This is one reason why laser printers are better than inkjets – supercheap cartridges

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Unless you really love crappy color printouts, get rid of your inkjet printer and buy a cheap wireless laser printer, like this one: the Brother HL-L2340DW Compact Laser Printer. I’ve had a similar one for years and the best thing about it is the cheap 3rd party toner cartridges. I buy them using Amazon Prime. Here’s a 2-pack for $11. I’ve never had an incompatibility, leakage, or smearing problem with this brand.

Mike Ossmann and Dominic Spill: IR, Pirates!

See the original posting on Hackaday

Mike Ossmann and Dominic Spill have been at the forefront of the recent wave of software-defined radio (SDR) hacking. Mike is the hardware guy, and his radio designs helped bring Bluetooth and ISM-band to the masses. Dominic is the software guy who makes sure that all this gear is actually usable. The HackRF SDR is still one of the best cheap choices if you need an SDR that can transmit and receive.

So what are these two doing on stage giving a talk about IR communication? Can you really turn traffic lights green by blinking lights? And can you spoof …read more

Instagram testing GIF search for Stories

See the original posting on The Verge

Instagram is testing a number of new features including the ability to search for GIFs to upload in your stories, according to screenshots obtained by The Next Web. TNW also detailed a number of other new features Instagram appears to be testing: a close friends list to share with only a small group of people, an automatic archiving option for all your stories, hashtag and emoji search options, and the ability to follow hashtags to get top posts and stories on a particular trend. Granted, all of these are just tests, so we may not see them become public features anytime soon — if ever.

Yet another new feature TMN detailed with a screenshot is a bit more curious than the others. The screenshot shows a dual-arrow icon symbolizing what…

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Jim Beam is selling a smart decanter that pours whiskey on command

See the original posting on The Verge

Jim Beam makes bourbon, but it seems that the distillery is looking to make the jump into the tech industry with the release of its new product Jim, a “smart” decanter. But instead of telling you the weather or setting alarms, Jim pours whiskey.

In fact, that’s pretty much all Jim does. The smart decanter does seem to have some kind of built-in voice control if the video is to be believed, but instead of offering contextual responses, you’re pretty much just going to get recordings of the voice of Fred Noe, a master distiller at Jim Beam.

While Jim does look a whole like like an April Fools’ Day gag that’s meant to poke fun at the recent boom of products like the Echo or Google Home, it seems…

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YouTube is launching its own take Stories with a new video format called ‘Reels’

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 Even YouTube is adding Stories. The popular format introduced by Snapchat, then adopted by Instagram, Skype, Facebook, Messenger and even some dating apps, is now making its way to YouTube as a new feature the company is calling “Reels.” To be clear, Reels is YouTube’s spin on Stories, not an exact copy. And Reels won’t live at the top of the app, as Stories do on… Read More

AWS adds dedicated analytics service for IoT data

See the original posting on TechCrunch

 It wouldn’t be a conference without some discussion of Internet of Things, one of the hot up and coming technologies. The thing about IoT is that it generates a ton of data and the question becomes how do you make sense of it all. To help, AWS launched a dedicated IoT analytics service called AWS IoT Analytics today at its re:Invent customer conference in Las Vegas. According to Tara… Read More

Gift Guide for Tabletop Gamers 2017

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It was another exciting year for tabletop games and the nerds who love them. This was a year(plus) for re-releases of classic titles (Necromunda, Blood Bowl, Escape from Colditz, Axis & Allies) and one that saw a growing trend in pirate, tropical, jungle games and game settings. Crowdfunding, 3D printing, and CNC small-scale manufacturing all continued to have a significant and growing impact on the gaming world, as did the expanding number of YouTube game- and dungeon crafting-related shows. Game component and miniature quality continue to rise and astound, and game design and play mechanics seem slicker and better than ever. With all of that in mind, here is my 2017 guide to tabletop wargames, RPGs, card games, board games, and more. This is not necessarily a tops list or an exhaustive one. These are mainly games that I played or acquired this year and that I personally recommend. If you have others, add them in Comments. (Where available, Amazon Affiliate links are used to help support Boing Boing.)

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Board Games

Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate

D&D’s Forgotten Realms setting, Baldur’s Gate (immortalized in the late 90s video game of the same name), gets a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter mash-up with the hugely successful horror game, Betrayal at House on the Hill, in Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate. In this cooperative tile-building game, you and your party try to remain alive while making your way through the dark passageways of this iconic D&D city. Collect too many bad Omens along the way and a Haunt happens, turning one party member against the others. Highly thematic and effectively creepy. Probably my favorite board game of the year. Comes with 6 really nice pre-painted minis.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2

The hugely popular Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy series gets a worthy sequel in Pandemic Legacy Season 2. 2-4 players cooperate to try to beat the reaper and save humanity from a virulent plague while the game itself tries to eat you. Good times! As with other Legacy games, outcomes from one session carry over to the next and the game is physically altered.

Escape from Colditz

The British classic from the early 70s (which, in its heyday, outsold Monopoly in the UK) is back with a really swanky, well-designed edition from Osprey Games. Co-designed by a British POW who actually escaped from the supposedly escape-proof Colditz Castle, the game has 1-5 players taking on the roles of POWs while one player plays the castle’s German jailers. Colditz is medium-light in complexity and takes about 2 hours to complete.

Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition

The sweeping Milton Bradley/Avalon Hill wargame classic is back with a special edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Avalon Hill brand. This version (basically a slight tweak and fluff of the short-lived 2008 special edition) offers two scenarios, one for December 1941 and the 1942 scenario from the original A&A. Fight all of WWII on a huge 24″ by 46″ game board crawling with some 600 plastic miniatures. This edition adds Italian and Chinese forces (also found in the 2008 edition) and some of the rules have been streamlined.

The Lost Expedition

A fun and surprisingly knuckle-biting Euro-style game of jungle survival. Be prepared to die, a lot, as you and your party struggle against the Amazon in search of the lost city of El Dorado. The game is for 1-5 players and takes 30-60 minutes to play. There are solo, cooperative, and head-to-head modes. The whole thing comes to damp, itchy, and poisonous life via the very Tintin-esque illustrations of comic artist Garen Ewing.

Terraforming Mars

In this award-winning and hugely popular Euro game from Sweden, 1-5 players buy card-based resources in an attempt to create the necessary conditions for altering Mar’s atmosphere and biosphere. The goal is to raise the temperature of the planet, generate an atmosphere, create oceans, and build cities. This is another game known for having a very playable and satisfying solo mode.

Roleplaying Games

Tomb of Annihilation

Welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games. Jungle and pirate games and settings were all the rage this year. Fifth edition D&D got in on the fun with the release of this big, beautiful tome. Tomb of Annihilation allows you to take your party of adventures (levels 1-11) to Chult, the tropical fallen kingdom of the Forgotten Realms setting. As with the Curse of Strahd sourcebook released last year, I am already starting to hear excited reports from people who have made the journey to Chult.

Dungeon Fantasy