Raspberry Pi Raccoon-proof Cat Feeder

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Feeding things in the outside world is difficult, especially when there are clever creatures like raccoons out there that will break in and steal everything given half a chance. [_ah6] wanted to build a feeder for feral cats that would dispense food, but without encouraging the local raccoons. So, they built a feeder that included a webcam that could see who was waiting for dinner, and dispense food remotely without spooking the cat.

The feeder is built around a modified cereal dispenser that is connected to a Raspberry Pi. This is also connected to a webcam and an IR light …read more

Forcing Amazon Alexa Compatible Stuff to Speak to Google Assistant

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It took a long time, but it’s 2018, and we’re starting to get used to the concept of talking to a computer to make it control things around the house. It’s not quite as cool as it seemed when we saw it in films way back when, but that’s just real life. The problem is, there’s a multitude of different systems and standards and they don’t all necessarily work together. In [Blake]’s case, the problem is that Woods brand hardware only works with Amazon Alexa, which simply won’t do.

[Blake] went through the hassle of getting an Amazon Alexa compatible …read more

Netflix Drops ZX Spectrum Homebrew Title Nohzdyve

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The dark, dystopian future is ever-present in the Netflix show Black Mirror, but the latest release in the series, Bandersnatch, presents a decidedly different narrative. Bandersnatch is a branching story that follows the fictional events of a garage-programmer named Stephan who develops the titular game, Bandersnatch, for the Tuckersoft company set in 1980s England. The whole thing plays out as a choose-your-own adventure game fit straight off the Sega CD (albeit with actual full motion video) by allowing watchers to pick what happens next in the story. Not one to miss a cross-promotional opportunity, Netflix also released a playable ZX …read more

Track the colors of your 2018 Instagram photos with this new web app

See the original posting on The Verge

If sharing your top nine most popular photos wasn’t enough, now you can look back on the colors of your year with a new web app that creates a mosaic out of the colors in your Instagram photos. The app, Year of Colour, takes your snapshots of events and moments and distills them into an abstract time capsule of colored dots.

Stef Lewandowski, a venture builder based in London, built the web app in his spare time after being inspired by his wife, Emily Quinton. Quinton runs a company called Makelight that, among other things, helps people improve their Instagram presence to coax more people into pressing that “follow” button. “If you look consistent, and there’s good quality, people press that button,” Lewandowski told The Verge.


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Noa’s new Alexa skill has human narrators read news from NYT, FT, Economist & others

See the original posting on TechCrunch

News junkies who want something more in-depth than Alexa’s Flash Briefing now have a new option for listening to the day’s news — as well as features and other reporting — right from their smart speaker. A company called Noa has just launched an Alexa skill that uses human narrators to read you the news from […]

Echo Wall Clock review

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This was the year Amazon went all-in on the Alexa. September saw the announcement of a new Echo Dot, Show and Plus, a subwoofer, an audio input device, an auto dongle and an amplifier. That would have been plenty, but the company also started dipping its toes into the other side of things. 2018 also […]

Original Content podcast: ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ is a frustrating interactive experiment

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“Bandersnatch” offers an unusual television experience — but not a very satisfying one. The new “Black Mirror” special follows Stefan Butler as he attempts to turn a science fiction novel (also called “Bandersnatch”) into a Choose Your Own Adventure-style video game. As the story progresses, Stefan gets pulled deeper into the mystery of what happened […]

This awesome homemade jukebox is controlled by swipeable song cards

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In an era where everything is controlled by touchscreens and oblique voice commands, there’s something incredibly satisfying about a gadget with simple, tactile controls. That’s probably why designer Chris Patty’s homemade jukebox looks so charming: it’s controlled by physical cards, each printed with an artist and album art on the front, that you swipe to play a song.

Patty created the jukebox as a Christmas gift for his father, after his family decided to only swap handmade presents this year. He later posted a short video of the creation to Twitter, where he’s received enough positive responses that he’s working on an open source version of the software and instructions so that fans can make their own.

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Designing Tiny Motors Right Into The Robot’s Circuit Board

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Motors are not overly complex, but this one is downright simple. Carl Bujega has been working on a motor design that heavily relies on the capabilities of the printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication processes. His talk at the 2018 Hackaday Superconference covers how he built a brushless DC motor and speed controller into a PCB. You can watch the newly published video after the break.

There are two main parts of an electric motor; the stator is stationary while the rotor spins on bearings. Electromagnetic forces are used to cause that spinning action. In this case, Carl has built the …read more

The Themis Files: humanity races to kill itself before the aliens can

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Sylvain Neuvel’s series The Themis Files is a gripping tale where humanity repeatedly guesses wrong, the aliens are tied up in their own soap opera, and giant stompy robots are the least of anyone’s problems.

This is one heck of a story. Sleeping Giants, the first novel in this series, starts with the world in geopolitical balance and not much exciting going on. The US government discovers part of an ancient alien artifact made of some super metal. A secret project to locate and reassemble the thing is launched.

The alien artifact turns out to be a giant mech, like Ultraman but weird. The mech inexplicably needs two drivers who are not connected in any special fashion or for any real reason. This is a seriously shitty design flaw, like needing two people to operate the steering and brakes of a car. Regardless, the humans go to monstrous lengths to make it work. They also accidentally kill a bunch of innocent people and some of themselves, sort of.

Curiosity really gets the cat in the one. Over the course of these three books messing around with the mech causes problems interpersonally, locally, internationally and finally intergalactically.

Don’t fuck with alien tech. Waking Gods and Only Human are the second and third novels in the series. I burned through all three over the holidays.

The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel via Amazon Read the rest

A Smartwatch You Can Easily Build Yourself

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The concept of a smartwatch was thrown around for a long time before the technology truly came to fruition. Through the pursuit of miniaturisation, modern smartwatches are sleek, compact, and remarkably capable for their size. Companies such as Apple and Samsung throw serious money into research and development, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create something of your own. [Electronoobs] has done just that, with this Arduino-based smartwatch build.

The brain of the watch is that hacker staple, the venerable ATmega328, most well known for its use in the Arduino Uno and Nano platforms. An FTDI module is used for …read more

This new clip from American Gods Season 2 is worrisome

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The first season of American Gods was great. Ian McShane! Ricky Whittle! Gillian Anderson! Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy? Perfection.

And then, after the season wrapped up, shit went down. Show runners left. So did Gillian Anderson. Chaos ensued. The production finally managed to get their act together and BOOM, the trailer for Season 2 was released, promising us more dark whimsy than we deserve.

This new scene released by Amazon, however… isn’t great. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re seeing it out of context. It’s a wee bit of story in the middle of a much greater epic. But it feels a little bit off: there’s no tension here. The level of creepy that Crispin Glover usually delivers isn’t there. It’s a quick clip, but damn, does it drag. If Amazon and Starz were looking to whip up excitement in the show’s fan base, this seems like a really strange clip to release into the wild.

I’m hoping I’m wrong. I hope that, knowing all the behind-the-scenes drama, I’m reading into trouble that isn’t there. But man, I’m kinda worried about the quality of Season 2 now. Read the rest

Stranger Things season 3 arrives in July

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Netflix rang in the start of 2019 by announcing that Stranger Things would return for its third season on July 4th.

A brief teaser for the show’s third season accompanied the announcement, giving fans plenty of cryptic hints to think over while enjoying their morning coffee. A news broadcast from New Years’ Eve 1985 includes some bizarre intermissions from a government agency, filled with phrases like “when blue and yellow meet in the west” and nonsensical terms like “SilverCatFeeds.”

A poster for the season also debuted on Twitter last night, bringing us up to date with what’s going on in the lives of our favorite Hawkins residents. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) seem like they’re still going strong, holding each…

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Open Source Company Gives Us A Peek At Financial Innards

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Here at Hackaday we are willing to bet that in a universe free of all monetary constraints, many of our readers would leave their day jobs in order to pursue their hardware hobbies full time. Obviously this is only practical for a lucky minority of people (for a wide variety of reasons) but we’re willing to bet that a significant stumbling block is figuring how to do it in the first place. You quit your job, but then what? If more information about starting and sustaining small hardware business’ was available more people would take the plunge to start one.  …read more

Excuse Me, I Have To Feed The Computer

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It is a staple of science fiction to see a brain in a jar or other container, maybe used as some sort of computer device. You are probably imagining a brain-powered supercomputer with a room full of humans with electrodes in their heads, or maybe some other primate. The reality though is it might be just a small dish full of single-celled amoeba.

Researchers from China and Japan have successfully made a lowly amoeba solve the traveling salesman problem for 8 cities. We’ll be honest. We don’t totally understand the value to it over traditional methods, but it does prove …read more

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