Hydraulic Press Silly String

Watching a hydraulic press crush silly string is so tense

By on June 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM.

Watching a hydraulic press crush silly string is so tense

It seems like everything possible has been crushed in a hydraulic press already, but from time to time, something comes along that raises the bar for good crushing.

I don’t know who wakes up in the morning and thinks “hey, we should use a giant hydraulic press to crush a can of silly string,” but I’m glad that they’re out there.

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Google Home Incognito

Google Home won’t remember your most embarrassing conversations

By on June 1, 2016 at 6:25 PM.

Google Home won’t remember your most embarrassing conversations

At Google I/O, the company announced Google Home, an always-listening digital assistant/speaker much like Amazon Echo. Although the speaker looks like a handy way to get Google’s smarts all over your home, it also means bringing Google’s already-creepy information engine into your house, and telling it all about your life.

Luckily, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has laid out at least one privacy protection: an ‘incognito mode’ for Echo, so it can make dinner plans for your mistress without your wife finding out.

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Google Maps Ads

Google Maps will soon be flooded with ads

Google Maps will soon be flooded with ads

By on May 24, 2016 at 5:15 PM.

Without question, Google Maps is one of the most widely used and highly regarded navigation apps in the industry, but an upcoming change might be enough to convince some users to give other apps a try.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Google revealed that it will begin experimenting with local search ads on Google Maps. Ads for nearby businesses will appear on both the desktop and mobile version of Google Maps, giving advertisers the ability to show off their stores when users search for goods or services they carry. More →

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Court Risk Assessment Algorithm

Courts use a ‘Minority Report’ crime prediction algorithm, and it’s incredibly racist

By on May 23, 2016 at 4:55 PM.

Courts use a ‘Minority Report’ crime prediction algorithm, and it’s incredibly racist

I was somewhat surprised to learn that courts use software to predict the likelihood of criminals reoffending. But I was far less surprised to learn that the computer, much like the system it serves, seems to hate black people.

ProPublica has a new report that shines a light on the system used by Broward County, Florida. Those courts use a system made by Northpointe, a for-profit company. Various factors are inputted into an algorithm, which spits out a score that reflects an offender’s chance of re-offending within two years.

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Sospendo Smartphone Holder

This is the worst smartphone gadget to ever grace the internet

By on May 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM.

This is the worst smartphone gadget to ever grace the internet

In a world of Bluetooth-connected fart trackers and hipster-friendly tinfoil hats, I am aware that describing a Kickstarter as “the worst” is a bold claim. But hear me out: from idea to execution to the innumerable GIFs littering the crowdfunding campaign, this particular wearable smartphone accessory ticks all of the boxes.

At heart, the SOSPENDO combines two of the very worst things: selfie sticks and wearable smartphone holders. The SOSPENDO is, according to the press release, an “innovative, ergonomic hands-free device that will hold smartphones, tablets and GoPro cameras.”

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G.Fast Google Fiber

Super fast internet speeds are coming this year… through your regular phone lines

By on May 17, 2016 at 11:15 PM.

Super fast internet speeds are coming this year… through your regular phone lines

The internet is a necessity nowadays, not a luxury, yet there are still plenty of logistical wrinkles to iron out. We’re not happy with overall internet speeds or slow uploads, and no one can stand data caps. We also hate problematic Wi-Fi and poor LTE coverage. At the same time, internet consumption is at an all-time high and it’s only increasing.

Thankfully, it looks like one company has figured out how to deliver internet speeds as fast as fiber to your home without actually needing fiber optic cables to do it. And it’s not just an experiment that works in a lab — it’s a product that’ll soon be deployed, with AT&T being one of the first companies to use it. More →

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Buzzfeed Interview President Obama

Facebook Live’s first big interview with President Obama crashed and burned

By on May 16, 2016 at 5:16 PM.

Facebook Live’s first big interview with President Obama crashed and burned

Facebook is pushing its livestreaming video project pretty hard — so hard that it’s paying media companies cold hard cash to use Facebook Live. So when Buzzfeed set up an interview with President Obama using Facebook Live, it should have been a major coup for the platform. Instead, Facebook crashed, and YouTube had to save the day.

Buzzfeed’s legal editor was supposed to sit down with the President to discuss his Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland at 2.50PM ET this afternoon. Unfortunately, Facebook’s video tool had some technical problems, and users were stuck with one short loading video.

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Train Crash Video

Watch this train driver save his passengers from a certain crash

By on May 13, 2016 at 6:00 PM.

Watch this train driver save his passengers from a certain crash

Trains take a long time to stop, so if a driver sees an obstacle — say, the back of a truck — in the tracks, there’s not much they can do about it. Unless you’re this quick-thinking Polish train driver, whose timely warning saved his passengers from near-certain injury.

As the BBC reports, the train was traveling at 68 mph when the driver saw a lorry stuck in a crossing. With the three seconds he had available, there was no way he was going to stop. Top Gear has previously demonstrated in graphic detail how far it takes a passenger train to perform an emergency stop, so it’s fair to say this lorry had no chance.

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AT&T Internet Caps

ISPs’ latest dirty trick is removing data caps if you pay for TV

By on May 13, 2016 at 8:43 AM.

ISPs’ latest dirty trick is removing data caps if you pay for TV

Cable companies that have long milked cable subscriptions for profit are worried about how they’re going to replace that cash among new generations of cable-cutters. But maybe, just maybe, they won’t have to.

DSL Reports has spotted a trend among ISPs that at first glance, looks pretty good: AT&T and Bend will both remove their broadband caps if users also bundle TV and home phone. It looks like a deal for customers — no fee to remove data caps! — but really, it’s an out-and-out money grab.

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Listening Skills Test Online

Test how your listening skills compare to a music producer

By on May 12, 2016 at 10:53 PM.

Test how your listening skills compare to a music producer

Just like a wine taster’s palate or an art student’s sense of bullshit, your listening skills are something that can be trained and honed. Music software company iZotope has a fun challenge to see how well your ears stack up against the competition.

As spotted by CDM, iZotope has an entire guide out that will help teach you about equalization, compression and digital audio. The equalization section has a bunch of interesting videos to explain the basics of EQs (balancing different frequencies), so that you’ll get a better understanding of what your car stereo does when you flip it between Rock and Pop. There’s also an explainer on the more complicated side, breaking down terms like “Peak Level” and “RMS.”

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