Elon Musk’s boring machine completes the first section of an LA tunnel

See the original posting on The Verge

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk says his ambitious tunnel-boring endeavor, aptly named The Boring Company, has officially started digging underneath Los Angeles. Musk announced the news on Twitter, where he said “Godot,” the Samuel Beckett-inspired name of the company’s tunnel boring machine, had completed the the first segment of a tunnel in the Southern California metropolis. Prior to today, it was unclear how long it would take Musk to convince the city to allow him to move the experimental effort beyond the SpaceX parking lot in Hawthorne.

Musk has made a rather public showing of his offbeat tunnel-digging venture over the last few months, with an occasional flurry of Twitter announcements and Instagram posts to commemorate each new…

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Teaching robots to learn about the world through touch

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Slowly, but surely, the Baxter robot is learning. It starts as a series of random grasps — the big, red robot pokes and prods clumsily at objects on the table in front of it. The robot is learning through tactile feedback and trial and error — or, as the Carnegie Mellon computer science team behind the project puts it, it’s learning about the world around it like a baby. Read More

The 3D Printer Packing Problem

See the original posting on Hackaday

Form Labs recently announced the launch of the Fuse 1, a desktop SLS printer that will print all your parts using nylon powder and a laser. This a fundamentally different method of 3D printing as compared to filament-based machines, and the best way to use a Fuse 1 is to fill the entire volume of the machine with 3D printed parts. [Michael Fogelman] decided to investigate the 3D packing problem, and managed to fill this printer with the maximum number of 3D printed tugboats. If you’re wondering, it’s 113, as compared with 82 tiny Benchies using naive bin packing.

The …read more

Nutanix introduces two new tools in quest to simplify hybrid cloud management

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Nutanix began as a storage company, but always had a broader view of the computing world. As company president Sudeesh Nair told me, they started with storage because they believed legacy storage was holding back data center transformation. Today the company made another step beyond that initial vision, introducing two new products that they see as part of a larger hybrid cloud operating system. Read More

PornHub now has videos that synchronize with connected sex toys

See the original posting on The Verge

If Joseph Gordon Levitt in the movie Don Jon taught me anything about how men watch porn, it’s that some people are willing to put a whole lot of effort in to find the perfect clip and time themselves along with on-camera action. About four years after the film’s release, it looks like PornHub has figured out the ideal solution in the form of interactive videos that synchronize with a connected sex toy.

PornHub’s launch partners include Fleshlight and Kiiroo, and there will be a new category on the website that contains videos that can be synced to a toy. Depending on what’s happening in the video, the toys will simulate the action with pulses — removing the need to perform your own manual labor. And yes, it will work with one of F…

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Twitch’s mobile app is adding live streaming, dark mode and more

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Amazon-owned game-streaming site Twitch today announced a series of changes coming soon to its mobile application, the most notable of which is the ability for broadcasters to stream directly to their channel from the app itself. That doesn’t mean you can live stream gameplay as of yet, though. Read More

This 10mm battery terminal ratchet makes my eternal screwing up less painful

See the original posting on Boing Boing

My cars and bikes have the batteries in hard to reach places. This 10mm battery terminal rachet helps out!

In prepping the Vanagon Westy for a long roadtrip, I found I’ve killed my house battery. I ordered up a replacement but dreaded getting into the battery box. In a Vanagon, Volkswagen hides the batteries underneath the passenger and drivers seats. Getting at these battery terminals is a comedy of errors and blood. I’d go so far as to say the blood was compulsatory until I got this handy rachet at Harbor Freight.

It is small. It fits where I need it to. It is a rachet, and as such I am not constantly trying to re-seat the fucker while zapping myself against a grounded battery box in a thoughtlessly engineered tight space. At least VW put a cover on the battery box, albiet a conductive metal one. My ’78 Audi 5000, the model with occasional self-determination, had a passenger bench burnt with splashed battery acid from another VW/Audi underseat battery adventure.

10mm Side-Terminal Battery Reversible Ratchet Wrench Chrome-Plated via Amazon

Pixar Style Robots Are Treasure Trove Of Building Tricks

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Alonso Martinez] is an artist working on virtual characters at Pixar so it’s no wonder that his real life robots, Mira and Gertie,  have personalities that make them seem like they jumped straight out of a Pixar movie. But what we really like are the tricks he’s used inside to bring them to life that are sure to get reused for the same or other things.

For example, Mira’s head can rotate in yaw, pitch and roll. To figure out how to make it do that he recalled having a joystick called the Microsoft Sidewinder Pro that had force feedback. …read more

Now your nightlight can notify you of retweets and emails

See the original posting on The Verge

Aumi Mini is a new project on Kickstarter from the creator of Aumi, a Bluetooth nightlight which was funded on Kickstarter in 2015 and shipped to backers this year. The new Mini model is way more ambitious, however. It’s a USB-powered nightlight that connects to your Wi-Fi, and includes IFTTT support for getting into all sorts of automated shenanigans.

The exact sort internet events you’d like a nightlight to inform you of is, of course, entirely up to you. A few examples offered by Aumi include weather alerts, Wi-Fi-is-down notifications, and and smart home integration. Personally I’d like to use one to keep track of my unread emails. A light that will never fade.

The nightlight can also trigger its own events based on the built-in…

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While investment firms ponder ICOs, this team is barreling ahead with a $100 million ICO fund

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Most investors are trying to get a handle on initial coin offerings, which have begun racing through the tech ecosystem like a fire, causing excitement and confusion and some degree of terror. One San Francisco-based firm is barreling full steam ahead into the world of ICO investing: Pantera Capital. Read More

This glass sticker turns your MacBook’s trackpad into a number pad

See the original posting on The Verge

It’s pretty rare to see a laptop with a full number pad. In fact, none of Apple’s MacBooks have ever had one. But if you’re someone who does some serious number crunching, Nums might be able to help.

Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, Nums is essentially a giant glass panel that attaches to the top of your MacBook’s multi-touch trackpad, adding an overlay for a traditional numpad along with a few quick launch gestures. Obviously, just sticking some numbers onto your trackpad won’t turn it into a number pad. Nums creator Luckey is also developing a driver for Apple’s computers that allows users to quickly switch the trackpad to number-entry mode, as well as open the calculator app and even serve as a quick launcher for websites…

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Hundreds of LG OLED TV owners are petitioning for Dolby Atmos support

See the original posting on The Verge

Netflix announced today that it’ll start supporting Dolby Atmos surround sound for select titles later this month, starting with Okja. That’s great news: Atmos is the next generation of surround formats, using audio processing to place sounds in 3-D space around you instead of just playing things through individual surround speakers.

But Netflix is only going to support Atmos on the Xbox One, One S, and and 2017 LG OLED TVs at first. That’s a short list — made even worse because 2016 LG OLED TV owners have been persistently asking LG to add Atmos support to their TVs for a while now. There are long AVSForum threads, deep dives into the technical details of Atmos compatibility, and reps from streaming companies like Vudu saying they’ve…

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How the iPhone changed passive-aggression

See the original posting on The Verge

The iPhone is 10 years old, which means, if I am being totally honest with you, that I do not remember a time in which it didn’t exist. However, I do remember a time in which I didn’t have one! In the summer of 2014, I moved to New York City for an internship at a now-defunct literary magazine run out of an apartment in Washington Heights, and I still had a generic, sliding camera phone. I looked up directions to any place that I needed to go on Google Maps on my laptop before I left the house and took photos of them.

To be honest, my life was fine. Who cares? If you get a little lost in New York City, whatever. It’s like being in a Lorde song or a 30-minute dramedy, and afterwards maybe you have a good story. My life now — iPhone…

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Pay attention: Practice can make your brain better at focusing

See the original posting on The Verge

Practicing paying attention can boost performance on a new task, and change the way the brain processes information, a new study says. This might explain why learning a new skill can start out feeling grueling, but eventually feels more natural — although right now, the study’s findings are limited to a simple pattern-recognition game.

There’s a long-standing debate about how exactly paying attention helps us learn. One theory is that focusing makes the critical piece of information stand out. If you imagine trying to pick out a single instrument in an orchestra, that would be like turning up the volume on the violin to make it easier to hear. Another theory is that focusing…

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Showtime’s standalone subscription service now has an Xbox One app

See the original posting on The Verge

Showtime’s standalone streaming service is now available on the Xbox One, which joins Apple, Roku, Amazon, Google, and Samsung in offering the over-the-top service. Users will be able to subscribe to Showtime for $10.99 per month directly through the Xbox One application, and there’s a seven-day free trial for new subscribers.

So if you’re looking to watch Homeland, Billions, Ray Donovan, The Affair, Shameless, the resurrected Twin Peaks, or anything else in Showtime’s back catalog of movies and TV shows, have an Xbox One, and don’t pay for Showtime through cable already, you can download the new app here.

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Facebook Messenger launches Discover as it takes on chatbots (again)

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Facebook isn’t done with chatbots quite yet, today, the company is launching Discover, a hub inside Messenger for discovering new and interesting chatbots to message with. The section which Facebook announced at F8 is going live for users stateside and the company is billing it as an opportunity for people to interact with businesses and brands in more useful ways. The platform is,… Read More

Diabetes management platform Glooko raises $35 million

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Glooko, a startup selling data management healthcare service on top of a device-agnostic platform to make it easier for doctors to remotely monitor patients, has pulled in $35 million Series C funding. It had previously raised $20 million, bringing the total up to $55 million. The startup was shy about how many were using the platform last time TechCrunch wrote about the company. But it… Read More

Best Product Entry: Pocket Thermal Camera

See the original posting on Hackaday

One of the entries in the Hackaday Prize Best Product competition is [x-labz]’s pocket thermal imager. It’s more than a prototype, it’s a design conceived to get out into the world and be used by many. Best Product entries are open until July 24th, and with a $30,000 cash prize on the line let’s take a look at some of the things that elevate a project to product status.

Thanks to recent advances in the state of thermal image sensors, a tool that gives you Predator vision is almost a necessity on the modern workbench. The pocket thermal imager will …read more

Toshiba’s new quadruple-level 3D cells could be the next big thing in low-cost flash memory

See the original posting on The Verge

Toshiba announced today that it has successfully developed what it claims to be the world’s first QLC — quadruple-level cell — 4-bit flash memory in a 3D flash device.

That’s pretty big news for the future of flash memory, creating even higher storage density at cheaper prices. Flash memory (very, very loosely) works by using a series of floating gate transistors with a charge value that is either assigned a “0” or “1” — one bit. These memory blocks are either arranged in a two-dimensional plane (planar NAND) or stacked in a more space efficient column (3D NAND, which is still relatively new).

To maximize storage, either of those memory blocks — whether in a 2D plane or stacked — can be divided up into more charge levels for even more…

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