Friday Hack Chat: Training Robots By Touch

See the original posting on Hackaday

When it comes to training robots, you could grab a joystick or carefully program movements in code. The better way, though, is to move the robot yourself, and have the robot play back all those movements ad infinitum. This is training robots by touch, and it’s the subject of this week’s Hack Chat over on hackaday.io.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Kent Gilson], inventor, serial entrepreneur, and pioneer in reconfigurable computing. [Kent] is the creator of Viva, an object-oriented programming language and operating environment that harnesses the power of FPGAs into general-purpose computing He’s launched eight …read more

Google Daydream View virtual reality headset is $70 off

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The Google Daydream View headset is deeply discounted at Verizon, marked down from $99 to $29.98. This price isn’t locked to Verizon users; any visitor can access it.

Strangely, this sale price only applies to the charcoal color, not the fog or coral options. Still, it’s a great deal on this second iteration headset and controller set that rivals the best mobile VR experiences out there from the likes of the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR.

This headset is only compatible with select Android phones. Google’s own Pixel 2 phones make the list, as do the Samsung Galaxy S9 and LG V30. It’s safe to say that the smartphone you own may not be supported, so it’s best to know before buying.

At $30, this is a steal if you have a compatible phone….

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Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S4 tries to beat the iPad at productivity

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At a small press gathering in Manhattan today, just one week before the company heads over to Brooklyn for its big Galaxy Note 9 event, Samsung announced the new Galaxy Tab S4 tablet. The Tab S4 is being pitched as delivering “tablet mobility and PC power.” Unable to match the iPad’s selection of tablet-optimized apps, Samsung is going in the opposite direction: it’s positioning the Tab S4 as being able to offer legitimate productivity on the go. “Nobody’s quite cracked the nut when it comes to tablet 2-in-1 productivity,” is the line the company used to start off its presentation.

The Tab S4 features a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display (2560×1600) with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Its bezels are much slimmer than Samsung’s prior Android tablets,…

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This Avengers coding kit lets kids build their own superpowers like Shuri

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You don’t need otherworldly powers to be a superhero: some superpowers include just being really rich or insanely smart. Now, you can actually be Tony Stark or Shuri with LittleBits’ Avengers Hero Inventor Kit, which was made in collaboration with Marvel. Each kit comes with interchangeable “bits,” or electronic building blocks, that attach magnetically to a transparent sleeve that kids can wear.

Using a companion app, kids can follow along with step-by-step instructions and video tutorials to receive their “hero training” from the Avengers. Each superhero teaches a different lesson: Iron Man’s activity is centered on the LED matrix; Ant-Man and the Wasp’s lesson uses the accelerometer to teach kids about speed and movement; Black Widow…

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Master Replicas Group’s HAL-9000 Bluetooth speaker is now on Indiegogo

See the original posting on The Verge

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey. To commemorate the occasion, Master Replicas Group has opened preorders for its replica of the film’s iconic computer HAL-9000.

The company announced earlier this year that it would produce the replica, which would also double as a speaker. At the time, Master Replicas Group CEO Steve Dymszo told The Verge that the prop would use Amazon’s Echo technology to turn it into a functional virtual assistant, and the company would begin taking preorders in April, with shipping occurring this fall. That timeline seems to have slipped: Master Replicas Group says that it redesigned the entire device several months ago. With preorders starting…

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No Man’s Sky travel diary: leaving the nest

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Two years ago, when No Man’s Sky first launched, I wrote a journal that chronicled my adventures in the game’s sprawling, procedurally generated universe. Since then, the game has changed considerably, most recently with the No Man’s Sky Next expansion, which is the biggest update yet. It adds new styles of planets, proper multiplayer, and a third-person perspective, among other things. So it seemed like a great chance to dive back in and start the diary again. You can catch up on my previous adventures — and follow along with my new ones — right here.

It’s not much, but this place is starting to feel like a home.

For the past few days, I’ve been focused almost entirely on carving out a small part of the cosmos for myself. I had already…

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Hiroshi Unno’s ‘The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk’

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I can not read or understand very much of Hiroshi Unno’s The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk, but it is a visual treat!

This tome collects images and art from novels, early fantasy and romance to steampunk. Unno catalogs the incredible maturation of fantasy art work from the 19th century today.

I spent a couple hours leafing through this book, and it will live on my coffee table for quite a while.

The Art of Fantasy, Sci-fi and Steampunk by Hiroshi Unno via Amaozn

Fortnite pairs the guided missile and jet pack for a crazy new mode

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Fortnite Battle Royale’s new Fly Explosives Limited Time Mode is a BLAST!

The absolute best way to finish out challenges relating to explosives kills, and a fantastic way to laugh until your sides ache, is the new Fly Explosives LTM. The game mode features explosive weapons and insane maneuverability. You’ll be ‘sploding fools left and right.

The much debated jetpack is back. I am a huge fan, but people who can build like mad hate how it levels the playing field. People who can build and fly become near unstoppable!

Once far over-powered, the guided missile changed the entire meta the last time it was out of the vault. People would build small boxes, hide and fire missiles out a window. Hunting players down from relative safety made the game kinda boring and lame. This revision of the guided missile seems to be under-powered and seems to relegate the weapon to teamwork related kills. It is slower, turns wider, and does far less damage to buildings and people.

I was able to complete a “Get Three Explosive Weapons Kills” challenge in my first game. I was able to rack up a “Kill 10 opponents” challenge in two more. Normally I’d have worked all night to get 10 kills and maybe 1 would have been with explosives.

Game play certainly changes when you don’t have to worry about being sniped or lasered from across the map. My squad mates and I were whooping it up dying of laughter just as often as grenades.

Specialized Knife Sharpener from Old Airplane

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“Surely sharpening a knife can’t be that hard” one might think, as they destroy the edge on their pocket knife by flailing it wildly against a whetstone of indeterminate grain. In reality, knife sharpening is as nuanced a practice as virtually any other field, and getting a quality finish is much harder than it seems. It also gets increasingly complex with different blades, as [Turbo Conquering Mega Eagle] shows with is customized knife sharpening jig.

The hardest part in any blade sharpening is getting the proper bevel angle. A heavy angle is good for heavy-duty tools like axes, but for …read more

Snapchat launches new Lenses that respond to your voice

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Snap continues to experiment with its augmented reality Lenses, and today, the company launched new ones that will respond to a user’s voice. Some lenses will ask users to say words like, “hi,” “love,” or “wow,” which will cause the lenses to animate. So far, I only have one of these lenses available, and mine tells me to say “okay.” When I do, a little cat paw pops up making the okay symbol.

It seems to work fine, although I feel like I had to shout to get the app to hear me. I’m also sitting in a silent office, so you’d think it’d easily register my command. In either case, this Lens offers an interesting interaction idea, even though it’s slightly difficult to use. Most lenses on Snapchat require users to make a specific face or tap…

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Learn the basics of film production with this bundle

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The film industry is notoriously competitive, so you’re going to need every edge you can get if you’re hoping to see success in Hollywood. Thankfully, you won’t have to go at it alone. You can align yourself with four industry professionals and get a comprehensive look at directing, casting, cinematography, and more with the Film Director Essentials Bundle, on sale for $19 in the Boing Boing Store.

Following along a veteran cinematographer, actor-turned-casting-director, and other industry professionals, you’ll come to grips with several elements of film production as you make your way through four comprehensive courses. You’ll follow along a real production situation, learn how to host auditions, and familiarize yourself with industry lingo, tools, and techniques as you progress through the training.

Make yourself stand out from the rest of the competition with insight from bona fide Hollywood experts. You can pick up the Film Director Essentials Bundle in the Boing Boing Store for $19 today.

A rookie ICE agent makes an embarrassing mistake

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FOR THE KIDS IN YOUR LIFE, AND THEIR SUMMER READING:  Get Ruben Bolling’s hit book series for kids, The EMU Club Adventures.

“The EMU Club inhabits exactly the world I always hoped to live in when I was 12, when the answer to questions like ‘Where did I put my toy’ led inevitably to alien conspiracies and secret underground tunnels. A book for the curious and adventurous!” -Cory Doctorow, author of “For the Win” and “Little Brother”

“The type of non-stop action and improbably hilarious fun that only a kid could dream up. … The EMU Club’s adventures perfectly capture the intersection of imagination and wonder – the crossroad that’s so often found in cardboard boxes, pillow forts and backyards everywhere.” -GeekDad

Get Book the First, “Alien Invasion in My Backyard,” here.  

Get Book the Second, “Ghostly Thief of Time,” here.

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RESIST!! The temptation to not join Tom the Dancing Bug’s INNER HIVE!

More Tom the Dancing Bug comics on Boing Boing!
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Vimium, a Browser for Hackers

See the original posting on DZone Python

How I Learned About Vimium

So, I am a regular Reddit user and it’s one of my favorite online communities. While browsing through subreddit posts, there is a feature in the Reddit web app where you have keyboard shortcuts for browsing: N for next post, P for previous post, and so on. I found it very convenient and easy to use, especially because you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard. So, I started searching for any plugins for browsers where you could navigate and do stuff using shortcuts. There are a lot of fancy terminal-based browsers, but we all know that they offer far less utility value when we actually want to accomplish something. I even posted about it under the ‘productivity’ subreddit. That’s when I learned about Vimium.

Vimium

Vimium strives to provide vim like capabilities to a browser. If used properly (though it has steep learning curve) Vim is one of the most efficient text editors with a myriad of capabilities. It is well known for how easy, efficient, and configurable it is when used properly. For people working on remote servers (you don’t have graphical server access in order to use fancy IDEs), when the files being dealt are huge (gigabytes of text data – try opening that in your IDE…), when system resources are low (say you are inside a VM with limited memory, or are inside a Docker container and don’t want to bloat it with heavy memory consumptive applications) Vim comes to the rescue. Emacs stands as a comparable editor with useful features too!

Backpacks for vintage car lovers

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These backpacks, handmade by Los Angeles’ thingsbuilt, are just the thing if you love the style of vintage cars but don’t want to be in the shop all the time. Owner Steve Roche used real vehicle emblems and upholstery on each and every one (in the past, he’s had ones that incorporated the car’s ashtray on the front pocket). Prices range from $60 to $85.

Thanks, Jenny!

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