Bose Wants You to Listen Up for Augmented Reality

See the original posting on Hackaday

Perhaps it is true that if all you have is a hammer every problem you see looks like a nail. When you think of augmented reality (AR), you usually think of something like the poorly-received Google Glass where your phone or computer overlays imagery in your field of vision. Bose isn’t known for video, though, they are known for audio. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that their upcoming (January 2019) AR sunglasses won’t feature video overlays. Instead, the $200 sunglasses will tell you what you are looking at.

The thing hinges on your device knowing your approximate location and the …read more

Soulja Boy is selling his own video game consoles

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Soulja Boy is stepping back from “cranking it,” and pivoting to an entirely new field this week: selling his own video game consoles and refurbished tech accessories.

Soulja has been a gamer his entire life, so it’s only natural for him to want to launch his own systems, and this week, he’s done just that. He now sells two different consoles on his website, both of which bear his namesake: the SouljaGame Console and the SouljaGame Handheld.

Soulja Boy claims that the console is capable of running PlayStation, NeoGeo, PC, Sega, Game Boy Advance, and NES games, as well as “SouljaGames.” The website states that the console comes with 800 games preinstalled onto the console. According to the site, the handheld runs Switch,…

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These crocheted AirPods cases make me want to buy AirPods

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I have never been too interested in the art of crochet, nor have I ever wanted a pair of AirPods. But put those things together in the form of crocheted AirPods cases, and suddenly, I’ve found myself in an Instagram hole, scrolling through photo after photo of these unfathomably cute creations.

AirPods accessories are having sort of a moment in South Korea, with online stores selling keychains, skins, and cases for the wireless earbuds with an enthusiasm that can’t be matched anywhere else. Although there are plenty of official accessory companies that offer AirPods cases that come with keychain holes and keychain accessories made specifically for AirPods cases, the real innovation is coming from artists and small business owners who…

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Google and Levi’s smart jacket can now warn you if you’re about to leave your phone behind

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Google and Levi’s Jacquard smart jacket has introduced a new function designed to stop you from mistakenly leaving your phone behind, as spotted by Android Police.

The feature, called Always Together, is an automatic alert that will go off if the jacket moves too far away from your phone. When triggered, notifications happen on both ends. So, your phone will get a notification, and the jacket’s signature sleeve tag will also blink and vibrate. Previously, Android Police notes, there was a manual “find your phone” option where an assigned gesture on the jacket could prompt your phone to ring at full volume.

It’s a neat addition for the smart jacket, which can already use touch inputs to control things on your smartphone like music…

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JIRA is an antipattern

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Atlassian’s JIRA began life as a bug-tracking tool. Today, though, it has become an agile planning suite, “to plan, track, and release great software.” In many organizations it has become the primary map of software projects, the hub of all development, the infamous “source of truth.” It is a truism that the map is not […]

Lethal League Blaze turns handball into a stylish fighting game

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

Lethal League Blaze is a game that feels like a distillation of the things I loved about games on the Sega Dreamcast. During that time I was really into sports games like NFL 2K and Virtua Tennis, and also fell hard for fighters like Soulcalibur and Capcom vs. SNK. At the same time, I was also enthralled by the incredibly creative gameplay and aesthetics Sega produced with Crazy Taxi and Shenmue.

Lethal League Blaze combines all of these elements. It’s the sport of handball turned into a fighting game, with the brightly…

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Generating Power with Wind, Water, and Solar

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It is three weeks after the apocalypse. No zombies yet. But you do need to charge your cell phone. How do you quickly make a wind turbine? If you’ve read this project, you might reach for a few empty water bottles. This educational project might not charge your phone without some extra work, but it does illustrate how to use water bottles to make a workable air scoop for turning a crank and possibly generating electricity.

That takes care of the wind and water aspects, but how did we get solar? According to the post — and we agree it …read more

Amazon is selling a Kindle Paperwhite and Audible bundle

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Last year, Amazon began adding Audible to its Kindle Oasis, the entry-level Kindle, and the latest Paperwhite, allowing users to listen to their audiobook library, provided they had a set of Bluetooth headphones. Now, Amazon is selling an Kindle package that includes a Kindle Paperwhite, a set of Bluetooth headphones, and a three month trial for Audible.

The Good eReader spotted the deal, which will run you $139 for the 8GB Kindle, and $179 for the 32GB model. The package comes with the latest Kindle Paperwhite model, as well as a set of Amazon’s POP Design headphones — which Good eReader points out retails for $79 on their own.

The deal also comes with a starter subscription Gold Membership for Audible, which will provide you with…

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Press start on your game idea with this developer’s crash course

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Take a scroll through any app marketplace and you’ll see that the doors are wide open for any game these days – and any game developer. Like any creation, virtual or analog, it all starts with an idea. And if you’ve got one of those, the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle can walk you the rest of the way.

One of the most user-friendly, versatile tools for game developers out there, the Unity platform lets developers work equally well through any design, from simple platform to open-world. Each of the seven courses in this bundle spotlights a different functionality in Unity. You’ll learn to utilize Cinemachine to set the stage with animated cutscenes, then fold them into massive open-world adventures. You’ll find time-saving tips on even the newest mobile features like Augmented Reality, then learn how to package and publish your finished product in the Google Play store.

Get started on your game with the Complete Unity Game Developer Bundle, now $39. Read the rest

Cragne Manor, an 84-room horror “exquisite corpse” text adventure that’s a tribute to the classic game Anchorhead

See the original posting on Boing Boing

It’s the 20th anniversary of Anchorhead, Michael Gentry’s seminal horror text adventure; to commemorate the occasion, Ryan Veeder and Jenni Polodna worked with 84 developers to create Cragne Manor, a tribute, whose puzzles are ingenious, frustrating and amazing.

Each of the developers was given one room to create, without any knowledge of the others developers’ rooms, making “each location … a different author’s take on a tribute to Anchorhead, or an original work of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, or a deconstruction of cosmic horror, or a gonzo parody of cosmic horror, or a parody of some other thing, or a portrait of life in Vermont, or a pure experiment in writing with Inform 7, or something else entirely. There are tons of puzzles. The puzzles get very weird.”

Early reviews are very positive: Zarf updates says “It’s glorious. It’s a mess. It’s a glorious mess… It’s a grand collection of vignettes by the biggest collective of IF authors ever gathered in one fictional Vermont town. It’s a demonstration of varied styles, varied approaches to puzzle design, and varied takes on the idea of ‘Lovecraftian/Anchorheadian game’. It’s creepy and funny and gross and poetic.”

Emily Short writes: “I can tell you already that if you like parser IF, you want to play this. It’s sometimes scary, sometimes disgusting, sometimes funny, sometimes weird, and sometimes all of those at once — but I’ll let you find the horse for yourself. And somehow all that surreal adds up to something greater than the sum of its parts.”

Your name is Naomi Cragne.

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Argentine hacker mods Furby so it quotes Borges, creates a “Borgy”

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Argentine hacker [Roni Bandini] modded a 1998 Furby so that it responds to stimulus by rattling off a random quote from Jorge Luis Borges. He calls it “Borgy.”

[Roni] hacked the Furby to replace the speaker with a more powerful one, and built a base to hold the larger speaker and a switch which can activate Borgy. He also used an Arduino Nano and a Sparkfun MP3 player shield loaded with the samples of Borges.

When the Furby speaks, it shares some wisdom from Borges. It’s a simple, but a surprisingly effective hack that could be very useful for someone seeking inspiration. Or, as Borges himself once said: “Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.”

Furby Plus Borges Equals Borgy [Richard Baguley/Hackaday]

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Haunted Mansion wallpaper, wrapping paper, and fabric!

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Spoonflower’s gorgeous selection of Haunted Mansion patterns can be printed on demand on wallpaper, giftwrap, or fabric: from the green strips of the maids’ uniforms to the purple and black stripes of the butler’s vests, to motifs picked up from the characters and decor (tightrope walker girl’s floral print, hitchhiking ghosts, Leota’s seance room), the variety is amazing. (via Disney’s Haunted Mansion)

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Electron and the Decline of Native Apps

See the original posting on Slashdot

SwiftOnSecurity, regarding Microsoft’s switch to Chromium as Windows’s built-in rendering engine: This isn’t about Chrome. This is about ElectronJS. Microsoft thinks EdgeHTML cannot get to drop-in feature-parity with Chromium to replace it in Electron apps, whose duplication is becoming a significant performance drain. They want to single-instance Electron with their own fork. Electron is a cancer murdering both macOS and Windows as it proliferates. Microsoft must offer a drop-in version with native optimizations to improve performance and resource utilization. This is the end of desktop applications. There’s nowhere but JavaScript.

John Gruber of DaringFireball: I don’t share the depth of their pessimism regarding native apps, but Electron is without question a scourge. I think the Mac will prove more resilient than Windows, because the Mac is the platform that attracts people who care. But I worry. In some ways, the worst thing that ever happened to the Mac is that it got so much more popular a decade ago. In theory, that should have been nothing but good news for the platform — more users means more attention from developers. The more Mac users there are, the more Mac apps we should see.

The problem is, the users who really care about good native apps — users who know HIG violations when they see them, who care about performance, who care about Mac apps being right — were mostly already on the Mac. A lot of newer Mac users either don’t know or don’t care about what makes for a good Mac app.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FPGA used VHDL for Fractals

See the original posting on Hackaday

Over on GitHub, [ttsiodras] wanted to learn VHDL. So he started with an algorithm to do Mandelbrot sets and moved it to an FPGA. Because of the speed, he was able to accomplish real-time zooming. You can see a video of the results, below.

The FPGA board is a ZestSC1 that has a relatively old Xilinx Spartan 3 chip onboard. Still, it is plenty powerful enough for a task like this.

The project doesn’t directly drive a display. It does the math, stores the results in the board’s onboard RAM and then sends a frame to the PC using the …read more

Easily Deboss Notebooks with a 3D Printed Stamp

See the original posting on Hackaday

While it’s arguably a bit closer to the “Arts & Crafts” region of the making spectrum upon which we don’t usually tread on account our l33t sense of superiority, we’ve got to admit that the quick and easy notebook customization demonstrated by [Sean Hodgins] is very compelling. We don’t put ink to dead trees with nearly the frequency we used to, but when we do it might as well be Hemingway-style with a little black Hackaday emblazoned notebook.

As demonstrated in the video after the break, the process starts by designing the stamp in your CAD package of choice. For …read more

You have another chance to save on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

See the original posting on The Verge

Google is offering yet another discount on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, its latest flagship smartphones known for their impressive cameras — particularly in the dark. As is the trend with most deals that are popping up around now, this offer from Google isn’t quite as good as what we saw over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Still, this is probably as good as it’s going to get for an unlocked Pixel 3 this holiday.

Until December 22nd, you can get $100 off of the Pixel 3 at the Google Store, bringing the price down to a friendlier $699 for the 64GB model, and $799 for the 128GB option. If you’re looking for reasons to pick the 3 over the 3 XL, it all comes down to size. Its 5.5-inch display makes it easier to hold than the 3 XL,…

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Furby Plus Borges Equals Borgy

See the original posting on Hackaday

What do you get if you cross a Furby with a master of 20th Century literature? The Borgy. Argentinian hacker [Roni Bandini] found an old Furby and decided to hack it by altering its personality. His inspiration was the Argentinian writer Jorge Louis Borges, one of the pioneers of surrealist writing. The idea is that, at random times during the day, the Borgy will share a bit of wisdom from Borges to inspire and enlighten.

[Roni] hacked the Furby to replace the speaker with a more powerful one, and built a base to hold the larger speaker and a switch …read more

Amazon is discounting Echo, Fire TV, and smart home devices once again for the holidays

See the original posting on The Verge

Amazon’s range of tech, including Fire TV streaming devices, Echo smart speakers and displays, Fire tablets, and more, were heavily discounted during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period in late November, and the company is offering another chance to save before more holidays arrive.

Most of these deals are within $10 of being as good as we saw a few weeks ago, though the reader-favorite Ring Video Doorbell 2 with a free Echo Dot is coming back at its best-ever $169.99 price point.

December 24th is when these deals are set to expire, and we’ll note when the end date for a product differs.

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An over-engineered LED Sign Board

See the original posting on Hackaday

Never underestimate the ability of makers in over thinking and over-engineering the simplest of problems and demonstrating human ingenuity. The RGB LED sign made by [Hans and team] over at the [Hackheim hackerspace] in Trondheim is a testament to this fact.

As you would expect, the WS2812 RGB LEDs illuminate the sign. In this particular construction, an individual strip is responsible for each character. Powered by an ESP32 running FreeRTOS, the sign communicates using MQTT and each letter gets a copy of the 6 x 20 framebuffer which represents the color pattern that is expected to be displayed. A task …read more

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