Amazon just bought mesh wifi company Eero. Oh, great.

We have an Eero system in our house; it does really good and reliable wifi distribution, including to my office in the garage. And it was nice to have a piece of home electronics that was neither from one of the great data-sucking companies like Google, nor from the control-freak companies like Apple -- and also not from a no-name white-label re-badger or a giant shitty telco switch company whose consumer products arm is an afterthought. Read the rest

New battery-powered portable monitor not terrible

The Taihe Gemini is a slim, battery-powered 15.6" touchscreen display that's raised more than $1m at Kickstarter. The Verge's Sam Byford took it for a spin.

The pre-production version I tested has a matte 1080p touchscreen. It’s not the most beautiful display in the world, with pedestrian color reproduction at 72 percent of the NTSC gamut, but it is at least an IPS panel with solid viewing angles. There’s also a 2mm-thicker 4K model that omits touch functionality but achieves a claimed 100 percent of Adobe RGB coverage. I wasn’t able to test that version, so I can’t speak to its supposedly better color performance.

The touch functionality on the 1080p model sadly doesn’t extend to its janky button-operated settings menu, but it’s actually pretty cool if you have a compatible phone with a desktop mode, like a Samsung Galaxy Note with Dex or a Huawei device that supports Easy Projection.

I'm quite eager to see this myself: sounds perfect for using in portable MAME cabinets, retrofitting into dead terminal monitor cases, and other assorted witchcraft. Read the rest

HP's ink DRM instructs your printer to ignore the ink in your cartridge when you cancel your subscription

Inkjet printer manufacturers continue to pioneer imaginative ways to create real-world, desktop dystopias that make Black Mirror look optimistic by comparison: one such nightmare is HP's "subscription" printers where a small amount of money buys you ink cartridges that continuously communicate with HP's servers to validate that you're still paying for your subscription, and if you cancel, the ink stops working. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a suitcase that becomes a closet

Every year or two, I embark on a round of crazy book-tour travel where I change cities every day for weeks on end (35 cities in 45 days on two continents in 2017!), and I'm on a perennial quest for a piece of luggage that is fuss-free: I want to stumble exhausted into my room, late at night, and in a few seconds access everything I need to go to sleep and then get out the next morning. Read the rest

An audacious design for a sysadmin-centered subnotebook computer where function is everything

Sukhe's plan for an "adminbook" is an audacious, well-developed plan for a laptop tailored to the needs of network administrators: small, intended for use in dark, cramped places, convertible into an external drive or display for headless systems or those needing their ROMs flashed, multilingual, with many options for I/O and power. Read the rest

Great deals today on Logitech stuff at Amazon

Logitech stuff is sharply marked down at Amazon today, so I'm going to give you my recommendations and a couple of nopes too. The links here are all affiliate ones, so I'll get a cut.

1. The G-series mice are great. I have the basic model, the G603, and it makes me mad I ever bothered fooling around with other supposedly-premium brands. The "lightspeed" dongle wireless works so well I never have to think about it, but they have Bluetooth too if you don't want to sacrifice a USB port. You do, though, because Bluetooth is trash.

2. However, avoid the K-series and all the basic combo keyboards, with one exception (below). These are the bread-and-butter of the lineup and look OK, but the reality is that they're only marginally better than cheapo generic models. The squidgy, stiff rubbery keys of most of Logitech keyboards are neither one thing (the low-travel laptop fingertip numbers we're at least used to nowadays) or the other (the deep-travel mechanical or rubberdome switches of yore).

Instead, go for:

3. The Romer-G series or the Romer-K840. These may be controversial picks, because Romer is Logitech's attempt to muscle in on the effectively open-standard world of mechanical keyboards with a proprietary switch hardly distinguishable from the ubiquitous Cherry Brown. But they're good gadgets at good prices today, so here they are. (Logitech does makes a Cherry-switch keyboard, the Orion, but it's just OK and doesn't have a rainbow inside it)

4. The C922x streaming webcam is about the best on the market and is half off. Read the rest

Table saws are dangerous

Crappy little table saws are marketed as cheap gifts and impulse buys by hardware stores, right there alongside drills and shop vacs. But they are uniquely dangerous and I got rid of mine after an alarming experience made me sit and think about the forces in play—and how close our heads and hands are to them.

This video illustrates the problem well and debunks, in passing, some of the myths about the dangers. A SawStop won't stop kickbacks. For almost any task short of ripping lumber, other tools will do the job just as well. [via] Read the rest

Apple’s next iPhones and iPads: Triple camera, 3-D back camera for AR, new Face ID, iOS 13 Dark Mode, new cheap iPad

Rumor has it that Apple is testing a triple camera system for iPhones in 2019, plus other improvements including 'dark mode.' Less expensive iPads and an updated iPhone XR are also said to be in development. Read the rest

Skull microphone

Von Erickson Laboratories created this skull microphone, which the press release compares to the Shure 55. It's $375 and made in bright chrome, dark chrome, gunmetal, white and orange, but the chrome models are sold out. Read the rest

Basement excavation project using RC toys enters eleventh year

This video shows remote-controlled miniature diggers being used to escavate basement. It's taken quite a while, according to one source, though it seems more like a growing hobby than an explicit construction project.

You'll be struck by how incredible the "toys" are. Find out more at

On our forum you will find many gifted builders of both trucks and construction equip of all levels of skill and everyone is friendly, outgoing & enjoys helping out newcomers wanting to get involved with the hobby. There's a Vendor's Section of private hobbyists who are willing to put up their skills for hire at a fee that is driven moreso to help others in the hobby, rather than lining their pockets for maxium profit..don't get me wrong, they don't give away their time, but they are priced very reasonably and the quality of their work is carefully monitored by myself & others who are leaders of the forum.

The detailed perfection of the custom-built mini-diggers makes screenshots and some of the videos disorienting, as if we had discovered and begun unearthing vast mysterious monuments that perfectly resembled dingy basements.

Here's another:

Read the rest

Those rectangular foam snow brooms are trash

We got one of these gadgets from The Lakeside Collection and it broke on the first use. It turns out the screw neck is made of the cheapest plastic known to man and is doomed to failure upon contact with anything harder than snow, such as ice, wipers, mirrors, roofracks, antennas, and so on.

Worse, for the few minutes it was working, it was conspicuously less effective than a brush.

So I'm going to just get a decent, big-ass brush. I'm going to give the Hopkins Snowbroom [Amazon] a try because it's slightly more expensive than everything else, looks sturdy, has great reviews, and because I don't want to be the type of person who ends up buying three different snow-removing gadgets. Read the rest

Making a song from the Tropic Thunder "I'm a Dude" quote with Teenage Engineering's amazing OP-1

It's a very expensive wee gadget, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 [Amazon link; a used one from eBay is much cheaper]! Yuri Wong is an expert with its sampling and sequencing tools, and this video he uploaded is a fascinating illustration of how powerful and approachable they are.

Download the mp3: [Logic Project download link below] I'm a fan of Tropic Thunder, especially Robert Downey's character of Kirk Lazarus and his brilliant line, "I'm a dude, playing a dude, disguised as another dude." Thought I'd play around with my Teenage Engineering OP-1 and see what comes out. I'm making the Logic Project for the full track downloadable. Here it is: Have a play around with the project, and if you feel like uploading anything from it, just credit my YouTube channel, thanks.

Read the rest

Google Fi to carriers: don't sell our customers' location data to third parties

In the wake of this week's Motherboard scoop that the major US carriers sell customers' location data to marketing companies that sell it on to bounty hunters and other unsavory characters, Google has disclosed that they have told the carriers that supply service for its Google Fi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that they expect that Fi customers' data will not be sold this way. Read the rest

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

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