Trackball Gets Bolt-On Button Upgrade

See the original posting on Hackaday

The question of whether to use a mouse versus a trackball is something of a Holy War on the level of Vi versus Emacs. We at Hackaday want no part of such things, use whatever you want, and leave us out of it. But we will go as far as to say that Team Trackball seems to take things mighty seriously. We’ve never met a casual trackball user: if they’ve got a trackball on their desk then get ready to hear all about it.

With that in mind, the lengths [LayeredDesigns] went to just to add a couple extra buttons …read more

Westworld’s free Alexa game is like a radio drama crossed with a quiz show

See the original posting on The Verge

Westworld is known for slipping elaborate story hints into its viral marketing material, giving fans an early look at upcoming plot developments. Westworld: The Maze, a short game released today for Amazon Alexa devices, does the opposite. It’s a clever tie-in narrative that draws on players’ existing knowledge of Westworld lore — or at least their skill at navigating the Westworld wiki.

The Maze follows a voice-controlled “choose your own adventure” format that other Alexa games have used. You play a host who’s just beginning to wake up to the nature of Westworld’s true reality, thanks to some cryptic advice from a mysterious character in Westworld’s Sweetwater saloon. Your goal is to find the center of a metaphorical maze, but to…

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Official near-earth object plan will look into nuking asteroids and other ‘planetary defense missions’

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Space is a big place, and mostly empty — but there’s no shortage of objects which, should they float our direction, could end life as we know it. A new national plan for detecting and handling such objects was proposed today, and it includes the possibility of nuclear strikes on the incoming asteroids and other “planetary defense missions.”

This Weekend: The East Coast RepRap Festival

See the original posting on Hackaday

Are you around Philly, Baltimore, or DC, and looking for something fun to do this weekend? Great news, because Saturday sees the start of the first inaugural East Coast RepRap Festival in Bel Air, Maryland. Eh, we’ll grab some Bohs and boil up some crabs. It’ll be a great time.

Regular readers of Hackaday should have heard of MRRF, the Midwest RepRap Festival, and the greatest 3D printer convention on the planet. There’s a reason it’s so good: it’s not a trade show. It’s simply everyone in the business and a ton of cool people heading out to the middle …read more

Here’s a great deal on a not-too-old MacBook Pro

See the original posting on The Verge

If you’re on the hunt for a powerful Mac laptop, B&H Photo is offering a sizable deal on the MacBook Pro from late 2016.

This particular model is going for a special price of $2,299 for the remainder of today, down from its original $3,499 asking price.

2016 was a long time ago in the world of technology, but much of this computer’s specs are still plenty capable, whether you’re immersed in production, gaming, or if you just want a fast Apple laptop without spending too much money.

Complete with Touch Bar functionality and Touch ID biometrics, this model is powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 video RAM. Its 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage are near the top of Apple’s current…

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Enjoy the psychedelic sounds of West Coast Fog Radio

See the original posting on Boing Boing

West Coast Fog Radio is the absolutely wonderful podcast of far-out music and other sounds hosted by Erik Bluhm, former editor of the greatly-missed “Great God Pan,” a killer 1990s ‘zine about outré California culture and news. Turn on, tune in, burn out.

Your host Erik Bluhm takes you on an audio tour of the West you might be unaware of, visiting obscure moments in musical history along the way. You might hear folk rock and proto-raga rock 45s from the mid ‘60s, rural psychedelic private LP meanderings, self-released audio poetry and sound collage, obscure history lessons and readings, New Age/ambient/ethno-honky visionaries, DIY art/synth, punk, and post punk sides, and/or experimental nothingness in tape form.

West Coast Fog Radio (Thanks, Jess Rotter!)

Dr. Dre is making a Marvin Gaye movie

See the original posting on Boing Boing

The following people have all unsuccessfully tried to bring Marvin Gaye’s story to the big screen: F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin, Jesse L. Martin, and Lenny Kravitz. None of them had the blessing of Gaye’s estate. Now though, Dr. Dre is giving it a shot. Apparently the film is in early development and Gaye’s estate has authorized use of his music. From Variety:

The most recent project to get the sign off from the Gaye estate was with Jamie Foxx who landed the rights for a limited series in 2016 but that project has seen no movement in the years since…

In a curious twist of fate, Dre is represented by King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, the same legal firm which defended Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams against the Gaye estate in the closely-monitored “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015. The verdict found in favor of the Gaye family, which contended that “Blurred Lines” infringed on Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” and ordered Thicke and Williams to pay millions in statutory damages.

A CNC Plasma Cutter Table, From The Shop Floor Up

See the original posting on Hackaday

Some projects are simple, some focus on precision and craftsmanship, and some are more of the quick-and-dirty variety. This home-built CNC plasma cutter table seems to follow a “go big or go home” philosophy, and we have to say we’re mighty impressed by the finished product.

For those who follow [Bob]’s “Making Stuff” YouTube channel, this build has been a long time coming. The playlist below has eight videos that cover the entire process from cutting the first tubes of the welded frame to the initial test cuts with the finished machine. [Bob] took great pains to make the frame …read more

Here’s a great deal on a not-too-old MacBook Pro

See the original posting on The Verge

If you’re on the hunt for a powerful Mac laptop, B&H Photo is offering a sizable deal on the MacBook Pro from late 2016.

This particular model is going for a special price of $2,299 for the remainder of today, down from its original $3,499 asking price.

2016 was a long time ago in the world of technology, but much of this computer’s specs are still plenty capable, whether you’re immersed in production, gaming, or if you just want a fast Apple laptop without spending too much money.

Complete with Touch Bar functionality and Touch ID biometrics, this model is powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 video RAM. Its 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage are near the top of Apple’s current…

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Snap Maps update makes your Bitmoji’s world look a bit snazzier

See the original posting on The Verge

One year after launching Snap Maps, Snap is giving its geolocation feature a lot more visual flair with two updates coming soon. The first big update, World Effects, adds snazzy animations and color schemes to the maps. It will send you and your friends a blast of confetti on your birthdays, and themed maps will also be rolled out for particular holidays and “cultural events.”

Maps that are opened around Valentine’s Day will turn landmasses pink and fluffy, for example, while doing the same thing around Halloween will reveal a more ghoulish color scheme — with other holiday themes on the way.

The other update announced today, Weather Effects, adds animations based on the weather where the Snapchat user is. A user stuck…

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Bose’s new $250 Sleepbuds play soothing sounds instead of music

See the original posting on The Verge

After a couple years of development and early prototype testing through an Indiegogo campaign, Bose is commercially releasing its noise-masking Sleepbuds. They go on sale tomorrow, June 21st, for $250 from Amazon, Best Buy, Bose, and other retailers. The Sleepbuds are truly wireless earbuds designed to stay in your ears overnight. As you go to sleep, they play audio tracks that drown out typical evening disturbances like street noise, loud neighbors, or a snoring partner.

They don’t play music or any other audio from external devices. Period. So forget about streaming Spotify, audiobooks, or podcasts. Nor do the Sleepbuds utilize Bose’s incredible noise-cancelation tech that’s the magic ingredient in products like the popular…

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Hexabitz, Modular Electronics Made Easier

See the original posting on Hackaday

Over the years there have been a variety of modular electronic systems allowing the creation of complex circuits by the interconnection of modules containing individual functions. Hexabitz, a selection of interlocking polygonal small PCBs, is just such a system. What can it bring to the table that others haven’t done already?

The problem facing designers of modular electronics is this: all devices have different requirements and interfaces. To allow connection between modules that preserves all these connections requires an ever-increasing complexity in the inter-module connectors, or the application of a little intelligence to the problem. The Hexabitz designers have opted …read more

Instagram announces IGTV, a standalone app for longer videos

See the original posting on The Verge

Instagram today announced IGTV, a standalone app for watching long-form vertical video that will also have a tab inside the flagship app. When you log in to IGTV, it will automatically begin playing vertical videos from people you follow, along with personalized recommendations from elsewhere in Instagram. The app will be available on Android and iOS within the next day and within the flagship Instagram app sooner, the company said.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said the app was designed to make it easier to find and watch videos on the mobile phone. He noted that most video apps require you to search or browse through a directory — as opposed to television, where you simply turn it on and start watching. IGTV, on the other hand, will…

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Robert Plant has a whole lotta love for eight-year old drummer

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Remember that kickass eight-year old drummer that we fell in love with earlier this month? Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin (his last few solo albums have been epic, too) was treated to her performance of John Boham’s bits of Good Times Bad Times. His amusement and surprise at the high level of prowess evident in her playing is impossible to hide.

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