Cloning Knobs For Vintage Testing Equipment

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Knobs! Shiny candy-colored knobs! The last stand of skeuomorphism is smart light switches! Everyone loves knobs, but when you’re dealing with vintage equipment with a missing knob, the odds of replacing it are slim to none. That’s what happened to [Wesley Treat] when he picked up a vintage Philco tube tester. The tester looked great, but a single knob for a rotary switch was missing. What to do? Clone some knobs! You only need some resin and a little bit of silicone.

The process of copying little bits of plastic or bakelite is fairly standard and well-tread territory. Go to …read more

Epsom Salts Restores Lead Acid Battery

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Despite a lot of advances in battery technology, lead acid batteries are still used in many applications due to cost and their ability to provide a lot of surge current. But they don’t last forever. However, [AvE] shows that in some cases a failed battery can be restored with — of all things — epsom salts. If it makes you feel funny to use the stuff grandpa soaks in when he has a backache, you can call it magnesium sulfate.

You can find a complete explanation in the video below (which includes [AvE’s] very colorful language), but fundamentally, the magnesium …read more

Strobe For Wood Turning Makes Inspection Easy

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The lathe is a simple enough tool to understand, but requires much practice to truly master. During the turning process, it’s often necessary to inspect the workpiece. This generally necessitates stopping the lathe, waiting for everything to spin down, and then starting again. This can be a major time sink when added up across the full scope of a project. However, the magic of strobes can help.

The basics of [Darcy]’s project will be familiar to any hacker who has worked with rotating machinery before. The rotational speed of the lathe is measured, in this case using a reed switch …read more

Always Have A Square to Spare

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Some aspects of humanity affect all of us at some point in our lives. Whether it’s getting caught in the rain without an umbrella, getting a flat tire on the way to work, or upgrading a Linux package which somehow breaks the entire installation, some experiences are truly universal. Among these is pulling a few squares of toilet paper off the roll, only to have the entire roll unravel with an overly aggressive pull. It’s possible to employ a little technology so that none of us have to go through this hassle again, though.

[William Holden] and [Eric Strebel] have …read more

MIDI Association Announces MIDI 2.0 Prototyping

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MIDI was introduced at the 1983 NAMM show as a means to connect various electronic instruments together. Since then, our favorite five-pin DIN has been stuffed into Radio Shack keyboards, MPCs, synths, eurorack modules, and DAWs. The standard basically hasn’t changed. Sure, we have MIDI SysEx messages to configure individual components of a MIDI setup, but at its core, MIDI hasn’t changed since it was designed as a current-loop serial protocol for 8-bit microcontrollers running at 1 MHz.

Now, ahead of the 2019 NAMM show, the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) in conjunction with AMEI, Japan’s MIDI Association, are announcing MIDI …read more

Somewhere Down in Africa Toto is Playing on Loop

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Amidst the vast expanse of sand dunes in the Namib desert, there now exists a sound installation dedicated to pouring out the 1982 soft rock classic “Africa” by Toto. Six speakers connected to an MP3 player all powered by a few solar powered USB battery packs, and it is literally located somewhere down in Africa (see lyrics). The whole project, known as TOTO FOREVER, was the creation of film director [Max Siedentopf] who himself grew up in Namibia.

“I set up a sound installation which pays tribute to probably the most popular song of the last four decades…and the installation

…read more

Leaked image shows off three variants for the Samsung Galaxy S10 lineup

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Samsung will hold its next Unpacked event next month, where it’s expected to show off a “fully functional” version of its foldable phone, along with the next iteration of its Galaxy lineup, Galaxy S10. A new leaked image from Evan Blass shows off three versions of the phone, the S10E, the S10, and the S10+.

There have been rumors floating around since last fall that the S10 would come in three variants: the S10 and S10+ with a curved OLED screen, hole-punch selfie camera, and in-display fingerprint scanners, with a third (presumably the S10E), serving as a cheaper edition without all the bells and whistles. The company is also rumored to have been in discussions with Verizon to bring a 5G version of the phone to the US. A leak from…

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Apple is once again selling its iPhone SE — for now

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Last September, Apple officially stopped selling its iPhone X, iPhone SE, and iPhone 6s models, following the release of the iPhone XS and XR. This weekend, MacRumors noticed that Apple has quietly begun to sell the iPhone SE once again in its clearance section.

The 2016-era phone is available in 32GB and 128GB sizes, with $100 and $150 knocked off the price, respectively. The phones are available in space gray, rose gold, gold, and silver colors.

It doesn’t appear that Apple has made the iPhone X or iPhone 6s for sale once again, but if you’ve been missing a decent phone with a headphone jack, this might be the time to pick one up.

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Fortnite’s floating sphere exploded, leaving the island covered in snow and zombies

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Fortnite’s latest mystery is finally starting to unravel. Not long ago a floating sphere made of ice appeared in the game, leaving many players to wonder just what was going on. Now we have an answer, sort of: it exploded and a mysterious figure inside called the Ice King created a massive storm, which covered the entire island in snow.

It was a dramatic moment that included a towering, ghostly apparition appearing around Polar Peak, which kicked off the storm. In addition to the shift in weather, there are now ice monsters in the game — called ice fiends — which spawn from glowing blue stones scattered across the map. The new creatures also come with a new set of challenges where players can earn wintery gear and other bonuses.


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Automate Your Home From the Clearance Rack

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The month or so after the holidays have always been a great time to pick up some interesting gadgets on steep clearance, but with decorations and lights becoming increasingly complex over the last few years, the “Christmas Clearance” rack is an absolute must see for enterprising hackers. You might just luck out like [ModernHam] and find a couple packs of these dirt cheap wireless light controllers, which can fairly easily be hacked into the start of a home automation system with little more than the Raspberry Pi and a short length of wire.

In the video after the break, [ModernHam] …read more

11 new trailers you should watch this week

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I finally got around to watching Roma the other week. It’s a fascinating film, telling its story in a way that few others do — not quite through the intimate portrait of one character, but through a world of contrasts and colliding events.

Honestly, I couldn’t quite get a grasp on how to understand Alfonso Cuarón’s approach until I saw a tweet from Guillermo del Toro the other day. “In every sense, Roma is a fresco, a mural, not a portrait,” he wrote.

And it’s true. The background of each shot matters as much, if not more, than the foreground, and frequently they’re playing off one another in one big, looping narrative. I do wish the film had gotten closer to its main character, but del Toro’s analogy helps me appreciate its grander…

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Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

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Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he’s right: he recorded this video of him reading “The Raven” in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss’s Worldbuilders charity drive. It’s Poe’s birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again.

Other ways to celebrate this magnificent torch:

* The spectacular pop-up edition

* The 50s hipster argot edition

* The 1969 rock-and-roll version

* Vincent Price and Boris Karloff’s Raven-inspired magic duel

(Reposted from last year)

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Discounted 128GB iPads, and hundreds off of LG OLED 4K TVs are this week’s best deals

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2019 has delivered some pretty decent deals already, and this weekend’s roundup showcases the wide range of tech that’s available for less. Super Bowl LIII and the Academy Awards ceremony loom, which means that some great deals on home entertainment gear like TVs and soundbars will be coming soon. But until then, let’s take a look at this week’s best deals.

Newegg is offering $40 off of the PS4 Pro with the offer code EMCTUUD67 used at checkout. Any discount on Sony’s 4K-ready console is rare, and given that 2019 will be another big year for the console (The Last of Us Part II, Death Stranding, Judge Eyes, and Ghost of Tsushima are expected to launch this year), it’s worth picking it up if you don’t have one yet.

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Full Color Dot Matrix Is The Art We Need

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Fans of 80s-era computer printing technology are few and far between, but Apple’s ImageWriter II was a beast of a printer. This tractor feed dot-matrix printer is nigh-indestructible. The print quality was actually pretty great. It was loud as hell, which is a mark of quality electromechanical components. It could do color, and color dot-matrix art on tractor feed paper is the aesthetic we need. If you’re not convinced yet, you can also take off the perforations from tractor feed paper and make a cool little paper snake.

[Dandu] isn’t one to let things like serial printers and obsolete color …read more

Dolby made a secret app for recording studio quality audio on your phone

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Dolby has been quietly testing a new mobile app for recording and cleaning up audio under the codename “234,” as first spotted by TechCrunch. The app, which was available through a website sign-up form, lets you record audio (a la Voice Notes), cancels background noise, and then apply presets, with names like “Amped,” “Thump,” and “Bright,” to theoretically make your recordings sound more professional.

The sign-up site, which has since been deactivated, advertised the app by saying: “How can music recorded on a phone sound so good? Dolby 234 automatically cleans up the sound, gives it tone and space, and finds the ideal loudness. It’s like having your own producer in your phone.” Those are big claims. Luckily, I snagged a copy of the app…

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Hit those fitness goals at home with these virtual trainers

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Still determined to keep those New Year’s health resolutions? If you’re going to stick with the exercise plan, it’s enough of a challenge to budget your time. No need for your financial budget to take a hit, too. Here’s a more convenient – and cheaper – alternative to a gym membership or Peloton bike: Two of our favorite virtual fitness clubs, tailor-made for any schedule and any income.

Live Streaming Fitness

The wealth of content on this streaming service should be enough to keep you sweating well into your fitness goals and beyond. Along with daily exercise challenges, there’s 24 /7 access to on-demand workouts in yoga cardio, strength training and more. And because it takes more than sweat, this service offers peer support through their Live Streaming Fitness community, plus meal plans, cooking shows and recipes made by certified nutritionists.

A lifetime subscription to all of this through Live Streaming Fitness is now $99.99.

Fitterclub Personal Training

For a more traditional touch, Fitterclub replicates the personal trainer experience with all the convenience of streaming. Answer a simple questionnaire, and the service builds you a workout regimen and nutrition program suited to your goals and body type. From there, it’s on you: Access your daily, curated workouts and enjoy the flexible, tailored meal plan. Fitterclub tracks your progress and adjusts your plan every month using complex data analytics, so things never get too hard or easy.

Fitterclub Personal Training is a full 91% off for the new year – that’s $49 for a five-year membership. Read the rest

Unobtanium Bezels Finally Modeled For 3D Printing

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In 1991, Apple released the Quadra line of computers, named after their utilization of the new Motorola 68040 CPU. The Quadra line initially consisted of two models, the Quadra 700 and the Quadra 900. These two models, and the Quadra 950, released as a slight upgrade to the 900, were the peak of performance. You could conceivably load these machines up with 256 Megabytes of RAM, in an era where hard drives hovered around 80 Megabytes. This much RAM would cost as much as a house. These were powerhouses, the first ProTools workstations, and they ran Jurassic Park. If you …read more

Sonos Beam is $50 off in time for the Super Bowl

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If you want to improve on your television’s built-in speakers, which are likely to be terrible, there are a lot of ways to do it. The Sonos Beam soundbar is one of them, and starting today (until February 3rd), Amazon is reducing its cost to $349 for a savings of $50.

The Beam is Sonos’ most affordable soundbar by a long shot, and it’s made just a bit cheaper by this deal. Its good looks and a few unique features make it worth considering over cheaper soundbars. First, it’s a smart speaker and soundbar rolled up into one that supports Alexa voice commands, and Google Assistant is slowly but surely on its way. Once it’s plugged into your television’s HDMI ARC port (most, but not all, recent TVs have one), Alexa can power your TV on and…

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Lime SDR (and Pluto, Too) Sends TV

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If you have experienced software defined radio (SDR) using the ubiquitous RTL SDR dongles, you are missing out on half of it. While those SDRs are inexpensive, they only receive. The next step is to transmit. [Corrosive] shows how he uses DATV Express along with a Lime SDR or a Pluto (the evaluation device from Analog Devices) to transmit video. He shows how to set it all up in the context of ham radio. An earlier video shows how to receive the signal using an SDR and some Windows software. The receiver will work with an RTL SDR or a …read more

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