Day: October 21, 2016

First impressions of Amazon's Echo Dot

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I didn’t think an IoT voice assistant was for me, but at $50 I couldn’t resist the Amazon Echo Dot. I’m finding Alexa to be handy for lots of little things.

Amazon’s hockey puck like Echo Dot gives you all the utility of their personal assistant Alexa at pretty low price. I felt it wouldn’t be too much of a disaster if the thing never got used. Thus far it is proving to be pretty handy.

Echo Dot pairs with bluetooth speakers pretty well, and I enjoy being able to voice control my radio. Switching between news, music and podcasts is easy. I’ve found that this alone makes Echo Dot useful to me. Being able to occasionally stop the sound and ask Alexa for time time, weather in San Francisco or other simple, frequent searches one may perform is strangely satisfying, and temporarily provides an ‘I live in the future’ feeling.

Next up will be syncing it with my Fitbit, tho I’m not sure what that is really going to do for me.

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – Black via Amazon

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Hiker timelapse wearing out shoes hiking from Mexico to Canada

shoe-timelapse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcSolt0TIa4

Andrew Holzschuh took a photo of his shoes every day as he hiked the Pacific Coast Trail, then made a fun timelapse of his shoes’ daily wear and tear.

Many hikers forgo hiking boots for trail runners on a well-marked trail like this. Eagle-eyed viewers who know the trail picked up on a detour, to which Andrew replied:

We were forced to skip like 15 miles of trail at crater lake because of forest fires (because it would have been illegal and stupid to walk a section of trail that’s on fire) we also had to backtrack here and there for random reasons. to be honest I dont know how many miles we actually walked. but I think it might have ended up being more than the 2663.5

Bonus video: he also grew an impressive beard.

4 pairs of shoes (PCT thru-hike shoe time-lapse)

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Donald Trump's still running, but the campaign's over

trump4ever

Former Fox News chief Roger Ailes isn’t talking to presidential candidate and alleged friend Donald Trump. National Political Director Jim Murphy quit. Trump’s Campaign CEO, Kellyanne Conway, is reduced to sighing quips on Twitter. Trump himself might still be running, but his campaign seems all but over.

What a political campaign should be doing right now — even a struggling political campaign — is driving a unified message, contacting voters with that message before they vote and encouraging supporters in early-voting states to get to the polls. It’s the Jim Murphys of the campaign who are responsible for doing that.

Trump is now without a Jim Murphy. Even if he could crawl back nationally — probably a decent-sized if — he’s now completely reliant on his party to do the hard work of ensuring voters go to the polls. If he doesn’t crawl back nationally, or if he doesn’t crawl back enough, the party doesn’t have a lot of incentive to spend time and money that could instead go to embattled House and Senate candidates.

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A Walk in Eden – Anders Nilsen's surrealist paradise is a haunting adult coloring book

eden

In previous books, like the strange and cinematic Big Questions, Anders Nilsen has used his gorgeous pen and ink, stipple, and hatch technique, amidst generous white space, to create surprisingly dense and dreamy worlds. In A Walk in Eden, he builds a wonderful narrative backdrop, an abandoned Eden, and invites us in to finish it with “magic markers” and our undivided attention. But this isn’t any Eden you’ve imagined or heard of, this is a tripped-out surrealist dream-Eden if drawn by Dali, Ernst Haeckel, and kiddie-show cartoonists (maybe after a little bump of ether). Over the pages, the scale of what you’re looking at, from the seemingly diatomic to full-size flora and fauna, changes until you feel as though you’re really examining this world in a unique and thorough way. The book is really engaging and wants to tell you its stories, as-is, but I can only image how much richer it becomes after coloring it in yourself.

The adult coloring book is all of the rage these days and I, for one, am a fan of this perhaps shortlived, gimmicky genre. A Walk in Eden takes the genre for a stroll in a very fun and promising direction. And like any coloring book worth its bold outlines, it was hard to get through this without wanting to grab my Crayolas, stick my tongue out like a five year old, and start coloring.

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

A Walk in Eden: A Coloring Book by Anders Nilsen

by Anders Nilsen

Drawn and Quarterly

9.8 x 9.9 x 0.4 inches (softcover)

$17 Buy a copy on Amazon

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Samsung issuing copyright claims to remove videos mocking its exploding phones

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YouTube users who post videos mocking Samsung’s recently-recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone report they get removed because of copyright claims by Samsung.

The claims center on a popular add-on to the game Grand Theft Auto V, which lets players fool around with the hot handsets and use them as as grenades.

This is not how copyright works, the BBC says, and is likely to only focus more attention on Samsung’s failings and YouTube’s own shortcomings when it comes to copyright enforcement.

Samsung has not yet responded to repeated BBC requests for comment. Critics have warned that trying to remove gamers’ videos will only draw more attention to them.

One US gamer – known as DoctorGTA – said restrictions had been put on his YouTube account as a result of Samsung’s complaint.

“It’s going to take three months to get the strike removed from my channel… I got my live stream taken away,” he said in a video.

“If I submit a counter-notification to say ‘sue me’, I wonder what they will do. Will they sue me, the kid that has cancer and just makes money off YouTube playing a video game?”

The Note 7’s propensity to burst into flames ultimately resulted in the handset being withdrawn from production and recalled from store shelves. The Federal Aviation Administration banned them from the skies, making it a federal crime to take one on board an airplane.

Here’s a video still live. (Warning: moronic)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IVk8PsSgEI

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Angry "sovereign citizen" meets polite police officer

ss

This patient police officer does not take much stock in the legitimacy of the sovereign citizen movement.

Best part:

Cop: “You’re under arrest.”

Sovereign citizen: “NO I’M NOT!”

From Wikipedia: “The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American and Canadian litigants, commentators, tax protesters, and financial-scheme promoters. Self-described sovereign citizens take the position that they are answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and are not subject to any government statutes or proceedings.”

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Help sculpt the future of tech with machine learning skills

Depositphotos_97382048_s-2015

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Also explore the top Online Courses on our network right now:

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins the Washington National Opera

ginsberg

On November 12th, and for one night only, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will portray the Duchess of Krakenthorp in the Washington National Opera’s production of “The Daughter of the Regiment.”

This is not the Notorious RBG’s first role in an opera, and while the Duchess does not sing she will bust loose with the funny.

Via NPR:

It’s no cameo. According to the Washington National Opera, while this opera is “best known for its vocal acrobatics, the high-comedy antics” of the nonsinging duchess “often steal the show.”

Indeed, for Ginsburg’s one-night stand, the script has been altered. At one point, for example, after the duchess observes that the best leaders of the House of Krakenthorp have been “persons with open but not empty minds, individuals willing to listen and learn,” she looks at the audience meaningfully, and asks, “Is it any wonder that the most valorous members … have been women?”

She goes on to list the qualifications for admission to the House of Krakenthorp, some of which sound suspiciously like the qualifications for being a Supreme Court justice — i.e., “must possess the fortitude to undergo intense scrutiny,” and have a “character beyond reproach.”

The 83-year-old justice will join a long list of notables who have played the Duchess of Krakenthorp — among them comediennes Bea Arthur and Hermione Gingold and retiring opera stars like Kiri Te Kanawa and Montserrat Caballe.

Ginsburg has had a lifetime love affair with opera. She often lectures about the law in opera and has said that her one regret in life is that she could not be a real operatic diva. She might have tried, she says, but for one thing: She can’t sing.

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Chuck Berry turned 90 and he is releasing his first album in 38 years

chuck-2017

(Above, Chuck Berry in 2014 performing “Johnny B. Goode.”)

John Lennon said “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.'” The man whose name is synonymous with rock and roll just turned 90, and he announced today that he will be releasing his first album in 38 years. The album, entitled Chuck, will be released in 2017 on Dualtone Records

In addition to being the first person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Berry was also honored by NASA when his song “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the Golden Record that placed aboard the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft in 1977.

Here’s Berry and Lennon performing “Johnny B. Goode”:

https://youtu.be/kpTpxbnBWYM

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Sinatra’s bastard son covers "California Über Alles" by The Dead Kennedys - while getting dressed

cua

In keeping with Boing Boing’s mission of being a “directory of mostly wonderful things,” here’s a new video by Frank Sinatra’s bastard son, performing an updated version of The Dead Kennedys’ song “California Über Alles” while changing backstage. OK, it’s not the actual bastard son of Sinatra. It’s Toby Huss of TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, playing his alter ego Rudy Casoni, (who does claim to be the lounge singer’s illegitimate son). Huss-as-Casoni references the current political circus before throwing some 2016 shade at Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown with some updated lyrics. The video offers us a brief respite from the 24-hour Trump-centric Republican bashing (deserving as it may be), using casual visual wit, some cameos by comedic actors like Kate Flannery and James Urbaniak of The Office and Boing Boing pal Mark Fite, and some pretty stunning Frank-channeling vocal work, especially on the breakneck-speed chorus mid-song,

When I asked Huss why he made the video, he answered as Casoni, saying, “This shitbird parade of a presidential election has been trying to murder me for months now. So I fought back the only way I know how: with booze. Plenty of booze. But then a song. And then some drunken singing. Then I got sick all over a good suit and fell asleep in a warm dumpster behind a nightclub humming a punk rock tune. That’s the Casoni way, so shove it. I know that bum Jerry Brown is behind this turdshow anyway, so I’m voting for Liquor. Mr. Malted Liquor.” So there you have it.

A fun diversion for us, but not all that unusual a move for Huss, who shows up Forrest Gump-like at all the odd junctures of our pop culture. His first televised parodies of Sinatra covered songs by the likes of Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill for 90s MTV Network promos, where he also did voices for Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead. From there, like a Whack-a-Mole of an actor, he just kept popping up, which is why he’s often approached as on the street as that guy people think they know, but can’t place him.

Understandable — besides Huss’s current role as Bosworth on Halt and Catch Fire, he’s played the beloved Artie, “the Strongest Man in the World” on Nickelodeon’s Pete and Pete, appeared on a lauded Seinfeld episode as Elaine’s boyfriend, “The Wiz,” did the voices of Kahn and Cotton Hill on King of the Hill for thirteen years, and is seen in a diverse string of TV shows like Reno 911, Carnivale, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, plus films like 42, Rescue Dawn, Ghostbusters, and Cowboys & Aliens. Huss even pops up in theaters this weekend for horror director Ti West’s critically-lauded foray into the Western film genre, In a Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. So, really, a Dead Kennedys-spouting Sinatra bastard debuting a video on Boing Boing is just another day in the life for the chameleon-like Huss. Enjoy.

SoCal …read more

Sinatra’s bastard son covers “California Über Alles” by The Dead Kennedys – while getting dressed

cua

In keeping with Boing Boing’s mission of being a “directory of mostly wonderful things,” here’s a new video by Frank Sinatra’s bastard son, performing an updated version of The Dead Kennedys’ song “California Über Alles” while changing backstage. OK, it’s not the actual bastard son of Sinatra. It’s Toby Huss of TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, playing his alter ego Rudy Casoni, (who does claim to be the lounge singer’s illegitimate son). Huss-as-Casoni references the current political circus before throwing some 2016 shade at Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown with some updated lyrics. The video offers us a brief respite from the 24-hour Trump-centric Republican bashing (deserving as it may be), using casual visual wit, some cameos by comedic actors like Kate Flannery and James Urbaniak of The Office and Boing Boing pal Mark Fite, and some pretty stunning Frank-channeling vocal work, especially on the breakneck-speed chorus mid-song,

When I asked Huss why he made the video, he answered as Casoni, saying, “This shitbird parade of a presidential election has been trying to murder me for months now. So I fought back the only way I know how: with booze. Plenty of booze. But then a song. And then some drunken singing. Then I got sick all over a good suit and fell asleep in a warm dumpster behind a nightclub humming a punk rock tune. That’s the Casoni way, so shove it. I know that bum Jerry Brown is behind this turdshow anyway, so I’m voting for Liquor. Mr. Malted Liquor.” So there you have it.

A fun diversion for us, but not all that unusual a move for Huss, who shows up Forrest Gump-like at all the odd junctures of our pop culture. His first televised parodies of Sinatra covered songs by the likes of Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill for 90s MTV Network promos, where he also did voices for Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butthead. From there, like a Whack-a-Mole of an actor, he just kept popping up, which is why he’s often approached as on the street as that guy people think they know, but can’t place him.

Understandable — besides Huss’s current role as Bosworth on Halt and Catch Fire, he’s played the beloved Artie, “the Strongest Man in the World” on Nickelodeon’s Pete and Pete, appeared on a lauded Seinfeld episode as Elaine’s boyfriend, “The Wiz,” did the voices of Kahn and Cotton Hill on King of the Hill for thirteen years, and is seen in a diverse string of TV shows like Reno 911, Carnivale, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, plus films like 42, Rescue Dawn, Ghostbusters, and Cowboys & Aliens. Huss even pops up in theaters this weekend for horror director Ti West’s critically-lauded foray into the Western film genre, In a Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. So, really, a Dead Kennedys-spouting Sinatra bastard debuting a video on Boing Boing is just another day in the life for the chameleon-like Huss. Enjoy.

SoCal …read more

Major U.S. websites inaccessible in "cyber attack" on domain name system

cyber-attack

Much of the web struggled to stay on its feet today, with outages bringing down U.S.-based services and sites such as Amazon, Twitter and Netflix. A massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Dyn DNS is reportedly the cause: as a popular provider of domain-name lookup services, it falling over means that browsers simply don’t know where to find websites.

Monitoring:
Services have been restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC. Posted about 1 hour ago. Oct 21, 2016 – 13:36 UTC

Update :
This attack is mainly impacting US East and is impacting Managed DNS customers in this region. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue. Posted about 2 hours ago. Oct 21, 2016 – 12:45 UTC

Investigating:
Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21st-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.

This is “probably why half the internet is shut down today,” reports Gizmodo, which offers the following list of sites that were down for the count.

ActBlue, Basecamp, Big cartel, Box, Business Insider, CNN, Cleveland.com, Esty, Github, Grubhub, Guardian.co.uk, HBO Now, Iheart.com (iHeartRadio), Imgur, Intercom, Intercom.com, Okta, PayPal, People.com, Pinterest, Playstation Network, Recode, Reddit, Spotify, Squarespace Customer Sites, Starbucks rewards/gift cards, Storify.com, The Verge, Twillo, Twitter, Urbandictionary.com (lol), Weebly, Wired.com, Wix Customer Sites, Yammer, Yelp, Zendesk.com, Zoho CRM,

ia3fsapgmiogkm8k8t0b …read more

Charity roast trainwreck: Donald Trump booed at Catholic dinner

flop

At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation white-tie event in New York last night, presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sat within groping distance of one another—and delivered speeches for a largely-Catholic audience. A traditional and restrained roasting of oneself and one’s opponent, the dinner speeches mark the final public event where the two will tangle before election day. And, as you may already have predicted, Donald Trump managed to get himself booed at a charity dinner.

Here’s the Washington Post’s cut of the best moments:

He joked about the size of his hands and the size of his rival Hillary Clinton’s rally crowds, then compared himself to Jesus. …

“Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission,” Trump said, citing a false Internet rumor as the crowd turned on him and started to boo, something that simply doesn’t happen at lavish charity dinners at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The face of one the guests sitting on the stage behind him was suddenly struck with horror.

“Hillary believes that it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private,” Trump said, as the booing intensified.

Trump would go on to accuse Clinton of “pretending not to hate Catholics” and mock the Clinton Foundation’s work in Haiti. At one point, he wondered aloud if the crowd was booing him or Clinton, to which someone in the crowd answered: “You!”

He screwed it up because he could not restrain his spite toward his opponent, had little himself at all, and wasn’t very funny. Trump, though, to his credit, made a good show of taking Clinton’s jabs with good humor, laughing and grinning along with everyone else (in contrast to his infamously sullen demeanor at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.)

The real loser of the night? Rudy Guliani, who sat simmering like a dollar store Mussolini while Hillary dumped on him with her best line of the night.

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Using Machine Learning to synthesize images that look NSFW but aren't

w_1000_68_7-1

Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
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Fidget toys to disperse your nervous energy

jlik_jumbo_noah_fidget_toy_inh

I dote on fidget gadgets — soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads — and while you can’t buy Chris Bathgate’s amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there’s still Thinkgeek’s new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and “features two interlocking rings that are also connected together with five links on each ring. The center link is larger and has a colored rubber band that rolls back and forth like a treadmill.”
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