Friday Hack Chat: Trusting The Autorouter

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Ah, the autorouter. Inside every PCB design tool, there’s a function called the ‘autorouter’. This function, when used correctly, is able to automagically lay traces between pads, producing a perfect board in under a minute. The trouble is, no one uses it. We have been told not to trust the autorouters and we hear a lot of other dire warnings about it. The autorouter never works. The autorouter will put traces everywhere. The autorouter doesn’t consider floorplanning, and sometimes you’re going to get traces that go right through the edge of your board. Is avoiding the autorouter sound advice?

For …read more

Nest’s indoor security camera now has Google Assistant built in

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Smart home company Nest today announced that a promised Google Assistant update for its Cam IQ security camera has now arrived, which brings Google’s voice-based artificial intelligence platform to the indoor version of the camera.

Nest originally promised Google Assistant for the Cam IQ back in September, when it launched the outdoor version of the camera alongside a new video doorbell and home security system. It appears Nest missed the deadline, but the company says it’s now ready to deliver the over-the-air update starting today. (It should be noted that the outdoor version of the Nest Cam IQ is not getting the update.)

In addition to the Google…

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Sheets of scars and giant lip plates: behind the scenes with Black Panther’s makeup designer

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Fans of genre film have probably seen Joel Harlow’s work, even if they didn’t realize it at the time. The longtime makeup designer and MorphologyFX founder got his start on horror films in the 1980s, including two of the Toxic Avenger films, and went on to multiple Oscar nominations (for The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Beyond) and one win (for 2009’s Star Trek). He’s worked with Johnny Depp on films from the Pirates of the Caribbean series to Alice In Wonderland to Tusk, and on superhero movies from 2000’s X-Men to Green Lantern to Logan. His work includes designing prosthetics and props — as he explained to The Verge in a 2017 interview about his extensive work on Logan, Morphology FX is an all-in-one effects shop that operates onsite at…

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One of Nest’s cameras can now double as a Google Assistant

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 After Google announced earlier this month that it was going to wrap Nest back into Google’s hardware operation, everyone figured we’d see a bit more overlap between the two. Sure enough, just two weeks later: the Nest Cam IQ Indoor is getting support for Google Assistant. Nest says the app update that lets users toggle Google Assistant functionality should hit sometime today. The… Read More

Nest rolls out a $5 cloud recording plan for its cameras

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 Just a quick bit of news for those with Nest cams around the house: a new, cheaper Nest Aware (read: the cloud recording service that also gives the camera a bit more smarts) plan is on the way. Nest has long offered two plans: a $10/month plan that lets you store the last 10 days of video history, and a $30/month plan that gave you 30 days of video history. This new plan will cost $5 per… Read More

Qualcomm shares details on its vision for the near-future of mobile VR

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 Qualcomm is ready to show off more about what its Snapdragon 845 system architecture can do for the future of VR. Even as headsets based on the Snapdragon 835 reference design — like Lenovo’s positionally tracked Daydream headset — are just gearing up for their stateside release, we’re already looking to what the future of VR  that isn’t tethered to something… Read More

3D printed body parts for transplant

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is developing techniques to 3D print human organs for transplant using an individual’s own cells as the “ink.” That way, the transplanted organ won’t trigger the patient’s immune system to reject it as a foreign body. From National Geographic:

(For example,) to create an ear, the printer lays down a pliable, porous scaffold made of hydrogel, a kind of polymer. The scaffold is covered with skin cells and cartilage cells, which grow and fill in the ear-shaped form. The hydrogel eventually biodegrades; after about six months the ear is composed entirely of human cells.

3D Printed Skateboard Mount for Bikes

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[Matt Obal] had a problem. The local skatepark was too far to skateboard, but close enough to bike. Carrying a skateboard on a bicycle is a rather awkward (and unsafe) maneuver. [Matt’s] answer to the problem is Truck Stop, a bicycle mounted skateboard carrier he developed and is manufacturing himself.

[Matt’s] work on Truck Stop began about a year ago, with his purchase of a 3D printer. He designed a seat back mounted device that secures the skateboard by wedging between the truck and the board itself. The design is printed in PLA and is hollow. Truck Stop’s strength comes …read more

Netflix’s Lost in Space reboot begins streaming on April 13th

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Netflix has released the first look at its upcoming reboot of the classic science fiction TV series Lost in Space, which will debut on the service on April 13th.

The company announced the revival in 2016. The show will keep the premise of the original 1965 show: the Robinson family heads into space to establish a new colony but lands on a different world after an accident. The trailer suggests an updated but retro look for the tech and gear, as various members of the Robinson family board their ship in their space suits, accompanied by narration about the adaptability of humanity. The context suggests that Earth isn’t a safe place to live anymore, prompting the efforts to establish a new colony.

There are plenty of nods to the original…

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This is the tech that NFL players are excited about in 2018

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 With the NFL season now over, players finally have time to focus on their passions and side projects, which can be anything from an externship on Capital Hill to angel investing in startups. Some of these activities are facilitated through the NFL Player’s Association, which actually runs a tech accelerator designed to trade player licensing rights for equity. The accelerator is called… Read More

Comedian Jena Friedman jests: ‘treat Nazis like we treat women’

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https://youtu.be/xy2bh1L5_pI

Comedian Jena Friedman killed it in her recent standup set on Conan. I somehow missed this a couple of weeks ago when it came out. Glad it landed in my feed today.

If you liked this, she’s got a new special on Adult Swim called “Soft Focus with Jena Friedman” that’s hilarious too. Her segment with Gilberto Valle (the “Cannibal Cop“) is simultaneously subversive and awkward. Win-win!

The King of Machine Tools

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The lathe is known as the King of Machine Tools for a reason. There are very few things that you can’t make with one. In fact, people love to utter the old saw that the lathe is the only machine tool that can make itself. While catchy, I think that’s a bit disingenuous. It’s more accurate to say that there are parts in all machine tools that (arguably) only a lathe can make. In that sense, the lathe is the most “fundamental” machine tool. Before you harbor dreams of self-replication, however, know that most of an early lathe would be …read more

SIM cards could soon be built into processors to save even more space

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Every millimeter of space matters when you’re trying to build increasingly complex electronics into increasingly tiny packages, and the relatively spacious SIM card has long been an area of frustration for hardware manufacturers. Now, the chip design company ARM may have an answer: an integrated component called an iSIM that’s built into the same chip as the processor.

ARM says the iSIM will take up a “fraction of a millimeter squared,” whereas the current SIM standard — Nano SIMs — are about 12.3 x 8.8mm in size, not including the hardware usually needed to house them. Not only will that save space, but ARM says it’ll more importantly save on costs, too: instead of paying “tens of cents” per card, manufacturers will be paying…

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Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland on using sci-fi to explore self-destruction

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English filmmaker Alex Garland has the right to demonstrate a bit of creative ego. After finding success with his debut novel The Beach at age 26, he moved to screenwriting, scripting the genre favorites 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd. He seamlessly transitioned to directing with Ex Machina, a cerebral, thought-provoking look at artificial intelligence, personal agency, and what it means to be human. But at a Beverly Hills interview about his newest film, Annihilation, he came across as confident but surprisingly humble. He characterizes his successes as the result of creative collaboration — a far cry from the solitary writing that launched his career.

Adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, Annihilation follows a…

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Qualcomm looks to fix truly wireless headphones with its TrueWireless technology

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Truly wireless headphones are the holy grail for Bluetooth headphone companies, but with the exception of a couple of models — like Apple’s AirPods — it seems like most of the industry is still trying to figure out how to get them to work.

Qualcomm is trying to fix that with an update to the TrueWireless Stereo technology that the company employs on its Bluetooth chips for headphones, like the recently announced QCC5100 series. This could solve some of the issues that have plagued truly wireless headphones for a while now.

The updated TrueWireless Stereo adds a few small but crucial updates to how headphones that ship with Qualcomm’s latest chips handle Bluetooth audio.

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Facebook Messenger now lets you add friends to ongoing video chats

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Facebook Messenger now allows you to add more friends and family members to your audio and video chats while they’re still in progress. With a new feature introduced today, you can add people to an ongoing audio or video call while you’re still talking, rather than having to hang up and manually add people into a conversation before restarting the call.

To add someone while you’re on a video or audio chat, tap on the screen and select the new “add person” icon, then tap on the people you want to add. After you’ve hung up, you can message everyone in the conversation in an automatically created group chat in your Facebook inbox.

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Scream at your Echo to heat up your jacket

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It’s winter in New York, and heated jackets exist. Even heated jackets with apps exist. But until now, there hasn’t been one that claims to be “intelligent” and able to automatically adjust to a wearer’s habits. Ministry of Supply launched a Kickstarter campaign today for its “Mercury Intelligent Heated Jacket,” which it says will learn wearers’ behavior over time and adjust its heating patterns in turn.

The jacket has three heating elements: one in each pocket and one in the back. Those are powered by a 10,000mAh (swappable) battery that charges over USB Type-A. Overall, the jacket produces 10 watts of heat and can reach up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The heating elements turn off automatically if they exceed that temperature, Ministry…

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Alto’s Odyssey and the art of the perfect sequel

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Sequels are hard. For hit games, it’s even harder: following up something that was beloved by millions of people involves a balance of expanding your idea while also maintaining the stuff that made people love it in the first place. You only need to look at the lackluster receptions of recent big-budget gaming sequels that have dashed themselves to pieces on the rocky shores of fan expectations, like Destiny 2, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

On the other side of the equation, there are sequels like Alto’s Odyssey (out today on iOS), the follow-up to the mobile gaming classic Alto’s Adventure. It’s the perfect sequel because it confidently recognizes what made the original work — and then, crucially, it…

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Buttrcup is a risque image site that pays creators

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 A site like Buttrcup [NSFW] is hard to explain. Because the world is awash in “risqué” photography, why should we pay creators? And why does the world need another site dedicated to “sexy, risqué and yet not too explicit” content? Sure, because good, well-lit content that can actually benefit models is almost impossible to find. Created by Molly Murphy and Michael… Read More

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