YouTube starts delivering ‘breaking news’ on its homepage across platforms

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 YouTube has started rolling out a “Breaking News” section in people’s feeds today across platforms as Alphabet continues to tailor custom content playlists to users logged into Google Accounts, Android Police reports. For most, YouTube is a place to hop from one video to the next and descend down rabbit holes, but browsing anything like a feed has become less… Read More

Brandi Milne art exhibition opening August 19th in Los Angeles

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Don’t miss painter Brandi Milne’s art exhibit which begins this month at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. The opening reception will be held on August 19th from 7-11 pm.

Milne is a self-taught artist and was born in the late ’70s in Anaheim, California. Growing up close to Disneyland had a large impact on her imagination. She was constantly surrounded by classic cartoons, crayons, coloring books, candy, and Disney, which all became influences on her paintings. Milne’s paintings portray a surreal, candy-filled world that reflects emotions such as love, heartbreak, and pain.

Milne has displayed her work all over the world and has been featured in Hi Fructose and Bizarre Magazine. Milne has also has two books of her work published. If you live in LA, don’t miss your chance to attend the exhibit and take a look into the unique, fantastical world that Milne has created.

Photo of Brandi Milne by Jessica Louise

The Verge’s Essential Phone Review: An Arcane Artifact From an Unrealized Future

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An anonymous reader shares Dieter Bohn’s review of the Essential Phone: Even though it was announced less than three months ago at the Code Conference, there’s already enough mythology surrounding the Essential Phone to fill a book. It comes from a brand-new billion-dollar startup led by the person who helped create Android itself, Andy Rubin. That origin binds it up with the history of all smartphones in a way that doesn’t usually apply to your run-of-the-mill device. The phone was also delayed a bit, a sign that this tiny company hasn’t yet quite figured out how to punch above its weight class — which it’s certainly trying to do. Although it runs standard Android, it’s meant to act as a vanguard for Essential’s new ecosystem of smart home devices and services connected by the mysterious Ambient OS. Even if we trust that Rubin’s futuristic vision for a connected home will come to pass, it’s not going to happen overnight. Instead, all we really have right now is that future’s harbinger, a well-designed Android phone that I’ve been testing for the past week. Available unlocked or at Sprint, the $699 Essential Phone is an ambitious device. It has a unique way to connect modular accessories, starting with a 360-degree camera. It has a bold take on how to make a big, edge-to-edge screen paired with top-flight materials such as ceramic and titanium. And it has a dual camera system that is meant to compete with other flagship devices without adding any thickness to the phone. That would be a lot for even a massive company like Samsung or Apple to try to do with a single phone. For a tiny company like Essential, the question is simply this: is it trying to do too much? In conclusion, Bohn writes: “The Essential Phone is doing so much right: elegant design, big screen, long battery life, and clean software. And on top of all that, it has ambitions to do even more with those modules. If you asked Android users what they wanted in the abstract, I suspect a great many of them would describe this exact device. But while the camera is pretty good, it doesn’t live up to the high bar the rest of the phone market has set. Sometimes artifacts are better to behold than they are to use.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google adds autoplaying videos to search results on Android

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The next time a video shows up at the top of your Google search results, it might start playing automatically — fortunately, with the sound muted.

Google is beginning to add what it calls “video previews” to search results. They’ll start out on Android, where they’ll appear for searches made in Chrome and the Google app. At first, they’ll only be in English and in the US, but Google plans to expand the feature globally and in all languages in the future. A spokesperson says Google also hopes to expand video previews to other platforms, so presumably iOS and perhaps the desktop are coming.

The feature is being positioned as a way to enhance video results, by giving viewers a better sense of what’s inside of each clip. That…

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Google brings six-second video previews to mobile search

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 Google announced a major update to its mobile search results pages today. Whenever your query brings up a video, Google will now show you a silent six-second clip to help you decide if it’s actually a video you want to see.
This will work for the vast majority of videos on the web today — including, but not limited to, YouTube. Indeed, as Emily Moxley, Google’s director of… Read More

Interview with Ken Follet about forthcoming 3rd book in Kingsbridge series: A Column of Fire

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The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follet’s are two lenghthy novels about a fictional medieval English town called Kingsbridge. When I read them years ago I became immersed in a world of conflict, betrayal, and scheming. In a way, the novels are like Game of Thrones (at least the TV series; I have not read the books) without magic. I did expect Follet to write a third book about Kingsbridge, but he did. and it’s coming on September 12. It’s called A Column of Fire. They sent me an advance copy, so as soon as I finish the book I’m currently reading (Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters)

This third book in the bestselling Kingsbridge series introduces readers to a world of spies and secret agents in the sixteenth century, the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history, this novel is one of Follett’s most exciting and ambitious works yet, appealing to both long-time fans of the Kingsbridge series as well as readers new to Follett.

A Column of Fire begins in 1558 where the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love. It’s the perfect epic, escapist read for the fall, after Game of Thrones leaves airwaves, transporting the reader to another century with its own heroes and villains. The real enemies then, as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else.

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Exhibition of Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump’s work

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Rolly Crump: It’s Kind of a Cute Story will be at the Oceanside Museum of Art, August 26, 2017–February 18, 2018. It’s a must-see for fans of Disney art and design.

This exhibition invites the public to step into the whimsical mind of dreamer and designer Rolly Crump with the world premiere of a walk-through exhibition highlighting his 65-year career as one of the most imaginative attraction creators in theme park history. As a nonconformist member of Walt Disney’s hand-picked Disneyland design team, Crump was the eccentric architect of endearing and enduring environmental art installations that have stood at the forefront of a vibrant pop-culture landscape for over half a century. Crump’s contributions to It’s a Small World, The Enchanted Tiki Room, The Haunted Mansion, and other Disneyland attractions were trendsetting at the time of their creation, and they remain entirely relevant today in a multibillion-dollar industry that has grown perpetually and exponentially from the creative seeds planted by Crump and his peers. From his days within Disney’s inner circle of pioneers, and throughout all of his personal and professional endeavors, Crump has been a good-natured contrarian—a visual provocateur who infused each of his projects with his own offbeat aesthetic. This will be a journey through a world of spinning propellers, marching toys, living clocks, and talking tikis. Museum-goers of all ages will encounter magic, humor, and inspiration at every turn. Crump is a master of the fine art of fun. This exhibition is supported by Mary Scherr and Marvin Sippel

Live Stream to YouTube by Pointing a Box and Pressing a Button

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YouTube has the ability to do live streaming, but [Tinkernut] felt that the process could be much more straightforward. From this desire to streamline was born the Raspberry Pi based YouTube live streaming camera. It consists of a Raspberry Pi with some supporting hardware and it has one job: to make live streaming as simple as pointing a box and pressing a button. The hardware is mostly off-the-shelf, and once all the configuration is done the unit provides a simple touchscreen based interface to preview, broadcast live, and shut down. The only thing missing is a 3D printed enclosure, which …read more

Sonos hints at smart speaker in privacy policy update

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Sonos plans to release new speakers with built-in microphones, likely with Alexa built in, and it wants to make sure you get every single hint. Its latest tease is an update to its privacy policy to cover voice assistants and microphones, which includes a not-so-subtle hint that voice-enabled Sonos products aren’t far off.

Voice control works by your voice-enabled Sonos Product “listening” for a specific wake word. Please note that not all Sonos Products are voice-enabled.

In a statement to Variety, a Sonos rep said the new privacy policy will cover additional voice assistants besides Alexa (which is already being integrated with Sonos) and “any future products” Sonos may release. “It covers those things that we’ve already talked about…

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Fisker’s EMotion Tesla competitor will make its official debut at CES 2018

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 The first car from Henrik Fisker’s new electric vehicle company, the EMotion luxury sport sedan, will premiere at CES in January 2018. That’s according to Fisker himself, who shared the debut date with TheStreet on Friday. We already know what the EMotion looks like, as well as its $129,000 starting price tag, and some of the technical achievements it’s said to pack, like… Read More

Monster brings a music-centric voice assistant to its headphone line

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 Monster isn’t exactly regarded as the most innovative force in tech, but it has decided to get in on the voice assistant game by baking support for a helper called Melody directly into their headphones.
Speak Music, which makes the Melody voice assistant included on this model of Monster’s Elements headphones line, has basically designed the feature around Siri’s musical… Read More

Living Tiny

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

HGTV and glossy magazines have sparked a boomlet of interest in tiny homes, but they’ve also made them look fun, cute and easy. The realities of a tiny lifestyle can be more daunting. Municipalities often don’t know what to make of tiny houses, and living in one legally is, in many places, challenging. There’s a lack of infrastructure for people who want to build them. And although they’re in many ways an imaginative solution to some of the most vexing urban housing issues, they don’t yet have a high profile in cities. Is there a place for tiny homes in Los Angeles? One woman thinks so, and has founded a collective of like-minded people to make it happen.

Photo by Ben Chun: Creative Commons

This is the fourth episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you’re there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:  

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Hackaday Prize Entry: Archelon ROV Explores the Ocean

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Acendtech Robotics is a 4H robotics club located in Freehold, NJ, and their centerpiece project is the Archelon, an underwater drone they built out of PVC pipes. It’s also a Hackaday Prize entry designed to monitor marine traffic, the seabed, piers, jetties, and other underwater constructions.

The Archelon uses eight thrusters constructed out of bilge pumps that have been hacked to add a propeller, leaving the motor sealed safely inside.

The ROV’s motors are controlled by an Arduino Mega along with two motor driver boards, each board driving two pairs of DC motors. There’s also a robot claw rotated by …read more

The Defenders is a blueprint on how to make Iron Fist suck less

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Iron Fist is the weakest hero of Marvel’s Netflix run. He’s a cartoonish character with no real depth, one who wields power through nonsensical actions. But though the Iron Fist viewers met in the eponymous show was a failure of imagination, The Defenders series itself improves upon Danny Rand in a real way. Or at the very least, depicts him as somewhat less of a train wreck.

As a serious superhero venture, Iron Fist was destined to walk a rockier path than its sister shows. Jessica Jones focuses on sexual assault, abuse, and overcoming the trauma associated with those experiences. Luke Cage elevates a bulletproof black superhero, fighting for justice and the common man in Harlem. Even Daredevil, despite essentially starring a blind…

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Xbox One X leak suggests limited ‘Project Scorpio Edition’

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Information about where and when you’ll be able to preorder Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One X console is expected to arrive this weekend at Gamescom, but it seems that some details are leaking out early in the form of listings for a surprise version of the console: the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition. The listings — which were live on the sites of at least two German retailers, one of which has since been removed — were first spotted by XboxDynasty.de.

While we’ll have to wait for Microsoft to officially announce the special edition, it seems that the Project Scorpio-branded version will pay homage to the Xbox One X’s original code name by branding the Scorpio logo on the front of the controller and console. The hardware in the Project…

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Infiniti’s Prototype 9 is a modern electric car with 1940s retro racer roots

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 Days of thunder future past? Infiniti’s newest race car prototype is actually inspired by vintage race vehicles of the 1940s, with a torpedo-style sleek cylindrical body and offset wheels at the end of extended axes. The drivetrain of the so-called ‘Prototype 9,’ however, is all 2017: It’s an electric motor, combined with a 30 kWh battery pack. Here’s what I… Read More

Watch 1,069 robots simultaneously dance, setting world record

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Some argue that this army of robots might scare the living bejeezus out of you, but the talented dancers just broke a Guinness World Record in Guangzhou, Guangdong China, for most robots dancing simultaneously. They were created by WL Intelligent Technology Co, Ltd., and according to YouTube, “The robots were Dobi models who, along with being programmed to dance, can also sing, box, play football and execute kung fu moves. The robot display broke the previous record of 1,007, achieved by Ever Win Company & Ltd. in 2017.” Yeah, they’re a little creepy, but with a cute name like Dobi, they’re also kind of adorable.

DIY ant killer

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Homebrew ant killer made from sugar, borax, and water is very effective in keeping ants out of the house. Dissolve a half cup of sugar with 1.5 tablespoons of borax into 1.5 cups of warm water. Then dip a cotton ball into the solution and set it on a countertop (where kids and pets won’t eat it). The ants will flock to it and 12 hour later, you won’t see any more ants for a long time. Get a one-pound bag of borax on Amazon for $8.50 (which you can also use to make slime).

Image: Balaram Mahalder/Wikipedia

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