How to wrap a gift without tape

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The best part of this marvelous guide is the “draw the rest of the owl” moment halfway in where you must perform an act of origami with a single hand that must simultaneously hold a corner down—and then are told you must next do two corners simultaneously. That said, I’m going to practice it until I get it, because I hate tape. Frankly, I don’t know why we’ve created a world so dependent in so many ways on thin, easily split sticky tape that desperately wants to coil in on itself. Read the rest

Fancy apothecary-style jars to hold your peyote, hash, LSD, and shrooms

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These porcelain druggist jars by Jonathan Adler are certainly conversation starters but do you really want to label your drug stash so obviously?

Expand your horizons with our Druggist Canisters. Dreamy third-eye mindscapes rendered in Delft-inspired blues and accented with real sparkly gold. High-fired porcelain elevates the experience. Stash your secrets in a single trippy vista, or cluster all four to create your own surreal apothecary.

Prices range from $228 to $298 per jar. Read the rest

Refactoring C: Error Handling Is Hard, Error Reporting Is Harder

See the original posting on DZone Python

As part of my usual routine, I’m trying out writing some code in C, to get a feeling for a different environment. I wanted to build something that is both small enough to complete in a reasonable amount of time and complex enough that it would allow me to really explore how to use things. I decided to use C (not C++) because it is both familiar and drastically different from what I usually do. The project in question? Implementing the network protocol I wrote about here.  Another part of the challenge that I set out for myself was to make this code as production quality as I could, which means paying all the usual taxes you would expect.

The first thing that I had to do was to figure out how to actually perform networking and work with SLL in C. Something that would take me 5 minutes in C# took me a several hours of exploring and figuring things out. Eventually, I settled down on the obvious choice for SSL with OpenSSL. It is portable, reasonably well documented, and seems fairly easy to get started with.

Buy Or Build An Autonomous Race Car To Take The Checkered Flag

See the original posting on Hackaday

Putting autonomous vehicles on public roads takes major resources beyond most of our means. But we can explore all the same general concepts at a smaller scale by modifying remote-control toy cars, limited only by our individual budgets and skill levels. For those of us whose interest and expertise lie in software, Amazon Web Services just launched AWS DeepRacer: a complete package for exploring machine learning on autonomous vehicles.

At a hardware level, the spec sheet makes it sound like they’ve bolted their AWS DeepLens machine vision computer on an 1/18th scale monster truck chassis. But the hardware is only …read more

An Englishman And 48 Gameboys Walk Into A Bar…

See the original posting on Hackaday

The original Nintendo Gameboy is perhaps one of the most revered platforms for the music known as chiptune. Primarily, artists will use the console with software like LSDJ or Nanoloop to produce their compositions. Some artists will even use two consoles when performing live. However, that’s all fairly quaint as far as [LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER] is concerned.

Back in 2016, a rig was constructed with three Gameboys. With each console having 3 oscillators and a noise channel, this gave plenty of scope. There was even a facility to detune the oscillators for a fatter sound.

Yet there remains a …read more

[DZone Research] Tools and Testing: The Popularity of npm and Selenium

See the original posting on DZone Python

This post is part of the Key Research Findings in the 2018 DZone Guide to Dynamic Web and Mobile Development


For this year’s DZone Guide to Databases, we surveyed software professionals from across the IT industry. We received 1,202 responses with a 64% completion rating. Based on these numbers, we calculated the margin of error at 3%. In this article, we discuss the prominence of npm and Selenium as development and testing tools among web and mobile developers. 

MIPI CSI-2 Implementation In FPGAs

See the original posting on Hackaday

[Adam Taylor] always has interesting FPGA posts and his latest is no exception. He wanted to use a Zynq for image processing. Makes sense. You can do the high-speed parallel parts in the FPGA fabric and do higher-level processing on the built-in CPU. The problem is, of course, you need to get the video data into the system. [Adam] elected to use the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) Camera Serial Interface Issue 2 (CSI-2).

This high-speed serial interface is optimized for data flowing in one direction. The camera, or the master, sends a number of bits (at least one) serially …read more

Adopting An Orphaned Ultralight

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Owning and flying your own small airplane offers a nearly unmatched level of freedom and autonomy. Traveling “as the crow flies” without having to deal with traffic on the ground immediately shrinks your world, and makes possible all sorts of trips and adventures. Unfortunately the crippling downsides of plane ownership (storage and maintenance costs, knowledge that you might die in a fiery crash, etc), keeps most of us planted squarely on terra firma.

But not [ITman496]. His dream of owning an ultralight has recently come true, and he’s decided to share his experience with the world. He’s got a long …read more

Java Challengers #5: Sorting with Comparable and Comparator in Java

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Programmers frequently need to sort elements from a database into a collection, array, or map. In Java, we can implement whatever sorting algorithm we want with any type. Using the Comparable interface and compareTo() method, we can sort using alphabetical order, String length, reverse alphabetical order, or numbers. The Comparator interface allows us to do the same but in a more flexible way.

Whatever we want to do, we just need to know how to implement the correct sort logic for the given interface and type.

Build A Plate Reverb From Ikea

See the original posting on Hackaday

Back before we all pirated FruityLoops, before ProTools, and before VSTs and DAWs, audio recording was much, much cooler. Reverbs were entire rooms. Sometimes they were springs. Sometimes, in the high-end music studios, reverbs were plates. These plate reverbs were simply a gigantic sheet of metal mounted in a box about ten feet long, four feet high, and a foot thick. Inside, you had some transducers, some pickups, and not much else. Send a signal into the plate reverb and it will bounce around on this flexible membrane, and  emerge through the output in a suitably reverberant form.

Of course, …read more

You can now purchase Ikea’s $10 smart plug

See the original posting on The Verge

Back in August, it was revealed that Ikea was planning to release a $10 power outlet in October as part of the Trådfri smart home product line. It looks like the launch ran into some obstacles, as the plugs are now available to purchase in the US and UK a month late and without the Apple HomeKit support they were supposed to launch with, as reported by 9to5Mac.

$10 is pretty affordable for a smart plug that can let you turn on and off household appliances like lamps and coffee makers from your phone or via a magnetic remote control that’s included in the $15 control outlet kit. If you’re not already set up in the Trådfri ecosystem, you’ll have to purchase the $30 Gateway, which lets you control the smart plug via the Trådfri app. The…

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Meet the five Startup Battlefield finalists at Disrupt Berlin 2018

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Thirteen companies took the stage today at Disrupt Berlin, delivering six-minute pitches and demos, then answering free-for-all questions from expert judges. Now that the judges have given us their feedback, we’ve chosen five finalists. These finalists will all take the stage again tomorrow afternoon to present in front of a new set of judges, who […]

Microsoft’s Surface Roadmap Reportedly Includes Ambient Computing and a Modular All-in-One PC

See the original posting on Slashdot

Journalist Brad Sams is releasing a book chronicling the company’s Surface brand: Beneath a Surface. VentureBeat writes: While you’ll want to read all 26 chapters to get the juicy details, the last one includes Microsoft’s hardware roadmap for 2019, and even a part of 2020 — spanning various Surface products and even a little Xbox. Here’s a quick rundown of Microsoft’s current Surface lineup plans:

Spring 2019: A new type of Surface-branded ambient computing device designed to address “some of the common frustrations of using a smartphone,” but that isn’t itself a smartphone.
Q4 2019: Surface Pro refresh with USB-C (finally), smaller bezels, rounded corners, and new color options.
Q4 2019: AMD-based Surface Laptop — Microsoft is exploring using the Picasso architecture.
Late 2019: Microsoft’s foldable tablet Andromeda could be larger than earlier small form factor prototypes for a pocketable device with dual screens and LTE connectivity.
Q1 2020: Surface Book update that might include new hinge designs (high-end performance parts may delay availability).
2020: A Surface monitor, and the modular design debuted for Surface Hub 2 could make its way to Surface Studio. The idea is to bring simple upgrades to all-in-one PCs, rather than having to replace the whole computer. GeekWire adds: A pair of new lower-cost devices Xbox One S devices could come next year. Sams reports that one of the models may be all digital, without a disc drive.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Java proposal would spot data races with a thread sanitizer

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Java’s HotSpot virtual machine could be fitted with a race-detection tool and other monitoring capabilities, under a proposal being floated in the OpenJDK community.  A data race in a Java program makes the program incorrectly synchronized, which leads to erroneous, nondeterministic, and unexpected behaviors.

Called the Atlantis Project, the effort would explore possibilities for integrating HotSpot and the JVM tool interface with performance monitoring and analysis capabilities. Key to the proposal is evaluating and incubating a thread sanitizer, which could provide a dynamic data-race detector for Java and JNI code.

To read this article in full, please click here

Amazon now has its own version of Java: Corretto

See the original posting on JavaWorld

With its Corretto 8 Java build, Amazon Web Services is readying its own no-cost distribution of standard Java featuring long-term support, giving Java users a potential alternative to Oracle’s own Java Development Kit (JDK).

The open source Corretto distribution of OpenJDK currently is in beta. It is multiplatform and can be deployed in the cloud, on premises, and on a user’s local computer. Licensed under the Gnu Public License Version 2, Corretto is designed as a drop-in replacement for all Java SE (Standard Edition) distributions, unless users are using features not included in OpenJDK.

To read this article in full, please click here

SDR Is At the Heart of This Soup-Can Doppler Radar Set

See the original posting on Hackaday

Want to explore the world of radar but feel daunted by the mysteries of radio frequency electronics? Be daunted no more and abstract the RF complexities away with this tutorial on software-defined radar.

Taking inspiration from our own [Gregory L. Charvat], whose many radar projects have graced our pages before, [Luigi Freitas]’ plunge into radar is spare on the budgetary side but rich in learning opportunities. The front end of the radar set is almost entirely contained in a LimeSDR Mini, a software-defined radio that can both transmit and receive. The only additional components are a pair of soup can …read more

World War II Enigma cipher machine up for auction

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A rare, fully-operational Enigma cipher machine from World War II will go up for auction at Sothebys tomorrow as part of an amazing History of Science & Technology auction (also including Richard Feynman’s Nobel Prize). The Enigma is expected to go for around $200,000.

From a 1999 article I wrote for Wired:

German soldiers issued an Enigma were to make no mistake about their orders if captured: Shoot it or throw it overboard. Based on electronic typewriters invented in the 1920s, the infamous Enigma encryption machines of World War II were controlled by wheels set with the code du jour. Each letter typed would illuminate the appropriate character to send in the coded message.

In 1940, building on work by Polish code breakers, Alan Turing and his colleagues at the famed UK cryptography center Bletchley Park devised the Bombe, a mechanical computer that deciphered Enigma-encoded messages. Even as the Nazis beefed up the Enigma architecture by adding more wheels, the codes could be cracked at the Naval Security Station in Washington, DC – giving the Allies the upper hand in the Battle of the Atlantic. The fact that the Allies had cracked the Enigma code was not officially confirmed until the 1970s.

Read the rest

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