RavPower wireless chargers are at their lowest price ever with Amazon’s Deal of the Day

See the original posting on The Verge

RavPower makes our favorite wireless charger for Qi-enabled phones: the Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad. While the newest version is still on the more expensive end of the wireless charger spectrum, you can pick up the older model at the lowest price it’s ever been, today only, as part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day program. Also available in today’s Deal of the Day is a newer wireless charger from RavPower, the HyperAir Stand, which Verge readers can pick up at an additional discount.

The new HyperAir Wireless Charging Stand charges Samsung phones at 10W and iPhones at their max speeds of 7.5W. The HyperAir is currently listed at $37.49, or 25 percent off the original price of $49.99. Verge readers can use the code VERGECHL to get the…

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Are Widescreen Laptops Dumb?

See the original posting on Slashdot

“After years of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV screens converging on 16:9 as the ‘right’ display shape — allowing video playback without distracting black bars — smartphones have disturbed the universality recently by moving to even more elongated formats like 18:9, 19:9, or even 19.5:9 in the iPhone X’s case,” writes Amelia Holowaty Krales via The Verge. “That’s prompted me to consider where else the default widescreen proportions might be a poor fit, and I’ve realized that laptops are the worst offenders.” Krales makes the case for why a 16:9 screen of 13 to 15 inches in size is a poor fit: Practically every interface in Apple’s macOS, Microsoft’s Windows, and on the web is designed by stacking user controls in a vertical hierarchy. At the top of every MacBook, there’s a menu bar. At the bottom, by default, is the Dock for launching your most-used apps. On Windows, you have the taskbar serving a similar purpose — and though it may be moved around the screen like Apple’s Dock, it’s most commonly kept as a sliver traversing the bottom of the display. Every window in these operating systems has chrome — the extra buttons and indicator bars that allow you to close, reshape, or move a window around — and the components of that chrome are usually attached at the top and bottom. Look at your favorite website (hopefully this one) on the internet, and you’ll again see a vertical structure.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also the matter of tabs. Tabs are a couple of decades old now, and, like much of the rest of the desktop and web environment, they were initially thought up in an age where the predominant computer displays were close to square with a 4:3 aspect ratio. That’s to say, most computer screens were the shape of an iPad when many of today’s most common interface and design elements were being developed. As much of a chrome minimalist as I try to be, I still can’t extricate myself from needing a menu bar in my OS and tab and address bars inside my browser. I’m still learning to live without a bookmarks bar. With all of these horizontal bars invading our vertical space, a 16:9 screen quickly starts to feel cramped, especially at the typical laptop size. You wind up spending more time scrolling through content than engaging with it. What is your preferred aspect ratio for a laptop? Do you prefer Microsoft and Google’s machines that have a squarer 3:2 aspect ratio, or Apple’s MacBook Pro that has a 16:10 display?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Spoofing Cell Networks with a USB to VGA Adapter

See the original posting on Hackaday

RTL-SDR brought cheap and ubiquitous Software Defined Radio (SDR) to the masses, opening up whole swaths of the RF spectrum which were simply unavailable to the average hacker previously. Because the RTL-SDR supported devices were designed as TV tuners, they had no capability to transmit. For the price they are still an absolutely fantastic deal, and deserve to be in any modern hacker’s toolkit, but sometimes you want to reach out and touch someone.

Now you can. At OsmoDevCon [Steve Markgraf] released osmo-fl2k, a tool which allows transmit-only SDR through cheap USB 3.0 to VGA adapters based on the Fresco …read more

Designer garden hoses, and other ‘luxurious alternative garden appliances’

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Riffraff, step aside. A line of garden hoses for the more discerning yard worker has arrived.

With models like the Gold Digger (“certainly a statement piece is for those who love a bit of show off”), the “graceful and refined” Rusty Rose, and the Caribbean Kiss (which “will make you dream of a tropical beach edged with palm trees”), it’s clear that Garden Glory’s hoses are no ordinary lawn wetting devices.

The prices are not ordinary either. Hoses are $119 each (plus an additional $49 to $119 for the matchy-matchy nozzle) and come with an “elegant designer bag.” Don’t forget to kickdown for that complementary Reindeer Wall Mount ($299) to wrap your hose around. Add a pair of golden gloves for $59 and then snap some selfies of yourself “gardening.” Your Instagram feed is sure to explode.

All of your “luxurious alternative garden appliances” dreams have come true. **pinch**

Thanks, Polly!

images via Garden Glory

“But slavery was so long ago”

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Originally commissioned as a wrist tattoo, the simple and powerful chart showing how recent black freedom is in America is now also a t-shirt.

“…but slavery was sooo long ago.”

We’ve heard this quote over and over throughout the course of modern American history. In an attempt to urge black people to “move on” and to recognize just how good they have it in America, this dismissive and tone deaf statement attempts to transform relatively recent history into ancient history or myth.

However, when looking at this graphic, it is very clear that American slavery and segregation was not so long ago. In fact, it is very possible to have conversations with many African Americans who have vivid memories of Jim Crow South and the racist and subversive practices in the North.

I like this black and white version:

Be the center of attention with these flashing Meizu earphones

See the original posting on The Verge

If you’ve always wanted your headphones to stand out a little in a sea of white cables then Meizu’s light-up earbuds might be for you. Called Halo, the Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX buds feature a 1.5-meter cable (including 0.3m to wrap around your ears) that lights up and flashes in bright neon red or blue for an average of 5 hours (at 50 percent brightness). Otherwise they’ll last for 15 hours if you switch the lighting off. The rechargeable battery located at the end of the cable takes about 1.5 hours to charge.

Halo uses a light-diffusing fiber from Corning called Fibrance which is made from flexible glass that can be bent and curved. These Meizu earphones aren’t the first with an illuminating cable built around Fibrance — Glow also has a…

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Using Crafter CMS, GitHub, and Two-Factor Authentication

See the original posting on DZone Python

Crafter’s Git-based CMS supports developers working against remote repositories like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and others. Many organizations that use GitHub enforce a two-factor authentication for developers. This article shows you how to create a site in Crafter when you have two-factor authentication in GitHub configured.

Step 1: Configure an Access Token in GitHub

If you are reading this article, it’s very likely you already have two-factor authentication configured and are using it with GitHub. If you’re interested in setting it up you can learn more about that here.

The Simplest Possible DIY Ultrasonic Levitator

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We thought that making things levitate in mid-air by the power of sound was a little bit more like magic, or at least required fancy equipment. It turns out that you can do it yourself easily enough with parts that any decent hacker’s closet should have in abundance: a motor-driver IC, two ultrasonic distance pingers, and a microcontroller. This article shows you how (translated here, scroll down).

But aside from a few clever tricks, there’s not that much to show. The two HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors are standard fare, and are just being used as a cheap source of 40 …read more

Meizu’s new phones don’t have notches

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Chinese company Meizu has unveiled its new range of smartphones, the 15 series, and it seems to be taking a stand against current trends in phone design. You won’t find notches or even tall screens here — just large, intact rectangles. It’s actually kind of refreshing.

There are three phones: the 5.95-inch 1440p OLED Meizu 15 Plus, the 5.46-inch 1080p OLED Meizu 15, and the 5.46-inch 1080p LCD Meizu 15 Lite. The Plus uses a Samsung Exynoos 8895 processor, unusually — the same chip found in international models of the Galaxy S8 — while the 15 has a Snapdragon 660 and the Lite employs a Snapdragon 626.

Design-wise, imagine an iPhone 7 Plus with thinner bezels on all four sides and you’re pretty much there — the phones even manage to fit a…

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Remote Control of Clocks is Easy as Pi

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Fatjedi007] recently acquired three programmable boxing gym-type clocks to help his developmentally disabled clients manage their time. The plan was to have timers of varying lengths fire at preset times throughout the day, with the large displays providing a view from anywhere. Unfortunately, the clocks were not nearly as programmable as he needed them to be.

Since he’d spent enough money already, [Fatjedi007] turned to the power of Raspberry Pi to devise an affordable solution. Each clock gets a Pi Zero W and a simple IR transmit/receive circuit that operates using LIRC. The clocks came with remote controls, so it …read more

Stop Using JWTs as Session Tokens

See the original posting on DZone Python

JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) are so hot right now. They’re all the rage in web development because they’re trendy, secure, scalable, and compact. With all these amazing things going for JWTs, they seem like an unstoppable hype train headed straight for Stack Overflow fame and fortune!

Today I’m here to talk with you about the downsides of using JWTs. Specifically, why it’s a bad idea to use JWTs as session tokens for most people.

An FM Transceiver From An Unexpected Chip

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The Si47xx series of integrated circuits from Silicon Labs is a fascinating series of consumer broadcast radio products, chips that apply SDR technologies to deliver a range of functions that were once significantly more complex, with minimal external components and RF design trickery.  [Kodera2t] was attracted to one of them, the Si4720, which boasts the unusual function of containing both a receiver and a transmitter for the FM broadcast band and is aimed at mobile phones and similar devices that send audio to an FM car radio. The result is a PCB with a complete transceiver controlled by an ATmega328 …read more

Hackaday Links: April 22, 2018

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Eagle 9 is out. Autodesk is really ramping up the updates to Eagle, so much so it’s becoming annoying. What are the cool bits this time? Busses have been improved, which is great because I’ve rarely seen anyone use busses in Eagle. There’s a new pin breakout thingy that automagically puts green lines on your pins. The smash command has been overhauled and now moving part names and values is somewhat automatic. While these sound like small updates, Autodesk is doing a lot of work here that should have been done a decade ago. It’s great.

Crypto! Bitcoin is …read more

Counting Without Transistors

See the original posting on Hackaday

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

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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

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.

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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