EFF-Austin's Jon Lebkowsky writes: "Every year while thousands flock to a certain large festival that temporarily colonizes Austin, EFF-Austin throws a honking big geek soiree. Keynote speakers are this year are Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf, Native American VR/AR activists who are using technology to preserve their culture and heritage. Additional speakers include EFF Investigative Researcher David Maass discussing police surveillance, government transparency, and legislation in California, former EFF-Austin president Jon Lebkowsky, Carly Rose Jackson with Texans For Voter Choice, and Vikki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 47. Also music by Michael Garfield, Pilgrimess, and UBA, plus custom video game consoles, lockpicking, and cosplay.
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Chinese transit cops are wearing glasses with heads-up displays and cameras tied into the country's facial recognition to spot criminals, people smugglers, and riders who are using high-speed trains in defiance of rules that prohibit indebted people and people from ethnic and religious minorities from traveling.
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Scott Stein is beta testing a new mobile app from Ikea called Ikea Place. It lets you augment the real world with Ikea furniture, for your own amusement and that of others, and perhaps now and again to help you decide what furniture to buy. Read the rest
I bought this string of 100 LEDs with a solar charger a couple of years ago to put on our front gate. I set it to blink and it was a nice way for people to find our house at night. But a couple of months ago we had some work done on the gate and the guy severed the wires. So I bought a new one. The solar panel has a built-in battery and I used Sugru to mount it to the gate. It works really well. Amazon has this on sale right now for $(removed). Read the rest
Comply foam tips really improve my IEMs!
I've been traveling a lot, again. The B&O H5's I've been enjoying came with some Comply foam tips to try, and I'm hooked. These memory foam tips really make a difference!
I tried the included Comply foam tips when I couldn't get a good fit in my right ear with the rubbery ones B&O offered. I was instantly pretty impressed. Rolled and compressed between my fingers, before I inserted the buds, the memory foam expanded to fill my ear while adding no uncomfortable pressure. I got a fantastic seat, and seal, allowing the ear buds to stay in place, pain free, for a coast-to-coast trip across the US.
I've also been using the ear buds, with foam tips installed, just for noise isolation. Several times I've slept on the plane with the IEMs in, but no music on. They do a wonderful job of taking the edge off ambient noise.
I also suggest the "X" models with the wax filter. I can hear no difference to the buds I have without, but they keep ear wax out of the tiny tube the headphones use to send sound your way. That has to be a good thing. I hate cleaning out headphones.
I usually end up making cheap Sugru custom fit tips for my IEMs, but for now Comply tips actually seem to do the job better and save me the trouble.
Comply has a great compatibility finder, to tell you which model fits your headphones. Read the rest
Raph Koster is one of the world's most celebrated game designers, responsible for the design of Ultima Online, CCO of Sony during the Star Wars Galaxies era, and author of the classic Theory of Fun. Ever year, Raph gives a barn-raising/barn-burning speech at the Game Developer's Conference, one of the don't-miss moments of the conference. This year's speech is no exception. Read the rest
Work, today's XKCD installment, hypothesizes the latent, invisible human effort that went into the everyday things around us, from the hours of meeting-time to decide upon the length of the stem of a goose-neck lamp to the career-ending engineering argument over where to put its switch. It's a kind of preview of what augmented reality could bring, the embodiment of the spime idea, where the full costs and histories of the things around us cluster around them in complicated, emotional clouds -- an idea that's been around since at least 2006, but that is feeling increasingly likely with the passage of time. Read the rest
Posavina bez mina, a humanitarian organization that works to defuse landmines in the former Yugoslavia, has posted a warning to its Facebook page saying that they've been told that Pokemon Go players are venturing into active minefields to catch virtual critters, and warning people not to go into minefields to catch Pokemon, which is very good advice. Read the rest
Like most other online services, Pokemon Go's terms of service are a reboot of the Book of Revelations, full of bizarre horrors, each more grotesque than the last. Read the rest
The crowdsourced database that was use to seed locations to catch Pokemon in Pokemon Go came from early augmented reality games that were played by overwhelmingly affluent (and thus, disproportionately white) people, who, in an increasingly racially segregated America, are less and less likely to venture into black neighborhoods, meaning that fewer Pokemon-catching landmarks have been tagged there. Read the rest
Lanceypooh, a maker of Youtube videos, was out hunting for Pokemon, playing the tulip-fever-sensation game Pokemon Go, when he seems to have trespassed on a stranger's land, drawing gunfire from the irate landholder. Read the rest
Pokemon Go is the game of the summer: the first really successful alternate reality game that mashes up crowdsourced maps, in-phone cameras, seriously addictive game mechanics, and (of course) a free-to-play/cash-to-accelerate slot machine mechanic that children wouldn't be allowed to stand near if it were in a casino -- in less than a week, it's lifted Nintendo's stock price by 10% and been implicated in any number of bizarre news stories: Read the rest
I stumbled across this video for Plastimake, which is a moldable, resuable plastic that can be formed into just about anything, and now I want nothing more than to try it out. (It's a bit like Sugru repair putty, but while that dries into a rubbery material, Plastimake cools into hard, basically unbreakable plastic.) Sadly, the company has been overwhelmed by orders recently and new stock won't be available until May 2015, although the site is currently accepting backorders.
In the meantime, potentials fans can browse the impressive galleries of all of the stuff people have created with Plastimake, including practical fixes, costumes, and sculptures.
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Ever since I blew my mind by cold-brewing ground cacao nibs, I've been experimenting with the process, and have discovered some amazing variations on the formula. Read the rest