The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review: Surface Essentials

See the original posting on Anandtech

Microsoft’s Surface lineup was created to bring a spark of innovation into the PC industry at a time where much of the competition was slow to change, and slow to adopt new form factors and new technologies. Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has undoubtedly been a huge success in this respect, with the 2-in-1s providing plenty of flexibility coupled with great hardware.

Unsurprisingly then, Microsoft has taken this success and run with it, growing the Surface brand by fleshing out the product line with more models. However even as Microsoft expanded the Surface family, they have always tried to keep that same edge – always embracing a unique feature on their lineup to differentiate a Surface device from the competition. Surface Pro had the kickstand, of course. Surface Book is a laptop with a detachable display. Surface Studio is an all-in-one PC that can fold into a drafting table.

But even with the Pro as a successful template for how to build out the Surface family, Microsoft has one product that doesn’t really fit in with the rest, and that is the Surface Laptop. There are no tricks or unique chassis features here. Microsoft just set out to create a thin and light laptop to fill a void where people want to buy a Surface, but want to use it in their lap; and they don’t need the performance, heft, or price of the Surface Book. It’s a simple concept for a company that’s been more focused on distinctive designs, and, as we’ll see, one that helps tap an important segment of the notebook market.

Xiaomi’s foldable phone shows up in new video teaser

See the original posting on The Verge

Xiaomi has posted a fresh teaser video for its bifold Android device. Like the Huawei Mate X, Xiaomi’s open tablet has thin, regular bezels on all sides, and when it folds the screen wraps around the outside. The Xiaomi difference is that its foldable folds twice. So far, only Samsung’s Galaxy Fold promises a foldable phone with the display on the inside, with every other manufacturer preferring to put the display on the exterior. This sidesteps the thorny problem of creating a crease at the point of the device’s fold, but it also puts the screen in much more danger of getting scratched or otherwise tarnished.

This latest teaser from Xiaomi shows a fluid transition from tablet to smartphone mode, both in physical terms and in the…

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Michelin three-star restaurant French Laundry serves mushroom soup from a bong

See the original posting on Boing Boing

In a New York Times review of celebrity chef Thomas Keller’s Manhattan eatery Per Se, critic Pete Wells described the mushroom soup “as murky and appealing as bong water.” So now for special guests, Keller’s legendary French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley serves their porcini mushroom broth out of a blue and green swirl glass bong. From a column by San Francisco Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho:

After dinner, I emailed the French Laundry’s public relations people about the bong. In an email, they responded that it’s something Thomas Keller pulls out for restaurant industry folks because he knows we’d get a kick out of it. (This is true. And Keller knows me from a previous encounter during my past life as a New Orleanian line cook.)

“It is clearly a tongue-in-cheek reference to past writing and is not on the menu,” they wrote, “but regularly prepared for guests as a fun item.” When I pressed them on where the bong was actually from — obviously not Riedel or Zalto — all they would say was that it was “hand blown by an artisan.”

The French Laundry’s bong course is a brilliant act of artistry(SF Chronicle) Read the rest

Including Markdown Content in a Vue or Nuxt SPA

See the original posting on DZone Python

Developers love to show off a solution they’ve come up with to solve a tricky problem (heck, I’m doing it right now). For that reason, you’ll probably create a developer blog at some point in your career to showcase your favorite hacks.

And, as a developer, you’ll no doubt irrationally build your blog from scratch rather than use a pre-made solution, because that’s just what we do!

This cute MicroSD card for the Nintendo switch is on sale

See the original posting on Boing Boing

My 16-year-old insists on buying cartridge versions for her Switch games, while I prefer the downloadables. To each their own, even though I’m right and she’s wrong. And what better way to store my downloads than on this bright red SanDisk Official Nintendo Switch MicroSDXC card with 128GB? Even though you won’t be able to admire the mushroom icon when the card is in your Switch, just knowing it’s there is guaranteed to be a lasting source of contentment.

If 128GB is overkill, they’ve got a 64GB Breath of the Wild themed card at a lower cost:


Read the rest

A new Star Wars audio-only novel will explore Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress’ backstory

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Lucasfilm announced a new Star Wars novel today: Dooku: Jedi Lost, written by Cavan Scott, which will explore the backstory of Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress and Count Dooku. There are plenty of Star Wars novels out there, but this one is different — it’s an audio-only novel.

Over the years, Lucasfilm and its publishing partner Del Rey have built up a track record for producing some of the best audiobook experiences out there. They have access to a huge library of sounds and music from the Star Wars franchise, and work them into the story alongside the narration, enhancing the story in ways that are unusual for audiobooks.

Image: Lucasfilm

The story will follow Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress as she works to uncover…

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Cloak & Dagger’s power creep is a problem for season 2

See the original posting on The Verge

Spoilers ahead for season 1 of Cloak & Dagger.

Most superhero shows falter in their second season. First seasons are driven by origin stories, letting writers introduce the heroes and signature villains, and exploring the pleasures and perils that come from their power. But once evil has been punished and a crisis averted, the question is “What’s next?” Should the showrunners bring back the same threat and escalate it, or introduce a new one? Do the stakes need to be increased now that the heroes are no longer novices? And if so, will the good guys need to become even more powerful to face what’s next?

Every potential answer to those questions has its own pitfalls, and unfortunately, Cloak & Dagger seems to be struggling with how to…

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Sony celebrates 4.2 million PSVRs sold — or about twice as many Sega CD accessories

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Earlier this week, Sony celebrated a (somewhat arbitrary) milestone for PSVR: 4.2 million headsets sold. It sure sounds like a lot, but if you put it in comparison to other excessively publicized console accessories, like the Sega CD or the Kinect motion camera for the Xbox 360, it’s a far less impressive achievement, as noted today by Ars Technica.

There are two important numbers to look at for the PSVR (or any accessory): how many units it’s sold, and what percentage of total console owners have bought it, otherwise known as the attach rate. In the PSVR’s case, Sony has already told us that sales have reached 4.2 million, compared to the 94.2 million PS4 consoles sold as of February 2019. That translates to roughly 4.4 percent of PS4…

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Here are cognitive scientist Steven Pinker’s 13 tips for better writing

See the original posting on Boing Boing

In January on Twitter, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now, shared 13 tips for writing:

Reverse-engineer what you read. If it feels like good writing, what makes it good? If it’s awful, why?
Prose is a window onto the world. Let your readers see what you are seeing by using visual, concrete language.
Don’t go meta. Minimize concepts about concepts, like “approach, assumption, concept, condition, context, framework, issue, level, model, perspective, process, range, role, strategy, tendency,” and “variable.”
Let verbs be verbs. “Appear,” not “make an appearance.”
Beware of the Curse of Knowledge: when you know something, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like not to know it. Minimize acronyms & technical terms. Use “for example” liberally. Show a draft around, & prepare to learn that what’s obvious to you may not be obvious to anyone else.
Omit needless words (Will Strunk was right about this).
Avoid clichés like the plague (thanks, William Safire).
Old information at the beginning of the sentence, new information at the end.
Save the heaviest for last: a complex phrase should go at the end of the sentence.
Prose must cohere: readers must know how each sentence is related to the preceding one. If it’s not obvious, use “that is, for example, in general, on the other hand, nevertheless, as a result, because, nonetheless,” or “despite.”
Revise several times with the single goal of improving the prose.
Read it aloud.
Find the best word, which is not always the fanciest word. Consult a dictionary with usage notes, and a thesaurus. Read the rest

Hr’s how to protct your Appl MacBook kyboard

See the original posting on Boing Boing

At the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern reports that the ultra-thin butterfly keyboards on current MacBooks are still failing. The online version of her column is brilliantly funny, with options to rmv crtain lttrs or make itt so thatt certtain charactters repeatt — the characteristic failures of what Apple watcher John Gruber describes as the “worst products in Apple history.”

Stern recommends various remedies, from a beta app that kills double keystrokes to blasting your laptop with canned air. But there’s a better solution: this $13 polyurethane keyboard protector [Amazon affiliate link].

Preventing disaster is that simple. I’ve had mine for 6 months and this is what worked.

It protects my MacBook from microdust or sebaceous filaments or whatever it is that keeps murdering these butterfly keyboards, and it’s nearly invisible—the photo at the top of this post shows it installed. It also protects the machine itself from spills, and the keys themselves have none of the wear, tear and shine they usually pick up after a few months of hammering.

I got the UPPERCASE GhostCover brand protector and can vouch for these specific products: the 12″ MacBook GhostCover [Amazon] and the
13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro GhostCover [Amazon], which comes in Touchbar and F-key versions. (There are other cuts too for older models, but I haven’t tried them.)

If you’re buying out in the wild, the important thing is to get a polyurethane cover, not silicone. Silicone is cheaper and dominates search results and algorithmic recommendations, but they’re thicker and stretchier and don’t stay put. Read the rest

In the first trailer for You Vs. Wild, Bear Grylls implies you can kill him

See the original posting on The Verge

At the Netflix Labs press event earlier in March, Netflix confirmed its ongoing commitment to interactive entertainment in several ways. Journalists at the event got advance peeks at a few more children’s shows that would let viewers pick their protagonist, or unlock areas on a map during viewing. One breakout session was devoted to the process behind the creation of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker’s movie-length interactive Black Mirror episode. And during the event, Netflix revealed its plan for a new series called You Vs. Wild, an interactive spinoff of Bear Grylls’ Man Vs. Wild, starring Grylls in a variety of survival scenarios where viewers get to pick his next move.

The first trailer for the series has arrived, and it…

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