Slashdot Asks: Did You Have a Shared Family Computer Growing Up?

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theodp writes: “Long before phone addiction panic gripped the masses and before screen time became a facet of our wellness and digital detoxes,” begins Katie Reid’s article, How the Shared Family Computer Protected Us from Our Worst Selves, “there was one good and wise piece of technology that served our families. Maybe it was in the family room or in the kitchen. It could have been a Mac or PC. Chances are it had a totally mesmerizing screensaver. It was the shared family desktop.” She continues: “I can still see the Dell I grew up using as clear as day, like I just connected to NetZero yesterday. It sat in my eldest sister’s room, which was just off the kitchen. Depending on when you peeked into the room, you might have found my dad playing Solitaire, my sister downloading songs from Napster, or me playing Wheel of Fortune or writing my name in Microsoft Paint. The rules for using the family desktop were pretty simple: homework trumped games; Dad trumped all. Like the other shared equipment in our house, its usefulness was focused and direct: it was a tool that the whole family used, and it was our portal to the wild, weird, wonderful internet. As such, we adored it.” Did you have a shared family computer growing up? Can you relate to any of the experiences Katie mentioned in her article? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

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‘Do Not Buy a Smartwatch Right Now’

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Since Qualcomm is set to launch a new wearable chipset on September 10, Kellen from DoidLife argues against buying a new Google Wear OS-powered smartwatch in the meantime. The new chipset will be able to execute commands quicker, and provide for substantially longer battery life. From the report: This new chipset is said to be built from the ground up, will allow watches to look pretty when you aren’t using them (like a normal watch sitting idly by your side), and extend battery life. More importantly, Qualcomm is betting that this Snapdragon Wear chip will “significantly change the Wear OS ecosystem, what you expect from a smartwatch.” If you buy a smartwatch today, before Qualcomm announces this chip, you will be stuck with a 2+ year old Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. All of the new Wear OS watches that have been announced recently, use that chip. It’s old. It’s never been great. And it’s about to be replaced by something potentially game-changing for smartwatches. A report from WinFuture says that this new Snapdragon chip will be called the Wear 3100 and will allow for “Ok Google” detection even when the display is off. It is rumored to come with Google’s Pixel-branded smartwatch, although DroidLife thinks that LG will be one of the first to launch a watch with this new processor. “This LG watch is said to have physical watch hands, as well as the smarts of Wear OS and a touch display,” reports DroidLife. It is expected to make its debut on September 10.

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The Mining Town Where People Live Under the Earth

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Claire Reilly, writing for CNET: After spending a night in an underground rock cave in the middle of the Australian desert, I learned three things: The silence is deafening. Your eyes never adjust to the darkness. And if nobody brushes the ceiling before you arrive, that clump of dirt is going to scare the living hell out of you when it drops on your face at 2 a.m. I’ve flown 1,200 miles for the privilege of sleeping in a hole in Coober Pedy. There’s no Wi-Fi down here. The glare of my MacBook feels obnoxious in the subterranean stillness. The TV plays ads for a “local” cleaning service from the next town over, but that just happens to be 400 miles away. Australia is a country defined by “the tyranny of distance,” but traveling to the underground opal mining town of Coober Pedy feels like taking a holiday on Mars. In the middle of the South Australian desert and an eight hour drive in either direction from the nearest capital city (Adelaide to the south or Alice Springs to the north), Coober Pedy is off the grid and mostly hidden underground. More than half the residents live buried in the bedrock in cavelike homes called “dugouts” in order to escape freezing winters, scorching summers and the occasional cyclone. Often, the only sign you’re walking on someone’s roof is the air vent that’s sprouted up next to your boots. While first nation peoples have lived in the central Australian desert for thousands of years, the Coober Pedy we know today wouldn’t exist without opals. Miners rushed here in the 1920s, enduring extreme conditions to hunt for the multicolored gems, digging, bulldozing and eventually blasting out earth in a bid to find the elusive seam that would make them rich. Living in Coober Pedy is not just about surviving. It’s about carving out a way of life in one of the harshest environments on the planet. […] “It’s not like we’re living thousands of kilometers under the ground,” he tells me. “It’s pretty similar to living in a normal house.” Sam’s family, who live in a dugout close to Crocodile Harry’s, have solar panels for power — but those generate only enough electricity for a few hours a day. Diesel handles the rest, he says. “We have to rely on tourists to pay for our fuel,” he says. “Gasoline is valuable out here. Fuel is really expensive.” That means no fridge running all day and night — they keep nonperishable food and get the rest from town every day. Otherwise, life is pretty similar to what other 18-year-olds in the city experience. Sam says he can still charge his phone and use the TV “for a bit.” “We have internet when the generator’s on. Dad’s got an Xbox but we don’t even try to use the solar for that.”

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‘It’s Time to End the Yearly Smartphone Launch Event’

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Owen Williams, writing for Motherboard: Thursday, at a flashy event in New York, Samsung unveiled yet another phone: the Galaxy Note 9. Like you’d expect, it’s rectangular, it has a screen, and it has a few cameras. While unveiling what it hopes will be the next hit, it unknowingly confirmed something we’ve all been wondering: the smartphone industry is out of ideas. Phones are officially boring: the only topic that’s up for debate with the Galaxy Note 9 is the lack of the iconic notch found on the iPhone X, and that it has a headphone jack. The notch has been cloned by almost every phone maker out there, and the headphone jack is a commodity that’s unfortunately dying. However, the fact that we’re comparing phones with or without a chunk out of the screen or a hole for your headphones demonstrates just how stuck the industry is. It’s clear that there’s nothing really to see here. Yeah, the Note is a big phone, and it has a larger battery too. It’s in different colors, it’s faster than last year, and it has wireless charging. Everything you see here is from a laundry list of features that other smartphone manufacturers also have, and the lack of differentiation becomes clearer every year. It’s the pinnacle of technology, and it’s a snooze-fest. This isn’t exclusively a Samsung problem: Every manufacturer from Apple to Xiaomi faces the same predicament. The iPhone’s release cycle that Apple trained the world to be accustomed to, with splashy yearly releases and million-dollar keynotes, is clearly coming to an end as consumers use their existing phones for longer every year.

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Samsung Unveils Tizen-Powered Galaxy Watch That Lasts ‘Several Days’ On Single Charge

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Alongside the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Home Speaker, Samsung took the wraps off its new Galaxy Watch wearable at its Unpacked event in New York City. VentureBeat reports: Beyond coming in rose gold, silver, and midnight black colors, it can be had in two sizes — the prior Gear S3 size is now called “46mm” and will start at $349.99, while a smaller-sized model is called “42mm” and will start at $329.99. Both will be available starting August 24, solely in the specific size and color configurations shown below. Samsung is also using improved glass: Gear S3 watches used Corning’s Gorilla Glass SR+ and were IP68 rated for 10-foot, 30-minute water and dust resistance. The Galaxy Watch upgrades to Corning Gorilla DX+ glass and promises to keep the AMOLED screen underneath fully water-safe; it’s rated for 5 ATM (165-foot/50-meter) submersion with IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications.

A disappointment in the new model is a reduction in its payment capabilities. The Gear S3 included both NFC and swipe-style magnetic secure transaction (MST) support to enable a wide array of Samsung Pay wireless purchases, but the Galaxy Watch drops MST support and only works with NFC. Not surprisingly, however, it does support Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. While continuing the use of a Tizen operating system from the Gear S3, Galaxy Watch packs a more powerful dual-core Exynos 9110 processor running at 1.15GHz. As was the case with the Gear S3 Frontier, the Galaxy Watch is available in Bluetooth-only and LTE versions, now promising LTE support across over 30 carriers in more than 15 countries. On stage, Samsung promised that the Galaxy Watch can be used for “several” days between charges; a subsequent press release said that it’s actually “up to 80+ hours with typical usage” on the 46mm model, which has a 472mAh battery, versus “45+ hours” from the 270mAh battery of the 42mm model. Each model promises at least twice the longevity “with low usage.”

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Samsung Announces $1,000 Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone With Last-Gen Android Software Out-of-the-Box

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The Galaxy Note 9 touts a slightly larger 6.4-inch end-to-end screen, a 4,000mAh battery that promises “all-day” use, and a minimum 128GB of storage — there’s also a 512GB version that, with 512GB microSD cards, can give you a full terabyte of space. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo — not Android Pie, which Google and Essential rolled out to some of their devices earlier this month. Engadget: Samsung is also bringing over welcome improvements from the Galaxy S9 family, including stereo speakers and the variable aperture f/1.5-2.4 primary camera (there’s a second camera on the back, of course). This year, though, the most conspicuous change revolves around the S Pen. This is Samsung’s first S Pen to incorporate Bluetooth, and that lets you do a whole lot more than doodle on the screen. You can use it as a remote control for selfies and presentations, and Samsung is providing a toolkit to let app developers use the pen for their own purposes. And no, you don’t need to load it with batteries or plug it into a charger — it’ll top up just by staying in your phone. The base model of the Note 9, featuring 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, is priced at $999. The other variant will set you back by $1,250. Preorders begin on August 10th, and the phone will be available on August 24th at all major carriers or direct (and unlocked) from Samsung. CNET writes about the camera sensors on the new handset: The Galaxy Note 9 keeps the same hardware setup as the Galaxy S9 Plus. That is, dual 12-megapixel cameras on the back, one of them that automatically changes aperture when it detects the need for a low-light shot. (Samsung calls this dual aperture, and it’s also on both S9 phones.) There’s also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for your selfies. What’s different is AI software that analyzes the scene and quickly detects if you’re shooting a flower, food, a dog, a person. There are 20 options the Note 9’s been trained on, including snowflakes, cityscapes, fire, you get it. Then, the camera optimizes white balance, saturation and contrast to make photos pop.

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Samsung Announces $1,000 Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone With Last-Gen Android Software Out-of-the-Box

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The Galaxy Note 9 touts a slightly larger 6.4-inch end-to-end screen, a 4,000mAh battery that promises “all-day” use, and a minimum 128GB of storage — there’s also a 512GB version that, with 512GB microSD cards, can give you a full terabyte of space. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo — not Android Pie, which Google and Essential rolled out to some of their devices earlier this month. Engadget: Samsung is also bringing over welcome improvements from the Galaxy S9 family, including stereo speakers and the variable aperture f/1.5-2.4 primary camera (there’s a second camera on the back, of course). This year, though, the most conspicuous change revolves around the S Pen. This is Samsung’s first S Pen to incorporate Bluetooth, and that lets you do a whole lot more than doodle on the screen. You can use it as a remote control for selfies and presentations, and Samsung is providing a toolkit to let app developers use the pen for their own purposes. And no, you don’t need to load it with batteries or plug it into a charger — it’ll top up just by staying in your phone. The base model of the Note 9, featuring 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, is priced at $999. The other variant will set you back by $1,250. Preorders begin on August 10th, and the phone will be available on August 24th at all major carriers or direct (and unlocked) from Samsung.

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Podcasting is Not Walled (Yet)

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Rakhim Davletkaliyev, a software developer, writer and podcaster, recently launched two new podcasts. One of the things he was asked by people following the launches was “but how do I subscribe, it’s not on iTunes/Google Podcasts?” He writes: Podcasts are simply RSS feeds with links to media files (usually mp3s). A podcast is basically a URL. And podcast clients are special browsers. They check that URL regularly and download new episodes if the content of the URL changes (new link added). That’s it, no magic, no special membership or anything else required. The technology is pretty “stupid” in a good way. Ever since tech companies started waging war against RSS, podcast distribution became visually RSS-free. What do you do to subscribe? Easy, just search in the app! For the majority of iOS users that app is Apple Podcasts, and recently Google made their own “default client” for Android — Google Podcasts. It looks like podcast clients are similar to web browsers and just provide a way to consume content, but the underlying listings make them very different. Corresponding services are actually isolated catalogs. When you perform a search on Apple Podcasts, you aren’t searching for podcasts. You are searching for Apple-approved podcasts. And if the thing you’re looking for is not there, then… well, you get nothing. Most Podcast clients still accept RSS. Apple Podcasts, iTunes, PocketCasts, OverCast, PodcastAddict. Google Play Music doesn’t say anything explicitly, but you can just put RSS URL into the search field and it works. For now. I won’t be surprised if these apps gradually and silently remove this feature.

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New Alexa Skill Plays Fake Stupid Arguments To Scare Off Burglars

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TechCrunch reports on a new Alexa skill called “Away Mode”.
Instead of lights and noises, you can keep your home safe from unwanted visitors by playing lengthy audio tracks that sound like real — and completely ridiculous — conversations. When you launch Away Mode, Alexa will play one of seven audio tracks penned by comedy writers from SNL, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and UCB… These include gems like “Couple Has Breakup While Also Trying to Watch TV,” “Two Average Guys Brainstorm What’s Unique About Themselves So They Can Start a Podcast About It,” “Emergency PTA Meeting To Discuss Memes, Fidget Spinners, and Other Teen Fads,” and more. There are conversations from a book club where no one discusses the book, a mom walking her daughter through IKEA assembly over the phone, a stay-at-home mom losing her s***, and argument over a board game….
After enabling the skill on your Alexa device, you can cycle through the various conversations by saying “Next”… The tracks themselves are around an hour or so long… There are other “burglar deterrent” skills for Alexa if you’re interested in the general concept, like that play fake house alarms or sound like guard dogs. But Away Mode is just a little more fun.
It’s the brainchild of San Francisco-based Hippo Insurance, whose brand manager hopes to get people thinking about home security (though she says it isn’t meant to be a serious security tool). Yet, “Theoretically it’s a good idea,” adds former California police chief Jim Bueermann (now the head of the nonprofit Police Foundation). “If this thing mimics real conversation, it’s much more likely to trick the burglar into believing somebody is home.”
In one fake argument, a board game player shouts “Hand me the rulebook! The other rulebook! That’s the rules reference…. No, it’s in the learn-to-play guide. That’s the quick reference!”

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Microsoft Announces TypeScript 3.0

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Microsoft released version 3.0 of TypeScript, which Microsoft describes as an “extension” of JavaScript “that aims to bring static types to modern JavaScript.” Quoting Microsoft’s Developer Tools blog:
The TypeScript compiler reads in TypeScript code, which has things like type declarations and type annotations, and emits clean readable JavaScript with those constructs transformed and removed. That code runs in any ECMAScript runtime like your favorite browsers and Node.js. At its core, this experience means analyzing your code to catch things like bugs and typos before your users run into them; but it brings more than that. Thanks to all that information and analysis TypeScript can provide a better authoring experience, providing code completion and navigation features like Find all References, Go to Definition, and Rename in your favorite editor.

Neowin reports:
With any major version release, it is not unexpected for breaking changes to be introduced and that’s certainly the case for TypeScript 3.0. One obvious change is that with “unknown” becoming a new type, it is now a reserved type name and can no longer be used in type declarations. Otherwise, there’s a range of API breaking changes due to a number of functions and internal methods being deprecated or being made internal. On the plus side, TypeScript 3.0 reportedly has improved error messages, along with project references that let TypeScript projects have dependencies on other TypeScript projects.

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‘The Problem With Programming and How To Fix It’

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Jonathan Edwards has been programming since 1969 (starting on a PDP-11/20). “Programming today,” he writes, “is exactly what you’d expect to get by paying an isolated subculture of nerdy young men to entertain themselves for fifty years. You get a cross between Dungeons & Dragons and Rubik’s Cube, elaborated a thousand-fold.”
theodp summarizes the rest:
To be a ‘full stack’ developer, Edwards laments, one must master the content of something like a hundred thousand pages of documentation. “Isn’t the solution to design technology that doesn’t require a PhD…?” he asks. “What of the #CSForAll movement? I have mixed feelings. The name itself betrays confusion — what we really want is #ProgrammingForAll. Computer science is not a prerequisite for most programming, and may in fact be more of a barrier to many. The confusion of computer science with programming is actually part of the problem, which seems invisible to this movement.”
It wasn’t always this way, Edwards notes, citing spreadsheets, HyperCard, and the many incarnations of Basic as examples of how programming technology can be vastly easier and more accessible. “Unfortunately application programming got trampled in the internet gold rush,” Edwards explains. “Suddenly all that mattered was building large-scale systems as fast as possible, and money was no object, so the focus shifted to ‘rock star’ programmers and the sophisticated high-powered tools they preferred. As a result the internet age has seen an exponential increase in the complexity of programming, as well as its exclusivity.”

“It is long past time to return to designing tools not just for rock stars at Google but the vast majority of programmers and laypeople with simple small-scale problems,” the essay concludes, arguing we need new institutions to fund changes in both the technology and culture of programming. “We’ve done it before so we can do it again, even better this time.”

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Motorola Launches Verizon-Exclusive Moto Z3 Smartphone, 5G Moto Mod

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Motorola unveiled their new flagship Moto Z3 smartphone today that’s upgradeable to 5G. Like other Moto Z phones, the Z3 includes support for Moto Mods, including a new 5G Moto Mod that will let you use Verizon’s mobile 5G network when it launches in 2019. The new Mod contains a Snapdragon X50 modem and 2,000mAh battery to help you stay connected to the 5G network. PhoneDog reports: The Moto Z3 is a Motorola phone that’s exclusive to Verizon in the U.S. Specs for this Android 8.1-powered smartphone include a 6.01-inch 2160×1080 Super AMOLED screen and 8MP wide angle front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture. Around back there’s a dual rear camera setup with two 12MP cameras, one RGB and one monochrome, along with laser autofocus and portrait mode support. Inside the Moto Z3 lives an octa-core Snapdragon 835 processor along with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot. There’s a 3000mAh battery and a USB-C port for recharging that battery, as well as support for Motorola’s TurboPower solution to recharge in a hurry. Unfortunately, there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack to be found here. All of those features are crammed into a body with a water repellent coating. Rounding things out is a side-mounted fingerprint reader and support for face unlock.

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Surface Go Reviews Are All Over the Place

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The reviews for Microsoft’s Surface Go tablet are in, and they’re all over the place. While the press generally agrees that the processor is slow and can only handle light tasks, such as browsing and mail, there are mixed conclusions as to whether or not the 10-inch, $399 tablet is worth buying. Ars Technica’s Peter Bright summarizes: So, should you buy one? That’s hard to say. Mashable was a fairly unequivocal “no:” for light productivity, a Chromebook or iPad does the job for less money, and the performance is too problematic for anything much beyond that. On the other side of the coin, Windows Central reckoned that “as a mini-PC [Surface Go] is about as good as you can get,” and Ed Bott said, “It’s the best cheap PC I’ve ever used.” Gizmodo called it the “perfect representation of what laptops at this price should be.”

For everyone else, it depends. TechCrunch says that it’s worth a look, but there’s no shortage of competition around this price point. Acer and Lenovo, among others, offer decent systems that are a bit cheaper. PCWorld concludes that, if you want a tablet, get an honest-to-god tablet (which is to say, an iPad) rather than a system with Windows 10. But if you want something small and light and might just need the full flexibility of a PC, Go is the system to go for. Engadget acknowledged that the Go is “full of compromises” but that, as a “secondary device,” the keyboard and software compatibility give it the edge over other tablets. The Verge concludes similarly: it’s “probably not the right thing to be your only computer,” but it could have a “real place” as a secondary machine. And VentureBeat took a similar line: if you really want the flexibility of a two-in-one, “you’re unlikely to find anything better,” but if you want either a laptop or a tablet, “you’ll find better options for less.” As a refresher, the Surface Go features a 10-inch touchscreen display with a 1800×1200 (217 PPI) resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio, an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y Kaby Lake processor with up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage via a SSD (the 64GB eMMC variant features 4GB of RAM), integrated Intel HD Graphics 615, and “up to 9 hours” of battery life. The base model is just $399, compared to the $549 model with 128GB/8GB RAM.

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Samsung’s Tab S4 Is Both An Android Tablet and a Desktop Computer

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Today, Samsung unveiled the successor to the Galaxy Tab S3 from last year. The aptly named Galaxy Tab S4 features a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card) and 13-megapixel f1.9 rear-facing camera. Unlike the Tab S3, it includes Samsung Dex software that lets users connect a Samsung mobile device to a monitor and then use the device as a pseudo-desktop. Ars Technica reports: The first Dex dock came out over a year ago and was designed to be used with Samsung smartphones. Users could plug their device into the dock, connect it to a monitor, pair a keyboard and a mouse, and use the setup as they would a full desktop PC. The system ran a version of Android that Samsung modified to better suit a desktop UI, which included a lock screen and a task bar area with app icons. Dex on the Galaxy Tab S4 works just like this, with a couple of extra features that leverage the power of a tablet. When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet’s screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet’s 10.5-inch, 2560 x 1600 Super AMOLED display. When connected to a monitor, both the big screen and the tablet’s screen can be used simultaneously. In a short demo, Samsung showed how the device supports up to 20 open windows at once and how features like split screen and drag-and-drop can be used just as they would on a desktop PC. Users can launch Dex when not connected to a monitor as well, and that produces the same modified Android UI on the tablet’s 10.5-inch, 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display. The tablet carries a $649 price, but includes all the specs mentioned above, as well as support for signature Samsung features like Air Command, translate, and off-screen memos, and a redesigned S Pen.

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Doug Grindstaff, ‘Star Trek’ Sound Effects Maestro, Dies At 87

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Doug Grindstaff, a five-time Emmy Award winner behind Star Trek’s Tribble coos, communicator beeps, and Enterprise bridge door whooshes, has died at 87. The Hollywood Reporter looks back at Grindstaff’s contributions to the Star Trek universe: [Grindstaff] received 14 Emmy nominations in all — including one for Star Trek in 1967 — and won for his editing on The Immortal in 1970, Medical Story in 1976, Police Story in 1978, Power in 1980 and Max Headroom in 1987. Working with Jack Finlay and Joseph Sorokin, Grindstaff created the background sounds and effects used on NBC’s Star Trek. These sounds included red alert klaxons, the whoosh of Enterprise bridge doors opening/closing, heartbeats, boatswain whistles, sickbay scanners and communicator beeps and the acoustics that invoked phasers striking deflector shields and transporter materialization (and dematerialization).

In a 2016 interview for the Audible Range blog, Grindstaff noted that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry “wanted to paint the whole show [with sound] like you were painting a picture. “And he wanted sounds everywhere. One time I asked him, ‘Don’t you think we’re getting too cartoony?’ Because I felt it should be a little more dignified, but he wanted sound for everything. For example, I worked on one scene where [Dr. McCoy] is giving someone a shot. Gene says, ‘Doug, I’m missing one thing. The doctor injects him and I don’t hear the shot.’ I said, ‘You wouldn’t hear a shot, Gene.’ He said, ‘No, no, this is Star Trek, we want a sound for it.’ “So I turned around to the mixing panel and said, ‘Do you guys have an air compressor?’ And they did. I fired up the air compressor, squirted it for a long enough period by the mic, went upstairs, played with it a little bit and then put it in the show. And Gene loved it. So, that’s how Gene was. He didn’t miss nothing!” Grindstaff said he created Tribble coos by manipulating the sound of a dove.

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Magic Leap Offers a First Look At Its Mixed Reality OS

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TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney describes the Lumin operating system that will power Magic Leap’s upcoming Magic Leap One mixed reality headset: Alright, first, this is what the Magic Leap One home screen will apparently look like, it’s worth noting that it appears that Magic Leap will have some of its own stock apps on the device, which was completely expected but they haven’t discussed much about. Also worth noting is that Magic Leap’s operating system by and large looks like most other operating systems, they seem to be well aware that flat interfaces are way easier to navigate so you’re not going to be engaging with 3D assets just for the sake of doing so. The company seems to be distinguishing between two basic app types for developers: immersive apps and landscape apps. Landscape apps like what you see in the image above, appear to be Magic Leap’s version of 2D where interfaces are mostly flat but have some depth and live inside a box called a prism that fits spatially into your environment. It seems that you’ll be able to have several of these running simultaneously. Immersive apps, on the other hand, like the game title, Dr. Grordbort — which Magic Leap has been teasing for years — respond to the geometry of the space that you are in and is thus called an immersive app.

Moving beyond apps, the company also had a good deal to share about how you interact with what’s happening in the headset. Magic Leap will have a companion smartphone app that you can type into, you can connect a bluetooth keyboard and there will also be an onscreen keyboard with dictation capabilities. One of the big highlights of Magic Leap tech is that you’ll be able to share perspectives of these apps in a multi-player experience which we now know is called “casting,” apps that utilize these feature will just have a button that you can press to share an experience with a contact.

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Google Search Now Provides More Details on Local Events

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Google is quickly turning its event info from a nice-to-have extra into a major feature. From a report: If you’re searching from your phone, you’ll now find key details for events without having to jump to websites or apps. If it’s a concert, for example, you’ll find out where and when it’s taking place, directions and other details. You can either jump to a ticket service if you’re sold on the idea or save an event for later. And if you’re not sure what to look for, you’ll get some help there as well. The For You tab includes both personalized event suggestions as well as popular and trending events. If you’re big on food festivals, you may see the latest barbecue appear front and center.

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Slashdot Asks: Do You Need To Properly Eject a USB Drive Before Yanking it Out?

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In a story earlier this week, Popular Science magazine explored an age-old topic: Do people need to safely eject a USB stick before they pull it from their computer? The magazine’s take on it — which is, as soon any ongoing transfer of files is complete, it is safe to yank out the flash drive — has unsurprisingly stirred a debate. Here’s what the magazine wrote: But do you really need to eject a thumb drive the right way? Probably not. Just wait for it to finish copying your data, give it a few seconds, then yank. To be on the cautious side, be more conservative with external hard drives, especially the old ones that actually spin. That’s not the official procedure, nor the most conservative approach. And in a worst-case scenario, you risk corrupting a file or — even more unlikely — the entire storage device. To justify its rationale, the magazine has cited a number of computer science professors. In the same story, however, a director of product marketing at SanDisk made a case for why people should probably safely eject the device. He said, “Failure to safely eject the drive may potentially damage the data due to processes happening in the system background that are unseen to the user.” John Gruber of DaringFireball (where we originally spotted the story), makes a case for why users should safely eject the device before pulling it out: This is terrible advice. It’s akin to saying you probably don’t need to wear a seat belt because it’s unlikely anything bad will happen. Imagine a few dozen people saying they drive without a seat belt every day and nothing’s ever gone wrong, so it must be OK. (The breakdown in this analogy is that with seat belts, you know instantly when you need to be wearing one. With USB drives, you might not discover for months or years that you’ve got a corrupt file that was only partially written to disk when you yanked the drive.) I see a bunch of “just pull out the drive and not worry about it” Mac users on Twitter celebrating this article, and I don’t get it. On the Mac you have to do something on screen when you eject a drive. Either you properly eject it before unplugging the drive — one click in the Finder sidebar — or you need to dismiss the alert you’ll get about having removed a drive that wasn’t properly ejected. Why not take the course of action that guarantees data integrity? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the answer varies across different file systems and operating systems?

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New Trailers Debuted at Comic-Con Include Aquaman, Shazam, and The Simpsons

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Today Comic-Con attendees were treated to new trailers and previews for a slew of upcoming geek-friendly movies. An anonymous reader writes:

Besides footage from Wonder Woman 1984, there were also trailers for DC’s Aquaman movie, plus a new DC superhero franchise with a lighter tone, Shazam. (And there was also a very apocalyptic preview of Godzilla: King of the Monsters.)

Numerous celebrities were on-hand to tout their upcoming films. Johnny Depp introduced the trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald — in character — while Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson introduced the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass. Jamie Lee Curtis even plugged her return to the Halloween franchise 40 years after the original, revealing that her character has been waiting all these decades to kill Michael Myers after his release from prison.

TV Guide has collected most of the trailers for TV shows, including season 11 of Doctor Who, the revival of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and new seasons of Marvel’s Iron Fist and Fear the Walking Dead. There was apparently also a trailer for Marvel’s mutant series The Gifted — and a preview for the 30th season of The Simpsons featuring this Halloween’s “Treehouse of Horror XXIX”, which includes a parody of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

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Hello Games Received Death Threats Over ‘No Man’s Sky’

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The Guardian revisits the disastrous 2016 launch of the massive open-universe videogame No Man’s Sky, in a new interview with company director Sean Murray:
“I’ve never liked talking to the press. I didn’t enjoy it when I had to do it, and when I did it, I was naive and overly excited about my game. There are a lot of things around launch that I regret, or that I would do differently.” He is reluctant to relive the particulars of what happened in the weeks and months following No Man’s Sky’s release in August 2016 (“I find it really personal, and I don’t have any advice for dealing with it,” he says), but it involved death threats, bomb threats sent to the studio and harassment of people who worked at Hello Games on a frightening scale. They were in regular contact with Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan police… “I remember getting a death threat about the fact that there were butterflies in our original trailer, and you could see them as you walked past them, but there weren’t any butterflies in the launch game. I remember thinking to myself: ‘Maybe when you’re sending a death threat about butterflies in a game, you might be the bad guy….'”
Despite the controversy, No Man’s Sky sold extremely well, and plenty of its players have stuck by it. A year after release, when Hello Games released the Atlas Rises update, about a million people showed up to play, and the average playtime was 45 hours…. It is still recognisable as the lonely, abstractly beautiful space-exploration game I played in 2016, but three big updates have added a lot more. It is now definitely a better game, with much more to do and a clearer structure… Now you can also construct bases, drive around in vehicles and — as of next week — invite other players to explore with you, in groups of four. You can crew a freighter together, or colonise a planet with ever-expanding constructions.

“You are still a tiny speck in an infinite universe,” writes the Guardian. “it’s just that now, you have some company.” Murray describes it as a “Star Trek away team vibe.”
In another interview, Murray concedes that during the five years they’d spent in development, “We talked about the game way earlier than we should have talked about the game…. “

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