Ultrasound can make gesture controls on your smartphones actually useful

See the original posting on The Verge

At trade shows like Mobile World Congress, it’s natural that attention is lavished on the newly unveiled flagship devices soon to hit the market. But, snoop around the booths long enough, and you’ll also find the tech that’s ready to go, but just not yet available to the public. So it is — hopefully — with Elliptic Labs, creators of some of the smoothest smartphone gesture controls I’ve ever seen.

Elliptic Labs’ tech is based on ultrasound, which allows the company to monitor movement in a 360-degree dome surrounding your smartphone. It works like sonar — sending out inaudible frequencies from your phone’s speaker, and listening for their return with the microphone. The company’s algorithms time how long each wave takes to return, and…

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NASA buys two more seats to the International Space Station on Russia’s Soyuz rocket

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NASA has agreed to fly at least two more astronauts on upcoming Russian Soyuz missions to the International Space Station, the space agency announced in a press release. The news comes in the wake of delays to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an initiative where two American companies — SpaceX and Boeing — are being paid to create spacecraft that can ferry astronauts to the ISS. Those flights were originally supposed to happen this year, but are now estimated to take place no earlier than 2019.

The additional seats are being worked into an existing contract with Boeing, which helps operate the ISS. The agreement extension covers two seats on Soyuz flights this year and next year, and includes options for seats on three Soyuz flights in…

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The $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

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The Raspberry Pi Zero is a serious, not-even-kidding $5 computer you can buy right now and put into all sort of projects, but to get it connected to the internet or wireless peripherals you’ll end up spending at least $20 or $30 on cables and dongles. Really, if Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are important to your project, you’re probably better off getting a full-sized Pi… until today. Now the Pi Zero W has arrived, and it changes the whole game.

The Pi Zero W adds the same 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless chip the Pi 3 Model B has, but in that deliciously small Pi Zero form factor, and for only $5 more. I know it sounds like I’m trying to sell you one of these, but really I’m just regretting my recent purchase of a Pi Zero starter kit, USB…

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The Bachelor Fantasy League, week nine: ABC says the ‘o’ word

See the original posting on The Verge

Love’s a game and this year we’re playing. For the full rules and intellectual justification of The Verge Bachelor Fantasy League please see this explanatory post. For a little background on why this is poised to be the best-ever season of The Bachelor, see this essay by culture editor Chris Plante:

Lizzie: Break out your protective padding, cause it’s Fantasy Suite season on the Bachelor. In this universe, “fantasy suite” is code for what is scientifically known as “banging.” Normally, this is all very hush-hush, a behind-closed-doors kind of thing. But because Nick is the first Bachelor who has already had sex in the Fantasy Suite multiple times and talked about it on national TV almost constantly for three years, a lot of that pretend…

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Simple’s new kind of shared bank account targets unmarried partners, roommates & more

See the original posting on TechCrunch

shared-cards-twotone Online banking service Simple today is launching a new type of banking product aimed at a younger generation of customers who want to be able to collaborate on finances with others, but aren’t in the market for traditional joint checking accounts, like those typically used by married spouses. The company’s new Shared bank accounts let customers control their own accounts from a… Read More

Ford lets passengers stream live TV in-car with the 2018 Expedition

See the original posting on TechCrunch

expedition-interior-2 Ford’s putting traditional TV service into its vehicles, starting with the Expedition, which gets streaming cable capabilities thanks to a partnership wit Slingbox. This will pipe that hot cable into the Expedition’s headrests, letting passengers in the back get all their entertainment without interruption while on the road.
Ford’s live TV streaming is just one part of its… Read More

Hyperloop One is in early talks with the Indian government

See the original posting on TechCrunch

hyperloop one Hyperloop One could bring its high-speed, tube-based transportation system to India, and will make a call by the end of this year whether it’s feasible to operate in the country, based on conversations it’s begun having with the Indian government, per Bloomberg. The company was in the country at a “Vision for India” event, discussing how its transportation innovation… Read More

Lux Capital closes $400 million fund to back startups “inventing the future”

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active brain Lux Capital’s portfolio companies sound like they ripped their product concepts from the pages of science fiction. Among these are self-driving car startup Zoox, a company gathering oceanographic data from fleets of autonomously operating boats called Saildrone, Desktop Metal whose 3-D printers that can make objects out of alloys on the spot, and 3Scan, a startup that makes detailed… Read More

Freaky vigilantes of the 1880s Ozarks

See the original posting on Boing Boing

As a child, writer Lisa Hix visited Silver Dollar City, a surreal theme park in the Ozark Mountains that I have been fortunate enough to experience myself. Like me, Lisa was enchanted with the nutty dark ride Fire In The Hole and its story of people in creepy devil-horned hoods who torched a town. No, they weren’t KKK members but rather the Bald Knobbers, a 19th century vigilante group. Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa explores the history of the Bald Knobbers:

Though they never lit a town on fire—that part of the ride is completely invented—the real story of their rise is a terrifying parable about what happens when government fails and violence reigns. It’s a lesson that’s perhaps more relevant in the political climate of 2017 than Americans would like it to be.

When I called Dr. Matthew J. Hernando, a professor at Ozark Technical College and author of Faces Like Devils: The Bald Knobber Vigilantes in the Ozarks, he told me that “Fire in the Hole”—which he has ridden many times—“is basically a bunch of nonsense.” For the real story of the Bald Knobbers, Hernando explained, you have to look at southwest Missouri’s peculiar history. In a region where the Civil War had laid waste to the rule of law, ne’er do wells like the notorious James-Younger Gang and vigilante groups like the Bald Knobbers emerged to fill the void of authority. Admirers saw them as righteous folk heroes; adversaries regarded them as murderous thugs.

How Simple a Todo Backend App Can Be

See the original posting on DZone Python

The Todo-Backend project provides an arena to showcase backend tech stacks. It defines a simple web API in the form of a to-do list and users can create their own identical APIs using various tech stacks.

As for now, there are over 80 Todo-Backend projects implemented in a wide range of tech/framework combinations, including JVM (Java/Scala/Kotlin/Closure), C#/.Net, Ruby, Python, PHP, Golang, Haskell, and a lot more. On each language/platform, there are one or more implementations based on different framework/data persist solution combinations.

Netflix CEO Predicts Mobile Operators Will Soon Offer Unlimited Video

See the original posting on Slashdot

An anonymous reader shares an AFP report: Netflix head Reed Hastings predicted Monday that mobile carriers will soon offer data plans that give users unlimited video streaming to meet the rising popularity of watching TV and movies on mobile devices. Carriers offer unlimited data caps but they are usually very expensive. But Hastings said he believed mobile carriers will eventually create a two-tear system where video data is unlimited to meet the growing demand for watching TV series and movies on mobile devices. “What we are going to see I think is a number of companies pioneering new ways of offering services to the consumers where it is unlimited video data but it is limited to say one megabit speed,” he said. “So it is a slower speed but you get unlimited data on that and that turns out to be very efficient on network so an operator can offer unlimited viewing.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

38% off iClever Ultra Portable Tri-folding Bluetooth Keyboard With Touchpad – Deal Alert

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Work more efficiently while on the go. Compact, versatile, durable and light, this new keyboard from iClever folds on two innovative hinges that double as grips to keep your board steady, while the grips on each end keep it from sliding around. It pairs quickly with up to 3 devices, switching with the push of a button, and features a high sensitivity touchpad for mouse functionality. When folded, it takes up roughly the same space as a smartphone. Compatible with not only IOS and Android, but also supports Windows/Mac/Linux-based tablets, Blackberry, Playstation, WebOS, and Sybian. Its list price is $79.99, but you can buy it right now on Amazon for 38% off, or just $49.99. See the discounted iClever folding keyboard on Amazon.

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Ask Hackaday: What’s Your Etchant?

See the original posting on Hackaday

Although the typical cliché for a mad scientist usually involves Bunsen burners, beakers, and retorts, most of us (with some exceptions, of course) aren’t really chemists. However, there are some electronic endeavors that require a bit of knowledge about chemistry or related fields like metallurgy. No place is this more apparent than producing your own PCBs. Unless you use a mill, you are probably using a chemical bath of some sort to strip copper from your boards.

The standard go-to solution is ferric chloride. It isn’t too tricky to use, but it does work better hot and with aeration, although …read more

Google now lets apps display sale prices in the Play Store

See the original posting on The Verge

Google is now providing a formal way for developers to offer a sale on their apps, letting potential buyers know exactly how much of a discount they’re getting and how long the sale is going to run for.

It’s taken a weirdly long time for Google to add this feature for developers. Other content in the Play Store, like TV shows, have already been able to indicate sale prices. But developers have had to manually change the price of their app if they wanted to offer a discount.

That was a frustrating approach since it didn’t signal to visitors that a discount was being offered, and repeat viewers may have been left wondering why an app’s price kept changing.

Now, apps that are on sale…

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Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass subscription grants access to more than 100 games

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft is launching a new game subscription service today for Xbox owners. Dubbed Xbox Game Pass, the new service will be priced at $9.99 per month for access to more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 backwards compatible games. Titles like Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16, and SoulCalibur II will all be included, and Microsoft is promising a diverse range of games from top publishers. One publisher that’s not on the list is EA, which is presumably sitting out as it has its own EA Access subscription service on Xbox One.

The Xbox Game Pass subscription won’t be a streaming service, instead you’ll be able to download full games and add-ons onto an Xbox One console. If you decide to cancel the subscription you’ll lose access to the…

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Somebody save Huawei from itself

See the original posting on The Verge

Over the past couple of years, few companies have made as much progress on the global stage of mobile technology as Huawei. Better known for providing networking infrastructure for most of its history, Huawei is quickly becoming a household name in the West, just as it’s well known in its native China. But still, this old engineering giant has a few things to learn about the proper way to present its products.

Back at IFA in September, Huawei’s Nova series launch featured a 20-minute selfie masterclass from a random Instagram user. It was peculiar, it was patronizing, and it was perplexing. It also made me completely forget about the Nova phones that we were supposedly there to see. Here is but a quick highlight reel of it:

After that…

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Legion gets the mystery box formula right where Westworld failed

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Thanks to the rise of J.J. Abrams and the success of Lost, a significant corner of genre fiction has been in thrall to the “mystery box.” As Abrams said during that now-infamous TED Talk back in 2007, the idea of a mystery box represents “infinite possibility.” It’s an enticing premise: any reader or viewer is naturally compelled by the need to know what might be in a closed box, letting their imagination run wild with the potential.

The problem arises when creators treat the mystery box as an end unto itself, when the mystery is confused for why people are invested in the story or franchise. Abrams himself betrayed the limits of this particular kind of conceit when he said, “I started to think that maybe there are times when mystery is…

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Honda’s new R&D Center X will focus on robots, energy and AI

See the original posting on TechCrunch

honda-neuv Honda opened its new Innovation Lab Tokyo to press for the first time on Tuesday, and also marked the occasion by announcing the debut of a new tech R&D group within the facility called R&D Center X. The new unit will begin operations in April, and will focus on the kind of cutting edge stuff you might imagine it would – robotics, mobility services and systems, artificial… Read More

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