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26
Jun

After Math: What are we watching?


These days, it seems the only news being reported is bad news. Britain’s surprise exit from the EU stands to tear the nation in twain, Zika is spreading across the planet like viral wildfire, economic and racial divisions are widening; Trump is still a thing and none of it looks even close to being resolved. Thank goodness for the internet which, this week, brought us 25 hours of congressional sit-ins, Adele’s latest album over streaming and 23 new Instagram video channels. Numbers, because how else will we know how badly the global economy is tanking?

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26
Jun

Ben Heck’s Essentials series: Logic gates


Ben Heck's Essentials Series 4 - Logic Gates

Join Ben, Karen and Felix as they teach you the basic functions of digital circuitry and electronics with logic gates. Using the basis of the Hackmanji game, you’ll soon learn the difference between NAND, AND, XOR and OR logic gates. These components, with their basic Boolean logic, are the backbone for all sorts of electronics, from cameras to mobile phones. Get in touch and help The Ben Heck Show team with the puzzles for the game on the element14 Community page, where you can also find the build files to code along with the projects on the show.

26
Jun

HP Elite x2 (2016) review – CNET


The Good The updated HP Elite x2 has a slim, sturdy design, a more comfortable keyboard than Microsoft’s Surface Pro and it includes that keyboard in the base price. With a fingerprint reader, replaceable components and docking options, it’s suitable for both work and play.

The Bad The Elite’s touchpad is easily confused, sometimes unresponsive, and the battery won’t quite last a full day.

The Bottom Line HP’s Elite x2 is a must-look for any buyer considering a Microsoft Surface-like computer, and the quality bundled keyboard means it effectively costs less, too.

“The tablet that can replace your laptop.” That’s what they say in those Microsoft Surface ads. But the Microsoft Surface Pro doesn’t come with a keyboard — if you want to replace your laptop, you’ll need to pay $130 extra for that in the US.

The HP Elite x2 is different. Starting at the same $899 as a Surface Pro 4 (£708 in the UK or AU$1661 in Australia), HP’s 12-inch tablet includes the keyboard cover that Microsoft’s slate lacks. And a fingerprint sensor. And a non-proprietary USB-C charger that can power other devices as well.

And — get this — a design where users can actually open up the case and replace the components, including the battery, storage module, Wi-Fi chip and the colorful display. As far as we’re aware, it’s the first ultrathin, fanless tablet to offer such easy access.

So last month, I tried to replace my laptop with an Elite x2. Here’s what happened next.

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HP’s Elite x2 includes the keyboard that Microsoft’s Surface Pro lacks.


James Martin/CNET

The commute

At just under two pounds and 13.45mm thick — with the keyboard attached — the Elite x2 is among the most portable computers I’ve ever carried. I love how the fabric-covered keyboard and shiny silver kickstand snap into place, how easily it slips into my messenger bag and that it barely seems to add any weight. Sometimes I walk out the door and wonder if I forgot to pack it.

On the train, things aren’t quite as easy. I use the Elite x2 on my lap, adjusting that shiny silver kickstand again and again to find the best angle, its corners digging into my thighs. The Elite can’t quite lean back far enough to align with my face unless I risk it tumbling backwards. A jolt as the train comes to a stop — the tablet pops right off its magnetic hinges. Both pieces clatter to the floor.

hp-elite-x2-drop.gifhp-elite-x2-drop.gif

This computer can survive a tumble.


GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET

After the spill, the Elite x2 is perfectly fine — no damage to the strong aluminum rim or shock-resistant Gorilla Glass 4-covered screen, which HP claims it tests to military durability standards. But every time it happens over the next few weeks, I can’t help but think I’d be better off with a traditional clamshell PC.

The so-called “lapabilty” problem isn’t unique to the Elite x2, by the way. It’s simple geometry: a kickstand and detachable keyboard take up way more room than a standard laptop bottom.

Depending on your commute and the shape of your lap, it might not be an issue at all.

The desktop

While the Elite x2 only has three visible ports — a full-size USB 3.0 port for thumbdrives and peripherals, a USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm headset jack for audio — you can buy one of three different docking stations (starting at US$150) to turn it into a fully-fledged multitasker.

26
Jun

LG SH7B review – CNET


The Good The LG SH7B offers excellent performance for the money, particularly for movies. The connectivity on offer is better than most competitors with HDMI, optical, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Streaming options include Google Cast, Spotify and Pandora.

The Bad Adding surrounds is a little ad hoc. If you want to listen to music, a dedicated stereo system will sound better for the money.

The Bottom Line The LG SH7B proves how far affordable sound bar/wireless subwoofer systems have come, and sounds equally credible with movies and music.

While Samsung and LG may be known variously as “those TV guys,” or even “they make cell phones,” both have been making inroads into audio for some years. Samsung says it wants to compete with Bowers and Wilkins, and LG was collaborating with hi-fi specialists as far back as 2008.

While LG’s partnership with Mark Levinson was short-lived, the company has seemingly been focused on sound quality ever since. The last few years of LG sound bars have been largely excellent — see 2015’s LAS751, for example — and the SH7B continues in this tradition.

For a $400 sound bar, the LG SH7B has a few more features than most in its price class, including multiroom streaming, Bluetooth and an HDMI input. Its performance is also a cut above competitors with a skilfully blend between the wireless sub and sound bar. While it’s best for movies, as most sound bars are, if you’re looking for a music player as well it will also do a more than creditable job.

Design

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The LG SH7B is a wireless soundbar and subwoofer combo which offers excellent performance and a wealth of connectivity options.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Slimline and discreet, the LG doesn’t impose itself too much on your living area. It’s roughly 42 inches wide and 2 inches high — and designed to complement 49-inch TVs — and the design features a mesh grille and finned ends. The LED display pokes through the grille and informs you of volume or your input. As the SH7B lacks an onscreen display, most of the functions are performed via this one-line readout.

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View full gallery

Sarah Tew/CNET

The subwoofer is a small, bookshelf-speaker-sized unit with a similar grille to the main speaker. It’s compact enough to be placed out of the way and yet we found that despite its diminutive size it was capable of plenty of impact. It connects to the soundbar wirelessly, so the only cable is the AC power cord.

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View full gallery

Sarah Tew/CNET

Though the remote that shipped with the LAS751 was a metal-decked affair, the SH7B is simple plastic. All of the functions for adjusting sound presets are available, though advanced functions such as streaming and adding rear speakers are provided by the Music Flow app.

Features

The SH7B is a 340W sound bar with a wireless subwoofer which offers HDMI input and output. The rest of the connectivity offering is high with the addition of Bluetooth wireless, digital optical, analog 3.5mm, plus Ethernet and Wi-Fi networking options.

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View full gallery

Sarah Tew/CNET

Of interest to people looking for a true surround system the sound bar is able to pair with other wireless LG speakers to act as surrounds, though competitors implement it more seamlessly.

The sound bar is part of LG’s Music Flow multiroom system, which boasts its own app. One of our favorite things about this player is that it can also serve as your on-the-go player, which enables you to seamlessly playback your Now Playing on your system when you get back home.

26
Jun

Lies, damned lies, and Facebook


zuck.jpg?itok=HEBbJ9pZ

“I saw on Facebook that …” No. Stop. You didn’t see anything on Facebook. You saw something that Facebook wanted you to click on.

I think at this point it’s pretty clear that the “Brexit” aftermath — to say nothing of the political landscape in the United States — points to a sad reality.

We don’t know what the hell we’re talking about anymore. And I’m prepared to squarely lay the blame on one thing.

Facebook.

OK, that’s not entirely true. I blame ourselves. We have all the power here, and none of the will. We scroll through our feeds in the morning — some 1 billion people every single day — and see all sorts of shocking clickbait. (You think one thing was going to happen. But when you click it, your jaw dropped!) It’s generally pretty easy to identify, but we all click anyway.

More dangerous is the stuff that sounds plausible. Britons search for “What is the EU?” after the Brexit vote? Sure. But it’s bullshit data, as former Googler Dan Morril rightfully pointed out.

“True enough” may be good enough to share, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually true.

Or the one that got me going early Saturday morning? “Google Play: Malicious Apps That Could Affect 90 Percent of Android Devices Discovered in App Store.” That one was also true, but also bullshit. All you had to do was actually read the source material (and Jerry did a great job getting even more information from the source material behind that) to find out that, the “90 percent of Android devices” stuff was flat-out wrong. And that the exploit was fixed a year ago. And that this was yet another example of a security company trying to get you to buy its shit.

Those are but two examples from the past two days. And I’m not exactly telling anyone anything they shouldn’t have already known here.

The question is why don’t we care? We do we refuse to put in even minimal effort to read more than one source. To read stories that maybe we disagree with, in hopes of becoming better informed about, well, all the things. To go just a little further than reading a summary on Facebook, then sharing it haphazardly.

Facebook indeed is all about bringing the world together. But that’s to serve its greater purpose — to keep you clicking on things in Facebook. That’s why we have clickbait headlines. That’s why algorithms show you what you think you want to see.

Whether it’s true or not? That’s for you to figure out. Or not.

A few other thoughts on things …

  • I don’t disagree with this. The DMCA was a good idea done badly and paved the way for the ridiculous “All copyright to the creator” lines you see alongside content that never should have been put online by someone else in the first place.
  • If you don’t own it, you shouldn’t upload it. It’s pretty simple.
  • But how do you put the toothpaste back in the tube?
  • YouTube pun intended.
  • Um, great idea. But if you really want to know if Clean Master works, maybe ask someone other than the company that makes Clean Master. It’s snake oil. Pure and simple.
  • I … just … wow.
  • And an update!!!
  • And what are the odds of there being two sorts of TWRP?
  • Excellent contest going on at TeslaCentral!
  • And VRHeads has a killer contest going on, too.
  • Glad to see LG launch a security site. (The “Security Bulletins” section is the part that addresses monthly updates.) But like I’ve said before, it’s worthless if devices aren’t actually being updated.
  • A great launch from MrMobile last week. I know what he does isn’t easy, but damned if I’m not jealous about how easy he makes it look. Video is hard.

That’s it for this week. See y’all Monday.

26
Jun

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: Solar Impulse’s record flight and more!


This week the Solar Impulse made history by becoming the first sun-powered airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, a team of Swiss students built an all-electric race car that smashed an acceleration record by going from 0-60 mph in 1.5 seconds flat. Sweden rolled out one of the world’s first electric highways, while two ex-Google employees are developing self-driving big rigs that slash emissions. And we showcased the Super 73 — a bike/motorcycle hybrid that’ll add some serious kick to your morning commute.
The Golden State is quickly transitioning to clean, renewable energy, and this week it announced plans to shutter its last nuclear power plant by the year 2025. Meanwhile, Tesla made a massive $2.8 billion bid for SolarCity, and researchers developed 1-micrometer-thin solar panels that are flexible enough to wrap around a pencil. In other solar news, a new breed of solar-thermal roof tiles can cut your home’s energy use by 85 percent, and a community of sun-powered prefab homes popped up in Los Angeles in a matter of hours.

Everyone knows that the Moon circles the Earth, but it turns out it’s not alone. NASA just announced that a tiny “mini moon” has been circling the planet for the past century. In other science news, an alarming new study warns that the world will run out of breathable air unless carbon emission are cut. Impossible Foods launched a meatless burger that cooks, smells and bleeds like beef, while a Dutch inventor unveiled a solar-powered cube that harvests water from thin air. Researchers developed a new type of vegan leather that’s made entirely from mushrooms, and the Cropbox is a pop-up shipping container farm that puts an entire acre of lettuce in your backyard.

26
Jun

Best TV catch-up on Freeview Play: Glastonbury 2016, Celebrity Masterchef and more


We know the feeling. You’re bored with live TV and want something to watch immediately that isn’t a soap or the news.

These days though, you are spoiled for choice, especially if you have Freeview Play on your TV or set-top-box.

Televisions, set-top-boxes and other kit that support Freeview Play offer the option to scroll back through the electronic programme guide and catch-up on shows you might have missed, ensuring that interesting, engaging shows are just a click or two away.

At present, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 programming is available to scroll back to on Freeview Play, while Channel 5’s can also be played through the Demand 5 app on supported devices. UKTV Play shows are also coming to the platform.

Here are a few ideas of programmes from the last seven days to start with.

READ: What is Freeview Play, when is it coming to my TV and how can I get it?

BBC

Celebrity Masterchef

BBC One (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Friday 24 June

No sooner has the full, public version of Masterchef finished than celebrities take up the pinnies for our entertainment.

Two groups of celebs entered the kitchen this week, including Russell Grant, ex-Eastender Todd Carty and, in the previous episode, Sinita and Donna Air.

BBC

Glastonbury 2016

BBC Two & BBC Four (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast from Friday 24 June

Some might gasp at how much the BBC spends on its Glastonbury Festival coverage each year, but its presentation is flawless and, let’s face it, this is the biggest and best music event in the world.

Underworld, Muse, Madness and Coldplay are just few of the acts playing over the weekend, and the Beeb had highlights and performances on BBC Two and BBC Four throughout.

BBC

Danger Mouse

CBBC (BBC iPlayer) – broadcast on Friday 24 June

CBBC is currently reshowing the triumphant return of Danger Mouse and his sidekick Penfold, with episodes available almost every day.

Alexander Armstrong and Kevin Eldon play the couple of rodent detectives respectively. It’s almost like it never went away in the first place.

ITV

UEFA Euro 2016 – Petit Highlights

ITV (ITV Hub) – broadcast on Wednesday 22 June

A collective sign of relief was heard around England when we qualified for the next round, even though we finished second and must face Iceland.

You can catch-up with what happened to all the other teams too, including the Icelanders, through catching up with ITV’s nightly highlights package.

ITV

The Chase

ITV 4 (ITV Hub) – broadcast on Friday 24 June

One of the best quiz shows on TV, The Chase is ridiculously tough for contestants, which makes it all the more exciting when they very occasionally win.

Facing the “Chasers” – quiz boffins and experts – in order to win cash is a great format. And you can catch up with plenty of repeated episodes on ITV 4.

Channel 4

The IT Crowd

E4 (All 4) – broadcast on Thursday 23 June

We miss the IT Crowd, after its final episode aired three years ago. Thankfully, Channel 4 continues the flame burning through regular repeats on E3.

If anything, the adventures of Roy, Maurice, Jen and the Reynholms (first Denholm then Douglas) get better on a second viewing or more.

Channel 4

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA

4seven (All 4) – broadcast Wednesday 22 June

Sweary and crinkly, there’s something about Gordon Ramsay that makes for compelling TV. And while he might have canned the series in 2014, old shows repeat regularly and are just as fresh today as they were back then.

Unlike many of the restaurants, which closed regardless of the help given by Ramsay and his crew.

Get catch-up and on demand TV for £0 per month with Freeview Play. Click here to find out more.

26
Jun

328 foot-long floating barrier will collect ocean trash


There are numerous efforts underway to clean the world’s oceans, but The Ocean Cleanup is testing what may be both the simplest and the most ambitious. It just launched a 328 foot-long prototype floating barrier that will collect trash floating in the North Sea. If it can survive the rough conditions of those waters, the plan is to deploy a 62 mile-long (!) barrier in the Pacific Ocean and reduce the size of the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch — the hope is to halve the size of the trash field in 10 years.

Whether or not it’s an ideal solution is up for debate. The 6.6 foot-deep design shouldn’t interfere with wildlife (unlike existing nets) and is intended to last through vicious storms. However, the University of Hawaii’s Jeffrey Drazen warns Scientific American that a massive barrier like this could mess with the distribution of animals in the region. Also, the surface pollution is just one part of a larger problem. We’ll only truly get rid of ocean debris when we avoid putting it there in the first place. Biodegradable materials and better recycling may ultimately be the key.

Via: Scientific American

Source: The Ocean Cleanup

26
Jun

Bose QuietComfort 35 Review


This article originally appeared on our sister site SoundGuys.com. For the full review & ratings, check out their Bose QuietComfort 35 Review!

For a long time, the QC25 headphones by Bose were the standard when it came to active noise cancelling. Now there are plenty of other great ANC headphones to choose from and some, like the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless and the Parrot Zik’s had one thing that the QC25s didn’t: Bluetooth. So now Bose has ditched the wires and the new QC35s can finally join the Bluetooth club, but is it too late?

What’s Inside

Bose QC35[6] copy

In the box you’ll get a hard shell carrying case, the headphones, a 3.5mm audio cable, a micro USB charging cable, airplane adapter, and the instruction booklet.

Build & Design

Bose QC35[1]

If you’re familiar with Bose products, you’ll immediately recognize the new QC35s. They have the same design that we’ve all grown familiar with from the padded oval-ish ear cups to the top of the headband, Bose didn’t make any drastic design changes. That said, the new QC35s aren’t exactly the same as the previous model. They are definitely bigger. At first it’s kind of hard to tell, but if you hold them next to the QC25s you’ll immediately see the difference. The headband is slightly thicker, the ear cups are slightly bigger, and the headphones overall are slightly heavier. Of course this is to be expected considering these new headphones have basically all of the components built-in, unlike the QC25’s which siphoned off some of the responsibility to the audio cable.

Bose QC35[5]

This time around the microphone and playback controls are now incorporated into the headphones instead. Bose also decided to ditch the AAA battery required for the QC25s in favor of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that’s built into the headphones. This is good since you won’t have to worry about finding another AAA battery when it dies, but bad if your headphones die mid-flight since you’ll have no choice but to find a way to recharge them if you want ANC. All that, plus the active noise cancelling components makes the light weight of these headphones pretty impressive. Sure they’re heavier now, but only just. Maybe it’s the extra padding on the headband or something like a placebo effect, but these still feel very light and not heavy on the head at all.

Bose QC35[3]

The headband is still very flexible and the headphones can fold down even smaller thanks to the ear cups being able to rotate 90-degrees and the headband folding at the hinges. The left ear cup still has an audio input for those times when the battery dies, but besides a tiny little microphone that’s all you’ll find. The right ear cup is where the magic happens. On the side there’s the power/Bluetooth pairing switch and two small grills where the microphones are. On the bottom of the ear cup are small indicator lights and the playback controls. One little thing that I appreciate is that the volume buttons are slightly raised above the multifunction button in the middle which helps to easily locate them while wearing them.

Connection

Bose QC35[2]

Bose doesn’t really like to take too many risks with their products, and the connection is a great example of this. It does’t have any crazy 100 foot range like we’ve seen in some Bluetooth speakers, but within the standard 33 foot range the connection works great. There wasn’t any skipping unless I was at the fringes of that 30 feet with a wall or two in the way. For regular usage, these should work just fine. You can control volume, skip between tracks, answer/end phone calls, and pause or play music just with a simple taps and clicks. There’s also a new app to go along with these but honestly I’m not sure why. There isn’t much extra functionality you get out of the app and it kind of seems like a waste to me. The only useful feature as far as I can tell is the ability to set a timer for the headphones to automatically turn off so that you can save battery. It also tells you how much battery is left and lets you rename the headphones, but was an app really necessary to do that?

Battery Life

Since you no longer need triple AAA batteries, you’ll have to rely completely on the built-in battery. Bose claims that while you’re connected via Bluetooth and have ANC turned on, the QC35s will give you a solid 20 hours of constant playback and in hour testing that was pretty spot on, though we got slightly less about 18 or 19 hours. If you’re going to be taking an obscenely long flight where you’ll need more than that, you can always plug in the included audio cable and only use ANC, which will double the battery life to about 40 hours.

Sound Quality

Bose QC35[4]

As one would expect, the ANC on these is great. Even without music playing a good amount of outside noise disappears the moment these touch your ears. We did most of our testing with ANC turned on, but we also did some testing with it turned off just to see if it affected sound quality and though soundstage does seem a little more constricted with ANC, it wasn’t anything too drastic.

Lows

Bose isn’t known for having the biggest bass, and the QC35s are no exception. But if happen to throw too much bass at them while they’re on max volume (like in the song “Unnecessary” by Childish Gambino), they do seem to have a weird rattle that wasn’t present in the previous version. That said you probably shouldn’t be blasting music into your ears at that volume anyway, but it’s just something to take note of. If you listen to your music on regular volumes you won’t have an issue.

Mids

As you may have guessed these are great in the mid-range, but Bose products usually are. Instruments that live in the mids like strings and even vocals have a good amount of detail and just sound gorgeous. A good example is in “La Valse d’Amelie “ by Yann Tiersen where nothing gets lost in the mix and there isn’t any muddiness at all.

Highs

Highs sound good but mainly because there isn’t harshness at all, even at max volume. Of course, this could be (and probably is) because of how Bose tends to cut off highs leaving less detail, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to not deal with piercing any piercing sounds. Overall, these provide a comfortably pleasant listening experience.

Small side note: call quality was really good on these as well. When you answer a call the ANC is turned off and the microphones in the headphones let you hear what’s going on around you too which is a nice touch.

Conclusion

Bose products are so hard to hate, and it’s never been so apparent to me than with the QC35s. Don’t let anyone tell you different, these are a really good pair of headphones. With the exception of one or two things, they’re basically perfect. Of course this is assuming you don’t mind the tweaks to the sound (which a lot of people seem to). But it’s still so hard to justify the $350 price tag. Sure these are super comfortable, and the ANC is great, but I’ve heard headphones that are literally a third of the price with 80% of the functionality. That said, if you tend to like Bose products chances are you’ll like these too.

Buy from Amazon

This article originally appeared on our sister site SoundGuys.com. For the full review & ratings, check out their Bose QuietComfort 35 Review!

26
Jun

Incipio just bought headphone maker Skullcandy


You probably don’t see Incipio as more than the company who made your phone case or external battery pack. However, it’s quietly becoming something of an accessory powerhouse: it owns brands like Braven and Incase. And now, it’s getting even bigger. Incipio is paying $177 million to acquire Skullcandy, best known for its ostentatious (if not usually top-rated) headphones. The move not only gives it a dedicated headphone brand, but dips its toes into the waters of gaming gear thanks to Skullcandy’s Astro Gaming badge.

Incipio tells The Verge that the deal won’t erase the Skullcandy brand, so it’ll likely retain much of its identity. However, don’t be surprised if this leads to devices that Skullcandy wouldn’t have otherwise made on its own, or crossovers where some of Skullcandy’s influence rubs off on Incipio’s other gadgets. Either way, the accessory world could look very different in the near future.

Via: Incipio

Source: GlobeNewswire

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