Counting Without Transistors

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The Hackaday Prize is all about Building Hope. We want to see hardware creators change the world with microcontrollers and breadboards. That’s a noble goal, but it also doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. That’s exactly what [Yann] is doing with a pile of surplus Soviet components, a bunch of bodge wire, and exactly zero transistors. He’s building a hexadecimal display module using only relays and diodes. It’s absurd, but still very very cool.

The inspiration for this build comes from homebrew computing. With this, there’s a recurring problem of displaying the status of a bus. Sure, a bank of …read more

Here are the 4 best moments from the first big Fortnite e-sports tournament

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Hundreds of fans, semi-pros, and big names from the world of e-sports, YouTube, and Twitch streaming descended on the Esports Arena in Las Vegas’ Luxor hotel yesterday for a Fortnite tournament unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The event was called Ninja Vegas 18, and it’s arguably the first big Fortnite Battle Royale tournament since the game launched back in September 2017. It was organized around massively popular Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, whose reach and popularity has turned him into a celebrity practically overnight.

Yet unlike traditional games that can easily be turned into team-based competitive sports like Overwatch or League of Legends, Fortnite is a massively multiplayer game involving as many as 100…

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Wikipedia has added page previews for easier browsing

See the original posting on The Verge

Wikipedia added a useful new feature earlier this week: page previews. The Wikimedia foundation says that it’s “one of the largest changes to desktop Wikipedia made in recent years,” and provides readers with a popup window that provides a bit of additional context for the article behind the link.

Reading through any Wikipedia page can turn into a rabbit hole that can take you to places you never expected. That exploration can be a fun, informative adventure, but it can also be a distraction, especially if the article you click on isn’t actually useful. The new page previews show an image and a couple of sentences that briefly describe the article when you hover your mouse over the link, providing a bit more context for you to decide…

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General Magic is a nostalgic film about the ‘90s startup that imagined the smartphone

See the original posting on The Verge

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Silicon Valley is stereotypically full of arrogant geniuses single-handedly forging the future, including Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and many more. But the ‘90s startup General Magic, as portrayed in a new eponymous documentary, was a team of gentle visionaries in the right place at the wrong time.

General Magic is sometimes credited with trying to invent the iPhone in the 1990s. The startup spun off from Apple with the intent of designing a smartphone-like device known as the Pocket Crystal, but it collapsed as its incredibly ambitious project ran…

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Fail of the Week: The Spot Welder Upgrade That Wasn’t

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Even when you build something really, really nice, there’s always room for improvement, right? As it turns out for this attempted upgrade to a DIY spot welder, not so much.

You’ll no doubt recall [Mark Presling]’s remarkably polished and professional spot welder build that we featured some time ago. It’s a beauty, with a lot of thought and effort put into not only the fit and finish but the function as well. Still, [Mark] was not satisfied; he felt that the welder was a little underpowered, and the rewound microwave oven transformer was too noisy. Taking inspiration from an old …read more

The science fiction film Jonathan mixes Fight Club with Charlie Kaufman

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Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

The idea of two conflicting personalities sharing a single body is one of those metaphor-rich tropes that writers tend to love. There have been a lot of radically different takes on the idea, from the pop-drama of Fight Club to the comedy of All Of Me to decades of diverse stories about the Incredible Hulk. Ultimately, all stories in this vein owe some fealty back to Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But even further back than that, body-sharing stories have their roots in a fundamental human discomfort with our…

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When Detecting Lines Is Harder Than Expected

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[Conor Patrick] is no stranger to hardware development, and he’s had an interesting project for the past few months. He’s attempting to create a tool to convert images of technical drawings (such as footprints for electronic components) into digital formats that can be imported into other tools. This could automate turning a typical footprint drawing like the one shown into an actual part definition in a CAD program, which could really speed up the creation of custom parts.

Key to the entire concept is the detection of lines in a black-and-white technical drawing. To some people this won’t sound like …read more

Product launch: a trip to the Taco Bell Space Station

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“I don’t want the Taco Bell International Space Station. I think it goes against what the public perceives the space station is supposed to be like.” — a quote from Erin MacDonald, an engineer for Engility’s Space and Mission Systems Group, during a panel on space sponsorship at the 34th Space Symposium, Space News reports.

Over my headset, I hear the flight controller counting down on the launch live stream.

“T-minus five minutes to liftoff.”

I don’t think my heart has ever pounded this hard. I’m strapped into a seat inside one of SpaceX’s SpriteDragon™ capsules, sitting on top of a Pepsi™ Falcon 9 rocket. And I’m just 300 seconds away from my first trip to space. With every second that ticks away, my nerves send an electric shock…

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Score 10 coding courses for a price you choose

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Learning how to code is a great way to improve your hiring potential and open the door to more lucrative careers, but getting the ball rolling can be a bit daunting considering the number of languages out there and steep price associated with training. However, the Pay What You Want: Learn to Code 2018 Bundle is making it more accessible by offering 140+ hours of training in today’s coding tools, all for a price you get to pick.

Here’s how the deal works: Simply pay what you want, and you’ll instantly unlock one of the collection’s ten courses. Beat the average price paid, and you’ll get the remaining nine at no extra charge. Plus, if you beat the leader price, you’ll be entered into a significant giveaway and earn a spot on the leaderboard.

Regardless of your experience level, this collection will guide you through the essentials of working with core coding tools, like Python, Swift, and JavaScript. You’ll dive into full-stack development with HTML, CSS, React, and Node, and even get your hands dirty building your own iPhone apps using iOS 11 and Swift.

Choose your price, and you can catalyze your coding education with the Pay What You Want: Learn to Code 2018 Bundle.

What do you think Android P will be called?

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It’s never too early to start speculating about what Google’s going to name the next version of Android. And with Google I/O just a few weeks away, we figured it was a good enough time to check in on what everyone’s thinking.

After we posted our first look at Android P’s developer beta last month, we got a ton of comments from people speculating on the new name. Popular guesses included:

  • Pancake
  • Peppermint
  • Pie
  • Pineapple
  • Pistachio
  • Pizza
  • Popcorn
  • Popsicle
  • Potato
  • Pudding
  • Pumpkin

There were also some one-offs, including Pop Rocks, Pringles, Pop-Tart, and Pez.

Ever since Android C was given the name Cupcake in 2009, Google has named each new release of its operating system after some kind of sweet or dessert, moving on to the next letter of…

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GuerillaClock Could Save This City Thousands

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They say necessity is the mother of invention. But if the thing you need has already been invented but is extremely expensive, another mother of invention might be budget overruns. That was the case when [klinstifen]’s local government decided to put in countdown clocks at bus stops, at a whopping $25,000 per clock. Thinking that was a little extreme, he decided to build his own with a much smaller price tag.

The project uses a Raspberry Pi Zero W as its core, and a 16×32 RGB LED matrix for a display. Some of the work is done already, since the …read more

Blueprints Make It Easy To Make (Some) Alexa Skills

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If you can code, you can create an Alexa skill — the programs that allow an Amazon Echo or similar device interact with you. What if you can’t code or you are just too lazy to do all the setup? Amazon now has Blueprints that can help anyone make a skill. The only problem is the skills you can create are pretty limited. In addition, they are only available to your Alexa devices.

The idea is simple. You start with a template — OK, a blueprint. This is a model application that does something like giving you a compliment or …read more

CSS Bullet Style

See the original posting on DZone Python

Are you a fan of making lots and lots of lists? Neither am I. But, here we are not talking about chore or shopping lists. We are talking about ordered and unordered lists that are inevitable when making modern websites and apps.

As mentioned, when creating lists in HTML and CSS, there are two types: ordered and unordered. In the case of ordered lists, numeration is present. On the other hand, in the case of unordered lists, no numeration is present, which is why a common name for these types of lists is bulleted lists.

3D Drone Video

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If you enjoy flying quadcopters, it is a good bet that you’ll have a drone with a camera. It used to be enough to record a video for later viewing, but these days you really want to see a live stream. The really cool setups have goggles so you can feel like you are actually in the cockpit. [Andi2345] decided to go one step further and build a drone that streams 3D video. You can see a video of the system, below.

Outdoors, there’s probably not a lot of advantage to having a 3D view, but it ought to be …read more

Got a Burning Idea For An EMF Camp Presentation? Now’s Your Chance!

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Sometimes the world of tech conference presentations can seem impossibly opaque, a place in which there appears to be an untouchable upper echelon of the same speakers who pop up at conference after conference. Mere mortals can never aspire to join them and are destined to forever lurk in the shadows, their killer talk undelivered.

Thankfully, our community is not like that. There is a rich tradition of events having open calls for participation, and the latest we’d like to bring to your attention comes from the British EMF Camp, to be held at the end of August. EMF, (standing …read more

Roomba-Riding Beer Butlers Will Serve Us All

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[Josh] isn’t one to refuse a challenge, especially when robots are involved. The latest dare from friends and family? Build a beer robot that can bring beverages at everyone’s beck and call.

The build consists of two main parts: the refrigerated cooler and the butler part, which comes courtesy of a Roomba Discovery from a fellow roboticist. [Josh] is basing the design on double-walled and insulated restaurant coolers. He built the refrigerated beverage hold from two stainless steel trash cans, sized an inch or so apart in diameter, and filled the gap with expanding foam insulation. He then cut away …read more

Netflix’s Cargo has a few new ideas for the zombie genre

See the original posting on The Verge

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

It’s difficult to find funding, distribution, or even an audience for short films these days. Anyone can shoot a short and put it up online, and the competition from amateurs and free content is brisk enough to make any professional think twice about making a short for any reason except inspiration or fun. But for first-time filmmakers proving their talents, a well-received short film can open some doors and make funding for a feature easier to find. It worked for Neill Blomkamp, whose debut District 9 started as a short called Alive In Joburg. It worked for…

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Ikea’s first Bluetooth speakers show it’s still figuring out tech

See the original posting on The Verge

Ikea’s been working its way into the tech space for the past few years. It started with wireless chargers, got into smart lights last year, and now it’s moving into speakers. I’ve been trying out the company’s first two Bluetooth speakers for the past week, and they feel quintessentially Ikea in ways both good and bad.

The first two pairs of Ikea-made Bluetooth speakers went on sale earlier this month: the Eneby 20 and Eneby 30. They’re both big, minimal squares with a single dial on them for controlling the volume and turning the unit on and off. The design is pretty forgettable, though you can remove the speaker grille to get a more stylized, industrial appearance. For the most part, though, they look like they were designed to fit…

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7 new trailers you should watch this week

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Westworld starts up again this weekend after a little more than a year away. I had a very love / hate relationship with the first season. I didn’t love the watching experience so much as I loved the meta experience of reading speculation about where the show was going, but I’m still really interested to see what happens this season.

In particular, I’m curious to see how the writers manage to work the same kinds of big, structural twists into the series that they did in season 1, especially now that viewers know to look for them. I’m torn because part of me feels like this is gimmicky storytelling, but another part has to admit that they’ve done a masterful job of creating a big puzzle and conversation piece, which is definitely a feat.

T…

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