Google’s project to control gadgets with touchless hand gestures is moving forward

See the original posting on The Verge

Google just got one step closer to the possibility of controlling a smart device through hand gestures from afar. It won federal approval to continue its tiny radar project from 2015, “Project Soli,” at higher power levels for better accuracy.

Google has been working on this in its experimental division for years. Instead of tapping directly on a screen, the project proposed using gestures like rubbing your thumb and index finger together to control a smartwatch or smart speaker.

With this technology, you could potentially turn on a JBL smart speaker by moving a hand closer to it or turn music on or off with a flick of your fingers. The tiny radar sensors inside the speaker would sense your hand motions.

After its initial debut as a…

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August’s leaked smart doorbell actually looks like a doorbell this time

See the original posting on The Verge

August appears to be close to launching a redesigned doorbell camera as its first new hardware since being acquired by the giant lock conglomerate Assa Abloy in 2017. Dave Zatz uncovered images of the new doorbell, which looks like a big improvement from the company’s original model that didn’t look much like a doorbell at all.

The doorbell could be launched alongside a chime, according to Zatz. The chime accessory doesn’t appear to have a name yet, but it would be a smart addition for August since competitors like Arlo and Ring already offer similar options.

There’s no word yet on a release date or pricing — August hasn’t even announced the devices yet — but with CES 2019 around the corner, we might not have to wait too long before we…

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WriterDuet Pro helps screenwriters collaborate online

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Words on paper. It should be easy, but as any screenwriter can tell you, the road from the first scene to final draft can be a slog – especially if you’re collaborating. Writers need a tool that will work with them, not get in their way. And for a growing number of industry veterans, WriterDuet Pro is the screenwriting software that best facilitates the creative process.

For starters, it lets you dive right into the story in preset, industry standard formatting, with local backups and auto-sync to ease any worries about losing work. When you’re done, WriterDuet allows for exports to Final Draft, Celtx, Word, or a host of other writing platforms. But where it really shines is as a collaborative tool, with a real-time virtual cork board that lets co-authors trade and tweak ideas online, building an outline as though they were in the same room. Collaborators can see changes to the script, who changed them and when, paving the way for a finished masterpiece quicker and with a minimum of confusion.

A lifetime subscription to WriterDuet Pro is 58% off at $99.99 now. Pick it up and get your ideas on the move. Plus, save an additional 19% off with code NEWYEAR2019. Read the rest

Explore Dante’s Inferno as a fantastic interactive visualization

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The Alpaca graphic design cooperative created this terrific “illustrated and interactive Dante’s Inferno, an alternative learning tool for the Divine Comedy first Cantica, made for aiding visual memory.” From the project page:

The work is based on the anthology “Testi e scenari” – Volume 1 (Panebianco, Pisoni, Reggiani, Malpensa), published by Zanichelli in 2009, and it has been developed by Alpaca together with the Molotro design studio…

The translation to the English language is based on the one provided by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The whole text is available on Wikisource and it’s in the public domain.
We chose the Longfellow translation not only because it’s open source, but also for its closeness to the language of Dante. The syntax, the rhythm, the lexicon used by Longfellow may feel odd for native english speakers, but they render the original language with great accuracy.

Infernal Topography(Alpaca via MetaFilter)

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1973: When Calculators Were Built Like Computers

See the original posting on Hackaday

Should you ever pick up [Steve Wozniak]’s autobiography, you will learn that in the early 1970s when his friend [Steve Jobs] was working for Atari, [Woz] was designing calculators for Hewlett Packard. It seems scarcely believable today, but he describes his excitement at the prospects for the calculator business, admitting that he almost missed out on the emerging microcomputer scene that would make him famous. Calculators in the very early 1970s were genuinely exciting, and were expensive and desirable consumer items.

[Amen] has a calculator from that period, a Prinztronic Micro, and he’s subjected it to an interesting teardown. Inside …read more

Watch these horny toads take a “ride” on a python

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During a storm in Kununurra, Australia that dumped nearly three inches of rain, a farmer braved the weather to check on the dam near his home. That’s when he spotted this 11-foot python “moving across the grass at full speed” with 10 cane toads riding on his back.

But, according to amphibian expert Jodi Rowley, these poisonous toads weren’t just hitching a ride to get to dryer grounds – they were actually trying to mate with the snake.

Via The Guardian Read the rest

A cafe where the robot waiters are remote-piloted by paralyzed people

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Dawn ver.? is a Tokyo cafe in Akasaka where all the table service is performed by 120 cm tall OriHime-D robots that are piloted by people who are paralyzed and work from home; it was inspired by a fictional cafe in the 2008 anime Time of Eve.

? This video shows how an ALS patient, unable to speak, can use his eyes to type messages that can then be spoken by the OriHime-D robot.

? And here another paralyzed man using a OriHime-D serves a coffee.

Cafe opens in Tokyo staffed by robots controlled by paralyzed people [Master Blaster/Sora News 24]

(via Four Short Links)

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Let’s Chunk – Part Two

See the original posting on DZone Python

In my previous article, we talked about the chunk function and implemented it in JavaScript. Today I’ll try to show an example for using this function. This example popped into my mind when I read about the chunk function, because it reminded me of a question I once gave to my students in an exam, and I think the chunk function could have been helpful for them had they known it.

The task goes like that – write a function called printWithCommas. The function would get two integers – num and d. The function would return a string that represents num with a comma after every d digits from the right. It is possible that the last leftmost part wouldn’t contain exactly d digits, according to d and the total digits in the number.

Roku Channel adds subscriptions for Showtime, Starz, and other premium networks

See the original posting on The Verge

The Roku Channel, which offers free-to-watch, ad-supported movies, TV shows, and live news, is introducing premium subscriptions. Users will soon be able to get networks including Showtime, Starz, and Epix, and pay for everything on one bill — similar to Amazon Prime Video and its add-on channels. The Roku Channel isn’t strictly limited to Roku hardware: it’s available on an expanding list of devices and is a huge focus for the company.

There are several differences between what Roku’s doing and Prime Channels, though. First, Amazon’s solution requires Prime, whereas Roku’s subscriptions don’t have any prerequisites aside from you setting up a Roku account. The second difference — and perhaps a more important one — is that Roku isn’t…

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People use anonymous question apps to learn about the world and themselves

See the original posting on The Verge

My Instagram followers want to know whether I like veggie chips and how many push-ups I can do in a row. The answer is no and one. On this week’s Why’d You Push That Button,’s Kaitlyn Tiffany and I discuss anonymous question-and-answer apps — why do people use them, both to ask and receive questions?

First, I chat with my pal Vanessa about how they use Instagram’s question and answer feature to build community. Then, Kaitlyn chats with a minor Tumblr celebrity, Klaudia, about how she handles questions she’s asked and how she guides the youth of today through their lives. And finally, I interview Janis Grivins, the COO of, about why people ask anonymous questions and what purpose a masked identity can serve.

As always, you…

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Unicorn costume for dogs

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Available in small, medium and large, the Unicorn Costume for Dogs [Amazon] offers a comfortable, adjustable-fit design that’s secured under the dog’s chin, neck and chest with three rows of velcro straps.

Welcome to amazing world of pink unicorns! The mane and horn headdress will turn your pet into the cutest fairy horse ever. You’ll be proud of your dog when attending dress up parties, festivals or just walking along the street. And now imagine your kid getting this funny wig for his / her birthday. Every child will be happy to dress up the family pet as a unicorn. The dog with the horn will make the children’s party unforgettable. Don’t miss a chance to take adorable pics!

Not all dogs like wearing costumes.


Question: Is the small, small enough for a ferret?
Answer: It depends on the size of your ferret

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AnandTech Year in Review 2018: SSDs

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Rounding out our series of articles taking a look back at 2018, the past year has been one of the most exciting years in the SSD space since the drives started to go mainstream. Competition is up and prices are down. Existing technologies like 3D NAND and NVMe are now delivering their full potential, and new technologies like QLC NAND are off to a good start.

Use Your Game Boy As A Wireless Controller

See the original posting on Hackaday

Like many retro favourites, the Game Boy is in no way dead — development continues apace through its many fans.But what about the hardware side? This is a particularly interesting one: [Alex] wondered if a Game Boy could be readily used as a wireless controller. Set out to make it happen, the final product is a game cartridge that makes the classic handheld a wireless controller.

It’s achieved quite elegantly, with a custom cartridge used to turn the Game Boy into a controller while requiring no modification to the handheld. The cartridge contains a flash chip to store the ROM, …read more

Quick Primer to Single Page Applications (SPA) and Tracking SPA pages

See the original posting on DZone Python

SPA relies on the HTML 5 History API. Using mPulse’s SPA settings, we can track the soft-navigation. Soft-navigation is when the URL changes on the browser but it doesn’t actually re-load the entire page.

I was trying to understand how Single Page Applications work and came across the article Using the HTML5 History API by CSS-Tricks. In this excellent article, they explain the concept of the HTML5 history API. Normally, when you navigate from one URL to another, the browser reloads the whole page. However, you may want to change certain parts of the page and not reload the entire page. This could be accomplished by using AJAX requests. However, if you just use AJAX, the URL of the page remains the same. So if you need to share this specific view, there is no way to do so. That is where the History API comes in.

Add A Trackpoint To A Mechanical Keyboard

See the original posting on Hackaday

People love their tech, and feel like something’s missing when it’s not there. This is the story of one person’s desire to have the venerable trackpoint in their new keyboard.

[Klapse] loves a Lenovo old-style non-chicklet keyboard, so, despite the cost, five were ordered. They very quickly ended up with keys that didn’t work, although the trackpoints still did. After buying a sixth which ended up the same, [Klapse] decided that maybe giving up on the Lenovo keyboards was the best idea. A quick stop at a local store scored a fill-in mechanical keyboard, but in the back of [klapse]’s …read more

Picovoice Puts Smarts Offline in 512K of Memory

See the original posting on Hackaday

We live in the future. You can ask your personal assistant to turn on the lights, plan your commute, or set your thermostat. If they ever give Alexa sudo, she might be able to make a sandwich. However, you almost always see these devices sending data to some remote server in the sky to do the analysis and processing. There are some advantages to that, but it isn’t great for privacy as several recent news stories have pointed out. It also doesn’t work well when the network or those remote servers crash — another recent news story. But what’s the …read more

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