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Apple’s billion dollar antitrust fine in France cut to $366 million October 7, 2022

It’s a big discount. | Kristen Radtke / The Verge An appeals court in France has slashed Apple’s antitrust fine from €1.1 billion to €372 million (about $366 million), calling the original penalty “disproportionate” and saying that the new amount was “sufficient” to dissuade the company from bad behavior, according to reports from Reuters and […]

Industrial Robot Repurposed to Make S’Mores

It’s summer time in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means campfires for cooking hot dogs, keeping the mosquitoes away, and of course, making s’mores. For our far-flung friends, that’s a fire roasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate smashed between two graham crackers. So called because when you’re done, you’ll want s’more. It’s an easy enough recipe that any child can tell you how to make it. But what if you’re not a child? What if you don’t even have hands, because you’re an industrial robot? This is the challenge that [Excessive Overkill] has taken on in the video below the break.

Starting with a Fanuc S-420 i W industrial robot built in 1997, [Excessive Overkill] painstakingly taught his own personal robot how to make S’Mores. Hacking the microwave with pneumatic cylinders to get the door open was a nice touch, and so are the vacuum grippers at the business end of the S’More-bot.

We know, we said you were supposed to make them on a campfire — but who wants to risk cooking their vintage robotic arm just to melt some chocolate?

There’s a lot of story behind this hack, and [Excessive Overkill] explains how they acquired, transported, and three phase powered an out of date industrial robot in another of their videos. Of course, this is Hackaday so it’s a subject that’s come up before in the reverse engineering of an industrial robot that we covered some time back.

Thanks [Phil] for the great tip!

In iOS 16 beta 4, Apple Pay finally works in non-Safari browsers like Chrome and Edge, a move that may be in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (Emma Roth/The Verge)

Emma Roth / The Verge:
In iOS 16 beta 4, Apple Pay finally works in non-Safari browsers like Chrome and Edge, a move that may be in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act  —  Not just Safari  —  Apple Pay could finally be compatible with Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox in iOS 16.

Investigation: 32 US brokers are selling overlapping datasets with ~2.9B profiles of people pegged as “actively pregnant” or “shopping for maternity products” (Gizmodo)

Gizmodo:
Investigation: 32 US brokers are selling overlapping datasets with ~2.9B profiles of people pegged as “actively pregnant” or “shopping for maternity products”  —  Gizmodo identified 32 brokers selling data on 2.9 billion profiles of U.S. residents pegged as …

Hackaday Links: July 31, 2022

Don’t look up! As of the time of this writing, there’s a decent chance that a Chinese Long March 5B booster has already completed its uncontrolled return to Earth, hopefully safely. The reentry prediction was continually tweaked over the last week or so, until the consensus closed in on 30 Jul 2022 at 17:08 UTC, give or take an hour either way. That two-hour window makes for a LOT of uncertainty about where the 25-ton piece of space debris will end up. Given the last prediction by The Aerospace Corporation, the likely surface paths cover a lot of open ocean, with only parts of Mexico and South America potentially in the crosshairs, along with parts of Indonesia. It’s expected that most of the material in the massive booster will burn up in the atmosphere, but with the size of the thing, even 20% making it to the ground could be catastrophic, as it nearly was in 2020.

[Update: US Space Command confirms that the booster splashed down in the Indian Ocean region at 16:45 UTC. No word yet on how much debris survived, or if any populated areas were impacted.]

Good news, everyone — thanks to 3D printing, we now know the maximum height of a dive into water that the average human can perform without injury. And it’s surprisingly small — 8 meters for head first, 12 meters if you break the water with your hands first, and 15 meters feet first. Bear in mind this is for the average person; the record for surviving a foot-first dive is almost 60 meters, but that was by a trained diver. Researchers from Cornell came up with these numbers by printing models of human divers in various poses, fitting them with accelerometers, and comparing the readings they got with known figures for deceleration injuries. There was no mention of the maximum survivable belly flop, but based on first-hand anecdotal experience, we’d say it’s not much more than a meter.

Humans have done a lot of spacefaring in the last sixty years or so, but almost all of it has been either in low Earth orbit or as flybys of our neighbors in the Sol system. Sure we’ve landed plenty of probes, but mostly on the Moon, Mars, and a few lucky asteroids. And Venus, which is sometimes easy to forget. We were reminded of that fact by this cool video of the 1982 Soviet landing of Venera 14, one of only a few attempts to land on our so-called sister planet. The video shows the few photographs Venera 14 managed to take before being destroyed by the heat and pressure on Venus, but the real treat is the sound recording the probe managed to make. Venera 14 captured the sounds of its own operations on the Venusian surface, including what sounds like a pneumatic drill being used to sample the regolith. It also captured, as the narrator put it, “the gentle blow of the Venusian wind” — as gentle as ultra-dense carbon dioxide hot enough to melt lead can be, anyway.

So when you buy a Tesla, what are you actually getting? It seems like a silly question, on the face of it. You’re buying a car, right? Maybe not, if the bad experience of a Tesla Model S90 owner is any indication. The particulars are hard to follow if you’re not familiar with Tesla’s pricing models, but essentially, each battery pack has a maximum capacity that’s limited in software depending on how much range you pay for. The Tesla owner in question bought his Model S90 used, and was getting the 90-kWh range he was expecting. But when he went in to upgrade his car from 3G telemetry, Tesla locked his battery to 60-kWh and demanded $4,500 to unlock it.

Luckily, the owner was able to take the matter to Twitter, where the Court of Public Opinion quickly decided against Tesla, who reverted the change without charge and apologized for the misunderstanding. Good for them, but it raises a lot of questions about ownership — it seems more like you’re licensing a limited right to use a vehicle rather than buying it outright, and that seems to apply even once the vehicle moves to the secondary market.

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols dies at age 89

Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek. | Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images

Nichelle Nichols, who was best known for her groundbreaking role as Nyota Uhura in the original Star Trek series, died at age 89. Her son, Kyle Johnson, informed her fans in a post on Nichols’ Instagram account.

“Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away,” Johnson writes. “Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.”

Nichols was born on December 28th, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois. Before joining the cast of Star Trek, Nichols toured with jazz artist Duke…

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Hackaday Prize 2022: An Eastern Bloc NES Clone

If Nintendo is known for anything outside of their characters and admittedly top-notch video games, it’s being merciless to fans when it comes to using their intellectual property. They take legal action against people just for showing non-Nintendo hardware emulating games of theirs, and have even attempted to shut down the competitive scene for games like Super Smash Bros. To get away from the prying eyes of the Nintendo legal team extreme measures need to be taken — like building your Nintendo console clone behind the Iron Curtain.

[Marek Więcek] grew up in just such a place, so the only way to play Famicom (a.k.a NES) games was to use a clone system like this one circulating in the Eastern Bloc at the time called the Pegasus which could get the job done with some tinkering. [Marek] recently came across CPU and GPU chips from this clone console and got to work building his own. Using perf board and wire he was able to test the chips and confirm they functioned properly, but had a problem with the video memory that took him a while to track down and fix.

After that, he has essentially a fully-functional Famicom that can play any cartridge around. While we hope that living in Eastern Europe still puts him far enough away to avoid getting hassled by Nintendo, we can never be too sure. Unless, of course, you use this device which lets you emulate SNES games legally.

Inside China’s $16B virtual influencer industry, as motion capture actors complain of hard working conditions powering their avatars four to five hours per day (Rest of World)

Rest of World:
Inside China’s $16B virtual influencer industry, as motion capture actors complain of hard working conditions powering their avatars four to five hours per day  —  Hidden behind the perfect faces of China’s $16 billion virtual celebrity industry is an angry, overworked labor force.

A TikTok Music app could challenge Spotify and Apple

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Considering how intertwined music discovery is with TikTok, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if the company launched a music streaming app of its own. Well, patent filings uncovered by Insider suggest TikTok’s working on just that.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, filed a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for “TikTok Music” in May. According to the filing, the service would let users purchase, play, share, and download music. It would also allow users to create, share, and recommend playlists, comment on music, as well as livestream audio and video. ByteDance already filed for a “TikTok Music” trademark in Australia last November.

ByteDance already has experience with music streaming. In 2020, ByteDance…

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3 apps to try today — an iPad dashboard, an astrophotography app, and a bookmark manager

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Cyberattack on Illuminate Education, exposing information on 1M+ students, highlights the dangers of stockpiling sensitive info on millions of school children (Natasha Singer/New York Times)

Natasha Singer / New York Times:
Cyberattack on Illuminate Education, exposing information on 1M+ students, highlights the dangers of stockpiling sensitive info on millions of school children  —  At a moment when education technology firms are stockpiling sensitive information on millions of school children, safeguards for student data have broken down.

Adding Perlin Noise to 3D Printed Parts, with Python

Want to add a bit of visual flair to 3D printed parts that goes maybe a little more than skin-deep? That’s exactly what [volzo] was after, which led him to create a Python script capable of generating a chunk of Perlin noise, rendered as an STL file. What does that look like? An unpredictably-random landscape of hills and valleys.

The script can give printed parts a more appealing finish.

The idea is to modify a 3D model with the results of the script, leaving one with something a bit more interesting than a boring, flat surface. [volzo] explains how to use OpenSCAD to do exactly that, but it’s also possible to import the STL file the script creates into the CAD program of one’s choice and make the modifications there with some boolean operations.

If the effect looks a bit bit familiar, it’s likely because he used the method to design part of the 3D printed “toy” camera that we featured recently.

[volzo]’s method isn’t entirely plug and play, but it could still be a handy thing to keep in your back pocket when designing your next part. There are also other ways to modify the surfaces of prints for better aesthetics; we’ve previously covered velocity painting (also known as ‘tattooing’ in some slicers) and also fuzzy skin.

Perlin noise was created by [Ken Perlin] in the early 80s while working on the original Tron movie as a way to help generate more realistic-looking textures. It still fulfills that artistic function in a variety of ways, even today.

From the Editor’s Desk: Full steam ahead for iPhone 14 and iOS 16

As we wrap up a blazing hot July, let’s look ahead to the iPhone 14 and iOS 16.

Things are looking good for the Matter smart home standard (knock on wood)

Credit: Nanoleaf

If you’re not familiar with why Matter matters for smart homes, we have a primer for you below, but to put it as briefly as possible: simplicity. It’s a universal protocol that will allow accessories to work on any major smart home platform, eventually putting an end (in many cases at least) to the question of whether something is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or Samsung SmartThings.

Since it was announced, there have been doubts about how widely Matter will be adopted, and whether it’ll roll out smoothly. Or at all. There have already been a couple of delays — it was originally supposed to go live in 2020, and then in mid-2022. The good news is that based on recent developments, it is likely to meet its current fall 2022 target and become de facto in the smart home industry.

How Tor is fighting Russia’s efforts since December 2021 to block the anonymous browser, such as by using Telegram to share details of volunteer-run Tor bridges (Matt Burgess/Wired)

Matt Burgess / Wired:
How Tor is fighting Russia’s efforts since December 2021 to block the anonymous browser, such as by using Telegram to share details of volunteer-run Tor bridges  —  Russia has been trying to block the anonymous browser since December—with mixed results.  —  For years, the anonymity service Tor …

The Pixel 6A is getting an immediate update to make sure it’s moddable

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Just days after the Pixel 6A’s launch, Google’s rolling out an update to fix an issue preventing users from unlocking the bootloader and performing mods, according to a report from Android Police. The change is bundled within the Pixel 6A’s first update, which Google just started releasing last week.

In short, a bootloader is a piece of software that loads the operating system (OS) on a device when it turns on. Gaining access to the bootloader on Android can give you full control over your OS in a process known as rooting. It also allows you to install modded versions of Android, called ROMs. While some phone-makers and carriers don’t let you unlock your device’s bootloader, Google does things differently. It lets you dive right in on…

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This app does only one thing: splitting meal bills

There’s a lot to be said for an app with one singular function, and that’s what makes the Tab app so magical. Unlike other bill splitting apps like Splitwise, which lets you split and track any type of expense, the Tab app exists to only split meal bills among a group of people. That’s it — that’s all it does.

I was first introduced to the app by my friends when I lived in New York City. After many dinners and debates over who ordered an extra side of fries, who got three beers instead of two, and who just had an hors d’oeuvre in place of an entree, we were fed up with doing basic math so the five or six people at the table could each pay their fair share. Thus, we transitioned to the Tab app. Its appeal came from the ease of signing up…

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The next Tomb Raider film will feature a new Lara Croft

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in MGM’s 2018 Tomb Raider. | Image: Warner Bros

Tomb Raider’s movie rights are up for grabs. According to a report from TheWrap, the Amazon-owned MGM waited too long to create a sequel to its 2018 Tomb Raider film, freeing up the rights for the next Hollywood studio that wants to take a stab at creating an adaption of the long-running video game franchise.

Several studios are currently engaged in a bidding war to snap up the Tomb Raider rights, TheWrap reports. And since the license come with no obligation to retain the same cast and crew, the next Tomb Raider film could be a total reboot that passes the Lara Croft baton to yet another actress.

The 2018 Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, and was met with mixed reviews that criticized its weak portrayal of the series’…

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Apple Card doubles its cash back for a limited time [Update]

Apple Card users can get four percent Daily Cash when making purchases at select merchants through July 31.

This working GameBoy phone case is the ultimate time and money waster

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Yes, that’s a GameBoy case. A fully functioning GameBoy case, to be precise. Well, of sorts — it’s not an officially licensed Nintendo product.

In fact, I doubt the manufacturer has the rights to market such a close likeness of the iconic handheld game console, let alone use the name or sell the games. But that’s the current state of Chinese manufacturing, and it’s not like Nintendo is ever going to make something this awesome.

Cool Face Mask Turns Into Over-Engineered Headache

Seeing his wife try to use a cool face mask to get through the pain of a migraine headache, [Sparks and Code] started thinking of ways to improve the situation. The desire to save her from these debilitating bouts of pain drove him to make an actively cooled mask, all the while creating his own headache of an over-engineered mess.

Void spaces inside the printed mask are filled with chilled water.

Instead of having to put the face mask into the refrigerator to get it cold, [Sparks and Code] wanted to build a mask that he could circulate chilled water through. With a large enough ice-filled reservoir, he figured the mask should be able to stay at a soothing temperature for hours, reducing the need for trips to the fridge.

[Sparks and Code] started out by using photogrammetry to get a 3D model of his wife’s face. Lack of a compatible computer and CUDA-enabled GPU meant using Google Cloud to do the heavy lifting. When they started making the face mask, things got complicated. And then came the unnecessary electronics. Then the overly complicated  and completely unnecessary instrumentation. The… genetic algorithms? Yes. Those too.

We won’t spoil the ending — but suffice it to say, [Sparks and Code] learned a cold, hard lesson: simpler is better! Then again, sometimes being over-complicated is kind of the point such as in this way-too-complex gumball machine.

The best instant photo printer you can buy right now

Whether you want the best photo quality or ultra-portability, there’s a printer for you.

The little prints

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5 Great Features You Only Get in Samsung’s Version of Android

When you buy a Samsung phone, you get a custom version of Google’s mobile operating system that comes with its own unique tools and perks.

Actually, Stage Manager is great: Here’s why haters shouldn’t hate

Apple’s Stage Manager feature in macOS Ventura has been polarizing. While some hate it, it’s exactly the kind of feature I’ve been waiting for.

Hypergraphs Reveal a Solution to a 50-Year-Old Problem

In 1973, Paul Erdős asked if it was possible to assemble sets of “triples”—three points on a graph—so that they abide by two seemingly incompatible rules.

The Samsung QN90B Is the Best TV for Bright Rooms

Rooms with a lot of natural light can make it hard to see some screens, but the QN90B’s mini LEDs make it a lot easier to see.