Canary’s smart home cameras now have better person detection and smarter notifications

See the original posting on The Verge

Back in February, Canary’s smart home cameras gained the ability to detect people and send push notifications specifying that a person had been seen in the recorded clip (as opposed to your pet, for example). Today, the company is rolling out a new update that will allow users to choose whether they want Canary cameras to notify them about or even bother recording events that don’t include a person in the frame.

You can configure your Canary to record all motion, people only, or not at all. When away from my apartment, I’m generally in favor of recording any movement just to be sure. But I’m setting motion alerts to “people only” as soon as this update is out so I’ll stop getting alerts whenever our pugs are just walking around doing…

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Disconnect gives web trackers the boot and ups your device’s battery life

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Most of us understand that when we visit a website, we’re subjecting ourselves to surveillance by trackers. And, while these tools are usually used for innocuous purposes, like determining which ads to show you, they can be leveraged for much more nefarious goals, and they have the potential to tank your browsing speed as well as your device’s battery life.

Disconnect has emerged as an online solution that blocks trackers and malware across your entire device, allowing you to surf the web up to 44% faster, use up to 39% less bandwidth, and significantly improve your device’s battery life.


In addition to blocking tracker requests, Disconnect boasts VPN technology that encrypts your browsing movements so that you can surf on public and private networks without your ISP or the government peeking in. What’s more, Disconnect also allows you to sidestep geo-restrictions that prevent you from accessing streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu when you’re traveling overseas.

One-year and three-year Disconnect Premium subscriptions are currently available in the Boing Boing Store for $19 and $29 respectively. For a limited time, use coupon code GETSAFE to save an additional 20% off!

Neko Case’s home burnt down, so she recorded her “Bad Luck”

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Neko Case ran into some bad luck last September. Her Vermont home was ravaged by fire. Hours after getting the news, she went into the studio to record a song she had already written, aptly titled “Bad Luck.”

Paste Magazine reports:

The song came after a tragic house fire that engulfed the musician’s home in September of last year. According to a press release, the fire started in the musician’s barn, where she keeps an assortment of paintings and old artworks. After a friend attended to the safety of Case’s dogs (which she prominently displays on her social media accounts), the fire spread to the house, engulfing it as well. A few hours later, Case took to her studio in Stockholm and recorded her song of galloping resilience, “Bad Luck.”

From a press statement from earlier this month:

Case is now stoic about the fire. “If somebody burned your house down on purpose, you’d feel so violated. But when nature burns your house down, you can’t take it personally.” The month before the blaze, Hurricane Harvey had slammed into Texas and flooded Houston. Her home burned just as Puerto Rico was plunged into a nightmare by Hurricane Maria and wildfires incinerated California. “In the big picture, my house burning was so unimportant,” she says. “So many people lost so much more: lives and lives and lives.”

Neko’s first solo album in five years, Hell-On, will be available June 1st (pre-orders are available now). She’s also embarking on an ambitious tour (with Ray LaMontagne), starting at the end of May.

Give a listen to the title track too:

What Does ‘Crypto’ Actually Mean?

See the original posting on Hackaday

This article is about crypto. It’s in the title, and the first sentence, yet the topic still remains hidden.

At Hackaday, we are deeply concerned with language. Part of this is the fact that we are a purely text-based publication, yes, but a better reason is right there in the masthead. This is Hackaday, and for more than a decade, we have countered to the notion that ‘hackers’ are only bad actors. We have railed against co-opted language for our entire existence, and our more successful stories are entirely about the use and abuse of language.

Part of this is …read more

Deezer’s new Flow Tab creates daily personalized tracklists

See the original posting on The Verge

Today, Deezer has announced a change to its existing Flow feature, which creates an endless stream of a user’s favorite songs plus new tracks picked by the service. There is now a separate Flow Tab, which displays several personalized tracklists for a user to pick from based on their individual musical preferences.

Once you click on the new Flow Tab, you’ll see a swipeable carousel with cards for different tracklists that mark the artists they’re inspired by. These options are made from what Deezer already knows you like to listen to. For example, you could get served a playlist inspired by the likes of Flume, Disclosure, Chet Faker, and Odesza, or one inspired by The Weeknd, Drake, and Frank Ocean.

Image: Deezer


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You can now start and resume podcasts between your phone and the Google Home

See the original posting on The Verge

An update to how Google manages podcasts appears to be forthcoming, starting with the ability to start and resume podcasts between your Google Assistant devices. Now, if you begin listening to a podcast on your phone, you can pause and continue listening to the rest on a Google Home just by asking to play the podcast again, and Assistant will know where you left off.

Currently, Google doesn’t have a dedicated podcast management app outside of Google Play Music; the only way to work around this is to use search results as a homepage shortcut. With Google I/O just weeks away, it seems likely that an app — either inside the Home app or on the Play Store — is underway. Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google Podcasts’ product manager, told Pacific…

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RavPower wireless chargers are at their lowest price ever with Amazon’s Deal of the Day

See the original posting on The Verge

RavPower makes our favorite wireless charger for Qi-enabled phones: the Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad. While the newest version is still on the more expensive end of the wireless charger spectrum, you can pick up the older model at the lowest price it’s ever been, today only, as part of Amazon’s Deal of the Day program. Also available in today’s Deal of the Day is a newer wireless charger from RavPower, the HyperAir Stand, which Verge readers can pick up at an additional discount.

The new HyperAir Wireless Charging Stand charges Samsung phones at 10W and iPhones at their max speeds of 7.5W. The HyperAir is currently listed at $37.49, or 25 percent off the original price of $49.99. Verge readers can use the code VERGECHL to get the…

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Are Widescreen Laptops Dumb?

See the original posting on Slashdot

“After years of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV screens converging on 16:9 as the ‘right’ display shape — allowing video playback without distracting black bars — smartphones have disturbed the universality recently by moving to even more elongated formats like 18:9, 19:9, or even 19.5:9 in the iPhone X’s case,” writes Amelia Holowaty Krales via The Verge. “That’s prompted me to consider where else the default widescreen proportions might be a poor fit, and I’ve realized that laptops are the worst offenders.” Krales makes the case for why a 16:9 screen of 13 to 15 inches in size is a poor fit: Practically every interface in Apple’s macOS, Microsoft’s Windows, and on the web is designed by stacking user controls in a vertical hierarchy. At the top of every MacBook, there’s a menu bar. At the bottom, by default, is the Dock for launching your most-used apps. On Windows, you have the taskbar serving a similar purpose — and though it may be moved around the screen like Apple’s Dock, it’s most commonly kept as a sliver traversing the bottom of the display. Every window in these operating systems has chrome — the extra buttons and indicator bars that allow you to close, reshape, or move a window around — and the components of that chrome are usually attached at the top and bottom. Look at your favorite website (hopefully this one) on the internet, and you’ll again see a vertical structure.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also the matter of tabs. Tabs are a couple of decades old now, and, like much of the rest of the desktop and web environment, they were initially thought up in an age where the predominant computer displays were close to square with a 4:3 aspect ratio. That’s to say, most computer screens were the shape of an iPad when many of today’s most common interface and design elements were being developed. As much of a chrome minimalist as I try to be, I still can’t extricate myself from needing a menu bar in my OS and tab and address bars inside my browser. I’m still learning to live without a bookmarks bar. With all of these horizontal bars invading our vertical space, a 16:9 screen quickly starts to feel cramped, especially at the typical laptop size. You wind up spending more time scrolling through content than engaging with it. What is your preferred aspect ratio for a laptop? Do you prefer Microsoft and Google’s machines that have a squarer 3:2 aspect ratio, or Apple’s MacBook Pro that has a 16:10 display?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Spoofing Cell Networks with a USB to VGA Adapter

See the original posting on Hackaday

RTL-SDR brought cheap and ubiquitous Software Defined Radio (SDR) to the masses, opening up whole swaths of the RF spectrum which were simply unavailable to the average hacker previously. Because the RTL-SDR supported devices were designed as TV tuners, they had no capability to transmit. For the price they are still an absolutely fantastic deal, and deserve to be in any modern hacker’s toolkit, but sometimes you want to reach out and touch someone.

Now you can. At OsmoDevCon [Steve Markgraf] released osmo-fl2k, a tool which allows transmit-only SDR through cheap USB 3.0 to VGA adapters based on the Fresco …read more

Designer garden hoses, and other ‘luxurious alternative garden appliances’

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Riffraff, step aside. A line of garden hoses for the more discerning yard worker has arrived.

With models like the Gold Digger (“certainly a statement piece is for those who love a bit of show off”), the “graceful and refined” Rusty Rose, and the Caribbean Kiss (which “will make you dream of a tropical beach edged with palm trees”), it’s clear that Garden Glory’s hoses are no ordinary lawn wetting devices.

The prices are not ordinary either. Hoses are $119 each (plus an additional $49 to $119 for the matchy-matchy nozzle) and come with an “elegant designer bag.” Don’t forget to kickdown for that complementary Reindeer Wall Mount ($299) to wrap your hose around. Add a pair of golden gloves for $59 and then snap some selfies of yourself “gardening.” Your Instagram feed is sure to explode.

All of your “luxurious alternative garden appliances” dreams have come true. **pinch**

Thanks, Polly!

images via Garden Glory

“But slavery was so long ago”

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Originally commissioned as a wrist tattoo, the simple and powerful chart showing how recent black freedom is in America is now also a t-shirt.

“…but slavery was sooo long ago.”

We’ve heard this quote over and over throughout the course of modern American history. In an attempt to urge black people to “move on” and to recognize just how good they have it in America, this dismissive and tone deaf statement attempts to transform relatively recent history into ancient history or myth.

However, when looking at this graphic, it is very clear that American slavery and segregation was not so long ago. In fact, it is very possible to have conversations with many African Americans who have vivid memories of Jim Crow South and the racist and subversive practices in the North.

I like this black and white version:

Be the center of attention with these flashing Meizu earphones

See the original posting on The Verge

If you’ve always wanted your headphones to stand out a little in a sea of white cables then Meizu’s light-up earbuds might be for you. Called Halo, the Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX buds feature a 1.5-meter cable (including 0.3m to wrap around your ears) that lights up and flashes in bright neon red or blue for an average of 5 hours (at 50 percent brightness). Otherwise they’ll last for 15 hours if you switch the lighting off. The rechargeable battery located at the end of the cable takes about 1.5 hours to charge.

Halo uses a light-diffusing fiber from Corning called Fibrance which is made from flexible glass that can be bent and curved. These Meizu earphones aren’t the first with an illuminating cable built around Fibrance — Glow also has a…

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Using Crafter CMS, GitHub, and Two-Factor Authentication

See the original posting on DZone Python

Crafter’s Git-based CMS supports developers working against remote repositories like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and others. Many organizations that use GitHub enforce a two-factor authentication for developers. This article shows you how to create a site in Crafter when you have two-factor authentication in GitHub configured.

Step 1: Configure an Access Token in GitHub

If you are reading this article, it’s very likely you already have two-factor authentication configured and are using it with GitHub. If you’re interested in setting it up you can learn more about that here.

The Simplest Possible DIY Ultrasonic Levitator

See the original posting on Hackaday

We thought that making things levitate in mid-air by the power of sound was a little bit more like magic, or at least required fancy equipment. It turns out that you can do it yourself easily enough with parts that any decent hacker’s closet should have in abundance: a motor-driver IC, two ultrasonic distance pingers, and a microcontroller. This article shows you how (translated here, scroll down).

But aside from a few clever tricks, there’s not that much to show. The two HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensors are standard fare, and are just being used as a cheap source of 40 …read more

Meizu’s new phones don’t have notches

See the original posting on The Verge

Chinese company Meizu has unveiled its new range of smartphones, the 15 series, and it seems to be taking a stand against current trends in phone design. You won’t find notches or even tall screens here — just large, intact rectangles. It’s actually kind of refreshing.

There are three phones: the 5.95-inch 1440p OLED Meizu 15 Plus, the 5.46-inch 1080p OLED Meizu 15, and the 5.46-inch 1080p LCD Meizu 15 Lite. The Plus uses a Samsung Exynoos 8895 processor, unusually — the same chip found in international models of the Galaxy S8 — while the 15 has a Snapdragon 660 and the Lite employs a Snapdragon 626.

Design-wise, imagine an iPhone 7 Plus with thinner bezels on all four sides and you’re pretty much there — the phones even manage to fit a…

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Remote Control of Clocks is Easy as Pi

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Fatjedi007] recently acquired three programmable boxing gym-type clocks to help his developmentally disabled clients manage their time. The plan was to have timers of varying lengths fire at preset times throughout the day, with the large displays providing a view from anywhere. Unfortunately, the clocks were not nearly as programmable as he needed them to be.

Since he’d spent enough money already, [Fatjedi007] turned to the power of Raspberry Pi to devise an affordable solution. Each clock gets a Pi Zero W and a simple IR transmit/receive circuit that operates using LIRC. The clocks came with remote controls, so it …read more

Stop Using JWTs as Session Tokens

See the original posting on DZone Python

JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) are so hot right now. They’re all the rage in web development because they’re trendy, secure, scalable, and compact. With all these amazing things going for JWTs, they seem like an unstoppable hype train headed straight for Stack Overflow fame and fortune!

Today I’m here to talk with you about the downsides of using JWTs. Specifically, why it’s a bad idea to use JWTs as session tokens for most people.

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