Firing Bullets Through Propellers

See the original posting on Hackaday

Early airborne combat was more like a drive-by shooting as pilot used handheld firearms to fire upon other aircraft. Whomever could boost firepower and accuracy would have the upper hand and so machine guns were added to planes. But it certainly wasn’t as simple as just bolting one to the chassis.

This was during World War I which spanned 1914 to 1917 and the controllable airplane had been invented a mere eleven years before. Most airplanes still used wooden frames, fabric-covered wings, and external cable bracing. The engineers became pretty inventive, even finding ways to fire bullets through the path …read more

Reflow Rig Makes SMD Soldering a Wok in The Park

See the original posting on Hackaday

For a DIY reflow setup, most people seem to rely on the trusty thrift store toaster oven as a platform to hack. But there’s something to be said for heating the PCB directly rather than heating the surrounding air, and for that one can cruise the yard sales looking for a hot plate to convert. But an electric wok as a reflow hotplate? Sure, why not?

At the end of the day [ThomasVDD]’s reflow wok is the same as any other reflow build. It has a heat source that can be controlled easily, temperature sensors, and a microcontroller that can …read more

Dell’s new business laptops offer a professional 2-in-1 spin on the XPS 15

See the original posting on The Verge

Dell has announced a slew of updates to its business laptops, including a new 15-inch Precision 5530, which is essentially a professional, business-oriented version of the XPS 15. Like the XPS 15, the new Precision 5530 comes in two models: a standard clamshell and a 2-in-1 version that converts into a tablet.

The 2-in-1 option is a little more interesting because it takes the XPS 15 2-in-1 and tweaks it with some enhancements for professional graphics users. Specifically, it swaps the hybrid Intel processor with onboard AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics for integrated Radeon Pro WX Vega M GL graphics. (This marks the first time we’ve seen AMD’s enterprise GPU make an appearance in an integrated Intel chip.) It can be configured with up to…

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Some neat and clever creations people have made with Nintendo Labo so far

See the original posting on The Verge

Nintendo’s DIY cardboard Labo construction kits for the Switch were released last week, offering multitudes of projects to build and play with. But the beauty of the Labo is that you can turn cardboard and the Switch into anything. For example, the variety kit comes with a piano, but The Verge’s Dami Lee and Meg Toth decided to make their own cardboard guitar for a one-woman band.

Since the launch last Friday, many people have come up experimental and offbeat uses for the Labo, including a candy dispenser, several paper versions of Game & Watch LCD games, and repurposing the Switch as a simple clock. We’ve rounded up some of the niftiest, neatest ways Labo has been used this past week.

For a bout of nostalgia, Twitter user @BSpowerx has…

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This versatile telescope lets you observe both Earth and sky

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Total versatility isn’t something you’d typically find in a telescope. While magnification tech has come a long way, most telescopes are designed to either gaze upon the stars or view the landscapes beneath them. The Omegon Maksutov Telescope MightyMak 60 lets you do both, and thanks to its compact design, you can easily incorporate some sightseeing into your outdoor activities. It’s available today for $109.99 in the Boing Boing Store.

This compact Maksutov-style telescope lets you stargaze with brighter images and a larger field of view. It boasts an included table-top tripod, an eyepiece, and a carrying bag to make transport seamless. Its T-2 thread lets you use the MightyMak as a telephoto lens, and if you fancy yourself a photographer, you can use the telescope’s additional T-Ring to connect to your camera and shoot images at a longer focal length.

The Omegon Maksutov Telescope MightyMak 60 retails for $134, but it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for $109.99.

 

An algorithm for detecting face-swaps in videos

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Begun, the deepfake wars have.

As usage grows of FakeApp — the software that makes it comparatively easy to create “deepfaked” face-swapped videos — a couple of researchers have decided to fight fire with fire. So they trained a deep-learning neural net on tons of examples of deepfaked videos, and produced a model that’s better than any previous automated technique at spotting hoaxery. (Their paper documenting the work is here.)

This is good, obviously, though as you might imagine the very techniques they’re using here could themselves be employed to produce better deepfakes. Technology!

As MIT Tech Review reports …

The results are impressive. XceptionNet clearly outperforms other techniques in spotting videos that have been manipulated, even when the videos have been compressed, which makes the task significantly harder. “We set a strong baseline of results for detecting a facial manipulation with modern deep-learning architectures,” say Rossler and co.

That should make it easier to spot forged videos as they are uploaded to the web. But the team is well aware of the cat-and-mouse nature of forgery detection: as soon as a new detection technique emerges, the race begins to find a way to fool it.

Rossler and co have a natural head start since they developed XceptionNet. So they use it to spot the telltale signs that a video has been manipulated and then use this information to refine the forgery, making it even harder to detect.

It turns out that this process improves the visual quality of the forgery but does not have much effect on XceptionNet’s ability to detect it. “Our refiner mainly improves visual quality, but it only slightly encumbers forgery detection for deep-learning method trained exactly on the forged output data,” they say.

Java Challengers #1: Method overloading in the JVM

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Welcome to the new Java Challengers blog! This blog is dedicated to challenging concepts in Java programming. Master them and you will be well on your way to becoming a highly skilled Java programmer.

The techniques in this blog take some effort to master, but they’ll make a great difference in your daily experience as a Java developer. Avoiding bugs is easier when you know how to properly apply core Java programming techniques, and tracking bugs is much easier when you know exactly what is happening on your Java code.

Are you ready to start mastering core concepts in Java programming? Then let’s get started with our first Java Challenger!  

To read this article in full, please click here

An ode to God of War’s Leviathan Axe

See the original posting on The Verge

There are many reasons why the new God of War is good: the revamped combat, the closer camera, the astonishing single-shot perspective, or the more mature story all jump to mind. But what escalates God of War is not just nailing the big stuff, but the smaller things, too, like Kratos’s new axe. It might just be my favorite video game weapon in recent memory.

Officially dubbed the Leviathan Axe, the new blade is the signature weapon for Kratos in the 2018 reboot, replacing the fiery Blades of Chaos as his weapon of choice for slicing and dicing through the hordes of enemies that the game will throw at you. As a weapon, the axe is brutal and efficient, and you’re…

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Enter our phone wallpaper design contest for a chance to be featured in an upcoming review

See the original posting on The Verge

In honor of our new wallpaper page, we are excited to announce a phone wallpaper design contest! The winning wallpaper will be featured on a phone in an upcoming phone video review on The Verge.

Judging criteria

  • Originality — we will do a Google image search…
  • Creativity — make The Verge’s art director jealous
  • Something that echoes The Verge’s artistic aesthetic

Here’s our color palette, but you can definitely diverge from this color scheme:

Throughout the duration of the contest, we will reach out to finalists for a high-resolution file of their submission(s) in the following format: PNG file at a minimum resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels, 72 ppi, and RGB colors. Please be prepared to deliver it upon request.

How to…

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You can make yourself a fancy cup of tea in this concept Mercedes Maybach SUV

See the original posting on The Verge

The 2018 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is currently running in China, and Mercedes has unveiled a new concept high-end luxury SUV at the event. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury SUV features a spacious interior, and there’s even a bespoke tea set hidden in the car’s console. The car is sleek, cherry red, and aimed at the Chinese market, where the color red symbolizes happiness, luck, and joy.

The model is conceived as being fully electric, with all-wheel drive and four seats (one driver and three passengers). Mercedes says the system allows a charging capacity of up to 350kW, and with five minutes of charging, the car will have an additional range of 62 miles (100km). It can be charged by cable or through…

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Alexa is going kid-friendly

See the original posting on TechCrunch

In a briefing earlier this week, Amazon told TechCrunch that it was surprised by how Alexa has been embraced by families. But while the smart assistant isn’t exactly risqué (with a couple of notable exceptions), there are certainly things you don’t necessarily want your kid getting access to — shopping and explicit music among them. […]

There’s an Echo Dot for kids now

See the original posting on TechCrunch

This was nothing if not inevitable. Alexa’s steady home takeover just found its way into your kids’ rooms — and it’s doing so with a brightly colored case. Amazon just unveiled the Echo Dot Kids Edition — the first time the company’s popular smart speaker line has targeted children directly. From a hardware perspective, there’s […]

Miniature 3D-printed Disney trash cans

See the original posting on Boing Boing

A longtime friend and I first bonded years ago over something funny. We discovered that we both had a history of photographing trash cans at Disney Parks. (I mean, c’mon, they’re all in theme.)

So I had to laugh when I was at Disneyland recently and spotted their (“Authentic” and “Original”) trash can highlighter set modeled after five of the park’s trash cans: Main Street USA, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Fantasyland.

When I got home, I fell into a Disney-trash-can rabbit hole and came across these 1:18 scale, 3D-printed Disney trash cans. They’re the creation of Chris of Etsy shop, TheNewHobbyist. He currently has nine different designs and is willing to work with you to make a custom one of your favorite Disney trash can. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a favorite Disney trash can? Each one costs $25.

Adventureland

Contemporary Resort

Previously: Monorail socks, “Pirate Water” and other fragrances inspired by Disney resorts

Grease’s director breaks down the ‘You’re The One That I Want’ scene

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Grease was the first feature Randal Kleiser ever directed. That was 1978. Forty years later, Kleiser breaks down the now-iconic “You’re The One That I Want” scene, the “electrifying” musical number where the “Bad Sandy” shows up. Did you know that Olivia Newton-John was sewn into those tight zippered pants and was stuck in them all day? Talk about suffering for your art.

A special 40th anniversary edition of Grease is now available.

Microsoft working on Windows 10 Lean edition for devices with less storage

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft’s next version of Window 10, currently codenamed Redstone 5, will include a new “Lean edition” designed for devices with less storage space. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the new edition will be offered to OEMs to load onto low-cost laptops and tablets. Windows Central first reported that the edition will be available for devices with 16GB of storage, and it’s primarily designed to ensure these machines still receive Windows updates.

Twitter user Lucan discovered references to the Lean edition in the latest publicly released Windows 10 test build (17650), and at the moment the install cuts around 2GB of storage space. Microsoft is reducing the storage space needs by removing components that won’t…

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Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a colorful case and parental controls

See the original posting on The Verge

“Awexa, play songs from Moana.” If you have an Amazon Echo in your home and you also have kids, you’ve probably heard a variation of that phrase uttered before. Today, Amazon is making it easier for both kids and parents to integrate Alexa into their routines with the new Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime services for Alexa.

The Echo Dot Kids Edition follows the formula of Amazon’s popular Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets: it is a standard Echo Dot bundled with a protective rubber case (available in red, green, or blue), a year’s subscription to the FreeTime Unlimited service, and a two-year promise from Amazon to replace the device if it gets damaged, no questions asked. It sells for $79.99 — a $30 premium over a standard Echo Dot —…

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