Launch a design career with help from this huge bundle

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Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle familiarizes you with the design tools of the trade, and it’s on sale in the Boing Boing Store for $19.

This collection delivers lifetime access to more than 700 hours of training spread across 200 courses. You’ll learn animation from courses on Mocha, Keyshot, Maya, and Nuke and tap into other creative tools, like Adobe, Unity, and CAD. You can validate your training with online quizzes and tests, and certificates of completion are awarded for each course you finish. 

The eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle is available today for $19 in the Boing Boing Store.

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.”


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).


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.

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.

Terry Gilliam: women “knew what they were doing” with Harvey Weinstein

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Looks like Terry Gilliam is one of those guys: “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

In a an interview with AFP on Friday, the filmmaker, a member of the comedy group Monty Python, specifically went after Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims, and said, “Harvey opened the door for a few people, a night with Harvey — that’s the price you pay.”

“It is a world of victims. I think some people did very well out of meeting with Harvey and others didn’t,” he added. “The ones who did, knew what they were doing. These are adults; we are talking about adults with a lot of ambition.” Gilliam also claimed that some of the women didn’t actually suffer, but used Weinstein to further their careers, and that he knew women who walked out of meetings with the mogul before getting sexually abused.

Has a Gilliam film ever had a woman lead? Hell, has one ever had a woman in it?

Photo: Vegafi (CC-BY-SA)

Small wireless keyboard with built-in touchpad for $10

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My daughter and I are building a portable device to play the 1981 RPG computer game, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. We’re running it on a Raspberry Pi using a a DOS operating system emulator called DOSBox. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

Next, we have to design a case using TinkerCad, and then print it out on our Prusa 3D printer.

I’ve been looking for a small wireless keyboard and it looks like the one shown in the above photo will fit the bill. It’s on sale on Amazon for $10 if you use the promo code BQZZXVBB. It also has a trackpad, which is not needed for Wizardry but will come in handy when using the Raspberry Pi’s GUI.

This startup promises to preserve your brain for uploading, after they kill you

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“What if we told you we could back up your mind?” asks start-up Netcome. According to MIT grad and co-founder Robert McIntyre, he has state-of-the-art technology to preserve your brain in a near-perfect state for scanning in the future once that technology is invented. Thing is, they have to start the preservation process while you’re still alive. They’re pitching the company at Y-Combinator’s “demo daysnext week. Already 25 people have signed up on the waiting list. From Antonio Regalado’s feature in Technology Review:

The brain storage business is not new. In Arizona, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation holds more than 150 bodies and heads in liquid nitrogen, including those of baseball great Ted Williams. But there’s dispute over whether such cryonic techniques damage the brain, perhaps beyond repair.

So starting several years ago, McIntyre, then working with cryobiologist Greg Fahy at a company named 21st Century Medicine, developed a different method, which combines embalming with cryonics. It proved effective at preserving an entire brain to the nanometer level, including the connectome—the web of synapses that connect neurons.

A connectome map could be the basis for re-creating a particular person’s consciousness, believes Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist who is president of the Brain Preservation Foundation—the organization that, on March 13, recognized McIntyre and Fahy’s work with the prize for preserving the pig brain.

There’s no expectation here that the preserved tissue can be actually brought back to life, as is the hope with Alcor-style cryonics. Instead, the idea is to retrieve information that’s present in the brain’s anatomical layout and molecular details.

“If the brain is dead, it’s like your computer is off, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t there,” says Hayworth.

A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”(Tech Review)

No Man’s Sky as a Commodore Amiga slideshow

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No Man’s Sky is a beautiful game of interstellar exploration: something about its epic psychedelic wonder stays with you even after you’ve internalized its procedural patterns. Blake Patterson wanted to see how well a classic Amiga 1000 would render some of its scenery. Granted, an Amiga isn’t going to counting frames by the second, but it was the first machine to offer thousands of colors on-screen at once and its peculiar pallete trickery gives NMS an even weirder look.

Investigating a reasonable way to convert the images, I discovered a fairly amazing Java-based application known, colorfully, as “ham_converter” which uses extremely optimized algorithms to get the most out of the Amiga’s bizarre HAM mode. The results, rendered in a 320×400 pixel interlace (and a 4:3 aspect ratio), are well beyond the quality that I recall seeing my Amiga 2000 generate with early, basic HAM converter programs, rendering MCGA images to the screen in HAM mode back in the early ’90s. In fact, they are so good that their shockingly high quality takes a bit of the “retro” out of this post; the images look a little too good! And, just to let you know this wasn’t just a click-and-drag process, the systems involved in the conversion were: a gaming PC [specs] able to run the Java app, an iMac [specs] not able to run the Java app (apparently) but also running an FTP server, an accelerated Amiga 2000 [specs] with a LAN connection and a floppy drive (and an FTP client), and the Amiga 1000 [specs] with a floppy drive, SCSI hard drives, and no LAN connection. Getting data to and fro was … involved.

In the future, all viewscreens on starships visiting other worlds should be limited to what Hold-And-Modify screen mode could render in 1985.

Review: Lynx Sonoma smoker makes the perfect turkey

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Every year we invite a bunch of friends over for Christmas dinner. We always have oven roasted turkey. But for 2017, I was given a loaner unit of the Lynx Sonoma Propane Gas Smoker, so I decided to smoke the turkey this time. The smoker sells for about $3200. It arrived on a truck. It’s made of stainless steel and looks beautiful. It weighs 250 pounds, and wasn’t easy to roll across the lawn because gophers have turned it into Swiss cheese. After I got the metal beast settled on the back porch, I opened the instruction manual.

The first step (after buying a tank of propane) was to download an app for my smartphone and connect it to the wifi radio in the smoker. This took a long time. The app needed the smoker’s serial number. I couldn’t find it. I had to call Lynx to find out where the PIN code on the smoker was. It turns out it’s under a little drawer that contains the control panel. I had to get on my hands and knees and crane my neck to see the tiny numbers printed on a sticker, which doesn’t peel off. I took a photo of the sticker and zoomed to see the numbers (note to Lynx – please move the sticker, or better yet, let people use the app without requiring a serial number). It also took several attempts to connect to the smoker, but once I got it, the app worked fine. The main purpose of the app is to let you see a temperature graph on your phone. I love this feature, because it takes a long time to smoke meat, and it let me do other things in the house and check on the progress remotely.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I practiced with chickens. The Sonoma has a tray to fill with wood chips, which get heated by the propane heater to produce smoke. The chickens were smoked to perfection, giving me confidence that the 25 pound turkey I was going to smoke wouldn’t be a half-charred/half-frozen disaster. I told Cory about my plans, and he suggested I tell the butcher to spatchcock the turkey. Spatchcock is a fun word for cutting the turkey’s backbone and butterflying it. When a bird is prepared this way, it cooks more evenly, because it increases the surface-area-to-volume ratio.

Carla picked up our turkey at Whole Foods a couple of days before Christmas. When she asked the butcher to spatchcock it, he looked at her as if she’d asked him to do something obscene to the turkey. Another customer overheard and told the butcher what spatchcocking was. The butcher found a co-worker who knew how to perform the operation, and he did it, albeit reluctantly, since there were a lot of customers clamoring for their turkeys.

Prep was easy. I just used the app to select the “smoked turkey” recipe and it heated the smoker and alerted me when it was time to put the turkey in. There was plenty of room in the gigantic smoker. I went inside and set up my iPad to monitor the temperature. It took a long time to smoke a big turkey – about 5 hours.

Cory snapped this photo of the turkey when it was ready. Fortunately, he’d brought along some out-of-town guests, one of whom was a professional chef, and she sliced the turkey masterfully (thanks, Pheobe!).

If I had $3000 to spare, this is something I would consider buying, because it does a great job, and smoking is a fun way to make delicious food. For now, I’m thinking about making the “Nellie Bly Smoker” that Bill Gurstelle wrote about in MAKE.

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