A portable display can make working from your dining room table easier

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The Ananta touchscreen portable display plugged into a Surface Laptop 3 on a wooden table.

The Ananta is a 17.3-inch touchscreen portable display.

Working from home (which many of us have been forced to do for the past few months, whether we want to or not) can be more productive than being in an office — provided you have a comfortable and functional place to work within your home. Unfortunately, for many who have been suddenly thrown into this situation, the best space they have to work is on a small laptop at a dining room table.

If you’re used to working at a desk with a large monitor, having to do the same job on a laptop at a table can be frustratingly confining. And since you also need to use this space for other activities when you’re not working, it may not be feasible to set up a traditional monitor or desktop computer there.

A portable, USB-C powered monitor might be…

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Short documentary about Kharkovchanka, huge Antarctic off-road vehicles made by the Soviets

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I was thinking of picking up an old Hilux but one of these will do.

Calum G: “Russia’s Colossal Antarctic Cruisers which have been continuously operating in some of the most extreme environments on Earth for over 50 years. Produced in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic and originally operated by USSR, the ‘????????????’ (literally ‘Kharkiv Women’), these amazing Snow Cruisers were built in the late 1950s and featured everything a polar explorer could need in the field. In their half-century mission, they have crossed thousands of miles on Antarctic Ice, visited the South Pole, the pole of inaccessibility as well the dozens of outposts and research stations on the continent.”

Calum uses YouTube’s “chapters” feature very well (click through to see them). I hope all documentarians there follow suit. Read the rest

The Verge’s favorite gadgets and gear for summer

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Illustration by Grayson Blackmon / The Verge

Despite all of the ills and upheavals that 2020 is bringing, there is at least one thing that we can celebrate: summer is here. And while your favorite sports team may be on hiatus, your vacation trip may be canceled, and your family get-together will have to wait, there are still things to enjoy and ways to relax. The staff of The Verge has gotten together to recommend some of their favorite gadgets, devices, and gizmos to help you have the best summer possible.

Olympus OMD E-M10 Mark II camera

Olympus OMD E-M10 Mark II.

Sitting inside all day means that even the most simple and short visits outside can feel kind of magical and otherworldly. It’s fun for me to bring my camera, Olympus’ E-M10 Mark II, along for walks…

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Download these free D&D character sheets designed to help players with dyslexia

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Redditor Inuyasharuls is a Dungeon Master who runs campaigns for several players with dyslexia. With help from another Redditor and gamer, Axelle123, they created this colorful character sheet alternative, using Comic Sans instead of the standard font found on D&D materials, to make life easier for everyone. Or, well, maybe not everyone, but still for some people. As they explained on Reddit:

They’re not for everyone, we definitely customized them to our games. We changed the “experience points” to “other”, removed the “personality traits, bonds, flaws, and ideals” entirely, and removed EP from the money tracker, but I think the sheets could help a lot of players, especially with u/luckpack‘s icons from their sheets, their original sheets found here, which we added in to help differentiate different numbers. Everything has been converted to comic sans font and fully capitalized, and in Page 1 alt 1 the skills have been colour coded to match with the relevant ability modifiers, and added an area for attunement slots. Any comments are welcome, we just really hope it can help other players.

disclaimer – Neither u/Axelle123 nor I are professionals, nor are we experts in dyslexia, this is just what seemed to help our fellow players.

As much as we all like to make fun of Comic Sans, it was actually designed to be readable. While it doesn’t work for everyone, Comic Sans has been known to help some people with dyslexia with recognizing and distinguishing between letters and words; color is also known to help, and fortunately, this character sheet offers both options. Read the rest

Who knew a Power Bagel might be the answer to all your plug-in electricity needs?

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What’s your biggest gripe about power strips? Since most power servers like that are pretty standard these days, your beef probably isn’t about performance or connectivity. No, the biggest rap on trying to use many power strips is the curious engineering decision that often leaves multiple oddly shaped plugs and charging units unable to all plug into a power strip at once. Before you know it, bulky plugs are blocking half of your outlets and you need…another power strip!

The design wizards at Mogics noodled over that particular problem and came up with an answer: the world’s first and only travel power strip that fits in your pocket. With the Mogics Power Bagel Travel Power Strip, you can fill up to five sockets with all manner of international plugs as well as 2 USB ports, all comfortably and without any awkward angling or blocked outlets.

The idea is so incredibly simple that it’s clear why it struck a chord with Kickstarter patrons, who funded the Power Bagel to the tune of over $140,000.

The Power Bagel lives up to its billing, a round, donut-shaped device with five adaptable sockets to handle UK, EU, AU, and US-style plugs. Even with a full boat of connected devices, not to mention the pair of fast-charging USB ports, all plugs sit easily and deliver power evenly to all sources.

Mogics even thought of a rolling mechanism on the 3-foot adjustable cord with auto-lock stoppers so everything stays neat and tidy. And it certainly doesn’t get tidier than a power hub you can literally drop in your pocket and take with you on virtually any international adventure. Read the rest

Online course shows young artists how to make portraits in Kehinde Wiley’s style

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The pandemic has inspired a slew of great courses for young artists, like this Bite-Sized Art History course that teaches about President Obama’s official portraitist Kehinde Wiley and shows young artists how to make their own portrait in his style.

Wiley’s Obama portrait caused an immediate and unprecedented reaction, according to The Smithsonian:

From the moment of their unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in early 2018, the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama have become two of the most beloved artworks of our time. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of the former first lady have inspired unprecedented responses from the public, and attendance at the museum has more than doubled as visitors travel from near and far to view these larger-than-life paintings. After witnessing a woman drop to her knees in prayer before the portrait of Barack Obama, one guard said, “No other painting gets the same kind of reactions. Ever.” The Obama Portraits is the first book about the making, meaning, and significance of these remarkable artworks.

This series’ combination of art history and a tutorial is a fun and accessible way to inspire young artists in your own life. It does a great job of explaining some of the reasons why artists make the choices they do. You can also have them check out Kehinde Wiley’s website.

Images: YouTube / ArtistYear Read the rest

Sealand’s caretakers

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Sealand is an unrecognized micronation off the coast of England, established in the 1960s and issuer of stamps, passports and occasional offshore business shenanigans (“BECOME A LORD“). But Sealand is also a rotting sea fortress in need of constant maintenance. Atlas Obscura met the two caretakers who spend two weeks at a time doing what they can to keep the statelet running smoothly. Dylan Taylor-Lehman’s feature article is a great introduction to the place, if you’re not familiar with it or its wild history.

Detritus from countless other projects sits on deck and in the workspaces of both towers. The server racks from its time as an offshore data haven are still assembled on the second subfloor of the south tower: a museum of turn-of-the-millennium tech. The floor below the server room is lined almost all the way around with tables, which hold all of the technical manuals from the various pieces of machinery in use on Sealand. There are also great stacks of back issues of at least four different amateur radio magazines. Sealand is, in essence, a big clubhouse where Barrington can build and experiment to his heart’s delight. He has brewed beer, read dozens of technical journals, spent “millions” of hours playing darts, and devotes a lot of his time to fixing equipment and inventing things.

“Everything is done in the most cack-handed long way so you don’t get bored. If you’re bored, get a hammer and chisel and start chiseling something or do the washing up,” he says.

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Toni Basil to teach classes on ’60s go-go dancing

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Oh-so-fine Toni Basil has announced a new online class — on ’60s go-go dancing! She’ll not only teach you how to go-go dance, but will also “deep dive” into how it influenced art, fashion, and music. And she should know, because she was there. If you only think of the 76-year-old for her big 1981 hit “Mickey,” you’ve missed out on her illustrious career in acting, dance and choreography. This compilation shows the “goddess of go-go” doing her thing in several circa-1960s films. Prepare to be impressed:

Her four-part series begins July 5 ($10/class).

Thanks, Baby Doe!

images via ToniBasil.net Read the rest

“Let’s Never Talk About This Again” is a touching memoir about birth, death, and dad’s amateur erotica career

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In 2012, I was given the privilege of performing my high school ska-punk hit song “Adam Wants A Blowjob” during a performance of Mortified in Brookline, Massachusetts. Mortified is a gloriously hilarious and cathartic evening of performance, wherein people perform excerpts from their actual, real-life high school and college journaling and other writing. It’s embarrassing; it’s touching; and it’s utterly delightful. In the years since then, I’ve had the privilege of performing my absolute worst high school pop-punk songs — some of which are so bad that it physically hurts me to play them — for sold-out audiences in Boston, New York, and Portland, Maine.

Over these years, I’ve gotten to know Mortified producer Sara Faith Alterman. Besides being a generally wonderful person, Alterman has a knack for figuring out the best way to present your most embarrassing high school material in the most enjoyable and emotionally impactful ways; I’ve worked with her enough that I can genuinely say that her curatorial eye is a true and rare talent.

And it’s that unique talent that she’s channelled perfectly into her new memoir, Let’s Never Talk About This Again. I had glimpsed pieces of the story over the years — through Mortified performances, and through social media — but reading it all compiled with Alterman’s trademark wit was a wonderful experience.

Given all that context, let me just pause for a moment to give you the official synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Sara enjoyed an G-rated existence in suburban New England, filled with over-the-top birthday cakes, Revolutionary War reenactments, and nerdy word games invented by her prudish father, Ira.

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“Southland Tales” is the perfect hot mess of a movie for the 4th of July in the hellscape of 2020

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Southland Tales has long occupied a special place in my heart. The only thing I knew about it was that it was written and directed by Richard Kelly, the guy who made Donnie Darko, and starred my cousin’s former high school baseball teammate, the Rock, in a dramatic role. So I ordered it on Netflix DVD in the summer of 2007, and popped it in while I did some laundry, only half paying attention.

Reader, Southland Tales is not a movie to half-pay attention to. Hell, even your full attention won’t do it justice.

I was so confused by the end of that first viewing that I went and read the Wikipedia plot summary, which made it sound like the most ambitiously epic end-of-days political sci-fi movie based on the Book of Revelations. So I immediately re-watched it … and still only barely understood what was being implied as a “plot” that fit kind of loosely within the framework of that Wikipedia plot summary. Then my roommates came home, and I forced them to watch it with me — my third viewing of the day — and frankly, I still don’t think they’ve forgiven me.

I have remained fascinated by this glorious trainwreck of a movie ever since that first accidental triple-viewing, even seeking out bootlegs of the infamous Cannes cut (which is neither better, nor worse, but rather, a different disaster of beautiful ambition). I’m not alone in this captivation; the movie has developed a cult following of people who love it both for and in spite of itself. Read the rest

Microsoft Announces New Windows 10 Start Menu Design, Updated Alt-Tab

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Microsoft is testing a number of Windows 10 upgrades to a small number of testers, including changes to the Alt-Tab function and a new Start menu design. The Verge reports: “We are freshening up the Start menu with a more streamlined design that removes the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list and applies a uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles,” explains Microsoft in a blog post. Essentially, the reduction in the color of the blocky tiled interface on the Start menu will simplify it slightly and make it easier to scan for the apps you use on a daily basis. It’s a subtle change, but it certainly makes the Start menu look a little less chaotic and avoids many tiles sharing a similar blue color.

Alongside an updated Start menu, the latest Windows 10 build includes some big changes to Alt-Tab. “Beginning with today’s build, all tabs open in Microsoft Edge will start appearing in Alt-Tab, not just the active one in each browser window,” explains Microsoft. This seems like a change that might be a little confusing for veteran Windows users, but Microsoft is thankfully allowing you to switch back to the classic Alt-Tab experience.

Microsoft is also making some smaller changes with this new Windows 10 build. The default taskbar appearance will also now be more personalized with the Xbox app pinned for Xbox Live users or Your Phone pinned for Android users. This will be limited to new account creation on a PC or first login, so existing taskbar layouts will remain unchanged. Notifications now include an X in the top right corner to allow you to quickly dismiss them, and Microsoft is also improving its Settings app in Windows 10. Links that would typically push you toward the system part of the legacy Control Panel system page will now direct you to the About page in Settings. This will now house the more advanced controls typically found in that system section of the Control Panel, and Microsoft is promising “there will be more improvements coming that will further bring Settings closer to Control Panel.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Finally, skincare for men that isn’t complicated

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Between work, family obligations, and just getting to bed at a decent hour, we all have a lot on our plates these days. So, it’s easy for things like grooming and skincare to never be a high-priority issue.

That is until they become a high priority issue. Like when your face constantly breaks out. Or when it dries out and flakes or cracks like the desert. Or when everyone you know asks why you look so tired or pale or just generally awful lately.

Eventually, self-realization happens, and that’s when we finally head over to the skincare aisle, where we are promptly overwhelmed by all the creams, washes, and masks that we can’t hope to make heads or tails of.

To cut through all that noise, Geologie has tried to boil basic men’s skincare down to easy to follow essentials. Because let’s face it: No one has the time or energy to figure out what the heck retinol and niacinamide are.

Geologie is men’s skincare reinvented and utterly simplified. When you go to the Geologie website, you take a quick 30-second diagnostic quiz about your skincare trouble areas. From there, Geologie whips up a customized four-step regimen that specifically addresses your skin and your priorities, then ships a 30-day trial supply right to your door for $37.

All the Geologie products are built to be powerful, effective, and simple with clinically-proven active ingredients that get you results.

Each morning, spend 60 seconds using the Everyday Face Wash to rinse away dead skin cells, then clean up with a blast of the Vital Morning Face Cream moisturizer-slash-SPF.  Read the rest

Captain America is now in Fortnite

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A Captain America skin is now available in Fortnite, Epic Games announced today. He’s the latest comic-themed skin to be added to the popular free-to-play battle royale game.

Captain America costs 2,000 V-bucks (about $20) from the Fortnite in-game store. If you buy the skin, you’ll also get Captain America’s iconic shield, which isn’t just cosmetic — you’ll be able to wear it on your back and use it as a pickaxe in-game. Captain America’s shield has actually already appeared in the game before — you could wield it last year as a special item in a limited time Avengers-themed mode, but you weren’t able to buy it to wear whenever you wanted.

There’s also a new Captain…

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Next-Gen Console Games Will Be $10 More Expensive

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If NBA 2K21 is any indication, the price of $59.99 new console games is about to be over: “NBA 2K21 will cost $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, an increase of $10 compared to the recommended price for the current generation’s AAA titles,” reports TheGamer. From the report: NBA 2K21, which will be released across both generations, will cost $69.99 on PS5 and Series X. That’s $10 more than the game will cost on PS4 and Xbox One. $59.99 is and has been the standard for AAA titles throughout the course of the current generation of consoles, and the generation before that for that matter. Although a recommended price of $69.99 might not apply to all of the next-gen’s top titles, NBA 2K21’s pricing certainly implies that will be the case. Comments from others in the industry have also hinted that the price will be upped across the board.

Former PlayStation exec Shawn Layden suggested during a recent interview that the price of next-gen games would have to be increased. Either that or the length of AAA titles would have to be shorter. For games like NBA 2K21, that isn’t really an option. Chances are developers won’t want to sacrifice storytelling just so they can charge less for a game, so be prepared to pay a little extra for quality games in the years to come.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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