The Topgolf VR game is somehow more realistic than the real thing

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Many VR games are about portraying impossible exaggerated versions of reality, whether it’s sci-fi table tennis or a shooting range with actual zombies. The new Topgolf-branded Oculus Quest game, however, goes in another direction: it’s actually more like real golf than Topgolf.

If you haven’t been to Topgolf before, it’s kind of what can be expected out of a VR golf game, only for real. You’re basically in a bar with a massive driving range, and you’re whacking microchipped balls at far-off colorful targets. Topgolf’s technology tracks the balls on video screens so you can see how accurate your shots were — or, more likely, weren’t. I went to the Las Vegas location with some Verge co-workers after CES this year, and it was a good time…

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Watch: How to build your own Nintendo Switch

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Seattle maker Brennen Johnston wanted his friends to play Animal Crossing with him but they couldn’t get their hands on a Nintendo Switch, a scarce commodity amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Enraged by the prices scalpers were charging for a Switch, Brennen set out to build one himself from individual components. The Internet fell in love with the build notes he posted to Imgur and now he’s released the above video documenting the project! Brennen writes:

The support I received from my original Imgur post has been overwhelming. I never imagined so many people were interested in my project or had thought of doing something similar. I with I was able to answer everyone’s questions but I just couldn’t keep up with all the requests.

Most of the private messages asked me to do a version for the Joy-cons so I went ahead and made you that you can find here:

https://www.unorthodoxtech.com/#/blog/5ecc7e3157d93d0017683e23

How To Build A Nintendo Switch From Scratch – Building With Brennen(YouTube)

• Previously: “‘How to build a Nintendo Switch’ for coronavirus #StayAtHome gamingRead the rest

Tony Hawk’s first skateboard is now in the Smithsonian

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Tony Hawk first learned to ride a skateboard in 1979 when he was 11 years old. The board was the 1975 Bahne pictured above. Now, that board is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. (Below, video of Hawk’s last ride on the Bahne.) From Cole Louison’s new interview with Hawk in Smithsonian magazine:

The first wave of skateboarding—when decks were wood, wheels were steel and “sidewalk surfing” was banned in 20 U.S. cities by August 1965—had ended by the time Hawk stepped on the board. Yet the sport enjoyed a major resurgence in the 1970s, thanks in part to new technology. The blue Bahne evokes an era when public outcry had driven skaters off sidewalks and into the first skateparks, where they rode plastic boards with polyurethane wheels higher and higher up the walls of in-ground pools that were capped at the top or extended with plywood[…]

“In its early days, skateboarding was considered a sport for misfits and outsiders,” Hawk tells me. “We didn’t mind the label, since we weren’t trying to fit in with mainstream culture anyway.” And even as mainstream culture prepares to embrace skateboarding more enthusiastically than ever before, Hawk says, “I believe our sense of counterculture and individualism will shine through.”


image: RIDE Channel/YouTube
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Adding an Easter Egg to Your App

See the original posting on DZone Python

Those growing up in North America likely have a memory of the Easter Bunny — a mythical creature that magically left baskets or eggs filled with prizes for children. The concept of an Easter Egg Hunt pairs a group of children with a large area filled with hidden eggs. In some cases, the child with the most eggs found wins a prize. In other cases, the child which finds the single "golden egg" wins a prize too.

As you might expect, this idea of putting undocumented features (Easter Eggs) into a software program was destined to happen. Over the years, I have found myself seeking out such hidden gems and finally decided to add one into my mother-in-law’s application as noted in my "New Application Journey" series.

This custom webcam system lets you take Zoom calls on your TV from your couch

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Image: Crestron

Crestron, which offers services to help people customize their smart homes, has teamed up with Logitech and Zoom to make an at-home video conferencing setup using technology you’d typically find in an office conference room.

The setup could, for example, let you use your living room TV and a conference room-quality video camera to take Zoom meetings while reclining on your couch instead of being hunched over a laptop. That could be a much more comfortable way to take meetings or host group calls with family and friends while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We found that there were a lot of situations where people have more than one person, where you’re doing happy hours or group calls, where you…

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Xbox Series X can add HDR and 120fps support to older games

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Microsoft is planning to automatically add HDR support to games played on its upcoming Xbox Series X console. While existing games will automatically play better on the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is also doing some work to add HDR support and even improve some games from a 30fps locked framerate to 60fps, or 60fps to 120fps.

“In partnership with the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, Xbox Series X delivers a new, innovative HDR reconstruction technique which enables the platform to automatically add HDR support to games,” explains Jason Ronald, a partner director of program management for the Xbox platform team. “As this technique is handled by the platform itself, it allows us to enable HDR with zero impact to the game’s performance and we…

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Evercade is a slick gaming handheld that shows why cartridges are still cool

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Photo: Evercade

It’s not exactly hard to play old games. There are plenty of ways to get a retro fix outside of collecting the original hardware: plug-and-play consoles, classic game collections, and subscription services like Nintendo Switch Online. Even so, Evercade’s solution is something different. At its most basic, Evercade is a solid handheld device, sort of like an updated version of the Game Boy Advance that can also connect to your TV. But instead of having a big collection of old games built in or available for download, Evercade supports proprietary cartridges. The result is an $80 device that straddles the line between modern and retro in a way that’s very satisfying.

The Evercade is a pretty slick piece of hardware. It features a bright…

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Color in your favorite hard rockers with these Kerrang! cover coloring books

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If you’re looking for more quarantine activities — for yourself, or your kids, or something to do together! — the British rock magazine Kerrang! is now offering coloring book variants of some of their covers, featuring famous rock bands:

We have turned seven Kerrang! magazine covers (plus a bonus My Chemical Romance photo) into elaborate colouring-in pages for you to turn into Technicolor masterpieces. We’ve got Slipknot, Lemmy, BABYMETAL and Ozzy Osbourne [and more] to choose from.

Not only will it give you (or your young ones) a chance to practice your artistic skills, colouring-in is ideal for relieving stress and improving mental health.

 

You can download all available Kerrang! coloring book pages here. And if you email your best designs to the magazine, you could get featured in an upcoming issue!

Design your own Kerrang! Magazine Cover Read the rest

Listen to the original NPR radio drama adaptations of the first STAR WARS trilogy

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In my 90s childhood Star Wars obsession, I remember hearing a lot about the fabled NPR radio drama adaptations (read: “podcast”) of the original trilogy. They were supposed to be canonical, in-as-much as they were Lucas-approved stories that expanded on the familiar ones we already knew.

Now, someone has finally compiled them all on YouTube (although apparently you can find the MP3s on Archive.org as well). And wow, they are expanded — the A New Hope radio drama is 13 hours long!

It’s quite a stark departure from the movies I’m used to. The first chapter focuses exclusively on Luke, and highlights his relationships with his friends at Tosche Station — Cammie, Fixer, Deke, and the OG prodigal son, Biggs Darklighter (there’s a version of some of this material floating as a deleted scene, but it’s not nearly as expansive as this). Chapter Two turns more attention to Leia and her relationship with her father, as well as the information that lead them to the Death Star plans in the first place. It’s not even until the third chapter that we get to the opening scene of the movie (that’s as far as I’ve listened yet). It definitely conflicts with the newly established canon, especially Rogue One, but I’m enjoying the experience of re-discovering this world in a different format, with different and exciting details filling out the edges. I’m eager to find out what other ancillary characters might get more of a spotlight treatment here.

From the editor who posted these compilations on YouTube:

I have combined all episodes of the original radio drama using excerpts from John Williams’ original soundtrack and Ben Burt’s sound effects for a more seamless blending from one episode to the next.

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Microsoft copied its new Windows Package Manager from rival AppGet, claims developer

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Image by Alex Castro / The Verge

Microsoft surprised everyone with its new Windows Package Manager (winget) last week, but it looks like the company copied the core mechanics from a developer it interviewed and ghosted. Keivan Beigi, the developer behind package manager AppGet, has provided a detailed account of Microsoft reaching out to him last year with interest in his work before going quiet and then launching its own winget rival. It sounds like Sherlocking — a term that refers to Apple undercutting third-party apps by building their functionality directly into macOS or iOS — but in the Microsoft and Windows world.

AppGet is a free and open source package manager for Windows, which automates installing software on Windows PCs. It caught the attention of Microsoft…

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The most powerful Raspberry Pi now has 8GB of RAM

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Aside from having more RAM, the new miniature PC is functionally unchanged. | Image: Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has doubled the maximum amount of RAM available in the Raspberry Pi 4 to 8GB with a new device it’s selling for $75. To take advantage of the RAM increase, the foundation is also releasing a new 64-bit version of its operating system in early beta. The new Raspberry Pi 4 is otherwise identical to the device that was announced in June last year, meaning it has the same ARM-based CPU, and HDMI, USB 3, and Ethernet ports.

8GB is a lot of RAM considering the Raspberry Pi’s size and price. It’s the same as many flagship smartphones released this year, and enough for an entry-level gaming PC. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the additional memory should be useful for compiling large pieces of software, running…

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A bleakly touching webcomic compares our apocalyptic fantasies to the real experience of coronavirus quarantine

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Nate Powell is the writer and artist behind About Face, a brilliant webcomic about America’s obsession with fascist fashion. His latest comic, Hide Out, is less of a macro-scale political analysis, and more of a quiet, reflective, internal piece about life in apocalyptic scenarios — but it’s just as powerful, and just as much worth reading.

 

This Isn’t My Fantasy Apocalypse [Nate Powell / The Nib] Read the rest

Philips Hue TV sync box now supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision

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Image: Signify

The box that syncs Philips Hue lights with whatever’s on your TV is getting a big update today: it now supports two major HDR standards: HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

At launch, the longly named Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box could analyze content playing at up to 4K at 60Hz, but it only supported regular HDR10. For people with newer TV sets or who are serious about home theater, that’d be a major miss, since the HDR10+ standard and Dolby Vision are now more common and offer better image quality. Until now, the box has just done nothing when those higher-quality signals were passed through.

After today’s update, the box should work with a lot more systems and content. The device analyzes pretty much any video content that’s being passed to…

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