Hackaday Links: April 29, 2018

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Amazon has released the Echo Dot Kids Edition, an always-on, Internet-connected microphone. According to Amazon’s Children’s Privacy Disclosure, the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition collects data such as, ‘name, birthdate, contact information (including phone numbers and email addresses), voice, photos, videos, location, and certain activity and device information. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is able to read audiobooks for bedtime reading and teaches your children to live in a dystopian panopticon of Orwellian proportions. It comes in green, red, and blue.

Kim Possible! The biggest news headline this week is the coming end of the Korean War. The …read more

Burning Man’s Larry Harvey passes after opening tech’s imagination

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Larry Harvey normalized the abnormal, expanding the boundaries of what creators could attempt. That’s why there’s a special bond between Silicon Valley and Black Rock City, the desert settlement where Burning Man transpires. Both ditch “what are we supposed to do?” for “what can we do?”. Both encourage risky expression that appears insane to outsiders. […]

Towards More Automated Printers

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3D printers can be used in a manufacturing context. This might be surprising for anyone who has waited hours for their low-poly Pokemon print, but for low-volume plastic parts, you can actually run a manufacturing line off a few 3D printers. The problem with 3D printers is peeling the print off when it’s finished. If only there were a conveyor belt solution for a bed that wasn’t forgotten by MakerBot.

[Swaleh] may have a solution to the problem of un-automated 3D printers. He’s designing the WorkHorse 3D, a printer that uses a conveyor belt as a bed. When the print …read more

A new featurette for Solo: A Star Wars Story shows off a reckless Han Solo

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Lucasfilm has released a featurette called “Becoming Solo,” which delves into the world of its upcoming film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and where its titular hero fits into it.

Solo director Ron Howard opens the video by saying that this film shows off a world that we really haven’t seen much of in the franchise: one in which the Empire holds complete control. He notes that everyone is struggling to survive, and that Han is a rare “free spirit.”

“You end up getting to see how this guy got to be the way he is,” Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich says, while his costar Donald Glover (who plays Lando Calrissian), adds that “we’re meeting Han right before he becomes the Han that we know.” Solo writer Lawrence Kasdan notes that he’s the most…

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3D Printing Electronics Direct to Body

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Some argue that the original Star Trek series predicted the flip phone. Later installments of the franchise used little badges. But Babylon 5 had people talking into a link that stuck mysteriously to the back of their hand. This might turn out to be true if researchers at the University of Minnesota have their way. They’ve modified a common 3D printer to print electronic circuits directly to the skin, including the back of the hand, as you can see in the video below. There’s also a preview of an academic paper available, but you’ll have to pay for access to …read more

Pop Camera is a fun toy camera app for your iPhone

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Pop Camera is an app that turns your camera into an old-school toy camera without the clunkiness of buying said camera or fussing with film. The app has been around for a few years, but I’ve just started discovering how fun it can be to shoot with. The app lets you take photos using different modes that replicate effects from cheap cameras that produce random imperfections like light leaks, vignettes, and oversaturation in photographs.

This app simulates those and lets you have access to a variety of shot sequences, including a two-shot, four-shot, 12-shot, and 16-shot camera (which take sequential photos and combine them into one image) along with around 20 films, with more available for purchase. You can also choose from square or…

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This new electric concept is a futuristic take on old-school racecars

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For as wild as concept cars tend to be, they can also be pretty similar. They all boast beefy specifications, extreme designs, and — these days — lots of the same futuristic features. They tend to fall into three camps: flashy luxury or sports cars with lots of bells and whistles, more utilitarian concepts built to embrace our seemingly inevitable autonomous future, or a mish-mosh of both. That’s what’s refreshing about this wild new one from DS, which is a division of the PSA Group in France. It’s called the DS X E-Tense, and it looks like something straight out of Speed Racer.

That’s mostly because of the odd seat layout and the almost complete absence of an interior, which makes the DS X E-Tense look like a mid-21st-century version…

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‘No dialogue’ clips on YouTube embrace the awkwardness of real life

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A typical episode of reality TV show Shark Tank is all about talk. Hopeful entrepreneurs have just a few minutes to sell their strange ideas to a panel of potential investors; how they explain their product is often more important than the product itself. So when two contestants enter a room to be greeted only with the sound of shuffling papers and the wet slap of munching mouths, the vibe takes a sharp turn into uncomfortable.

That’s the point of “no-dialogue” videos, a YouTube trend that removes all spoken words in favor of stares, swallows, and every other nonverbal form of communication you can imagine. Channels like Bill Smith have helped the format go viral, or at least land on late night shows like Conan, but the practice has…

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Paratopic is a short, grimy horror game with a style straight out of 1998

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play, we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

My first experience with an exploratory “walking game” was the 2008 Half-Life 2 mod Dear Esther. Half-Life 2 was several years old when the mod was released, approaching the twilight realm of last-generation graphics: too old to impress, too new to inspire nostalgia. At the time, that made Dear Esther look dated. But today, its distinctive angularity looks almost intentional, intensifying the story’s stark loneliness.

The creepy exploration game Paratopic reaches a little further into the past for its style, but it’s…

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Avengers: Infinity War has pulled in $250 million for the biggest US opening to date

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In its opening weekend, Marvel Studio’s latest superhero film Avengers: Infinity War has broken the record for highest box-office total in its debut weekend, raking in $250 million, according to Deadline. It surpasses the record previously set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which pulled in $247 million when it debuted in 2015.

Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a decade of superhero films, and had a lot of momentum going into the weekend: it pulled in $39 million on Thursday night, and an estimated $106 million on Friday, according to Box Office Mojo. It then pulled in a record-breaking $83 million on Saturday. That’s just in the US: internationally, it’s pulled in an astounding $380 million, for a staggering $630 million…

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How to Put the ‘Pro’ in Prototype

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It’s easy to get professional-quality finishes on your prints and prototypes if you take the right steps. In the final installment of his series about building with Bondo, product designer [Eric Strebel] shows us how it’s done no matter what the substrate.

How does he get such a smooth surface? A few key steps make all the difference. First, he always uses a sanding block of some kind, even if he’s just wrapping sandpaper around a tongue depressor. For instance, his phone holder has a round indent on each side. We love that [Eric] made a custom sanding block by …read more

Start making your own games with this 120-hour training

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Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a computer science whiz to create video games. In fact, even if you’re a complete novice, you can create your own App Store sensation if you’re willing to get your feet wet with the right tools. The School of Game Design helps you learn game development and design at your own pace by giving you access to an enormous library of expert-led training videos, and access is on sale now for $59 in the Boing Boing Store.

With the School of Game Design, you’ll have access to more than 120-hours of step-by-step training videos covering everything from the absolute design basics to performing advanced techniques with Unity3D. You’ll foster both coding and computer artistry skills and also have unlimited access to thousands of dollars in royalty-free game art and textures to bring your own 2D and 3D games to life.

Now, you can get in on the School of Game Design on sale for $59, in the Boing Boing Store.

The giant pom-pom cherries on this phone case make it easy to find in a handbag

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Phone Case of the Month is a monthly series in which we live with, and subsequently review, our time with a phone case. Phone cases are one of our only ways to express individuality with our smartphones, so what do our phone case choices say about us?

I’ve found my favorite phone case. I’m done — let’s wrap this series up because this cherry case can’t be topped. I bought it in Flushing, New York at a store where I previously bought a different case. This cherry case feels super cheap — it’s made of pleather with a metal backing stuck to it with cheap glue. There’s a removable key ring that came with a cherry accessory attached. The cherries are made of pom-poms with a pleather leaf. I think the pom-poms might be made of real rabbit fur?…

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Auction Finds Combined For A Unique Desoldering Station

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If you are in the market for a high-quality soldering iron, a rewarding pursuit can be attending dispersal auctions. It is not unusual to see boxes of irons, as anything remotely iron-like is bundled up together by the auctioneer into a lot with little consideration for what combination has been gathered. [Stynus] found himself in this position, the proud owner of a Weller DSX80 desoldering iron from an auction, but without its accompanying solder station required for it to work. Fortunately, he had another Weller solder station, not suitable for the DSX80 as it stood, but which provided a perfect …read more

Open-source Circuit Simulation

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For simple circuits, it’s easy enough to grab a breadboard and start putting it together. Breadboards make it easy to check your circuit for mistakes before soldering together a finished product. But if you have a more complicated circuit, or if you need to do response modeling or other math on your design before you start building, you’ll need circuit simulation software.

While it’s easy to get a trial version of something like OrCAD PSpice, this software doesn’t have all of the features available unless you’re willing to pony up some cash. Luckily, there’s a fully featured free and open …read more

Core Memory Upgrade for Arduino

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Linux programs, when they misbehave, produce core dumps. The reason they have that name is that magnetic core memory was the primary storage for computers back in the old days and many of us still refer to a computer’s main memory as “core.” If you ever wanted to have a computer with real core memory you can get a board that plugs into an Arduino and provides it with a 32-bit core storage. Of course, the Arduino can’t directly run programs out of the memory and as designer [Jussi Kilpeläinen] mentions, it is “hilariously impractical.” The board has been around …read more

The Interesting Fate Of Kenya’s First Computers

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If you are an enthusiast for 1950s computer hardware, you are probably out of luck when it comes to owning a machine of your own. Your best chance will be to join the staff of one of the various museums that preserve and operate these machines, at which you can indulge your passion to your heart’s content. But what if we told you that there is a 1950s computer available for pick-up at any time, to whoever is prepared to go and get it and has suitable transport? You’d be making plans straight away, wouldn’t you? The computer in question …read more

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