The Challenge Vault: a locksport training tool and mechanical puzzle that teaches you to be a safecracker

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Every year around this time, our friends at Sparrow Lockpicks (previously) come out with a incredibly clever, giftable addition to your locksport arsenal; I always buy a few of these for Christmas gifts (often for younger people on my list) and they’re universally well received.

This year, Sparrow’s seasonal offering is the Challenge Vault, a safecracking practice box that is both a gorgeous artifact in its own right and a superb mechanical puzzle that can be made progressively harder by adding wheels that you access by opening the safe, which arrives set to the easiest setting.

The box is also useful as a safe! That is, to the extent that any safe is useful — and as with all locksport items, this doesn’t just confer a better, deeper understanding of the mechanical principles behind locks (nor merely an improvement in fine motor skills and spatial reasoning): it also armors your intuition about whether the security measures you take in your own life are worthwhile, and thus whether the companies that make them are honest about the efficacy of their products.

I played with a Challenge Vault prototype at the Atlseccon conference in Halifax last spring, and my thoughts have returned to it often since. It’s a fiendishly clever little gadget, well-made and well thought-through, and I know I’ll be buying some for the future lockpickers in my life this year.

This is more than a puzzle box … this is safe cracking.

Get ready to learn a new skill with this challenge.

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The Verge reacts to Half-Life: Alyx

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After 12 long years, there’s finally going to be a new Half-Life game, and it’s exclusive to VR. Half-Life: Alyx is due to arrive in March 2020 for a wide array of PC VR headsets, but none with traditional flat screens, mice, and keyboards. Is it the killer app VR has been waiting for and the fulfillment of Half-Life fans’ dreams? Or is it merely a bump in the road?

Here’s what a savvy selection of The Verge’s staff thinks about that.

Michael Moore, reviews coordinator: The question that keeps coming to mind after seeing Half-Life: Alyx is: can Valve save VR?

Not that VR is somehow dying, but the hype from a few years ago seems to have completely dissipated. We’re to the point where it seems as though VR is no longer the next big thing…

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Epic Games Store slashes prices on Red Dead Redemption 2, Borderlands 3, and more for Black Friday

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Red Dead Redemption 2

Most of the Black Friday gaming deals that we’ve seen so far have been on console games for the Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch. Today, Epic Games Store is bringing some much-needed sales for PC gamers with a slew of Black Friday deals, offering up to 75 percent off on both new releases and older titles currently available on the platform.

The sale is happening now, and you don’t need to enter any offer codes to get the deal prices. This Black Friday event will run until 11AM ET on Cyber Monday, December 2nd. Here are some of the best deals:

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This travel daypack zips up into a tennis ball sized bundle

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On my last trip to Tokyo, I brought along the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack ( on Amazon). It weighs 2.4 oz (my iPhone 6 Plus weighs 6.2 ounces) and zips up into a bundle smaller than my fist. But it holds 20 liters of stuff, and I used it every day to carry water, snacks, sweaters, an iPhone charger, a portable wifi, groceries, and things Carla and I bought while walking around. The material feels indestructible. Read the rest

Early Galaxy S11 renders show Samsung joining the giant camera rectangle trend

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Image: OnLeaks (via 91Mobiles)

We knew this was coming, but the first batch of early renders for the upcoming Galaxy S11 show that Samsung might be joining Apple and Google in the trend of sticking massive rectangular camera modules on the back of its phones. The renders come from noted hardware leaker OnLeaks, over at 91Mobiles.

To be clear, these aren’t official Samsung images; they’re renders created by OnLeaks based on the current rumors and leaks going around about Samsung’s latest flagship. OnLeaks does have a pretty good track record when it comes to their renders, though, correctly showcasing the Galaxy Note 10, iPhone 11, OnePlus 7T Pro, and other phones months before release — so even if the eventual Galaxy S11 doesn’t look exactly like this, there’s a good…

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UPDATED: Tony Robbins accused of sexually assaulting high schooler at summer camp

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UPDATE: Here is an email I received from Tony Robbins’ representative moments after I published this blog post about the Buzzfeed News story. I have appended Mr. Robbins’ full statement, and that of his representative Jennifer Connelly, below. — Xeni Jardin

Connelly, Jennifer 11:23 AM

Dear Xeni,

I represent Mr. Robbins and just saw your story which repeats the false story that BuzzFeed just published. While we appreciate you linking to Mr. Robbins’ Medium article, we respectfully ask that you also include my full media statement, or at the very least link to it.

I have to say I am confused as to why you would republish fake and false news before even reaching out to us for comment? Don’t we deserve the opportunity to comment before you just run with tabloid false news?

This is not ethical journalism and I respectfully request a response from you and your editor. Your headline does not reflect the truth and that is offensive and not credible journalism.

We respectfully request that you run my statement below in full.

Please confirm.

Thank you

Here is my statement

Here is Mr. Robbins statement.

Original blog post follows.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins is accused of sexually assaulting a high schooler at a summer camp, report Buzzfeed’s Katie Baker and Jane Bradley in an extensively investigated story just out today.

Reporters “tracked down eyewitnesses, dozens of sources, teenage diary entries and the alleged victim herself.”

We’ve written previously here at Boing Boing about that time when than people were burned during a Tony Robbins “motivational” firewalk. Read the rest

Sleeping inside one of Edward Hopper’s hotel room paintings

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As part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” exhibition, the curators have created a brilliant installation and visitor experience that’s seemingly made for Instagram. They built a physical version of Hopper’s above painting “Western Hotel” (1957) and offered overnight stays inside the artwork. The overnight packages sold out very quickly. The New York Times’ Margot Boyer-Dry was one of the first guests:

Every detail here was inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1957 painting “Western Motel,” which has been brought to vibrant, three-dimensional life. The only thing missing is the mysterious woman whose burgundy dress matches the bedspread. But that’s where the museum guest comes in.

I was the second person to stay in the museum’s Hopper hotel room, essentially becoming its subject for a night. (Before it sold out through February, the room cost anywhere from $150 a night to $500 for a package, including dinner, mini golf and a tour with the curator.) My time there was short — a standard stay runs from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. — and awkward. I had traveled all day to reach Richmond, and these pristinely basic quarters were the main event. Ultimately, it reminded me of every other hotel room I’ve ever stayed in…

Ellen Chapman, a Richmond resident who stayed the night before I did, was more focused on the novelty of an art overnight. “I’ve always had that childhood fantasy of spending the night in a museum,” she said. “The remarkable part for me was waking up, drinking my coffee and looking at this amazing exhibit right next to me.”

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Flutter Webview URL Listeners

See the original posting on DZone Python

If you are new to Flutter development and want to learn how to use WebView, handle various WebView operations, and open native application pages from WebView, here are some tips for you.

What Is WebView?

If developers want to show any web page or website or load a URL inside an application, a WebView can be displayed without the help of any browser, so, basically, it displays the content of web pages directly inside the application.

Startups face the same phishing risks as big corporations

See the original posting on TechCrunch

This week, we reported on TechCrunch how thousands of remote employees with health and workplace benefits through human resources giant TriNet received emails that looked like a near-perfect phishing attempt. One recipient was so skeptical, they shared the email with TechCrunch so we could verify its authenticity. The message checked every suspicious box. In fact, […]

The interview with a sportsball player has been deemed the best sportsball interview of all time

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Here’s a professional sportsball player who is about to embark on a second career as the voice of Mister Ed.

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Flutter Webview URL Listeners

See the original posting on DZone Python

If you are new to Flutter development and want to learn how to use WebView, handle various WebView operations, and open native application pages from WebView, here are some tips for you.

What Is WebView?

If developers want to show any web page or website or load a URL inside an application, a WebView can be displayed without the help of any browser, so, basically, it displays the content of web pages directly inside the application.

Here are the best Black Friday deals on PC gaming components

See the original posting on The Verge

Photo by Stefan Etienne / The Verge

Console refreshes happen every few years, but for PC gamers, there’s always a tantalizing potential upgrade that could make your gaming machine just that much better. And with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, there are a lot of great deals to consider to find that perfect missing part. We’ve rounded up some of the best deals we could find — in fact, a lot of deals are live right now, which we’ve noted — and hopefully, there’s one among them that will bring you another great year of gaming.

Note: all Newegg deals go live on Wednesday, November 25th, unless otherwise stated.

Graphics cards

  • Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 590 for $179.99 at Newegg (normally $219.99), comes with three months of Xbox Game Pass for PC and a free copy of B…

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Pokémon Sword and Shield’s wild area keeps me coming back

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As soon as I’m crowned league champion in a Pokémon game, that’s usually it for me. Once the main campaign is over, the games quickly lose their appeal; I’ve never been one to go back just to fill out my pokédex or hunt down rare, legendary creatures. But that’s changed with Pokémon Sword and Shield, the latest titles for the Nintendo Switch. And it’s all because of the brand-new wild area: a vast, open plain that’s the perfect place to revisit.

What’s most interesting about the wild area is how it’s different from traditional spaces in a Pokémon game. These games are all structured in a very specific way: a series of linear routes, with a few branching paths that connect the various towns, mines, and other important locations. It’s all…

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