Break into the field of AI and Machine Learning with the help of this training

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It seems like AI is everywhere these days, from the voice recognition software in our personal assistants to the ads that pop up seemingly at just the right time. But believe it or not, the field is still in its infancy.

That means there’s no better time to get in on the ground floor. The Essential AI & Machine Learning Certification Training Bundle is a one-course package that can give you a broad overview of AI’s many uses in the modern marketplace and how to implement them.

The best place to dive into this four-course master class is with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) Foundation Course. This walkthrough gives you all the terms and concepts that underpin the entire science of AI.

Later courses let you get your hands dirty with some coding, as in the data visualization class that focuses on the role of Python in the interpretive side of data analytics. There are also separate courses on computer vision (the programming that lets machines “see” their surroundings) and natural language processing (the science of getting computers to understand speech).

The entire package is now available for Boing Boing readers at 93% off the MSRP. Read the rest

Lemonade is breaking the mold for home and renters insurance

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Whether you own or rent your place, insurance on that home is a necessary hassle – but a new tech-driven company called Lemonade is starting to show that while it might indeed be a necessity, it doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Here’s the way insurance typically works: You pay premiums and hope an accident never happens. If it does, you enter the purgatory of red tape, trying to pry restitution from a company that has little motivation or ability to pay out your claim.

Lemonade doesn’t work that way. Instead, it utilizes a well-built technology platform and intuitive AI to make signup a breeze. If anything, the process of paying out claims is even easier: You answer a few questions, outline your lost or damaged property through video chat, and get satisfaction almost instantly. Lemonade takes a flat fee from your premiums, so there’s no motivation for them to stonewall you when it comes time to file a claim. At the end of each year, they’ll even turn a portion of the unclaimed money from those premiums to the charity of your choice.

Another great thing about their flat fees? They’re super cheap, thanks to Lemonade’s low overhead. Fees start at $25 for homeowners’ insurance and $5 for renters. Get a quick quote and sign up today. Read the rest

The Picard sweater

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Chicago’s Volante (previously) bills itself as “streetwear for superheroes,” and I love their clothes. They’ve just released an addition to their existing canon of Star Trek-themed, cosplay-adjacent clothes: the Picard Sweater, a stretchy knit tribute to Jean-Luc himself, the perfect thing to wear while you’re watching Wil Wheaton host “The Ready Room,” which airs after every episode.

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HP’s Back to Business sale means it’s time to upgrade your office tech

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Spring doesn’t officially start until March, but you might want to start your spring cleaning a little early in the office supply closet. You’re going to need the extra space.

HP is holding a massive “Back to Business” sale on a vast array of its gear. And when we say “gear,” we’re not talking about a few outdated printers and some toner. You can expect to take up to 62% off everything from high-end ZBook Workstations to premium laptops and printers

Given HP’s profile in the modern office, that’s a big deal. There’s hardly a workspace that doesn’t use at least some of their tech if not a whole suite of laptops, printers, and monitors, all synced up and doing the heavy lifting for your workload, day after day.

Whether you’re managing the hardware for a company or just your own business at home, this might be just the right time to replace or upgrade that equipment. We’re seeing deals like $750 off an HP Pavilion 15Z Touch laptop, equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 256 GB of SSD storage. Other laptops include an HP 340S G7 Notebook, fully customizable with a 14″ screen for just over $435. For laptops especially, you won’t find these prices again for a long time.

There’s also a number of printers on deep discount. For light desktop duty, you can get the HP Envy 5055 – easy to set up and capable of printing 10 pages per minute. That one is more than 50% off. Read the rest

This TheraGun alternative has warm-up technology built-in

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You can do all the pre-workout stretching in the world, but that doesn’t mean you’ll escape stiff muscles and nagging pain after a particularly grueling gym session. When those knots and their accompanying aches and soreness start barking, your options usually boil down to either a deep tissue massage or just grinning and bearing it.

Since no one wants to live with pain, we recommend option 1. And rather than spending up to $100 for a one-hour massage therapy session, the Evertone Prosage Thermo Percussion Massager ($149, currently 25% off) can work out all that tension and muscle ache on your schedule.

Originally designed for professional athletes, this Kickstarter-funded massage gun tackles tight, sore muscles with a combination of high-impact percussion and Theralite heating that breaks up stiffness and knots while speeding up recovery after workouts.

With variable speed settings and interchangeable heads, the Prosage Thermo penetrates muscle tissue with up to 3,200 percussions per minute, alleviating lactic acid buildup as it improves blood flow.

Meanwhile, the Theralite heating can either be used to warm up and activate muscle fibers before your workout or soothe pain and reduce spasms in muscle, joints, tendons, and ligaments after strenuous sessions.

The Prosage Thermo offers up a full body massage without keeping a professional massage therapist on staff. Right now, it’s also $50 off the regular price at $149. Read the rest

This website builder app lets anyone create a website with zero code

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We’ve all got a perfect website in our minds. In the past, the problem has been the barrier of language – specifically, the computer languages used to create those glittering, animation-filled pages you flock to.

Now, Mac users have an alternative. Blocs 3 is a website builder that can provide an easy visual interface for anyone to design a site without sacrificing clean code underneath it all.

Anyone can pick up this software and have their first page in minutes. It boils down and translates the code you need into pre-determined sections that can be modified in any number of ways. Add your own text and images, adjust the background and effects, plug in your links and go. These sections can be “stacked” like the namesake blocks of the program, making it easy for you to understand and work with the hierarchy of your site.

The end result will have CMS integration, server-side PHP functionality and all the user interactions you need for a business or personal site.

You can pick up Blocs 3 for Mac now at 60% off the MSRP. Read the rest

Tiny protest signs for your cocktails

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I’m absolutely charmed by Fred & Friends’ Pick-its, clever little picket signs made for boozy beverages.

Unite with your fellow party-goers to take on the establishment and CHOOSE BOOZE! PICK ITS will mix it up and make a statement with 12 clever sayings fit for any picket line. This set of 24 cocktail picks is perfect for your next martini march or spritzer sit in.

A pack of 24 (12 different sayings) is available for just $5.

(RED) Read the rest

Ten minutes of collapsing water towers

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As an antidote to the madness and mayhem I subjected you all to with my idiots with chainsaws post, here is ten minutes of controlled demolition of decommissioned water towers.

This is a great example of professionals knowing what they’re doing as these demolition engineers land the towers between buildings, next to parked cars, etc. So many amazing things here: the crunching, booming sounds of the crashes, the great, billowing clouds of rust that plume from the tanks as they crack open, the grace (or not) of the descents.

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Watch the gloriously brutal trailer for Danzig’s horror movie directorial debut “Verotika”

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Famed “Mother” crooner and former ex-lead-singer of the Misfits Glenn Danzig has finally directed his first film, and of course it’s a horror anthology. The movie’s called Verotika, and while I’m slightly disappointed he didn’t name it Die Die My Darling, this absolutely bonkers minute-long trailer makes up for it.

The trailer doesn’t really tell you what the movies about, per se, but it definitely gives you some gorey, self-indulgent, eerily terrifying B-movie vibes—though whether it’s genuinely terrifying, or just terrifyingly bad, well, the reviews so far lean towards the latter. Alex McLevy at the AV Club caught the film last summer at the Cinepocalypse Film Festival in Chicago, and his review is a work of art in and of itself:

Within the first 60 seconds, a narrator pokes out a woman’s eyes with her fingers, and it works all too well as a metaphor for what this movie puts the audience through.

[…]

This wasn’t quite the willful misunderstanding of a Tommy Wiseau, but it wasn’t far off.

[…]

Glenn Dan-zigged where he should have Dan-zagged, and for that we should all be profoundly grateful.

Verotika will be available on Vimeo on-demand starting February 25, with a 3-disc collector’s set to follow in March. Read the rest

Every time you play this audio, it will seem to end on a higher pitch

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Defacto Sound posted this short loop of audio, the sound of a tape being sped up then stopped abruptly. Each time you play it, they say, it will sound like it’s getting higher in pitch. Did it do it for you? It worked for me about three times, then the effect – whatever it is – wore off. Some people report that it didn’t work at all for them; others that it works every time and they feel they’re going mad listening to it. Read the rest

Learn full stack web development with this $13 Javascript course

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If you’re looking to build a career in web development, it starts with Javascript. This programming language was there at the golden age of the internet, and it’s still the basis for millions of web pages and apps worldwide.

Suffice to say, if you’re a coder who doesn’t know JS yet, you’re not a coder. But short of an internship with a master in the language, the Complete Full-Stack JavaScript Course is the quickest way to get familiar with it.

The online course encompasses 87 lectures, but they’re far from static recitations of terms. The core of the curriculum will have you designing a calculator app, chat app and a weblog – all from scratch.

Along the way, you’ll use essential JavaScript tools like ReactJS, NodeJS, Redux and many more. Even if you don’t use this course to land a high-paying web developer job (and they are out there), you’ll be fully able to make your own apps and pull back the curtain on your favorite websites.

All told, you get more than 20 hours of content in the Complete Full-Stack JavaScript Course, which is now available for 93% off the MSRP. Read the rest

I have an Arduino and Intro to Making class on Skillshare and here’s a great deal on a subscription

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I’ve been a paying member of Skillshare for a few years. It’s $10 a month and I’m able to watch unlimited instructional videos on a wide range of topics – programming, data science, Photoshop, photography, and tons of others.

The Adobe After Effects instructional classes were very helpful in teaching me how to make my first animated video (about blockchain technology). I’m not only a Skillshare student — I also created two popular video courses on Skillshare. One is an introduction to the Arduino electronic prototyping platform and the other is a course on how to design and make things.

Skillshare asked me to share this link that will get you 3 months of full access to Skillshare for 99 cents. This is a great deal and a good way for you to sample everything they have to offer. Read the rest

Imagining a “smart city” that treats you as a sensor, not a thing to be sensed

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The editors of Guardian Cities (previously) saw my Toronto Life blurb about how a “smart city” could be focused on enabling its residents, rather than tracking and manipulating them, and asked me to write a longer piece on the theme: The case for … cities where you’re the sensor, not the thing being sensed is the result.

In it, I revisit my 2015 Locus column on the idea of an Internet of Things that treats people “as sensors, not things to be sensed” — a world where your devices never share your data with anyone else to get recommendations or advice, but rather, where all the inanimate objects stream data about how busy they are and whether they’re in good repair, and your device taps into those streams and makes private recommendations, without relaying anything about you or your choices to anyone else.

As I’ve often written, the most important thing about technology isn’t what it does, but who it does it to, and who it does it for. The sizzle-reels for “smart cities” always feature a control room where wise technocrats monitor the city and everyone in it — all I’m asking is that we all get a seat in that control room.

My editor tells me that this is the last piece that will be commissioned for Guardian Cities, and I’m sincerely honored to get to close out an outstanding, longrunning project on urban reporting and theory.

It’s a safe bet that the people who make those videos imagine themselves as one of the controllers watching the monitors – not as one of the plebs whose movements are being fed to the cameras that feed the monitors.

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Professor Xavier is a total fuckboi. Let me explain, on the Fuckbois of Literature podcast.

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My friend Emily Edwards has a delightful podcast called Fuckbois of Literature, that, well, pretty much explores exactly what it promises: fuckbois, in literature.

The characters of literature other readers exalt, but you hope never to meet. Maybe they screw everything that moves (and moos). Maybe they’ve locked their first wife in the attic. Maybe they’re the author of love poetry that’s screwed up our concept of romance for over 150 years. The literary fuckboi toys with your heart and leaves you hung out to dry. Join host Emily Edwards every week to discuss the most toxic characters, writers, and tropes of literature, folklore, myths, and legend. Topics include feminist literature, toxic masculinity, gender roles, and intersectional representation in books. These are the Fuckbois of Literature.

There are lots of great and insightful episodes, from comedian Sara Benincasa talking about the Bible, to my personal favorite one on David Foster Wallace. But Emily was also kind and/or foolish enough to invite me and one of my best friends onto the show to discuss the various fuckbois of the X-Men universe — but namely, that hedonistic bald manipulator Professor Charles Xavier, and his fickle, horny protege, Scott Summers AKA Cyclops.

I have been waiting a long time for an audience to let me indulge in my deeply serious literary analysis on sex and the X-Men, and I’m just so glad that there’s more than one person in the world who cares to hear my rant about the cycle of abuse and patriarchal privilege that make Professor X and Cyclops alike both treat women like crap in the pursuit of their self-righteous goals. Read the rest

Akai’s MPC One is a backpack beatmaker

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Akai’s MPC One is a beat-making box that fits in a backpack (unlike the MPC X) and costs less than a grand (unlike the MPC Live), has a 7-inch touchscreen display, and offers a full bank of pads, knobs and dials for standalone action, and outputs and ports for hooking it up to other audio gear, synths and computers.

Dani Deahl:

For those unaware of the history of Akai’s MPC, the Japanese electronics company’s signature item first debuted over 30 years ago and changed music-making forever with its intuitive interface and all-in-one approach. It’s been a staple tool for tons of artists like Dr. Dre and Om’Mas Keith (Frank Ocean’s producer), and there’s even one in the Smithsonian. … Akai says it packed a “remarkably comprehensive feature set” into the MPC One. Along with the standard 16 pads, it sports a seven-inch multitouch display and four touch-sensitive rotaries for manipulating sounds. On the back is a single set of MIDI I/O ports, four CV / Gate jacks (for controlling connected gear), and eight outputs total. There are 2GB of RAM, and USB flash and SD card storage can expand the unit’s 4GB capacity (which could easily top out since it’s preloaded with 2GB of drum samples and loops). The MPC One also ships with several soft synths and Air FX plug-ins for mixing and mastering. Akai tells The Verge that it focused on smaller size, added CV functionality, and a cheaper price to make the MPC One “the center of a ‘DAW-less jam’ style studio.”

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My favorite new game, KnifeTank: The Shüffling, is now on Kickstarter

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Over the holidays, I had the pleasure of getting to play a new game that quickly became my son’s and my favorite over the holiday break (when we try to play lots of games together). It’s my friend Doc Popular’s KnifeTank and he was kind enough to send me a prototype copy.

When I got the game, I was excited, but with reservations. No offense to Doc, but I expected it to be light and gimmicky, something of a vanity project. What I wasn’t expecting was a game I instantly wanted to play over and over again and invite my friends to come and play (which I did). KnifeTank can hold its own against anything coming out of a large commercial game company and I look forward to it enjoying a long and happy life, with many expansions and a worldwide, enthusiastic player community.

KnifeTank comes in a poker-type tuck box and includes everything you need to play. You get 30 action/movement cards, 8 tanks (4 two-sided cards), 4 health cards, and 5 damage cards. The box also contains a rule book and there are two rules summary cards. The game is for 2-4 players and rated ages 12 and up. Each game takes about 20-30 minutes to play. The goal of the game is get your tank from your table’s edge to your opponent’s edge or to eliminate your opponent(s) by reducing their health/hits to zero.

Those familiar with tabletop miniature games like Star Wars X-Wing and Gaslands will likely dig the movement mechanic here. Read the rest

This $13 courses gives you mastery over SQL & MySQL

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If you’re working with databases, you’re working with SQL. Even in the changing world of the web, there are some classics that endure, and SQL (along with its database management system MySQL) is one of them. Millions of websites and databases have been built using SQL code as their foundation, and they’re still being built today.

Needless to say, it’s a must for any serious coder. And there’s no better way to get your feet wet than with this MySQL & SQL for Beginners course.

The lessons in the course let you get hands-on with SQL, letting you create your own database from the ground up. You’ll then learn how to update it with new info and retrieve old data from it, then set up communications between your database and others.

Along the way, you’ll move quickly from your first queries to the complex operations and transactions that power the networks of leading companies. By the final lesson, you’ll also have learned how to keep that data safe while still accessible by those who need it on the fly.

Right now, lifetime access to the full course is on sale for 93% off the original cost. Read the rest

Here’s the pen cartoonist Tom Gauld uses

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Tom Gauld is one of my favorite cartoonists. (see my reviews of his previous books, Mooncop, You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack, Goliath, and The Gigantic Robot).

 

I met him a couple of years ago and he gave me the pen he uses to draw his cartoons: the Pilot Precise V5 Roller Ball Stick Pen. It makes a very clean line, and Tom told me the ink does not fade, even after many years. Now that I’ve started sketching again (I post some of my sketches on my Instagram account), I was reminded of Tom’s pen and reordered a box. Read the rest

Celebrating Captain Beefheart’s birthday with a look at his masterpiece, Trout Mask Replica

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Today is the birthday (1941) of the late Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, one of then most fascinating, confounding, and creative artists and musicians of the 20th century. Let’s celebrate by taking a look at his 1969 record, Trout Mask Replica, widely regarded as a masterpiece of modern sound art.

And here’s a bonus track. Imagine seeing this ad on late night television in 1970.

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