This training includes more than 100 life skills for assuring career success

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So what the heck is a soft skill, anyway? Well, by contrast, hard skills are teachable, quantifiable abilities like the basics you learned in school — reading, writing, arithmetic, and the like. They may not always be easy, but hard skills are usually fairly simple to identify and measure.

Which means soft skills are the talents that are often a lot tougher to grade. It’s your emotional intelligence. It’s your leadership ability. It’s how well you listen and understand what co-workers are telling you. With a name like soft skills, these attributes sound…well, soft. And maybe not as critical as hard talents.

But these intangibles are often the real difference makers in any organization — or in the course of a career. The Ultimate 2020 Soft Skills Career Hacker Bundle not only can help you shore up those areas of your professional game, but it’s as comprehensive and deep a training package as you’ll find anywhere.

This collection brings together a massive 128 courses that dig into every facet of improving your shot at a successful career, regardless of the industry. It’s all here — nearly 2,900 lectures covering more than 150 hours of instruction.  

Business ethics and etiquette? Covered. Attention management and anger management? Covered. Courses to develop your office support skills, likability, problem-solving and critical thinking are all included. So are goal setting, coaching, customer relations, and communication strategies. And once you’re through with all those courses, you’ve still got dozens and dozens more, enough to keep you busy for months….literally. Read the rest

Latest hoarding sim: Manic Toilet Paper Shopping Simulator

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Too soon? By way of Donald Bell’s Maker Update comes this game where you send a shopping cart into a market in search of TP.

The simulation was designed by Jelle Vermandere. You can either play the game in a browser or Jelle shows you how he used an Arduino Uno and motion sensing to create a shopping cart handle controller for that true invisible zombie apocalypse adrenaline rush.

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The ‘PuffPacket’ could help researchers learn when, how, and why people vape

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Vaping is a controversial habit: it certainly has its downsides, but anecdotally it’s a fantastic smoking cessation aid. The thing is, until behavioral scientists know a bit more about who does it, when, how much, and other details, its use will continue to be something of a mystery. That’s where the PuffPacket comes in. Designed […]

United Nations app to help socially distance for coronavirus ‘does not work’

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The United Nations announced its app 1point5 to help people social distance this week.

Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox took a close look at the app, and found that “doesn’t perform the most basic of tasks.”

“We tested the app on multiple phones. It didn’t detect them even when well within range. Literally does not do its one job.”


When users download 1point5, the app is supposed to alert them when another Bluetooth device comes within 1.5 metres of their own phone, or a user can choose to increase the range slightly. The app is then supposed to display a message saying “Please keep your distance” if it detects other nearby devices.

But when Motherboard downloaded the app earlier this week before the UN’s official announcement, the app didn’t even successfully perform this most basic of actions. Motherboard tested the app on two separate Android devices, and held them next to other phones with Bluetooth enabled. The app did not detect any other devices in either test.

Multiple other users appear to have encountered the same issue, according to reviews left on the app’s Google Play Store page.

“Waste of time.. This application is not working,” one apparent user wrote.

“Waste app please don’t download time wa[s]te,” added another.

The app has another design flaw as well. Independent researcher and consultant Ashkan Soltani noticed the app’s description says the software is designed to alert a user to the presence of any nearby Bluetooth device, rather than just phones. All sorts of gadgets use Bluetooth, from Playstations, to computers, to speakers, to smart home and internet of things devices.

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Here’s another example of one cartoonist swiping another cartoonist’s work

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A friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous) shares my interest in finding swipes of famous illustrators and comic book artists. Neither of us begrudge these artists for swiping (that’s the comics industry term for using reference material perhaps a bit too faithfully). After all, these artists worked under brutal deadlines and sometimes they had to cut corners to meet them. Here’s a recent swipe he shared with me:

This swipe is by lesser known artist Ernie Chan. As you can see, he literally traced the scene from Jack Davis and EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt #31. He lived and worked in Oakland and I met him at a few conventions. This is a commission by a fan who wanted a sexy Black Canary.

Chan was a popular freelance artist who inked John and Sal Buscema in the early 70s before going on to solo runs with Conan the Barbarian for Marvel and Batman and Captain Marvel for DC.

I find it interesting that Chan did not even bother to alter the source image (reverse it, repose the actors, etc) but I guess no one in 1977 would believe the internet would exist which would make instant cross checking possible.

See other swipes here.

I look forward to the inevitable comment that comes with my posts about interesting swipes: “It’s just a coincidence. There are only a limited number of poses a human body can make, and this is a common one.” Read the rest

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a good sign for cross-gen gaming on Xbox One and Xbox Series X

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — the new viking-based iteration of the popular franchise — will support Microsoft’s upcoming Smart Delivery program for cross-generation games between the Xbox Series X and Xbox One, in one of the most encouraging signs of cross-generation gaming yet for the upcoming console.

Smart Delivery is what Microsoft calls its free upgrade program for the Xbox Series X that automatically upgrades owners who own the Xbox One version of the game to the Xbox Series X version for free. (It also works the other way — buy the Xbox Series X version, and you’ll get the Xbox One version.) Effectively, it means that players will only ever need to buy a Smart Delivery game once, instead of buying separate copies to be able to…

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Disney’s animated Hercules is getting a live-action reboot produced by the Russo brothers

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Disney’s live-action remakes are on a roll, and news of yet another project broke today: a version of the 1997 Hercules movie, produced (but not directed) by Joe and Anthony Russo of Marvel’s Avengers fame, via The Hollywood Reporter.

Also attached to the project is Dave Callaham, who worked on The Expendables films, wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and worked as a co-writer on Wonder Woman 1984.

The original 1997 movie is extremely loosely based on the Greek myth of Heracles, and sees the young Hercules — the son of Zeus — exiled from Mount Olympus due to the nefarious machinations of the god of the underworld, Hades. While stuck on Earth as a mortal, the demigod Hercules still retains…

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OpenAI’s new experiments in music generation create an uncanny valley Elvis

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AI-generated music is a fascinating new field, and deep-pocketed research outfit OpenAI has hit new heights in it, creating recreations of songs in the style of Elvis, 2Pac, and others. The results are convincing, but fall squarely in the unnerving “uncanny valley” of audio, sounding rather like good, but drunk, karaoke heard through a haze of drugs.

From Adobe CC to PowerPoint, this 25-item asset bundle can elevate any new design project

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Is repetition about a drive for perfection — or does it just mean you’ve run out of good ideas? While many experts study in awe the nuance, style, and mastery found in all 250 oil paintings of water lilies by French artist Claude Monet, others could wonder why a talent like that would spend 30 years painting a pond with some water plants over and over. 

Of course, repetition could just be the result of using the same tools over and over. So if you’re starting to find your digital design projects are recycling certain elements time and again, the Design From Home Creative Market Bundle may be able to help.

To your rescue comes a 25-item assortment of products, all designed to spark new life and inject new creativity into your work, no matter where you’re crafting it.

The package is a true collection, offering a touch of original offerings like nine new fonts and three full scene creator mockups for use with your Adobe Creative Cloud apps. If you’re a regular PowerPoint user, you’ll find three brand-new presentation styles for you to try. If your talents lean toward photography and social media, you’ve got five new Instagram grid templates to play with.

Meanwhile, those whose art includes literally digital brushes, the collection also features four new Procreate brushes to use with the Apple iPad’s popular Procreate app. Finally, an animated texture is also included to round out your collection of fun new artistic tricks.

Whether you’re updating your portfolio, making a new website, practicing your lettering skills, teaching your kids how to work creatively, or even learning something new, this bundle has something for everyone.  Read the rest

Google Stadia now works on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google’s Stadia now runs on the new OnePlus 8 series of smartphones, Google said today in a blog post. Google has slowly made more Android smartphones compatible with Stadia since the service’s launch late last year, and you can now use it on the Pixel 2, 3, and 4 lines of phones; many Samsung Galaxy phones, including the recently-released Galaxy S20 series; Asus’ ROG Phone and ROG Phone II; and the Razer Phone and Razer Phone II.

Google has also added a few other features to the service. If you’re playing Stadia on a Chrome web browser, you can now hear your game’s audio in 5.1 surround sound (though only if you have a Stadia Pro subscription), and the service will display an on-screen keyboard when you’re playing with a Stadia…

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More fun Trump-era parodies with “Ghost Donald in the Sky” and bonus tracks

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In a fitting follow-up to Carla’s post of “The Liar Tweets Tonight,” I bring you the spooky parodic vision of “Ghost Donald in the Sky.” The track is part of the Parody Project and was written and performed by Freedom Toast. The vocalist is an old and dear friend of mine, the immensely-talented jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist, Rick Harris.

Bonus Tracks:

Laurie Fox sent me this link to her friend Tom O’Connor’s “Talkin’ Trump Blues.” The song was recorded live at the Tuba Czar show with Mark Beltzan on tuba and a surprise guest, Laurence Juber, on guitar (he of Wings and the Paul McCartney Band).

And, last but not least, is a pretty spot-on Nitzer Ebb parody.

Stay Inside Your Home (Nitzer Ebb parody) by Not-So Ebb

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The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics

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The astonishingly prolific author/scientist Clifford Pickover is a math enthusiast with a talent for ferreting out fascinating anecdotes about math, and writing them in a way that inspires wonder.

Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, Pickover’s The Math Book about cicada-generated prime numbers, magic squares, the Golden Mean, Penrose Tiles, Xeno’s Paradox, and the butterfly effect just might turn you into a lover of math. It worked for me.

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Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds user manual hits the FCC, hinting the launch may be soon

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Dan Seifert / The Verge

Microsoft delayed its new Surface Earbuds from a 2019 release to spring 2020 in November, and although we’re still waiting to hear exactly when they’ll finally come out, the user manual for the earbuds has hit the FCC. That indicates the wireless earbuds could be coming out soon.

What’s interesting in the manual are the details about the swipe gestures for the big circular touch pads on the Surface Earbuds:

Image: FCC

And if you were curious about what the differently sized earbud tips looked like, the manual gives a closer look at those:

Image: FCC

The manual also says that the Surface Earbuds will have eight hours of music playback, the charging case can hold up to 16 hours of battery life, and…

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NSYNC makes it official on Spotify and Apple Music: ‘It’s Gonna Be May’

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Today is April 30th, which means in the modern Gregorian calendar system — and in the immortal, misquoted words of NSYNC member Justin Timberlake — it’s gonna be May tomorrow. And to celebrate the occasion, NSYNC appears to have taken the extra step of changing the name of the band’s hit song “It’s Gonna Be Me,” from their 2000 album No Strings Attached to “It’s Gonna Be May” across streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music (via Ben Newton on Twitter).

The “It’s Gonna Be May” meme is an old one on the internet, dating back to 2012, according to a history of a phenomenon that Spotify put together last year cataloging a spike in plays every April 30th. The joke stems from Timberlake’s pronunciation of the title of the song within the…

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