Google announced the new mode, it said that all its first party apps would be…

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