Saturday, February 16, 2019

Favorite Alexa Skills: NPR turns comedy game show ‘Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me!’ into an Alexa and Google voice app via TechCrunch

A little bit of weekly fun direct from your Alexa device! — Douglas

NPR  is turning its popular game show program “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” into a voice application for smart speakers, including both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-powered devices. The new app lets listeners play along at home by answering the fill-in-the-blank questions from this week’s news — just like the players do on the NPR podcast and radio show, which airs on more than 720 NPR member stations.

Also like the NPR program, the new smart speaker game includes the voice talent of the comedy quiz show’s hosts, Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis.

To get started, you just say either “Alexa, open Wait Wait Quiz” or “Hey Google, talk to the Wait Wait Quiz,” depending on your device.

Read NPR turns comedy game show ‘Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me!’ into an Alexa and Google voice app via TechCrunch


Looking for an Echo/Alexa Device?
Check out these recent upgrades and additions to Amazon’s product line!


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

It's Now Legal to Hack DRM to Repair Your Own Devices via Gizmodo

In a blow to manufacturers that use digital rights management (DRM) protections to prevent consumers from tinkering with their own property, the Library of Congress has adopted new rules allowing anyone to hack the software of their devices for the purpose of performing repairs. The changes officially go into effect on October 28th.Advocates in the “right to repair” movement have a lot of complaints about the various methods corporations use to control who repairs their products, box people into software updates, and force obsolescence. One of the complaints is that copyright law in the U.S. has made it illegal to break DRM that blocks a users access to a device’s firmware. Motherboard first noticed that all changed today.

Read It's Now Legal to Hack DRM to Repair Your Own Devices via Gizmodo


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Monday, February 11, 2019

Petoi Nybble via Arduino Project Hub

This is Rongzhong from Pittsburgh. Eight months after my first post on OpenCat, I have quite a lot to update. Most importantly, I’m going to launch my first kitten on Indiegogo on Monday, Oct 22nd! The kitten’s name is Nybble. Links will be posted here, on my Twitter @PetoiCamp, or on Petoi.com.

This is Rongzhong from Pittsburgh. Eight months after my first post on OpenCat, I have quite a lot to update. Most importantly, I’m going to launch my first kitten on Indiegogo on Monday, Oct 22nd! The kitten’s name is Nybble. Links will be posted here, on my Twitter @PetoiCamp, or on Petoi.com.

Read Petoi Nybble - Arduino Project Hub via Arduino Project Hub


Arduino Boards and Components via Amazon

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Historical Technology Books: 73 Magazine (October 1960) - 12 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas


Historical Technology Books: 73 Magazine (October 1960) - 12 in a series

Historical Technology Books: 73 Magazine (October 1960) - 12 in a seriesHistorical Technology Books: 73 Magazine (October 1960) - 12 in a series

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† Available from the LA Public Library

Friday, February 01, 2019

Alexa News: Someone taught Amazon's Alexa sign language via Mashable

What is your favorite Alexa Command, Skill or Use? Share in the comments!

It is always amazing to see how people take an off-the-shelf product and push, pull , and tweak it to do something  new — something, perhaps, it was never intended to do. In this case, this project opens up Alexa devices to those who cannot hear, allowing them to benefit from the usefulness of a voice assistant. — Douglas

Abhishek Singh, a software engineer and generally awesome person, created a mod that lets Alexa understand sign language. Watch it in action!

Read Someone taught Amazon's Alexa sign language via Mashable


Looking for an Echo/Alexa Device?
Check out these recent upgrades and additions to Amazon’s product line!


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Your Guide to the World of Robotics via @robotsapp

I read a lot of blogs and sites to keep in touch with a variety of technological objects and here is one to keep up on innovations in the world of robotics. Check it out! — Douglas

Your Guide to the World of Robotics via @robotsapp

ROBOTS is a product of IEEE Spectrum, the flagship publication of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology.

ROBOTS supports IEEE's mission to advance technology for humanity and the engineering profession, and to introduce careers in technology to students around the world.

Read Your Guide to the World of Robotics via @robotsapp


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Monday, January 28, 2019

$16 Raspberry Pi Case Features LCD Touchscreen and Stylus via Hackster Blog

There are an amazing number of accessories for Raspberry Pi computers that help you make them even more useful, and this case/touchscreen combination is just one of them. I could imagine using this for a wall-mounted device for a specific use or as a battery powered handheld device for network testing. Even as a simple Raspberry Pi test bed, this would be a cool way to try out the many features of the Pi/ — Douglas

There are a ton of cases on the market for the Raspberry Pi, some even equipped with cooling fans, heatsinks, and even displays. While most of those can be had for reasonably cheap, those equipped with display or touchscreens can run on the expensive side- costing $20 and up depending on the model. Online retailer Banggood is currently selling a Raspberry Pi case that includes a 3.5-inch TFT LCD touchscreen (480 x 320) and a handy stylus for just $16 (plus shipping).

Read $16 Raspberry Pi Case Features LCD Touchscreen and Stylus via Hackster Blog


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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Historical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas


Historical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a series

You never know what you are going to encounter in one of these historical books. IT can be quite illuminating to see the state of technology near its beginning. What challenges did they have to deal with? What new advancements were being hinted at but not quite grasped? What was the state of the art this moment in time? Heavily technical tomes like this can leave me a bit bewildered, but often between the diagrams and formulae can be found insights into the technology and times. — Douglas

 Historical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a seriesHistorical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a series

Historical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a seriesHistorical Technology Books: Design data for radio transmitters and receivers (1922) by Sleeper, M. B. (Milton Blake) - 11 in a series

PREFACE

Probably because radio experimenters operate their instruments first, and learn about them afterward, they generally remain ignorant of the simple factors of design, the familiarity with which makes wireless work infinitely more interesting. If stations incorrectly designed, or just put together, would not work, this condition would be rectified, although radio might be less popular. The essential problems have been stripped of mathematics which are beyond the average experimenter, in order that any one can build apparatus for a given performance. Receiving circuits have been treated at greater length than sending sets, partly because there is more to say about them, and also because of the limitations of practicability in constructing transmitting apparatus at home.

February, 1922

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

Publication date 1922
Publisher New York, Norman W. Henley Pub. Co.
Language English
 
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Alexa News: Amazon Updates Alexa With 'Newscaster' Voice via Geek.com

Speech technology continues on apace and it could help them integrate into our lives even more. While I can take listening to Alexa’s voice for quite a long time, my wife finds even a few minutes of it annoying. These new, inflected voices might help her to use Alexa more frequently, even for reading out large sections of news or other text. I think it is clear we can only expect text-to-speech to get better with each passing year.

Listen to a sample of the new voice below or compare the old with the new by visiting the original article. — Douglas

I listen to Alexa’s dulcet tones every morning as she reads the day’s headlines while I brew a cup of tea.

She’s no Diane Sawyer, but she does the trick.

It’s just too bad I no longer live in the US, where Amazon is rolling out a “newscaster” voice for when Alexa broadcasts news or recites Wikipedia entries.

She’s still no Diane Sawyer. But her new speaking style is more attuned to someone you’d see on TV or hear on the radio. And she no longer lulls listeners to sleep between tales of international woe.

Read Amazon Updates Alexa With 'Newscaster' Voice - Geek.com via Geek.com


Looking for an Echo/Alexa Device?
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Laser Cut Cardboard Robot Construction Kit Eases Learning And Play via hack a day

Kits are a great way to get started in any hobby and these robot kits can help both children and adults alike to jumpstart their robotic skills. Doing kits together is an even better idea. It allows you to guide children’s experimentation without trying to control it — which I think is an important part of any learning exercise

It has never been easier to put a microcontroller and other electronics into a simple project, and that has tremendous learning potential. But when it comes to mechanical build elements like enclosures, frames, and connectors, things haven’t quite kept the same pace. It’s easier to source economical servos, motors, and microcontroller boards than it is to arrange for other robot parts that allow for cheap and accessible customization and experimentation.

That’s where [Andy Forest] comes in with the Laser Cut Cardboard Robot Construction Kit, which started at STEAMLabs, a non-profit community makerspace in Toronto. The design makes modular frames, enclosures, and basic hardware out of laser-cut corrugated cardboard. It’s an economical and effective method of creating the mechanical elements needed for creating robots and animatronics while still allowing easy customizing. The sheets have punch-out sections for plastic straws, chopstick axles, SG90 servo motors, and of course, anything that’s missing can be easily added with hot glue or cut out with a knife. In addition to the designs being open sourced, there is also an activity guide for educators that gives visual examples of different ways to use everything.

Cardboard makes a great prototyping material, but what makes the whole project sing is the way the designs allow for easy modification and play while being easy to source and produce.

Read Laser Cut Cardboard Robot Construction Kit Eases Learning And Play via hack a day


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Monday, January 21, 2019

DIY Stroboscope Arduino Project via Geeky Gadgets

While is is always great to use a project to learn something new, having a project that becomes a useful tool is even better! — Douglas

Electronic enthusiasts and makers may be interested in a new DIY stroboscope Arduino project which is being published by the official Arduino website this week. If you’re interested in making you very own the code is available complete with circuit diagrams from the Mediafire website. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the project.

Project uses a PN2222A transistor to drive a 10W LED, which acts as the device’s light source and the revolutions per minute is set using a potentiometer, and a small OLED that provides feedback on the speeds.

Read DIY Stroboscope Arduino Project via Geeky Gadgets


Arduino Boards and Components via Amazon

Arduino Boards and Components via eBay

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Historical Technology Books: Creative Computing v01n01 November/December 1974 - 10 in a series

Technology isn't just computers, networks and phones. Technology has always been part of the human experience. All of our ancestors have looked for ways to help the survive and do less work for more gain. Archive.org has a host of old technology books (from mid-19th to mid-20th Century) available in many formats and on a host of topics. Many of the technologies discussed within these books are being put to use again these days in the back to the land" and homesteading movements. You might even find something that could address one of your own garden or farm issues, but has been lost to time and history. Enjoy! --Douglas


Historical Technology Books: Creative Computing v01n01 November/December 1974 - 10 in a series

Another one of the original computer magazines I grew up with. Check out all the issues! — Douglas

Historical Technology Books:  Creative Computing v01n01 November/December 1974 - 10 in a seriesCreative Computing v01n01 November December 1974 0002

Creative Computing v01n01 November December 1974 0015Creative Computing v01n01 November December 1974 0023

For the Computer Man illustration, thanks to Steve Rogowski, author of Problems for Computer Solution published by EduComp, W. Hartford, CT.

Assorted facts throughout this issue are taken from various United States Government publications, dictionaries, and 'Incred- ible Facts, Amazing Statistics, Monumental Trivia" by Will Eisner, Poorhouse Press, New York.

THE COVER

The cover of this issue of CREATIVE COMPUTING is by Lisa Sheble, a teacher of art and photography at the Spence School, New York, New York. Kary Heuston is using the terminal while Janet Chaplan looks on. Both girls are in the seventh grade at Spence.

Available in PDF, Text, JPG formats, and more

* Click these links for more books and magazine in that date or subject area

Learn more about the history of technology with these books

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library