An ode to my $7 HTC pack-in headphones

See the original posting on The Verge

Headphones are an interesting slice of the technology market, where companies build products that are as much gadget as they are art. Design, style, and personal taste in sound quality and tuning are just as important as the more technical aspects of a pair of headphones. And there have never been more choices: from cheap, sweat-proof headphones for working out, to $300 pairs of cans for blocking out the sounds of your delayed commute, to $55,000 headphones that can probably re-create the voice of god with some accuracy.

Despite this, I’ve proven through long years of history, that I’m definitely not responsible enough for “real” headphones. So instead, my go-to headphone of choice have been these: the HTC Stereo Headphones, Part Number…

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Scientists make water bottles the old-fashioned way to see if they were toxic to early Californians

See the original posting on LA Times Science

If the ubiquity of pollutants in modern life has you yearning for the simpler ways of California’s early residents, an unusual scientific experiment may prompt you to reconsider.

After constructing water vessels using the methods of prehistoric people who lived on the Channel Islands, researchers…

Fake Your ID Photos – the 3D Way

See the original posting on Hackaday

Photographs for identification purposes have strict requirements. Lighting, expression, and framing are all controlled to enable authorities to quickly and effectively use them to identify individuals reliably. But what if you created an entirely fake photograph from scratch? That’s exactly what [Raphael Fabre] set out to do.

With today’s 3D modelling tools, human faces can be created in extreme detail. Using these, [Raphael] set out to create a 3D model of himself, which was then used to render images simulating a passport photograph. Not content to end the project there, [Raphael] put his digital doppelgänger to the test – applying …read more

This power pack has a tracker built in, so it will be exceedingly difficult to lose

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.

The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times on a single charge and it’s about the size of a thick wallet. The 9,000mAh battery can even recharge most full-size tablets, and it features both USB-A and C ports for maximum compatibility. It’s rubberized polycarbonate frame is rated for military-grade shock resistance, so you don’t have to worry when it inevitably falls out of your pack. Plus, built-in Tile Bluetooth tracking makes your lost battery easy to locate.

This battery pack is a mobile workhorse designed to keep your devices chugging no matter where you are in the world. You can get the Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack today for $119.95.

Is the host of the new ‘Gong Show’ really Mike Myers?

See the original posting on Boing Boing

No one involved with the reboot of The Gong Show will admit it, but it seems Mike Myers (in a heavy prosthetic disguise) is playing Tommy Maitland, the show’s ‘British’ host.

Ian Crouch of The New Yorker writes:

Yet there is a reason to watch, if only to attempt to make some sense of the show’s host, a rakish late-middle-aged British comedian named Tommy Maitland, who bounds onstage on the first show wearing a tuxedo and a montera (a bullfighter’s cap), and tosses out such catchphrases as “Who’s a cheeky monkey?” and “You’ve got no proof.” Though the audience appears familiar with him, Maitland is not a real person. He is, beneath an accent and a prosthetic mask, Mike Myers—though nowhere in the show’s promotional materials is his name mentioned.

The show, which is executive produced by Will Arnett, premiered last night on ABC.

Spice Up Your Shop with a VW Pickup Wall Decoration

See the original posting on Hackaday

Seeing a half car is always a disconcerting experience. Especially when that half car is about 14 feet up in the air. [PanasonicModelRC6015] — We’ll call him [RC6015] for short — has gone and mounted 1/2 (actually more like 1/4) of a VW Rabbit Caddy pickup MK1 up on his shop wall.

The caddy started life as a regular 1983 VW pickup. Unfortunately, the years had not been kind to it. The body panels were in good shape, but there were serious rust problems in the floors, strut towers, rockers, and control arm mounts. According to [RC6015], this is beyond …read more

Active Cache a RESTful Response in Crafter CMS

See the original posting on DZone Python

Any time your services depend on another service there is a cause for concern. You can’t control the performance or the availability of the external service. Further, if the response of the external service is not unique across calls then there may be no real need to call out to it on each request you receive.

In this case, what you want to do is cache the request from the external service and have your service attempt to get the content from the cache. Active cache is a built-in Crafter CMS capability that makes building these sorts of solutions much easier. You tell Active Cache what you want, how to get it, and how often to refresh it in the background. From there on, you simply ask Active cache for whatever the current response is.

Heathkit’s New RF Meter: Who is it for?

See the original posting on Hackaday

Electronic hackers and ham radio operators of a certain age have a soft spot for the Heathkit brand. Maybe that’s why we had a rush of nostalgia when we saw the Heathkit site had a new product. You may recall that Heathkit had gone the way of the dodo until a few years ago when the brand started to resurface. Their latest kit is a precision RF meter which is available on preorder.

Before there were websites and hacker spaces and all the modern push to “do it yourself,” Heathkit was teaching people electronics through kit building. Sure, they were …read more

EV3DEV Lego Linux Updated

See the original posting on Hackaday

The ev3dev Linux distribution got an update this month. The distribution targets the Lego EV3 which is a CPU Lego provides to drive their Mindstorm robots. The new release includes the most recent kernel and updates from Debian 8.8. It also contains tools needed for some Wi-Fi dongles and other updates.

If you haven’t seen ev3dev before, it is quite simply Linux that boots on the EV3 hardware using an SD card. You don’t have to reflash the computer and if you want to return to stock, just take out the SD card. You can also use ev3dev on a …read more

EV3DEV Lego Linux Updated

See the original posting on Hackaday

The ev3dev Linux distribution got an update this month. The distribution targets the Lego EV3 which is a CPU Lego provides to drive their Mindstorm robots. The new release includes the most recent kernel and updates from Debian 8.8. It also contains tools needed for some Wi-Fi dongles and other updates.

If you haven’t seen ev3dev before, it is quite simply Linux that boots on the EV3 hardware using an SD card. You don’t have to reflash the computer and if you want to return to stock, just take out the SD card. You can also use ev3dev on a …read more

Crunch Report | Google To Stop Scanning Inboxes

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Crunch Report June 23 Today’s Stories  Google now has all the data it needs, will stop scanning Gmail inboxes for ad personalization Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 will reportedly be the company’s most expensive smartphone yet YouTube TV expands to 10 more U.S. markets, adds more YouTube Red series Tesla said to be in talks to create its own streaming music service Credits Written and Hosted by:… Read More

Scientists are racing to predict where the next pandemic will start

See the original posting on The Verge

In a race to prevent future deadly pandemics, scientists are trying to pinpoint the animals and regions where the next Ebola or Zika might arise — before the viruses start harming people. But some experts argue that it makes more sense to look for new viruses in humans, not other animals. In fact, the next emerging infectious disease is probably already out there, making people sick.

Animals host a massive number of viruses, and sometimes these viruses make the jump to humans. (These viruses are called zoonoses.) This happens pretty rarely, but when it does, it can wreak havoc: most pandemics in recent memory like HIV, pandemic influenza, and Zika were caused by viruses that started out in animals….

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For Binary Capital’s investors, a public apology may fall short

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 In May of last year, venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital tweeted: “Big believers in ‘addition by subtraction’ for company culture. Bad apples impact others, and rest of team will thank you when they’re gone.” We may never know what company Caldbeck was referencing, but certainly, his messaging seems ironic in light of a detailed report about his… Read More

Andrew Ng announces Deeplearning.ai, his new venture after leaving Baidu

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Andrew Ng, the former chief scientist of Baidu, announced his next venture, Deeplearning.ai, with only a logo, a domain name and a footnote pointing to an August launch date. In an interesting twist, the Deeplearning.ai domain name appears to be registered to Baidu’s Sunnyvale AI research campus — the same office Ng would have worked out of as an employee. It’s unclear… Read More

Review: bug-zapping lightbulbs are worthless

See the original posting on Boing Boing

I got one of those bug-zapping LED lightbulbs, in hopes of murdering the flies drifting into my office during the increasingly warm and muggy Pennsylvania summer. I got mine from Home Depot, but the bulbs at Lowes, Wal-Mart and Amazon are all obviously identical. There are two lights in each bulb: an ultraviolet one inside an electrified bug-zapping cage, and a standard 60W-equivalent LED element to light the room. You can have one or both lit simply by turning the light off and on repeatedly within a second: it sounds clunky, but in practice is an ingenious way to cycle the options without adding interface elements.

But it doesn’t matter, because they’re useless.

I installed my bulb in three locations, moving it every couple of days until a week had passed. As a control, I moved one of those traditional gooey fly strips likewise.

Subjectively, neither did much to stop the flies, a job clearly best accomplished by closing the damn windows.

Objectively, the death tolls were as follows:

Traditional fly strip: 9 bugs, 3 large.

Bug-zapping lightbulb: 4 bugs, all tiny. (The bulb is pictured here, without cleaning)

VERDICT: Don’t be tempted: they’re not half as good as fly strips and are many times the price. The only advantage they have is not being quite so gross when you throw them in the trash.

Getting Data Off Proprietary Glucometers Gets a Little Easier

See the original posting on Hackaday

Glucometers (which measure glucose levels in blood) are medical devices familiar to diabetics, and notorious for being proprietary. Gentoo Linux developer [Flameeyes] has some good news about his open source tool to read and export data from a growing variety of glucometers. For [Flameeyes], the process started four years ago when he needed to send his glucometer readings to his doctor and ended up writing his own tool. Previously it was for Linux only, but now has Windows support.

Glucometers use a variety of different data interfaces, and even similar glucometers from the same manufacturer can use different protocols. Getting …read more

Snapchat’s newest feature is also its biggest privacy threat

See the original posting on The Verge

Earlier this week, Snapchat introduced Snap Map, an opt-in function that allows you to share your location with your friends on a map. Snapchat’s introduction video to Snap Map, seen above, focuses on sharing the location of posted Snaps to Our Story, which is public, and could be useful for, say, seeing a collection of Snaps posted from a particular event.

But what Snapchat doesn’t tell you in the video, or in the app, is that if you aren’t careful, Snap Map will broadcast your exact location to anyone on your friends list every time you open the app.

When you update Snapchat and get to the Snap Map walkthrough, as seen below, only three screens need to be clicked through to complete it. Though it mentions sharing your location, what…

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