ROPS Will Be The Board x86 Robot Builders Are Waiting For

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If your robot has outgrown a Raspberry Pi and only the raw computing power of an x86 motherboard will suffice, you are likely to encounter a problem with its interfaces. The days of ISA cards are long gone, and a modern PC is not designed to easily talk to noisy robot hardware. Accessible ports such as USB can have interfaces connected to them, but suffer from significant latency in the process.

A solution comes from ROPS, or Robot on a PCI-e Stick, a card that puts an FPGA on a blazing-fast PCI-e card that provides useful real-world interfaces such …read more

Walmart will begin selling an exclusive monthly DC comic anthology in July

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DC will begin releasing an exclusive, monthly anthology comic series in Walmarts across the United States next month.

The comics will be more than your typical single-issue comic: these will be 100-page books, featuring a mix of new and reprinted material, priced at $4.99 an issue. According to DC Comics, the new material will be written by the likes of Tom King, Dan Jurgens, Brian Michael Bendis, Andy Kubert, and others, while each book will also include stories from the New 52 comics, Rebirth, and the New Age of DC Heroes. The series will include four titles: Superman Giant, Justice League of America Giant, Batman Giant, and Teen Titans Giant. This is the latest in a long line of Giant-style comics from DC: its 80-Page Giant line came…

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Teardown shows inner workings of the Vivo Nex’s pop-up selfie camera

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Chinese smartphone makers have gone down a clever new path to get rid of the display notch and create a truly edge-to-edge screen: they’re now building pop-up cameras into their phones. We’ve seen both Oppo and Vivo do it in the span of a few weeks, and the latter’s Nex smartphone has already been put through the teardown process at MyFixGuide.

In the shots, you can see all the mechanics and components that make the slide-up motion possible on the selfie camera. There’s a spring in there, but it’s actually the silver spiral stepper to the right that pushes the camera up. It all seems fairly well put together, but moving parts are moving parts and thus more prone to failure.

The teardown also shows the vibration motor…

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How Jurassic Park led to the modernization of dinosaur paleontology

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Paleontologist Steve Brusatte loves Jurassic Park. Without it, he jokes, he wouldn’t even have a job. So he’s not going to criticize all the inaccuracies in the Hollywood franchise. But he’s also studied dinosaurs his whole life (real ones, with feathers), so he loves talking about giant creatures that ruled over the Earth millions of years ago.

In his new book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World, Brusatte, a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, charts the origins of dinosaurs from the beginning of the Triassic period all the way to their abrupt disappearance about 66 million years ago. He also takes a close look at the evolution of the field of paleontology, and how it has diversified and…

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Arduino and Pidgin C++

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What do you program the Arduino in? C? Actually, the Arduino’s byzantine build processes uses C++. All the features you get from the normal libraries are actually C++ classes. The problem is many people write C and ignore the C++ features other than using object already made for them. Just like traders often used pidgin English as a simplified language to talk to non-English speakers, many Arduino coders use pidgin C++ to effectively code C in a C++ environment. [Bert Hubert] has a two-part post that isn’t about the Arduino in particular, but is about moving from C to a …read more

7 new trailers you should watch this week

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I know watching movies on plane screens is supposed to be a cinematic sin, but there’s also something great about using a flight to catch movies you might have otherwise skipped over when given a wider library to pick from on land. The tough part is picking out something that’ll play well on the smaller screen.

Earlier this year, I saw Battle of the Sexes and Murder on the Orient Express while on flights for work. Even my desperate need for entertainment couldn’t save Orient Express, which, I don’t know, I guess I shouldn’t have expected more of. But Battle of the Sexes was so relentlessly fun and big that it locked me in, fuzzy screen and all.

So what makes a movie right for planes? I’m not sure; it’s probably a little different for…

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Star Wars fans: You have to see this animated ASCII remake of Episode IV

See the original posting on Boing Boing

It was 1997 when Simon Jansen started his remake of the first Star Wars film — Episode IV – A New Hope — as an ASCII animation (or “asciimation,” as he coined it).

It was in 2015 when the dedicated New Zealand Star Wars fan added the last scene. That’s right, it’s not finished yet. In fact, it’s only about 40 percent complete.

Tedium reports:

For reasons that are a mystery even to himself, Simon Jansen began creating individual frames of A New Hope after a chain of joke emails. Though not particularly keen on animation or ASCII art, Jansen was just enough of a Star Wars obsessive to keep up with the project.

Obsessive is pretty much the only way to describe Jansen’s project. With more than 16,000 frames at 15 frames per second, the animation only lasts about 18 minutes. It’s not a perfect, shot-for-shot recreation. Those 18-plus minutes manage to cover almost 40 percent of the original. And Jansen had much less than that completed two years after he started the project, when he went viral before it was even a term.

“I do little bursts,” Jansen told Wired in 1999, describing his work ethic toward the project. “…if you were to sit down and a film over days and days, you’d go be a bit strange.”

It seems people have offered to help him complete the project but Jansen writes in the asciimation’s FAQ that he’d “really like to finish this myself” and that it “may take a long time but I ask people to be patient.” He suggests folks take on asciimating the newer Star Wars flicks.

There’s no way for me to embed Jansen’s brilliant labor of love in this post, so you can just head over to Jansen’s site to see it. It’s worth the extra click, I promise.

Jansen also claims to have invented the world’s first jet-powered beer cooler. This guy is cool.

One Frame At A Time: A long time ago in an encoding standard not so far away, an early ’net user tried to remake “Star Wars” in ASCII art form. He got further than you’d guess.

Previously: Star Wars Roguelike

screenshots via Star Wars ASCIIMATION


Weekend deals on Razer laptops, an LG soundbar, and more

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The best time to buy gadgets during the summer is usually around July 4th or Amazon Prime Day, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few sales worth checking out in the meantime.

Razer is offering special weekend sale on a few of its Razer Blade gaming-focused laptops. While every model is receiving some kind of discount, the best deals are for the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. They might look similar, but keep in mind that these are two very different models. The Blade Stealth 13 is a capable laptop with tremendous battery life and a high-resolution display, and it’s been marked down $200 this weekend. The Razer Blade Pro 17 is $500 off this weekend. It’s bigger and comes with a couple of other freebies like a Razer…

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Look closely: These Hawaiian shirts depict our plastic-polluted oceans

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A staggering eight million tons of plastic trash is dumped in our oceans each year, according to a 2015 Science report.

As a way of putting a spotlight on the issue, Spanish designer Adolfo Correa created the art for The Paradise? Shirt, a Hawaiian-style shirt that, at first glance, looks standard-issue. Look closer and you’ll see he’s put plastic waste — like toothbrushes and six-pack rings — into the design.

The shirt was a collaboration between Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, Corona and Parley for the Oceans, created for World Oceans Day (June 8). The limited-edition shirts were being sold at the World Surf League Store for $69/each but have already sold out.

images via Adolfo Correa


How backups, backups, backups protect NYC’s cellular infrastructure

See the original posting on TechCrunch

The infrastructure that underpins our lives is not something we ever want to think about. Nothing good has come from suddenly needing to wonder “where does my water come from?” or “how does electricity connect into my home?” That pondering gets even more intense when we talk about cellular infrastructure, where a single dropped call […]

This cordless Dyson vacuum helps you clean every corner of your living space

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Spring came and went, but we’re not here to judge if you didn’t get around to cleaning up your living space. After all, taking the time to vacuum your floors can stretch out into a lengthy task when you’re constantly switching between power outlets and trying to jam your machine into those tight corners. With the Dyson V6 Bagless Cordless Handheld Vacuum with HEPA Filter, you can sidestep the vacuum hassles and finally catch up on your spring cleaning. It’s available today for $179.99.

Powered by Dyson’s digital V6 motor and armed with cyclonic technology, this bagless, cordless, handheld vacuum uses cyclonic technology to separate dirt from the air and deliver more than 3x the suction power. Its rinseable HEPA filter traps dust, pet dander, and pollen while you clean, preventing it from escaping back to the air. And, with the included crevice and combination tool, you can easily get dirt out of those troublesome corners.

The Dyson V6 Bagless Cordless Handheld Vacuum with HEPA Filter is available in the Boing Boing Store for $179.99.

Would you buy a $28 bottle of “unfiltered Hot Dog Water”? Some people in Canada did

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What’s in the water in one Canadian city? Uncooked hot dogs, apparently.

Last weekend, a reality-hacking hero offered bottles of unfiltered, “keto-compatible” “Hot Dog Water” at a Vancouver street festival for CAN$37.99 (~US$28) a pop. The vendor, performance artist/”foodie-troller” Douglas Bevans, claimed his special water (which included a real hot dog inside each bottle) had health benefits.

“Several” people “bought-and-consumed” his expensive meat water though his hilarious venture didn’t turn a profit, according to the blog Vancouver is Awesome. The blog also shared Bevans’ reason for selling it in the first place, which appeared at the bottom of the health claim:


Bravo, well done!

lead image by Bernadette Price, 2nd image by Franklin Sayre, both used with permission

A MIDI Sequencer To Be Proud Of

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MIDI sequencers are surprisingly expensive, making them an excellent target for [RH Electronics] who has created a sixteen-step device. It supports up to eight playable parts per step, which can be either MIDI or drum triggers.

The case and front panel are built to a very high standard, and on a piece of stripboard within lies an ATmega644 which does all the MIDI work, an ATmega328 that runs the many LEDs, and an ATtiny85 that reads the front panel buttons. The whole is kept in sync by a timer on the 644 set to produce the required MIDI clock. There …read more

A Cleverly Concealed Magnetic Loop Antenna

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We’re sure all radio amateurs must have encountered the problem faced by [Alexandre Grimberg PY1AHD] frequently enough that they nod their heads sagely. There you are, relaxing in the sun on the lounger next to the crystal-blue pool, and you fancy working a bit of DX. But the sheer horror of it all, a tower, rotator, and HF Yagi would ruin the aesthetic, so what can be done?

[Alexandre]’s solution is simple and elegant: conceal a circular magnetic loop antenna beneath the rim of a circular plastic poolside table. Construction is the usual copper pipe with a co-axial coupling loop …read more

TerraDome Gives Plants And Dinosaurs A New Home

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Housing exotic plants or animals offer a great opportunity to get into the world of electronic automation. When temperature, light, and humidity ranges are crucial, sensors are your best friend. And if woodworking and other types of crafts are your thing on top, why not build it all from scratch. [MagicManu] did so with his Jurassic Park themed octagonal dome built from MDF and transparent polystyrene.

With the intention to house some exotic plants of his own, [MagicManu] equipped the dome with an Arduino powered control system that regulates the temperature and light, and displays the current sensor states on …read more

Your Own Sinclair Scientific Calculator

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We’ve talked about the Sinclair scientific calculator before many times, and for some of us it was our first scientific calculator. If you can’t find yours or you never had one, now you can build your own using — what else — an Arduino thanks to [Arduino Enigma]. There’s a video, below and the project’s homepage on describes it all perfectly:

The original chip inside the Sinclair Scientific Calculator was reverse engineered by Ken Shirriff, its 320 instruction program extracted and an online emulator written. This project ports that emulator, written in Javascript, to the Arduino Nano and interfaces

…read more

The History and Physics of Triode Vacuum Tubes

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The triode vacuum tube might be nearly obsolete today, but it was a technology critical to making radio practical over 100 years ago. [Kathy] has put together a video that tells the story and explains the physics of the device.

The first radio receivers used a device called a Coherer as a detector, relying on two tiny filaments that would stick together when RF was applied, allowing current to pass through. It was a device that worked, but not reliably. It was in 1906 that Lee De Forest came up with a detector device for radios using a vacuum tube …read more

Bag Week 2018: Timbuk2’s Launch featherweight daypack is tough and tiny

See the original posting on TechCrunch

If you need something small, lightweight and indestructible, Timbuk2’s Lightweight Launch Backpack ($129) might be right up your alley. The pack, constructed from famously tough Tyvek, can fit a 13″ laptop comfortably and plenty else. At only 18L, it sounds small, but due to its drawstring top design and large main compartment, it holds more […]

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