The best guide to mechanical keyboard switches

Like me, you may have taken an interest in mechanical keyboards only to uncover a world of baffling options. "Can I have a clicky one, please" is like asking for a drink in a pub: they'll stare at you for a moment then say "which one, mate?" Brandon West reminded me that Input.Club is the best guide to all the options available, so when someone asks you if you want your Cherry Yellow or a nice Lubed Zealio, you'll know to slap them hard across the chops and say, "How dare you. 55g Topre Realforce Linears or nothing." Read the rest

It would cost more than $10k for a pro sports photographer to switch camera brands

Sony's cameras seem to be in a league of their own. So why do professionals stick with bulkier models from Canon and Nikon? One answer is glass—often just as pricey as pro-grade bodies, and you need a lot of it to be in business. DPReview's Dan Bracaglia suggests that Sony's latest full-frame model, the $5,000 A9, is so fantastic that many pros are talking about jumping ship, but should be cautioned by the sheer expense of doing so.

Using our example, the cheapest one could go full-on Sony, with most of the same kit is $22,870. After applying the $11,820 discount from having sold off all the Canon equipment, a photojournalist would still have to cough up about $11,050 to make the switch. Or they could simply take that $11,820 and buy a couple of a9 bodies and maybe a lens.

"Switching systems is a headache," he adds, "and sports photography gear is crazy expensive." Read the rest

Chester doesn't like Roomba

Chester (or Shasta?), a Red Labrador, has figured out a way to deal with the Roomba that's more efficient than barking at it or biting it: turning it off. [Thanks, Heather!] Read the rest

EU court rules against seller of "preconfigured for piracy" media boxes

An EU court ruled against a seller of customized set-top boxes this week, with the judge saying that his preinstallation of certain Kodi Add-Ons makes the boxes illegal to offer.

Mr Wullems sells, over the internet, various models of a multimedia player under the name ‘filmspeler’. That device acts as a medium between a source of audiovisual data and a television screen. On that player, Mr Wullems installed an open source software that enabled files to be played through a user-friendly interface, via structured menus. In addition, integrated into the player were add-ons available on the internet whose function is to retrieve the desired content from streaming websites and make it start playing, on a simple click, on the multimedia player connected to a television. Some of those internet sites give access to digital content with the consent of the right holders, whilst others give access without their consent. According to the advertising, the multimedia player made it possible, in particular, to watch on a television screen, easily and for free, audiovisual material available on the internet without the consent of the copyright holders

It might seem a 'technical' outcome: it's still fine to sell boxes with open streaming software, the end-user just has to set up arrmatey.plugin their own damned selves. But "Who, whom?" is always important. Read the rest

Internet-of-things water bottle will inform you of your drinking habits

AquaGenie is "the world's smartest water bottle," a $70 internet-of-things device that "knows your water goals" and will connect to the Internet to inform you if you have met them.

AquaGenie is your daily companion that keeps you on track and fully hydrated, helping you achieve all your health, wellness, fitness and weight loss goals! Attractive, durable, easy to wash and easy to use, your AquaGenie tracks your consumption, reports it to most fitness apps, and goes with you everywhere.

The AquaGenie bottle knows your daily water goal and how much you've had to drink. To keep you on track, when it sees you're behind, a glowing ring at the base of the bottle lights up to remind you to take a sip. It's that simple!

To recharge, just place it on its stand for an hour and you’re good to go for a week! No wires, no batteries to change, no need to set it still to take a measurement.

Unlike your current water bottle, it's wireless! Ah, but I snark. And in the wake of the Juicero "$500 bag-squeezing machine" fiasco, that's too easy. Beyond the naked consumerism, there's something deeply weird about the idea of smart gadgets. They tell us what we experience. Here, for example, is a machine that reminds you when and when not to be thirsty. You pick it up and ask it: am I thirsty?

Somewhere behind the gadget is a less human machine that doesn't know us but needs us to do things for it, and which has a lot of stories to tell to help us on our way. Read the rest

The Haunted Mansion Ghost Post wins a Themed Entertainment Award!

When I wrote about the Haunted Mansion loot crates ("Ghost Post") last March, what I couldn't say was that I was a writer on the project, penning the radio scripts, newspapers, letters, and associated gubbins and scraps that went along with the three boxes of custom-made props and merch, tying them together into a series of puzzles that the boxes' 999 owners solved together over the internet. Read the rest

Lawsuit claims Bose tracks what you listen to then sells the data

According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Chigago, Bose uses software to track the music and other audio listened to on its wireless headphones, violating the privacy of its users and selling the information.

The complaint filed on Tuesday by Kyle Zak in federal court in Chicago seeks an injunction to stop Bose's "wholesale disregard" for the privacy of customers who download its free Bose Connect app from Apple Inc or Google Play stores to their smartphones.

"People should be uncomfortable with it," Christopher Dore, a lawyer representing Zak, said in an interview. "People put headphones on their head because they think it's private, but they can be giving out information they don't want to share."

The headphones alone aren't the problem, apparently, but an optional app bundled with them. Savvy users may know that such things are often sleazy marketing wheezes, but that hardly excuses it. Read the rest

Lawsuit alleges Bose's headphone app exfiltrates your listening habits to creepy data-miners

Bose's $350 wireless headphones need an app to "get the most" out of them, and this app monitors everything you listen to -- the names of the podcasts, the music, videos, etc -- and sends them to Bose without your permission, according to a lawsuit filed this week in Chicago by Kyle Zak. Read the rest

Your squeezing hands outperform this $400 IoT juicer

Juicero is a self-parodying high-tech juicing machine that raised millions in venture capital on the promise of delivering a highly calibrated squeeze to a pack of mulch sold in expensive, DRM-locked pouches, for a mere $400. Read the rest

Square prints at last for Fuji's instant cameras

Fujifilm's Instax cameras are fun, but the expense of the cartridges is a drag and you're either into the "illusion of truth" of instant photography or you ain't. The Instax Square heads past this by integrating a display so you can choose whether or not to print a shot. It also prints square photos, like old-fashioned Polaroids (albeit smaller), instead of the usual half-size or widescreen Instax slips.

The drag now is the basic price: $280! And despite my pooh-poohing of the idea that instant photography is any more truthful than "best selfie of 100" smartphone photography, I kind of wish they hadn't added filters. I suppose once you have a digital display, you've got some computing power in there, and that kind of feature creep is inevitable. Likewise, there's now a card slot to let you transfer photos to phone or computer. It's out in May, but you can order it already.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Instant Camera [Amazon link] Read the rest

Make: a two-button Binary Keyboard

Chris Johnstone's "Binary Keyboard" is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don't worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use). Read the rest

The Building Shaker: a thumping gadget for annoying your noisy neighbors

The Chinese media report on a man called Zhao from Xi'an who took revenge on his noisy upstairs neighbors whose boy wouldn't stop jumping on his ceiling by buying a "building shaker" -- a gadget that thumps your shared walls until your neighbors capitulate -- and leaving it on while he went away for the weekend. Read the rest

Why Sony PS4s get roach-infested so easily

It's not your imagination: Sony's Playstation 4 really is unusually vulnerable to cockroach infestation. The reasons why remind me of airline disasters: a combination of several individually-trivial mistakes that combine to form something awful. But the results are so gross Sony won't repair PS4s with roaches in them, writes Kotaku's Cecilia D'Anastasio, sending mystified owners into the arms of disgusted local repair shops.

Matt Zieminski, who works for console repair suite IFixit, told me that most of the time, the consoles aren’t sent in for roach cleaning—the users don’t know they’re infested. The PS4s just stop working and the owners don’t know why. Turns out, the PS4’s internal power supply fries roaches onto its components, which can stop the PS4 from turning on. When the bugs have made little homes in there, and have little roach kids, those roach kids and their feces can melt onto the hardware.

Zieminski knows a PS4 is infested because “Roaches leave traces,” he says. “Their poop color is distinct and has a certain smell to it. We kind of know right off the bat if there are poop stains on the vent of the fan—we assume it’s bug-loaded.”

Read the rest

Beautiful articulated anatomical, natural history and microscopic pendants

Etsy seller Tcustom is a carver who casts their small creations to make beautiful, detailed articulated keychains and pendants, the best of which use contrasting materials. Some of my favorites: Anatomical Human Head; Salamander Life Cycle; Mitochondria and Trilobite. Read the rest

Inert Products: simulated suicide bombs and body parts for training exercises

If four years of life with your circumcision simulator has taken some of the bloom off the rose, you can refresh your collection of odd simulators with Inert's line of training gadgets for people combating suicide bombers, which include suicide vests, IEDs (including "person borne" IEDs), and complete training kits for gaming out guerrilla battles and/or multiple shooter responses, with fake guns, rocket launchers, balaclavas, grenades, etc. Read the rest

The amazing world of Casio watchmodding

The last time we wrote about the Casio F-91W digital watch, it was to note the odd connection between the timepiece and suicide bombing, but that's not the only extraordinary activity pursued by aficionados of the watch: they also love to mod 'em. Read the rest

Prison inmates built working PCs out of ewaste, networked them, and hid them in a closet ceiling

Inmates in Ohio's Marion Correctional Institution smuggled computer parts out of an ewaste recycling workshop and built two working computers out of them, hiding them in the ceiling of a training room closet ceiling and covertly patching them into the prison's network. Read the rest

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