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Ben Heck’s Essentials series: A Star Wars LED art project


This week, Karen has a project that requires a bit of intelligence, and discrete electronics can provide just that. To make her laser-cut Star Wars BB-8 light more responsive to the world around it, Ben helps design a circuit using active and passive components, from resistors, capacitors and inductors to diodes and transistors. These components form the foundation of modern electronics, including everything from video cameras to smart phones. Watch this episode to find out how you can make your projects more reactive with a photoresistor and discrete logic — and then let us know what you’ve been creating over on the element14 Community.


Tim Cook Drops in Unexpectedly at Apple Store in Marseille, France

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid an unexpected visit to an Apple Store in the port of Marseille, France, earlier today, according to French tech blogs and

Both staff and shoppers got an unexpected surprise when Cook arrived unannounced at the commercial shopping mall of Terrasses du Port, where an Apple Store – the country’s 20th – opened last May.

Photo: Philippe Gouy
Cook strolled around the store talking with Apple employees, chatting to customers, and having his picture taken, before receiving a farewell applause. It’s not clear if Cook’s trip to France is just a casual visit or something more business-focused, but we’ll let you know if we learn more.

Énorme surprise aux @LesTDP le PDG d@Apple @tim_cook en visite au store! Les salariés étaient meme pas au courant…

— michael levy (@mlevylaprovence) February 5, 2017

In July of last year, it was reported that Apple was planning to open a research laboratory in Grenoble, France that will focus on developing improved imaging sensors and techniques for its iOS devices. Apple was said to be hiring 30 engineers to work at the research lab, which will span 800 square meters.

Update: Tim Cook has tweeted (in French): “Delighted to be back in France to meet our talented team in Marseille.”

Ravi d’être de nouveau en France et de rencontrer notre talentueuse équipe à Marseille. 🇫🇷

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 5, 2017

Tag: France
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The complete guide to using a MicroSD card on your Android phone

Storage space has always been an issue for smartphones, and while managing storage is getting a little easier thanks to some excellent cloud storage options, many still find it necessary to use a MicroSD card for all their storage needs.

Using MicroSD cards can sometimes be a little tricky. From balancing files to choosing the right card in the first place, there’s a lot to keep in mind. That’s why we’ve put together this guide — to help you figure out how to use MicroSD cards on your Android phone.

More: Selling your phone or tablet? Here’s how to completely wipe your Android device

Inserting the MicroSD card

Different phones have different methods for installing MicroSD cards, but by far the most common one these days on high-end phones is through the SIM card tray. To install the SD card, you’ll need a small pin or SIM tray opener. Simply push the pin into the small hole in the tray, and the tray should pop open. Place the MicroSD card on the tray in the appropriate spot, then slide the tray back into the phone, making sure it’s the right way up. It’s really that simple!

microsd card android guide installationJulian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

microsd card android guide installationJulian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

microsd card android guide installationJulian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

microsd card android guide installationJulian Chokkattu/Digital Trends


If you’re not doing this with all your accounts, you’re doing it wrong

If you’re not using a password manager and two-step authentication, you’re most likely doing things wrong.*

This 4-minute video may change your life. Or at least convince you that strong passwords and two-factor authentication are a must.

Oh, wait. You already use a password manager? You already have 2FA on all your accounts? Great. But chances are you know someone who doesn’t. And you have got to share this video with them. We’re to the point that these basic security measures are a must. (Don’t believe me? Ask this guy.)

Some MUST-HAVE links that go along with this little rant:

  • Password managers for Android.
  • Sites and services with two-factor auth.

Repeat: Strong, unique passwords and two-factor authorization are two of the most important things you can do online.

Subscribing to Modern Dad is a third. You can do that here!!!

*Unless you’re one of those people who has a crazy sort of brain that can do a one-time password sort of thing mentally. In which case remind me to buy you a beer and never ask how you do such a thing.


Surgeon Simulator ER review: Botched but alive


I’m alone in a sterile operating room, a cut-open patient lying in front of me. I see ribs, lungs, a liver. I didn’t train for this! Should I use the bonesaw or the hammer to get through the ribs? The hammer is closer — I’ll use it.

If you’ve played Surgeon Simulator on PC, you’re familiar with the inherent wackiness that Bossa Studios injects into their games. But does their gory VR title, what they’ve appended Experience Reality, hold up on PlayStation VR?

Read more at VR Heads!


All all-electric supercar, and more in the week that was

In a major win for clean energy, Tesla just unveiled the biggest battery storage facility on the planet. It’s made from 396 Powerpacks, and it can store 80 megawatt-hours of electricity — enough to power 2,500 households for an entire day. Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful wind turbine shattered the world record for energy produced in 24 hours. Researchers in Scotland developed a groundbreaking system that uses sunlight to purify water in rural India. And SunGlacier developed a solar machine that harvests fresh H2O from thin air.

Nanjing is about to get a whole lot greener, as Stefano Boeri Architetti just announced plans to build China’s first vertical forest in the city. When it’s complete, the high rise will suck up CO2 while producing 132 pounds of fresh oxygen every day. Japan offers another inspiring example of urban greenery: the Kayashima train station in Neyagawa is built around a massive 700-year-old camphor tree. Iceland just announced plans to build a biodome community that will be 100 percent self-sustaining. And Krakow’s new music school will feature an air purifier that’s as effective as 33,000 trees.

What’s lean, green and gets 370 miles on a single charge? Meet the Tomahawk, Dubuc Motors’ vision for the all-electric supercar of the future. In other design news, China just completed construction on a soaring bike path that lets cyclists pedal through the sky. IKEA’s flat-pack emergency shelters have been installed by the thousands to help with the ongoing refugee crisis, and the project was just crowned Design of the Year. And scientists just announced that they’ve created a brand new form of matter: time crystals.


Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Turntables, Juicers, and Ultralight folding Kayaks


At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Love — smart turntable for vinyl records

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Although audio technology has made incredible strides over the last 40 years, the traditional turntable has remained relatively unchanged — but Love wants to change that. “Record sales have spiked over 60 percent in recent years, but nearly half of the people who own vinyl records don’t play them,”said CH Pinhas, CEO of Love Turntable Inc. “Our goal is to make it simple for anyone to enjoy the natural melodies and pure traditional sound of analog through the convenience of modern-day technology.”

Pinhas’s creation, the Love Turntable, is the update you’ve been waiting for. It’s a record player with all the modern bells and whistles you could ever want. Using its linear tracking sensor, Love can scan any record to determine its size and number of tracks, and with nothing more than a tap, users can turn the turntable on and off, or skip to the next track. Plus, the device actually spins on top of the record (which remains still), while employing a traditional cartridge and stylus to pay homage to the tactile experience and classic sound that true vinyl enthusiasts know and love.

Read more here


Snag a great discount on a 256GB microSD card at Amazon UK!


Need more storage for your phone or tablet? How about this whopping 256GB Sandisk Ultra from Amazon UK that’s available right now for just £111.99. That’s a £57 saving over its regular retail price and gives an awful lot of storage for not a huge sum of money.

At £2.28 per GB it’s still more than you’d pay for PC storage, but given the fact it’s on a microSD card and will go inside your phone, it’s actually pretty solid value. At this price it offers a better £/GB ratio than the smaller Sandisk 200GB microSD, which makes it even better.

There’s no telling how long it’ll be available at this price so if you’re keen hit the link below and grab it while it’s hot!

See at Amazon


Hack knocks out a fifth of the Dark Web

The Dark Web is having a rough time right now… although the victims in this case won’t earn too much sympathy. An Anonymous-linked hacker speaking to Motherboard brought down about a fifth of the Tor network’s ‘secret’ websites (over 10,000 of them) in a claimed vigilante move. The intruder decided to attack a Dark Web hosting service, Freedom Hosting II, after discovering that it was managing child porn sites it had to be aware of — they were using gigabytes of data each when the host officially allows no more than 256MB. Each site had its usual pages replaced with a message that not only chastised FH2, but offered a data dump (minus user info) and explained the nature of the hack.

Reportedly, the attack wasn’t difficult. The hacker only needed to have control over a site (new or existing) to get started. After that, it was mostly a matter of modifying a configuration file, triggering a password reset and getting root access.

From early indications, the perpetrator is handling the data relatively responsibly. It’s going to a security researcher who’ll hand it over to law enforcement, which might just use it to bust the porn peddlers. Investigators may be as frustrated as they are happy, though. When the FBI infiltrated Dark Web porn sites, it used location-tracking malware to help identify individual users. Well, it probably can’t do that now — investigators might pinpoint the site operators, but the clients will have scattered to the four winds. While this is still a blow to the internet’s criminal underbelly, it’s not as big a victory as it could have been.

Looks like Freedom Hosting II got pwned. They hosted close to 20% of all dark web sites (previous @OnionScan report)

— Sarah Jamie Lewis (@SarahJamieLewis) February 3, 2017

Source: Motherboard, Sarah Jamie Lewis (Twitter)


Ancient Ceres may have had plenty of ice volcanoes

Millions of years ago, Ceres’ surface might have had plenty of icy volcanoes to keep Ahuna Mons company. Scientists have always found its solitary existence weird anyway. “Imagine if there was just one volcano on all of Earth,” University of Arizona in Tucson’s Michael Sori said. “That would be puzzling.” That’s why Sori and his team from the university’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory explored the idea that Ceres used to have many other cryovolcanoes. After taking what we know about the dwarf planet into account, the researchers were able to come up with one possible explanation for the land formations’ disappearance: they may have flattened out over time.

They believe the volcanoes disappeared due to viscous relaxation, a term used to describe the idea that any solid material will flow if you give it enough time. Since it’s the same reason why glaciers flow on Earth, it doesn’t sound crazy that volcanoes partially made of ice could go through the process. Especially since Ceres is located between Mars and Jupiter, closer to the sun than other ice-covered worlds like the moons Europa and Titan.

The team created a model to see if it’s actually possible for icy mountains to flatten out, and they came to the conclusion that they have to be at least 40 percent water ice. Further, it probably took hundreds of millions of years for them to disappear. Ahuna Mons might just be relatively young at 200 million years old — it could also end up vanishing in the end.

The researchers are planning to look for and identify any remnant left by the flattened volcanoes. Southwest Research Institute’s Kelsi Singer says: “Because all of the putative cryovolcanic features on other worlds are different, I think this helps to expand our inventory of what is possible.” If the team does find residue of ancient ice volcanoes, then scientists are bound to look for their presence on other icy moons and planets.

Source: American Geophysical Union

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