There’s a “Weird Al” Yankovic remix of Portugal. The Man’s “Feel it Still”

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If I had a hit pop song that was fresh off a Grammy win, I would follow Portugal. The Man‘s lead and do all the things.

First, I’d want to perform on Ellen like they just did. But that’s not big enough, I’d also want to bring the USC Marching Band onstage with me, like they did Thursday.

Then, just because I could, I would get “Weird Al” Yankovic to performing a rousing remix of my Grammy-winning song, like they just did with “Feel it Still.”

Then I’d continue touring with my new album, like they are with “Woodstock.” ‘Cause: “Go big or go home.”


Balloons and Bubbles Make for Kid-Friendly Robot Deathmatch

See the original posting on Hackaday

Because nothing says “fun for kids” like barbed wire and hypodermic needles, here’s an interactive real-world game that everyone can enjoy. Think of it as a kinder, gentler version of Robot Wars, where the object of the game is to pop the balloon on the other player’s robot before yours get popped. Sounds simple, but the simple games are often the most engaging, and that sure seems to be the case here.

The current incarnation of “Bubble Blast” stems from a project [Niklas Roy] undertook for a festival in Tunisia in 2017. That first version used heavily hacked toy …read more

How to make those fancy geometric pies by lokokitchen

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Seattle-based self-taught baker Lauren Ko of Loko Kitchen was inspired to start making her now-viral geometric pies after seeing some cool ones on Pinterest.

For Pi Day, Tasty posted this video of Ko telling her story while showing us step-by-step how she does her thing. It’s so satisfying to watch, esp. that sped-up crust-weaving part.

Be sure to follow her pie-making adventures on Instagram. Since she started it in August 2017, she’s gained over 150K followers, including Martha Stewart.

Here’s a taste:

Previously: These deliciously geometric pies are almost too pretty to eat

Comic book bouquets and boutonnieres

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Ooo, betrothed comic book nerds, this one’s for you. Mallory McKenney of Wisconsin makes wedding bouquets and boutonnieres by cutting up upcycled comics. From Batman to the Wolverine, and just about any character in between, the Milwaukee crafter can whip up something super for your big day.

Before you get all up in arms about the comics she’s chopping up, Mallory’s husband Nick explains her source, “…she actually buys damaged comic books for super cheap from a couple comic book stores here in Milwaukee, so she’s definitely not using ones that anyone would want otherwise. The only real exceptions are if people request really specific comic books or characters that aren’t super popular and didn’t appear in too many issues.”

She sells her creations in her Etsy shop, glamMKE. Prices start at $10 (for a single flower) and go up to $200 (something for the entire wedding party).


Lockheed Shares Satellite Connectivity Options

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In an unusual turn of events, Lockheed Martin has released technical “payload accommodation information” for three of their satellite busses. In layperson’s terms, if you wanted to build a satellite and weren’t sure what guidelines to follow these documents may help you learn if Lockheed Martin has a platform to help you build it.

An opportunity to check out once-confidential information about satellites sounds like a perfect excuse to dig through some juicy documentation, though unfortunately this may not be the bonanza of technical tidbits the Hackaday reader is looking for. Past the slick diagrams of typical satellites in rocket …read more

Amazon Alexa’s ‘Brief Mode’ Makes the Digital Assistant Way Less Chatty

See the original posting on Slashdot

A new update is rolling out to Amazon Echo devices that gives users the option to make Alexa respond with a short, beeping sound rather than her customary “OK.” Reddit users reported seeing the new feature this week. CNET reports: You access the Brief Mode in the Amazon Alexa app’s Settings Menu under “Alexa Voice Responses.” You can also ask your Alexa-enabled device to turn on the Brief Mode. Once the setting is enabled, you can ask Alexa to control devices to which she is connected and she will respond with beeps rather than “OK” to let you know that she received and completed the task. Don’t want to completely quiet Alexa down? Amazon also rolled out a “Follow-Up Mode” last week that’s designed to let you will let you talk to Alexa more naturally. That mode will let you make successive requests without needing to use Alexa’s wake word between each command.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

CSS Float: A Tutorial

See the original posting on DZone Python

One of the basic and the most important properties every web designer should learn is the float property. It is most commonly used for floating text around the image or creating the two column layout. The float property can cause a lot of frustration and confusion if it’s not fully understood, so we’re here to make those confusions disappear with this short explanation.

Also, be sure to check out our articles on some other properties, other than CSS float, that often cause confusion like CSS columns or relative font size.

3D Printed Antenna is Broadband

See the original posting on Hackaday

Antennas are a tricky thing, most of them have a fairly narrow range of frequencies where they work well. But there are a few designs that can be very broadband, such as the discone antenna. If you haven’t seen one before, the antenna looks like — well — a disk and a cone. There are lots of ways to make one, but [mkarliner] used a 3D printer and some aluminum tape to create one and was nice enough to share the plans with the Internet.

As built, the antenna works from 400 MHz and up, so it can cover some …read more

Ireland lost a musical giant this week

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Irish music lost one of its legends this week, with the passing of Liam O’Flynn.

A player of the Uilleann pipes, O’Flynn, or as he was known by the Gaeilge iteration of his name, Liam Óg Ó Floinn, was born in 1945 to a family of musicians. In his youth, his piping earned him prizes at county and national levels, but it wasn’t until he was in his thirties that he really hit his stride. As one of the founding members of Irish trad super group Planxty, O’Flynn helped to breathe new life to traditional Irish music by showing that it could be every bit as exciting and full of life as rock and roll. Without Planxty, there may not have been a Dexy’s Midnight Runners; No Waterboys, Pogues, or Dropkick Murphys. We’d all be poorer for it. Plantxy’s music left me with the impression, as a kid, that the tunes I played on the instruments I grew up with were cool. I had the privilege of meeting Mr. O’Flynn at a musical festival I was covering for a magazine back in the 1990s. He was pleasant and seemed genuinely pleased to make my acquaintance. The encounter left me feeling giddy for days afterwards.

One of my favorite songs by Planxty, Raggle Taggle Gypsy, has a tune lashed on to the end of it called Tabhair dom do laimh, which roughly translates as Give Me Your Hand. O’Flynn’s rendition of the tune has been one of my happy places for decades. The Uilleann pipes are a difficult instrument to play competently. When he’s in charge of the bellows, the music that comes out is emotional, and as full of love as the tune’s title.

It makes me sad that the world has to go on without him, but I’ve his music as consolation.

Cracking an Encrypted External Hard Drive

See the original posting on Hackaday

As far as hobbies go, auditing high security external hard drives is not terribly popular. But it’s what [Raphaël Rigo] is into, and truth be told, we’re glad it’s how he gets his kicks. Not only does it make for fascinating content for us to salivate over, but it’s nice to know there’s somebody with his particular skill set out there keeping an eye out for dodgy hardware.

The latest device to catch his watchful eye is the Aigo “Patriot” SK8671. In a series of posts on his blog, [Raphaël] tears down the drive and proceeds to launch several attacks …read more

Suspicious likes lead to researcher lighting up a 22,000-strong botnet on Twitter

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Botnets are fascinating to me. Who creates them? What are they for? And why doesn’t someone delete them? The answers are probably less interesting than I hope, but in the meantime I like to cheer when large populations of bots are exposed. That’s what security outfit F-Secure’s Andy Patel did this week after having his curiosity piqued by a handful of strange likes on Twitter.

Go Big Or Go Home – This Arduino RC Car Can Take You There

See the original posting on Hackaday

Whether we like it or not, eventually the day will come where we have to admit that we outgrew our childhood toys — unless, of course, we tech them up in the name of science. And in some cases we might get away with simply scaling things up to be more fitting for an adult size. [kenmacken] demonstrates how to do both, by building himself a full-size 1:1 RC car. No, we didn’t forget a digit here, he remodeled an actual Honda Civic into a radio controlled car, and documented every step along the way, hoping to inspire and guide …read more

Self-driving cars will use flashing lights and weird noises to ‘talk’ to pedestrians

See the original posting on The Verge

Over the years, human drivers have gotten pretty good at communicating intent to the people around them. A little wave of the hand, a nod, maybe some eye contact, and that’s usually all it takes to let pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers know what they’re doing. And, if all else fails, we can lean on our horns or roll down our windows and speak our minds (sometimes colorfully). But what happens when you remove the human from the driver’s seat? How will the cars of the future “talk” to the world around them?

Uber thinks it may have arrived at a solution. In a recent patent application, the ride-hailing giant proposes wrapping its self-driving cars in flashing signs to…

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Modern yachts have routers that allow root access and may be vulnerable to hackers

See the original posting on The Verge

Newer yacht models nowadays might include IoT devices with routers and switches, which also means they can be hackable, just like any other device with an internet connection. As Stephan Gerling of the Rosen Group demonstrated during a security summit last week, modern yachts still have a lot of openings for bad actors to potentially exploit, such as the onboard router having an unsecure FTP protocol.

A yacht’s onboard network could have a vessel traffic service device, automatic identification system, autopilot, GPS receivers, radar, cameras, depth sounders, engine control and monitoring, and more. Since these features are connected to a network that can be controlled by an external device like a smartphone or tablet, a bad actor…

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Infinity War’s Thanos proves CGI supervillains are a terrible idea

See the original posting on The Verge

The final Infinity War trailer presents a terrifying, monumental threat to earth. Armies clash. Dead bodies are strewn about the screen. Music blares. Impressive percussion stirs up emotions. Lightning cracks. And at the center of it all is… Thanos! The terrifying universe-destroyer! Who, unfortunately, looks like a bald purple plastic mannequin with weird grooves in his chin to make up for the fact that he can’t grow a beard.

There’s no kind way to put it: Thanos isn’t impressive; he’s ridiculous. A villain named after death should look frightening, maybe with some sort of visual reference to death. Instead, Thanos comes across as an over-inflated cousin of Grimace from McDonald’s marketing. Except Grimace is actually kind of scary.


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RIP Matt Damon, who Terry Gilliam says has been ‘beaten to death’ by internet mobs

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Decent human being Matt Damon, 47, has supposedly perished in an untimely death brought about by mobs of angry #MeToo supporters, according to director Terry Gilliam. In an interview with AFP, Gilliam boldly shines a spotlight on the horrifying plight of the powerful and popular actor. “I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being,” Gilliam says of those original statements. “He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death. Come on, this is crazy!”

Despite his wife’s sensible advice to “keep [his] head a bit low” when it comes to saying the least useful thing at the worst possible time, Gilliam continues to spew complaints about the survivors of assault and abuse who have stepped forward…

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James Bond poster for Thunderball expected to fetch $10k at auction

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Take a gander at this huge poster from 1962 for Thunderball, starring Sean Connery as Agent 007 (in my book, Connery will always be the only 007, just as Shatner and Jeffrey Hunter will always be the only captains of any starship in the entire Star Trek franchise). The image in the upper right is definitely the work of paperback cover maestro Robert McGinnis. I’m not sure about the other three.

From Heritage Auctions:

One of the rarest James Bond movie posters ever made – a gigantic, advance British quad for Thunderball – may sell for $10,000 among a large collection of Bond-related paper and screen-used movie props in Heritage Auctions’ April 7-8 Movie Poster Auction. The sale offers almost every Bond quad poster produced up until today, said Grey Smith, Director of Posters at Heritage.

“Theater owners were actually instructed to cut the advance quads for Thunderball into four sections,” Smith said. “This makes the example in our auction one of only a small number of copies left uncut.”

Each measuring 30 inches by 40 inches, quad posters are produced exclusively for British theaters and moviegoers. In creating the quad from Dr. No (United Artists, 1962) – the very first James Bond movie – artist Mitchell Hooks and designer David Chasman capture actor Sean Connery’s debonair spy in mid-wink against a bright yellow background (est. $6,000-12,000).

A scarce, country-of-origin quad for From Russia with Love (United Artists, 1964) depicts what is arguably the best and most iconic image from the film thanks to artwork by Renato Fratini and Eric Pulford (est. $5,000-10,000). Featuring a gold-dipped Shirley Eaton superimposed over Bond (Sean Connery), the Style A quad for Goldfinger (United Artists, 1964) is perhaps one of the most desirable posters from the franchise’s 26 movies, Smith said (est. $5,000-10,000).

The Kindle Oasis is stupid expensive and stupid lovely to use

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I’ve mentioned it online before, but here we go: Two years ago, my wife and I decided to leave our rented home behind and move into a 40-foot RV. We spend our spring and summer in Alberta, Canada where she has a job for six months of the year working as an addictions counselor. The other half of the year, we head south to Mexico and beyond so that she can work as a dive Instructor.

This might be an excellent time to point out that my partner is far more interesting than I’ll ever be.

We love this life, but it’s not without its difficulties. We have all the repairs that come along with home ownership and owning a semi-truck, rolled into one. Our paychecks can sometimes take weeks to catch up to us, leaving us eating rice and beans. Again. But perhaps the worst thing about living in a motorhome, for us, is that we had to get rid of our book collection. Between us, we owned hundreds of books. We looked upon them as shelves of old friends who we could turn to, no matter what life brought us. But, sometimes, you have to leave old friends behind in order to grow. A motorhome can only carry so much weight, not to mention the limited amount of space that you’ll find inside of one. We packed them up and took them to our favorite used bookstore where they’ll, hopefully, find new homes.

When I’m not guest blogging here, part of my job is to review e-readers. I love it: I’m paid, albeit occasionally, to read books all day. There’s a ton of e-readers out there. You’ve got your Kindles and your Kobos. Barnes & Noble just launched a new one too. There’s also scores of shifty little companies in Asia and Eastern Europe that make slabs with E Ink displays which run Android–you can read almost anything on them. Too bad I have yet to find one that works well. Right now, my favorite e-reader is the 2017 Amazon Kindle Oasis. It’s got a larger display than the rest of Amazon’s recent e-reader lineup does. It’s brightly lit display is easy on the eyes, no matter how long you read from it. It handles comic books pretty well, and reading texts on it is a joy. Once I finished reviewing it,I held on to it as a reference device to hold up against other luxury-priced e-readers. Before long, it became my daily driver when I needed something to read.

Perhaps my favorite feature that the Oasis has to offer is that its waterproof. I have a lot of old injuries that see me spending a lot of time sitting in hot tubs and standing in trailer park shower stalls. Now, when I hit the water, my Kindle Oasis comes with me. It feels like such a privilege to have something to occupy myself with during the time I’m forced to spend on pain management. In the past, I’ve killed an e-reader by taking it in the water with me, wrapped up in a Ziploc bag. Kobo makes a couple of waterproof e-readers and they’re pretty great. But if you get their displays wet, they think you’re touching the screen to give their operating system input. These registered ‘touches’ can turn pages, add bookmarks and do all kinds of other crazy shit that you’d rather not have in your life. Thanks to a recent software update, it’s possible to turn the Kindle Oasis’s touchscreen off and navigate using the readers page turn buttons instead.

In the time since we’ve moved into the RV, we’ve been able to replace a lot of the books we gave up. And now, I can read those books, anywhere. A digital device will never replace the experience of reading an actual book. At least not for me. But my Kindle Oasis provides me with enough happiness that I’m not bummed out about the absence of dead-tree editions of my favorite words in my life.

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