Friday, March 27, 2020

How To Train Your Robot, a free kids book by an engineer and his 10-year-old daughter via Boing Boing

 My buddy Ken Goldberg, a UC Berkeley professor of robotics, his 10-year-old daughter Blooma, and science communicator Ashley Chase wrote a delightful children's book called How to Train Your Robot! Illustrated by Dave Clegg, the story, about a fourth grade robotics club, is a fun and understandable introduction to how deep learning can help robots gain new skills in the messy, unstructured human world.

Thanks to support from the National Science Foundation and UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, How to Train Your Robot is available as a free PDF online and student groups can request free hardcopies!

Read How To Train Your Robot, a free kids book by an engineer and his 10-year-old daughter via Boing Boing


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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Apple makes its pro video and audio editing software free to use for 90 days via Engadget

Apple is giving people stuck at home the chance to try out two of its professional creative applications at no cost. To start with, the tech giant is extending Final Cut Pro X's free trial period from 30 days to 90 days. Users will still have to pay $300 for a license once it's over, but they'll at least have three months to master the video editing application before having to decide whether it's worth the price.
Those who want to take advantage of the offer can download the program from Apple's website. And even those still in the middle of their 30-day trial period can get the new version and use it for free for an additional 90 days.

Read Apple makes its pro video and audio editing software free to use for 90 days via Engadget


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Here are a bunch of free music apps and sample packs while we’re all stuck inside via The Verge

Life looks very different right now as the novel coronavirus has millions around the world stuck indoors. Festivals, clubs, and even house parties are banned in many cities, leaving musicians (and music lovers) housebound and searching for creative outlets. Over the past few weeks, several music companies have responded by offering freebies in order to, as Korg said, provide “a musical way to occupy your mind.”

Below, we’ve rounded up an array of apps, plug-ins, sounds, lessons, and even digital audio workstations (DAWs) that are currently free to give tools to musicians and those looking to learn musical skills during the pandemic. A few were already free, but the majority are only free for a limited time. There are tons of deals available, so get ready to hunker down with some new digital toys. Here are some of the top picks, with more to come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Instagram’s latest feature will help you figure out who to unfollow via Input

Today Instagram is launching a new feature to more easily manage who you’re following. The improved follower view makes it easier than ever before to clean up your feed and weed out people you know from high school.

FOLLOWING CATEGORIES — The feature, which can be accessed by tapping “Following” on your profile, splits your followers into a few categories, including “Least Interacted With” and “Most Shown in Feed.” The categories use data from your Instagram activity for the last 90 days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

YouTube will limit video quality for everyone by default for a month via Engadget

The next time you load up a YouTube video, it probably won't look as sharp as you'd normally expect, at least at first. From today, videos will start playing in standard definition by default for the next month, though you can still bump up the resolution manually from the settings.

It follows a similar measure YouTube and many other streaming platforms have adopted temporarily in Europe to lower their bandwidth usage amid the coronavirus outbreak. EU regulators asked them to make the change to ease internet congestion in the region for the time being.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Apple is giving free e-books and audiobooks to people in the US via Engadget

Apple is currently giving out freebies to Books users in the US. The next time you launch the app, you'll see a notification inviting you to "explore free books, read-alongs for kids, cozy mysteries, and audiobooks for the whole family." Tapping on the message will lead you to a featured collection where you can select one book or audiobook from a variety of genres. You can also pick a novel from the company's "First in a Series, Free" section.

Read Apple is giving free e-books and audiobooks to people in the US via Engadget


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An Arduino-Based Flute Playing Machine via Hackaday

It’s one thing to be able to transcribe music from a flute, and it’s another to be able to make a flute play pre-written music. The latter is what [Abhilash Patel] decided to pursue in the flute player machine, an Arduino-based project that uses an air flow mechanism and PVC pipes to control the notes produced by a makeshift flute. It’s currently able to play 17 notes, just over two octaves starting from the lowest frequency of E.

In order to play songs, the tones have to either be directly coded and uploaded to the Arduino, composed with a random note generator, or detected from a microphone. While a real flute can be used for the machine, [Patel] uses a PVC flute, constructed with some knowledge of flute playing.

Read An Arduino-Based Flute Playing Machine via Hackaday


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Saturday, March 21, 2020

These 6 soft synths are absolutely free via MusicTech

Read These 6 soft synths are absolutely free via MusicTech


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The Best Zoom Tips and Tricks for Better Video Meetings via iPhone Hacks

As the entire world shuts down due to coronavirus outbreak, millions of people across the world are working from home. This has led to an increase in the use of video calling and conferencing services like Zoom, Skype, and Teams. Zoom, however, has emerged as the most popular choice and has seen a massive surge in users. If you are using Zoom for video meetings, check out some handy tips and tricks to make your life a bit easier during this pandemic.

Compared to Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other video calling services, Zoom is being preferred by many because it is very straightforward to use and offers a number of useful features. If you are holding important video meetings with a lot of people, the additional features that Zoom offers almost make it a no-brainer. However, most people are likely using Zoom for the first time and are not aware of its entire features and how to get the most out of the video calling service. To get you up to speed on how to use Zoom to its maximum potential, check out the best tips and tricks for it below.

Read The Best Zoom Tips and Tricks for Better Video Meetings via iPhone Hacks


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