First 1 terabyte SD card hits stores

Quantity has a quality of its own. Lexar is the first to get 1TB SD cards to market.

As ever, there’s a price premium associated with this breakthrough in capacity; you’ll pay more for a single 1TB card than you would for two 512GB cards. Lexar has set the price at $499.99 for this model, although B&H has it available to order at $399.99 — that’s still quite a hike considering the same retailer has various 512GB cards for under $150.

The first 1TB hard drive you could buy was back in 2007.

According to Hitachi, the drive ships in the first quarter of 2007, and will cost $399--less than the price of two individual 500GB hard drives today. The drive, called the Deskstar 7K1000, will be shown this weekend in Las Vegas at the 2007 International CES

Hitachi notes it took the industry 35 years to reach 1GB (in 1991), 14 years more to reach 500GB (in 2005), and just two more years to reach 1TB.

Western Digital announced the first 15TB hard drive a few weeks ago, but the largest I can find to buy is the 14TB model from Toshiba.

But spinning disks are yesterday's news. Seagate sells a 60TB SSD. Call for pricing. Read the rest

Medieval book opens six ways, revealing six different texts

A XVIth Century book held in the National Library of Sweden's collection features a "sixfold dos-a-dos binding," meaning that the book could be opened in six different ways to reveal six different texts ("devotional texts printed in Germany during the 1550s and 1570s,including Martin Luther, Der kleine Catechismus"), with the hinges doubling as latches. Read the rest

CES rescinds own award from sex toy because sex toys are obscene

The Consumer Entertainment Show gave a digital sex toy an award. Then it rescinded the award because sex toys are "immoral, obscene, indecent [or] profane" and banned it from the trade show floor. Katie Notopoulos reports, however, that they've given such toys awards in the past.

It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision to include an adult product. The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years.

A representative from CTA told BuzzFeed News, “[Osé] does not qualify because it does not fit in to any of our existing CES 2019 categories.” Asked to clarify if this is because it didn’t meet the standards of being a robot or drone, they replied, “it’s an adult product so not eligible.”

Those dead-eyed, life-size sex dolls are another feature of CES that are fine by it:

Perhaps the answer to all this is that CES's executives are old-school sexist twerps and there's simply no unraveling what's going on under their skin. In 2012, the BBC reported that CES chief Gary Shapiro mocked complaints about the "booth babes" that were then still a pervasive feature at the exhibition.

"Well, sometimes it is a little old school, but it does work," Shapiro tells the BBC. "People naturally want to go towards what they consider pretty. So your effort to try to get a story based on booth babes, which is decreasing rather rapidly in the industry, and say that it's somehow sexism imbalancing, it's cute but it's frankly irrelevant in my view."

This man is the head of America's main tech industry trade group. Read the rest

Wacom shows off entry-level Cintiq pen display

The leap from Wacom's Intuos (a ~$300 graphics tablet) to its Cintiq (a $1200 pen-sensitive display) was always too much for me to make: a big investment in a new way of working that I'm not sure I'd benefit from. The likelihood of me forking out receded further when the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil came along, offering better latency for less dough. That said, you don't get Creative Suite and you're stuck with Apple's cursor-less way of doing things—so I might well give the new $649 Cintiq 16 [Wacom] a try.

The first "entry-level" Cintiq, it has a 1080-line 15.6-inch display with 8,192 pressure levels, and ditches the physical buttons and touch support found on the high-res Cintiq Pro models.

Now, $649 is nothing to sneer at. But for students and working artists who use cheap knockoffs and are sick of fooling around with them, it's a useful ramp to the industry standard. Read the rest

Razer laptops get hotter

Too late for Christmas! Razer's laptops—one of few designed for playing games that an adult could use in public without embarassment—got a spec bump to include 2000-series Nvidia graphics chips.

The updated line of laptops will also feature an anti-ghosting keyboard powered by Razer Chroma which offers 16.8 million colors for key customization. New power management options, including modes to boost graphics performance, or to maximize the run time of the 80Wh battery. Audio is delivered through improved dual front-firing speakers and features Dolby Atmos for deeper bass response in the sound.

Configurations start with the 2060 part, which was just announced by NVidia at a pre-CES event, but if you're going to spend this much on a laptop you should probably hike up to the 2070. It comes in white and traditional Razer "black 'n' rainbows". They'll be out Jan. 29, and if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

I found that a 15" laptop was too hefty for me and recently went back to a 12" MacBook as my daily driver. I'm more tempted to switch, then, by the smaller 13" Razer Blade Stealth laptop [Amazon]. Updated two months ago, it's still the size of a MacBook but now includes the MX150 chip. It won't handle the latest games on Ultra, but it is a credible game-capable GPU in an ultraportable laptop. (Last-gen Stealth owners had to get an external GPU to play—a bulky ask) Read the rest

The OTFB: a switchblade-inspired, machined sculpture

Machinist/sculptor Chris Bathgate (previously) has revealed his latest piece: the OTFB (out the front/out the back), a spring-loaded, switchblade-inspired piece that substitutes rotation for a sliding switch, "creating a small amount of mechanical advantage, lessening the effort on the part of the user needed to load the spring in the assembly." Read the rest

Behold the jukebox of tomorrow

Chris Patty made a wooden mini-jukebox where you pick songs by swiping magnetic cards. It's like a prop from an old BBC sci-fi show about how great it would be to listen to music would be in 2019.

The Verge's Jacob Kastrenakes:

Patty created the jukebox as a Christmas gift for his father, after his family decided to only swap handmade presents this year. He later posted a short video of the creation to Twitter, where he’s received enough positive responses that he’s working on an open source version of the software and instructions so that fans can make their own. ...

“I think [the response] speaks to a shared displeasure with the current state of our music services,” Patty tells The Verge in an email. The limitless libraries inside Apple Music and Spotify cheapen the experience, he says. “There’s something about the limiting factors of physical media that force you to choose ... the music that is most meaningful. And that kind of curation, I think, is something we all deeply miss.”

Read the rest

Phones without headphone jacks suck

Techcrunch's Greg Kumparak started agitating for phones to have standard 3.5mm jacks in the 2000s, rejoicing when the original Iphone shipped with one; now, two years after Apple took away the phone jack (and after most of the major phone manufacturers followed suit), he's still lamenting the loss: my original Pixel finally died (I can no longer find charging cases to make up for its limping battery) and I've ordered a Pixel Three and the stupid dongle that lets you charge your phone while plugging in standard headphones -- it hasn't arrived yet and I already hate it. As a heavy traveler who is very reliant on a phone for translation, itinerary management, mobile hotspot, etc, the last thing I needed was another dongle to manage, another device-class to charge, another charger to carry, and another hard-to-source component to lose or break while I'm between cities. (Image: Bribass) Read the rest

Keytar made out of a Commodore 64

Enjoy this completely perfect keytar made from a Commodore 64. The pickups send sound via an FPGA to the original SID chip to allow a variety of chiptastic effects, applied using the computer's keyboard. Read the rest

Man who invented Keurig K-Cups regrets it

John Sylvan, the Keurig engineer who invented the K-Cup pod coffee system in the 1990s, regrets his mistake. It was intended for the corporate service market and the idea that people have these things in their homes leaves him "absolutely mystified."

He says he doesn't begrudge the company for its success, or for wanting to make money, but he does question consumers' slavish devotion to the things. The company's latest product, the Keurig 2.0, which allows users to use pods to make larger cups and pots of coffee, is a great example of that.

"I stopped when I was walking in the grocery store aisle and I said, 'What is that?'" Sylvan recalls. "I picked it up and looked at it and said, 'You have to be kidding me.' Now they want you to make a pot of coffee with a Keurig machine."

I switched to a Nespresso Essenza Mini [Amazon] a while back and it tastes much better. You can send in your pods to be recycled by Nespresso. It's "espresso", mind you, not "coffee". If you want coffee, just get an Aeropress, for Christ's sake.

Previously: The worst K-Cup coffee Read the rest

Analog privacy leak: discarded label maker cartridges

Peter Sobot, an engineer at Spotify, noticed something unsettling about his Brother label maker. Though apparently high-tech, under the laptop-style case they still use old-timey printing ribbons that retain an image of everything they ever spit out. Don't discard: destroy!

Thermal label makers solve this problem, but don't offer quite so attractive a result. So I use an old-timey Dymo embosser [Amazon] , with the type wheel and rigid tape: the letterpress of labelmakers. Read the rest

The strange and complex world of flame-effect LED bulbs

To my delight and awe, I have discovered a whole, new-to-me universe of "realistic flame" effect LED lightbulbs, which produce the illusion that you have a goblet of raging flame sticking out of your lightsocket: the bulbs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes (and can also be had in fanciful colors, for about $6-8/bulb (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

reMarkable tablet: A software update makes this forgotten gadget incredibly useful

A couple of years ago, I was asked if I'd like to review the reMarkable tablet. If you're unfamiliar with it, the reMarkable is an E Ink slate and pen solution that provides a digital note taking and sketching solution that feels eerily close to writing on paper. I was excited to take it for a spin: despite the fact that I type for a living, my note taking and a good chunk of my writing is decidedly old school.

So far, I've had no luck in finding any hardware solution that serves me better than a piece of paper and a fountain pen can. Unfortunately, at its release, the reMarkable wasn't all that remarkable. While the latency of the tablet's E Ink display and pen were close to non-existent, the rest of its software felt under baked. The UI was far from intuitive. It functioned as an e-reader, but only barely. While you could export what you'd written to a smartphone or computer, there was no way to edit the text once it was there. It felt like a slog to use. I asked a colleague in Canada if he'd like to give it a try. I mailed it out to him and, a few weeks later, it came back to me, marked not "deliverable." I didn't have time to ship it out again as I was preparing to spend several months on the road. I threw it into the back of my workspace's storage cupboard. It lurked there until today. Read the rest

Samsung faked a smartphone portrait with a stock photo taken with a DSLR

Samsung's latest phones have a "portrait" mode that cleverly fakes the look of a shot taken with a fancy lens on a full-frame sensor. But a picture they used as an example in an ad turns out to be a stock photo taken with a high-end DLSR. Moreover, the photographer, Dunja Djudjic, has a blog and is currently murdering Samsung.

My first reaction was to burst out into laughter. Just look at the Photoshop job they did on my face and hair! I’ve always liked my natural hair color (even though it’s turning gray black and white), but I guess the creator of this franken-image prefers reddish tones. Except in the eyes though, where they removed all of the blood vessels.

Whoever created this image, they also cut me out of the original background and pasted me onto a random photo of a park. I mean, the original photo was taken at f/2.0 if I remember well, and they needed the “before” and “after” – a photo with a sharp background, and another one where the almighty “portrait mode” blurred it out. So Samsung’s Photoshop master resolved it by using a different background.

Huawei did exactly the same thing a while back. We wonder at the sheer stupidity of it, but I wonder if that's just confirmation bias, in that the stupid ones get caught.

Just think of all the plagiarism that's going to be exposed virtually overnight when someone turns the AIs loose on the problem. But also the false charges of such, generated by the normal and natural lines of influence and fair use it will also reveal. Read the rest

Video warns of "illuminati pyramid" clocks

16 thousand people have watched this ambient yet vaguely sinister YouTube video alerting viewers to the existence of "illuminati pyramid" clocks. I recently found a 1984 Seiko original at a garage sale for $2—my new favorite toy!—and thought I'd share the ancient wisdom.

Best of all, it preserves bacon much better than the late-2000s replica. I wish it would stop talking to me in my sleep about the Clintons, though.

Photo: Selçuk Oral Read the rest

Man arrested for rape after his Playstation mic allegedly broadcast audio from the crime to other players

Last June, 18-year-old Daniel Fabian of Pasco County, Florida was playing Grand Theft Auto Online, when he informed the other players in his team chat that he was going to take a break to "smash" (have sex with) a 15-year-old girl. Read the rest

The winners in a massive roundup of the 100 Best Pens are surprisingly affordable

The writers of New York Magazine's Strategist tested "dozens upon dozens of gels, rollerballs, felt-tips, ballpoints, and fountain pens" and published a ranked list of the top 100 pens in existence. Read the rest

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