Sony’s WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-canceling headphones are $100 off

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Sony WH-1000XM3

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 over-ear wireless headphones normally cost $350, but they’re down to $248, which is the cheapest that we’ve seen them at Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy. Other sites have sold refurbished models for around $200, but this is a great deal for a new set. These are now Sony’s previous-generation flagship noise-canceling headphones, making way just last week for the WH-1000XM4 to take their place as the model for all other brands to beat.

While that new model adds some great features we wish were in these (namely, support for multiple Bluetooth connections and automatically pausing music when you remove them), the last-gen model still measures up well in terms of battery life and sound quality, especially when you consider…

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Amaze: A book about how to think like a magician

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Amaze, an illuminating and informative guide to designing magical experiences, has finally been published in English! Written by my pal and Boing Boing contributor Ferdinando Buscema and inventive designer/writer Mariano Tomatis, Amaze (“L’arte Di Stupire” in Italian) is not a book of tricks but rather a primer on “thinking like a magician.” Here is what I said about Amaze when I first read the translation:

Buscema and Tomatis are modern day mystics who move seamlessly between the realms of science, art, and magic, seeking wonder at every turn. They delight in inspiring us all to cultivate curiosity and embrace astonishment in our daily lives. This brilliant book is an empowering grimoire for hacking reality and giving the gift of magical experiences to others.

Congratulations Ferdinando and Mariano!
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All The Difference: A Kodak short documentary about America from 1970

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“All the Difference” is a 20-minute educational film from Kodak featuring the unique comedy stylings of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, an influential improv duo of the era. Shot in 16mm, it’s a tragicomic documentary about America’s natural beauty and its environmental deterioration. Oh, how things have changed, right?

From “Enviro-Films,” a 1973 survey of environmental education movies:

From many distinguished American poets comes the connecting narrative for this, gorgeously photographed treatise on America the Beautiful and America the Increasingly Ugly. The ugliness is off-set by the tragicomic patter of Mike Nicholsand Elaine May, but juxtaposed against Emerson and Whitman, the viewer initially feels very much like stifling a laugh dufing a worship service. The point-in-time of the narrative switches from what our country is in our literature to what our country is someplaces in the present and will be in the future. Whether or not acceptance of increasing air and water pollution becomes so thoroughly a part of our way of life in the future depends on which road America takes now — the common path or the one less traveled by; that will make all the difference.”‘. This film requires at least high school or older audiences to appreciate the long sections of poetry and the sharp wit of Nichols and May.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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Fantastical adds a $7.99 per month family plan for its subscription service

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Image: Flexibits

Apple-focused calendar app Fantastical has announced a new family plan for its Fantastical Premium subscription service, which lets up to five family members share a paid subscription at a cheaper cost.

The new Fantastical Premium for Families costs $7.99 per month, or $64.99 per year (which is a more considerable annual discount than typically gets offered on services like this), and allows up to five users to get full access to Fantastical’s apps on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

Fantastical switched from paid apps to a monthly subscription model earlier this year, which costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year (marking a substantial price increase over…

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Google’s Lookout app update adds languages and a more accessible design

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Lookout app shown on a smartphone in currency mode, displaying the front of an American ten dollar bill

Google

Google’s Lookout app on Android, which helps people who are blind or visually impaired identify their surroundings, is getting some new features to make it easier to read text on labels and signs, identify packaged foods by more than just their bar codes, and better identify currency notes. The app will also now run on any Android device with at least 2G of RAM running Android 6.0 or later.

As part of the update, Google is introducing a more accessible design for the app that makes it more compatible with its Android screen reader, TalkBack, based on feedback from the blind and low-vision community, according to Scott Adams, a product manager on Google’s accessibility engineering team. Lookout now provides more space for the camera view,…

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Horizon Zero Dawn for PC is a great idea that needs some work

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Horizon Zero Dawn came out on PC a few days ago, which would have seemed like an unlikely thing to say this time last year. This is one of the most acclaimed games available on the PlayStation 4, and Sony is not known for releasing its exclusive titles elsewhere — they’re one of the biggest reasons to buy a PS4 in the first place.

In Horizon Zero Dawn’s case, though, the PC release makes obvious sense. The PS4 is on its way out, with Ghost of Tsushima last month marking the final major first-party release from Sony before the PS5’s arrival later this year. And one of the biggest games announced for the PS5 is next year’s Zero Dawn sequel, Horizon Forbidden West.

Rereleasing Zero Dawn and its Frozen Wilds expansion on PC, then, is smart…

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Google tests new profile cards that let you add yourself to search results

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Image: Google

Google is testing a new user-created public profile system called “people cards,” which will let users create their own profile (including their job, links to their social media platforms, a brief bio, and more) that will appear directly in Google search results. It’s similar to how celebrities and businesses already appear. The new cards are only being tested in India in English to start.

To set up a new people card, simply search the phrase “add me to search” while logged in to your Google account. From there, Google will bring you to a new page that lets you create the card. The only mandatory fields are name, occupation, location, and an “about” bio, although you can also add information on your education, hometown, links to your…

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Google’s Lookout app for vision-impaired now scans food labels and long documents

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Google has updated its Lookout app, an AI toolkit for people with impaired vision, with two helpful new capabilities: scanning long documents and reading out food labels. Paper forms and similarly-shaped products at the store present a challenge for blind folks and this ought to make things easier. Food labels, if you think about it, […]

The Backshield doesn’t just comfort your back. It retrains and strengthens it too.

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Most of us aren’t constantly beset by poor posture. But all it takes is some subtle misalignment while you’re doing serious hours behind the wheel driving or working away at a desk to do a real number on your back. In fact, most of us are so unaware of the mechanics of good posture that our bodies even find them a little alien when they’re forced upon you. 

Thankfully, products like the Backshield Ergonomic Back Support are around to remind your body what good posture actually feels like. 

Crafted from a unique three-layer design, the Backshield can be strapped to a vehicle seat or an office chair and actually start training your back to expect good posture. The Backshield gently lifts the backbone through a patented combination of stiffness, materials, and design, alleviating spinal compression in a manner other lumbar support devices don’t really handle.

As it supports the natural curvature of your spine, it keeps your spine, hips, and legs in optimal alignment, which promotes the proper blood flow that reduces inflammation that leads to back pain. 

The Backshield is made from three layers, with a firm, scientifically engineered ergonomic frame made from extra thick ABS plastic for equal parts flexibility and rigidity, an ultra-soft, plush foam layer providing an extra measure of comfort and a textured exterior layer of PopFoam for an attractive, ultra-durable, non-slip virtually indestructible surface that cleans easily and combines to offer back support that isn’t too soft and isn’t too hard.

While many users report using the Backshield feels slightly awkward or uncomfortable at first, once your back adjusts to regular use after a couple of days, those same users say they feel notable improvement and a happier, healthier back within two to three weeks. Read the rest

Wild boar steals laptop, gets chased by a naked German man

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Personal Life Coach Adele Landauer was enjoying a relaxing afternoon by a lake near Berlin, when a group of wild boars approached the beach. I’ll let her tell the rest of it, according to her Instagram post:

A female wild boar with two babies came out of the forest in order to search for food.

In Berlin we are free people – we love to bathe in the sun and lake like we are born.

So, there were many people laying on their towels completely naked.

Many of us were scared but the wild boars seemed to be peaceful.

After they ate a pizza from a backpack of a man who was taking a swim in the lake they were looking for a dessert.

They found this yellow bag and decided to take it away.

But the man who owned it realized it was the bag with his laptop.
So, he was very focused and run behind the boars in order to get it back.

Everyone of us adored him how focused he stayed and when he came back with his yellow bag in the hand we all clapped and congratulated him for his success.

This happens when you’re focused on your goals.

Don’t worry; Landauer told The Guardian that the running naked German man gave her permission to post the photos of his butt, and that everyone had a good laugh when the crisis was over.

Still, I can’t help but wonder what the 30-50 feral hogs guy would think about this. Read the rest

Report: wireless phone charging is an ecological disaster waiting to happen

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If you’ve bought a premium smartphone handset over the past few years,  it’s a safe bet that it came equipped with wireless charging technology baked into it. Wireless charging is wicked cool! In the Long, Long Ago, we had to carry one of the many USB cables most of us had kicking around our home if we wanted to charge our phone. Said cable needed to be plugged into a USB port and damn, they were really hard to find.  Such a nightmare. Today, praise the gods, we have the privilege of having to rely on a wireless charging pad plugged into a wall at home. Or the office—they’re not terribly portable and you pretty much can only use them on a flat surface like a desk or the top of a casket. And, unlike the horror of using your phone while it’s connected to a USB cable, your phone will stop charging as soon as you remove it from it’s charging pad. But hey, wireless!

I kid, I kid. Wireless charging’s actually pretty great becau—oh shit.

From OneZero:

On paper, wireless charging sounds appealing. Just drop a phone down on a charger and it will start charging. There’s no wear and tear on charging ports, and chargers can even be built into furniture. Not all of the energy that comes out of a wall outlet, however, ends up in a phone’s battery. Some of it gets lost in the process as heat.

While this is true of all forms of charging to a certain extent, wireless chargers lose a lot of energy compared to cables.

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Robot-fronted band Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra’s latest: “Sea Anemones (aka Shark Wigs)”

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Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra is what happens when a band is fronted by a robot, named SPO-20, and is backed by a mad scientist (ie. a human). San Diego-based Professor B. Miller is that mad scientist and he is giving Happy Mutants the opportunity to view the music video for band’s latest single first.

“Sea Anemones (aka Shark Wigs)” is the title and this is what he shared with me about it:

It’s awfully weird… on the surface it’s about sharks wearing another creature as a wig that underneath is really a criticism of our culture’s obsession with image and beauty and how it’s marketed. Definitely not for everyone.

(Professor, this is Boing Boing. You must know that we were born for the “awfully weird.”)

Something cool to note: Because he couldn’t film a traditional music video due of the pandemic, the good Professor designed what are essentially a series of screen-printed concert posters. He took the separated color layers and animated them independently which produced that trippy effect you saw in the video.

Also, to coincide with Shark Week, the band is releasing its nautical-themed album, “Lost at Sea,” this Friday, August 14th (pre-order now). Look at how the 12″ EP is laser-etched! John K. Peck (McSweeney’s) provides the liner notes (Dr. Demento has in the past).

View this post on Instagram

Laser-etched vinyl! Looks even cooler in person. Pre-order “Lost at Sea” now… vinyl is limited to just 42 copies and then it’s gone.

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The greatest toy ever made is back! The Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle

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Holy smokes! There is a reissued Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle available and it looks awesome!

GenX had a lot of cool toys that were slightly-to-moderately dangerous. Dart guns that shot darts, lawn darts, Stretch Armstrong filled with evil goo, but even better than a slip and slide was the Evel Knievel stunt cycle.

Evel was the best! I am giddy waiting for this thing.

I used to make Evel fly down the long hallway at my parent’s house AND NOW I WILL AGAIN!

California Creations The Amazing Wind-up and go Extreme Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle with Energizer Launcher and Stunt Trail Bike – The 1970’s Sensation is Back via Amazon Read the rest

The NZXT C650 650W PSU Review: Designed To Last

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Today we are taking a look at NZXT’s latest PSU, the 650 Watt C-series C650. Aimed at advanced PC users and enthusiasts alike, its basic specs initially seem unimpressive; however digging down reveals a very solid and efficient 80 Plus Gold PSU design underneath. Coupled with 10-year warranty, and the C650 has all the makings of a PSU that’s designed to last.

Apple is still tending its walled garden

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US-COMPANY-IT-APPLE

Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Apple has released public betas for the next big Apple Watch and Mac software updates. On the Mac, Big Sur (as the OS is called) has a ton of visual differences that I think will grow on you — they make macOS look just a little more like iOS. It also does a weird new thing with links — which also makes the Mac feel just a little more like iOS, too.

The link behavior popped up on Twitter yesterday: if you’re an Apple News Plus subscriber, clicking links to publications that are part of that subscription bundle will take you to the Apple News app instead of your browser. iOS 14 will do the same thing.

If you’re paying for Apple News Plus, this may be exactly what you want to happen. Instead of opening a page with a paywall, you just get…

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