Mac OS update adds support for fancy external video cards

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Matt Burns at TechCrunch:

“The additional horsepower isn’t needed for general use, but the added graphics cards supercharge Macs for VR rendering and gaming. Only a handful of eGPUs are compatible with macOS so choose carefully before adding one to your rig.”

The AMD Radeon RX 580 is the best card for games on the compatibility list, but most of the eGPU boxes are pretty bulky. Your best best is probably the Sonnet Box, which is the smallest and comes with an RX 570 built in (with a cheaper RX 560 option). The caveat is that it doesn’t have USB-C output, so you can’t put it between a Mac and the LG UltraFine monitors that Apple actually sells. Other eGPU boxes have this feature.

This will probably go unheralded but I think it’s a huge milestone in Mac history: serious game support! Finally!

Watch This Tiny Dome Auto-open and Close into a Propeller

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Careful planning and simulation is invaluable, but it can also be rewarding to dive directly into prototyping. This is the approach [Carl Bugeja] took with his Spherical Folding Propeller design which he has entered into the Open Hardware Design Challenge category of The 2018 Hackaday Prize. While at rest, the folding propeller looks like a small dome attached to the top of a motor. As the motor fires up, centrifugal forces cause the two main halves of the dome to unfold outward where they act as propeller blades. When the motor stops, the assembly snaps shut again.

[Carl] has done …read more

I Kill Giants director Anders Walter on making a likable fantasy with a hateful protagonist

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Originally, it seemed like any film adaptation of Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s 2009 graphic novel I Kill Giants would have to be animated. The book follows a troubled fifth-grader named Barbara who wears animal ears, engages in strange rituals, and dubs herself a giant-hunter. Her strange behavior makes her a pariah at her school, and especially draws the attention of some vicious bullies. But readers can see what the bullies can’t: that Barbara is surrounded by fairies and strange creatures, and that there’s a weird and threatening magic to her world. When she forges an awkward friendship with another young girl, Sophia, she slowly starts to drop her guard. But that proves dangerous to her equilibrium, given what she’s fighting.


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‘The Unbitten Elbow’ by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

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Reader recommended, and absolutely delightful, The Unbitten Elbow depicts the fervor and zelotry of the Soviet state as it rots from the brain to the heart.

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is another fantastic Soviet era writer of dystopic fiction. Folks in Russia were already living in the worst dystopia most Westerners could imagine. In The Unbitten Elbow, we see an old Russian proverb, that the elbow is always near but impossible to bite, tested by the strength of an entire nation.

Absurdity abounds in this 10-15 minute read.

The Unbitten Elbow by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky via Amazon

Fail of the Week: How Not To Build Your Own DGPS Base Station

See the original posting on Hackaday

GPS is the modern answer to the ancient question about one’s place in the world yet it has its limitations. It depends on the time of flight of radio signals emitted by satellites twenty thousand kilometers above you. Like any system involving large distances and high velocities, this is bound to offer some challenges to precise measurements which result in a limit to achievable accuracy. In other words: The fact that GPS locations tend to be off by a few meters is rooted in the underlying principle of operation.

Today’s level of precision was virtually unattainable just decades ago, and …read more

Finally, an Instagram client for the terminal!

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If you’re anything like me, you’re sick of all these slick apps with their “high-resolution images” and “buttons that actually do things.” The terminal has what we crave: ASCII, unadorned URLs, and the complexities of managing a Python environment.

Well, Reddit user ghostreport, who goes by billcccheng on GitHub, finally has the answer: an Instagram news feed for the terminal. It has all that chaos and randomness of the regular Instagram news feed algorithm, except now it’s difficult to tell what the images are of because they’re in ASCII. Win, win!

Instagram Terminal Feed is written in Python, and fairly easy to set up — the steps are listed in the GitHub readme. You login with your Instagram credentials, it flashes a set…

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Samsung’s Always-On Display can now show GIFs

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Samsung is giving owners of its recent smartphones even more personalization options for the Always-On Display. According to Android Police, now you can showcase GIFs on the screen when your phone is asleep. The Always-On Display appears whenever you lock your phone and it shows the time, your notifications, remaining battery percentage, and other critical info. Users can change the colors, clock style, and other aspects of the AOD to make it feel a little more customized to their own liking.

For the past couple years, Samsung has also let customers choose between preloaded images or pick their own photo to appear alongside those indicators. It’s a good place to stick a picture of your partner, a family member, your kid, or maybe just a…

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Eight new anime shows to watch this spring

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The 2018 spring anime season is almost here and with it, a new slate of shows (about 53) as well as 11 carrying over from the winter season. Many of these shows are available for viewing outside Japan within a day thanks to streaming services like Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Amazon. With so many new shows to sort through, we tried to highlight some that might be interesting for anime fans and non-fans alike.

If you like superhero action and high school drama/comedy

My Hero Academia

In a world where 80 percent of people are born with superpowers called quirks, Midoriya wasn’t. Despite that, he dreams of enrolling at UA High School where new heroes begin their training. A chance encounter with his idol and the world’s greatest hero, All…

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How to fold World Record-setting paper airplanes

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John “The Paper Airplane Guy” Collins shows us how to fold “Suzanne,” the aircraft that set a 2012 world record for flying 69.14 meters.

“I bring paper airplanes into classrooms and start talking about complicated ideas involved with fluid dynamics and using paper airplanes to explain it,” Collins told Wired. “If you can have a group of middle schoolers and high schoolers that don’t look at their phones for 45 minutes while you’re doing a demonstration, you’ve hit success,” he says.

The new iPad is now available to purchase in-store at Apple and Best Buy

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Apple’s new, cheaper iPad is now in stock at Apple retail locations and Best Buy stores, as spotted by 9to5Mac. Announced earlier this week at an education initiative in Chicago, the sixth-generation iPad has Pencil support, with the base model starting at $329.

This is the first non-pro iPad with Pencil support, and it also comes with Touch ID, an HD FaceTime camera, 10 hours of battery life, an 8-megapixel rear camera, LTE option, and Apple’s A10 Fusion chip. As far as colors, it’s available in silver, space gray, and a new gold color.

Make sure to check both the Apple and Best Buy websites first to make sure there’s iPad stock in stores by you.

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This is the first 3D visualization of a melting snowflake

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Developed by Jussi Leinonen of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, this is a visualization of the first ever 3D model of a snowflake melting in the atmosphere. Eventually, a deep understanding of how snow actually melts could “help scientists recognize the signature in radar signals of heavier, wetter snow — the kind that breaks power lines and tree limbs — and could be a step toward improving predictions of this hazard.” From JPL:

Leinonen’s model reproduces key features of melting snowflakes that have been observed in nature. First, meltwater gathers in any concave regions of the snowflake’s surface. These liquid-water regions then merge to form a shell of liquid around an ice core, and finally develop into a water drop. The modeled snowflake shown in the video is less than half an inch (one centimeter) long and composed of many individual ice crystals whose arms became entangled when they collided in midair.

NASA Visualizes the Dance of a Melting Snowflake(JPL)

Learn What Did and Didn’t Work In this Prototyping Post-Mortem

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Tommy] is a one-man-shop making electronic musical things, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the outstanding prototyping post-mortem he wrote up about his attempt to turn his Four-Step Octaved Sequencer into a viable product. [Tommy] had originally made a hand-soldered one-off whose performance belied its simple innards, and decided to try to turn it into a product. Short version: he says that someday there will be some kind of sequencer product like it available from him, “[B]ut it won’t be this one. This one will go on my shelf as a reminder of how …read more

Let The Vergecast explain the new iPads, Microsoft’s reorg, and GDPR

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We’ve got a bunch of tech luminaries on The Vergecast this week to help us understand the week in tech news.

Nilay, Dieter, and Paul welcome Lauren Goode back to the show for her last week at The Verge to discuss the new iPads that Apple released this past Tuesday. Lauren and Dieter went to Chicago for the event, so they share their experience and insight on the new products and their relationship with the education field.

After that, the crew bring in senior reporter Russell Brandom to help us understand how Europe’s new privacy rule is reshaping the internet.

And finally, senior editor Tom Warren returns to the show to share his expertise with Microsoft and break down Microsoft’s announcement of the reorganization of their company….

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The Last Jedi Blu-ray is a chance to reevaluate the film’s divisive casino subplot

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Because George Lucas modeled the original 1977 Star Wars on classic movie serials like 1936’s Flash Gordon, the films that followed in the series have followed the pattern, and relied on similarly chapter-based quest plots. Big missions, like the attempt to blow up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi, get broken down into smaller sub-missions, each of which keeps teetering on the brink of failure, necessitating yet another risky scheme. It’s a hooky way to tell a story — one cliffhanger at a time.

One of the main narrative threads in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi follows that same blueprint… at first. Then Johnson throws in a twist, which severely divided fans when the movie first came out in December 2017. When the…

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MacOS officially gains support for external GPUs

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Last June, Apple announced that it would add support for external GPUs to macOS. And now, just under a year later, official support has arrived. With the latest update to macOS High Sierra, you’ll be able to connect a number of different graphics cards to the Mac through a Thunderbolt 3 port and use that additional power to speed up demanding processes, including games and video editing. Apple has specifically highlighted its use for VR.

This probably shouldn’t surprise anyone since it’s Apple we’re talking about here, but there are a number of limitations around what you can do with external GPUs. For one, only select models are officially supported. And, surprise, Apple is only supporting some of AMD’s Radeon cards, which it already…

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