The Arduino Hits The Rails

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Certain hobbies come in clusters. It isn’t uncommon to see, for example, ham radio operators that are private pilots. Programmers who are musicians. Electronics people who build model trains. This last seems like a great fit since you can do lots of interesting things with simple electronics and small-scale trains. [Jimmy] at the aptly-named DIY and Digital Railroad channel has several videos on integrating railroad setups with Arduino. These range from building a DCC system for about $45 (see below) to a crossing signal.

There are actually quite a few basic Arduino videos on the channel, although most of them …read more

1,000 Watt Power Supply Tear Down And Repair

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[TheSignalPath] wanted to repair a broken Instek PSW80-40.5 because it has a lot of output for a programmable power supply — 1,080 watts, to be exact. This isn’t a cheap supply — it looks like it costs about $2,200 new. The unit wasn’t working and when he took it apart, he found a nasty surprise. There is a base PCB and three identical power supply modules, and virtually no access without disconnecting the boards. He continued the teardown, and you can see the results in the video below.

Each of the power supply modules are two separate PCBs and the …read more

Professional Results From Cheap Air Compressors

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The portable air compressors sold at big box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot are perfectly suited for the jobs they’re advertised for: namely throwing some nails into the wall or filling tires. But if you try to respray your car with that $50 Black Friday pancake air compressor, you’re going to have a bad day. The relatively small amount of air they hold is almost guaranteed to be contaminated with oil and moisture, making it unsuitable for painting or even just blowing the dust out of electronics.

But all is not lost. [Stephen Saville] has done an excellent …read more

Astronomea: a gorgeous, handmade, astronomy inspired desk lamp

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Art Donovan (previously) writes, “Delivered. A very special design commission for the Project Director of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. A ‘white glove’ delivery, in fact. The first lamp in 28 years that I simply could not trust to survive the
ravages of FedEx.”

It took a while to complete, as it grew more ambitious by the week. I went,
“O.G” for the design- “Original Galileo”, using his telescopes first three
astronomical targets as visual influence: The Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. At
the outset, the Director suggested I use the newly discovered ‘Trappist-1
System of Exoplanets’ as inspiration. But there was no visual image
available that I could use to base the overall design upon…

So Vintage Astronomy I went.

“Astronomea” has two optional domes: One in white for ambient light at his
desk at Goddard/NASA and one with a rear-pained “Jupiter” for when he’s in
an “astronomical” mood. The tapered maple base reflects the shape of the
Harvard “Great Refractor” Telescope commissioned in 1847-the very first
telescope commisioned by the U.S. government.. The task lamp has a diffuser
inspired by the barn doors on observatory domes. The arc with brass markers
reminiscent of navigational sextants. Hand painted Jupiter, Moon and Saturn
rings with custom brass dimmer knobs. All in, the lamp has the look of a
small scale astronomical device from the 19th century.

“Astronomea” The first of 5 new illuminated designs with a vintage, science-y influence. [Art Donovan]

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Amazon Music will soon be available for Android TV

See the original posting on The Verge

Looks like Amazon Music is coming to Android TV, as Android Police has spotted a listing for the TV version of the app appearing now in the Google Play Store. It’s not available just yet, but there is an option to pre-register for it.

Other music streaming services have been available on Android TV for some time. Spotify’s Android TV presence came way back in May 2016, and Tidal made the jump to Android TV back in December 2017. There are a few screenshots for the Amazon Music on the app listing that give a preview of how it will look, and the interface is quite clean and stripped down.

Image: Google

Amazon Music comes bundled with Prime accounts, and provides access to over two million songs, ad-free. The upgraded…

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Air Bubble Characters Float Along This Unique Scrolling Display

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We’ve seen a lot of unique large-format scrolling message boards on these pages, but most of them use some sort of established technology – LEDs, electromechanical flip-dots, and the like – in new and unusual ways. We’re pretty sure this air-bubble dot matrix display is a first, though.

While it may not be destined for the front of a bus or a train station arrivals and departures board, [jellmeister]’s bubble display shows some pretty creative thinking. It started with a scrap of multiwall polycarbonate roofing – Corotherm is the brand name – of the type to glaze greenhouses and other …read more

Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next’ music video had over 765,000 people watching live

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Music videos haven’t felt like a communal event since the heydays of MTV and TRL Live, but with the advent of live-streaming, the shared experience may be making a comeback. Today, Ariana Grande debuted the video for her relationship-themed single, “thank u, next,” and a lot of people got together on YouTube to watch it at the same time.

With services like Twitch, this phenomenon has become fairly standard when it comes to video games, commentary, and certain types of announcements, but Grande’s video may be the first time the live streaming format has been used for a high-profile music video. The hype was helped by Grande’s teases on social media, which hinted that the video would be a homage to Mean Girls, a movie that has become a…

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Retrotechtacular: Some Of The Last CRTs From The Factory Floor

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It seems crazy having to explain what a piece of technology was like to someone who is barely fifteen years your junior, but yet we have reached that point when it comes to CRTs. There may still be remnants of CRT televisions and monitors left out in the wild, however, the chances that a kid preparing to enter high school has encountered one is slim. While there may be no substitute for the real thing, there is this raw video from [Glenn] who shared his tour of the Sony Trinitron assembly line in the early 2000s.

Sony Electronics’ cathode ray …read more

Salad Fingers is coming back, and I already want to barf

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Those of us who grew up online each have our internet albatross. For some, it’s goatse. For others, it’s those viral pre-YouTube jumpscare videos with a screaming face that flashes across the screen for a split second. Mine, regretfully, was Salad Fingers, the animated web series created by David Firth in 2004, about a disgusting, childlike, inexplicably vibrating zombie creature with piquerism and a penchant for rusty spoons. Thus with even more regret I must relay the news that the heinous abomination of my nightmares is getting a new episode sometime in December.

Per The Daily Dot, Firth apparently confirmed back in 2017 that he would be resurrecting his green hellspawn. “Without giving too much away, I will say that Salad Fingers is…

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Building Portable Linux Devices: Never Been Easier, But Still Hard

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We live in a Golden Age of single-board computers. There was a time when a portable computer that was any good was a relatively rare and expensive device, certainly not something you could expect to replicate for yourself. A Psion, or later a Palm or perhaps a WinCE device would have been a lot more than an impulse purchase, and could not easily have been replicated using the components then available to the experimenter.

Thanks to spin-offs from technology developed for set-top boxes and mobile phones we can now buy any one of a pile of different boards that have …read more

Before Game of Thrones and Nightflyers, George R.R. Martin’s work inspired a great Outer Limits episode

See the original posting on The Verge

There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

“Sandkings,” the two-part premiere episode of Showtime’s mid-1990s The Outer Limits revival. The second iteration of the 1960s science fiction / fantasy / horror anthology was generally more adult than the original (sort of a hard PG-13), but it told the same kinds of creepy cautionary tales, often adapted from the work of some of the era’s…

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Bethesda permanently bans Fallout 76 players after homophobic in-game assault

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Fallout is a franchise defined by its lawlessness: in the wasteland, nothing can stop denizens from succumbing to their worst tendencies. Fallout 76 leans into the chaos by allowing fans to interact with one another, but recently, one group of fans took things too far.

Fallout 76 supports up to 24 players per server, and these participants can talk, trade, and group-up with one another. While the game does allow player-versus-player combat, the feature is opt-in. However, there’s nothing stopping players from following you around and bothering you even if you don’t actually want to engage with them, especially given that Fallout 76 tells you where everyone is at any given time. You can, however, turn off voice-chat for your team.

As…

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Node.js vs. Django: ?Is JavaScript Better Than Python?

See the original posting on DZone Python

Node.js (55, 432 ? on GitHub) and Django (37, 614 ? on GitHub) are two powerful tools for building web applications.

Node.js has a “JavaScript everywhere” motive to ensure JavaScript is used on the server-side and client-side of web applications and Django has a “framework for perfectionists with deadlines” motive to help developers build applications quickly.

Vergecast: the Pixel Slate vs. the iPad Pro

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Nilay, Dieter, and Paul are back from Thanksgiving and ready to spill the beans on the tech news you may or may not have been paying attention to this week. Dieter’s got a review of the Pixel Slate, Nilay guest hosted the Interface newsletter, and Paul found a new gadget on the website to talk about.

And, of course, we’ve got my favorite segment “This week in Elon Musk” with Liz Lopatto.

There’s a whole lot more in between that, so listen here.

03:02 – Google Pixel Slate review

25:05 – “This week in Elon Musk” with Liz Lopatto

29:34 – Project Fi is now Google Fi, and it will work with iPhones and most Android devices

36:54 – Republicans keep misunderstanding the law that protects internet platforms

55:04 – Paul’s weekly segment “S…

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He’s not your man

See the original posting on The Verge

Welcome to Fav’d For Later, a Friday roundup of our favorite memes, trends, and all-around good internet content. This week we’re back, baby.

Welcome back from the holiday! Sometimes it’s great to take a break from the internet. I didn’t do that, but people always tell me how satisfying it feels to look into the eyes of their loved ones.

Anyway! This has been the week of the big cow (it’s actually a steer) and Mark Ruffalo begging the internet to help him find his lost bag (he did), but the joke that truly proves we’ve all lost our damn minds is surgery on a grape. The 2017 line has, like so many online jokes, returned to be fruitful (lol) and multiply across the internet.

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Code recreates Pfizer’s 1956 effort to procedurally generate drug names

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Procedural generation isn’t just for video game landscapes and galaxies. The technique for creating vast amounts of realistic but uncannily superficial content goes back a long way. Pfizer used it to generate drug names in 1956, feeding code to an IBM mainframe and getting potential products in return.

James Ryan (@xfoml) posted excerpts from news article from the time (above), and it’s fascinating to read how it’s described for a mid-1950s lay audience to whom computers and their ways were utterly alien.

Based on the newspaper’s description, Hugo (@hugovk) reimplemented the 60-year-old generator, and now you too can generate thousands of realistic but uncannily superficial drug names.

Some picks:

NEW DRUG NAMES

scudyl
whirringom
reenef
entreeic
suffuseeta
duplexune
nickelan
raunchyata
handbillal
gammonasa
pluckerel
slawax


IMPROPER FOR A FAMILY MEDICINE CHEST

loraliva
crumpledol
moralura
burnishite
smuttyevo
sucklingify
hagfishat
cockpited
moralux
ballcockose
shittyule
cocklesex

From the full output list I like “coughedore” — like a stevedore, but for unloading mucus.

I wonder how long it took Pfizer to realize that procgen is useless. Read the rest

A list of real songs about fictional songs (e.g. “Jailhouse Rock”)

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On Making Light, Avram Grumer is compiling a list of real songs about fictional songs, like “The Time Warp,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Monster Mash,” “Crocodile Rock,” “Waltzing Matilda,” “The Tennessee Waltz,” and “The Masochism Tango” (not to be confused with songs that are about themselves, like “Let’s Do The Twist”). Can you think of more?

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