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Best air mattress for 2020: SoundAsleep, REI and more compared – CNET March 29, 2020

We inflated and slept on 10 of the most popular air mattress models, from Intex, Coleman, King Koil and more. Here’s what we learned. Best air mattress for 2020: SoundAsleep, REI and more compared – CNET Source: CNet

Save $100 on a Dyson V8 Animal Pro with 9 tool attachments – CNET

Now priced at $300 at QVC, it’s a $100 cheaper than elsewhere, yet comes with more attachments. Save 0 on a Dyson V8 Animal Pro with 9 tool attachments – CNET
Source: CNet

Comet Atlas could be the brightest comet in decades


Comet Atlas is racing toward the inner solar system, and it could become the brightest comet seen in the night sky in over two decades. The comet, discovered by an observatory designed to protect Earth from asteroids, may even be visible during the day just two months from now. Also known as C/2019 Y4, this comet was discovered by astronomers at the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in Hawaii in December 2019. At the time, the comet was exceedingly dim — but the comet became 4,000 times brighter in just a month. This increase is far greater than astronomers…

This story continues at The Next Web

Comet Atlas could be the brightest comet in decades
Source: The Next Web

A 1950s Ampex Tape Recorder Microphone Preamplifier Restoration

So often when we read of a modification on a classic piece of tube electronics we prepare to wince, as such work often results in senseless butchery of a well-preserved survivor. With [Frank Olson]’s work on a 1958 Ampex 601 tape recorder though we were pleasantly surprised, because while he makes a modification to allow its use as a stand-alone microphone preamplifier he also performs an extremely sympathetic upgrade to modern components and retains it in substantially the form it left the Ampex factory.

The video below the break is a satisfying wallow in pre-PCB-era construction for any of the generation who cut their teeth on tube, chassis, and tag strip electronics. We can almost smell the phenolic as he carefully removes time-expired capacitors and fits modern replacements complete with period features such as sheathing over their leads. The larger multiway can electrolytics are left in the chassis, with their modern miniaturised equivalents nestling underneath them out of sight. We all know that electronic components have become a lot smaller over the decades, but it’s still a bit of a shock to see just how tiny even a high voltage electrolytic has become.

The Ampex would have been a very high quality tape recorder when new, and while this one has a problem with its mechanism it’s that quality that makes it easier for him to do this work in 2020. There’s every chance that this one could be returned to service as a tape recorder if someone was of a mind to fix it, and meanwhile it will give Frank excellent service as a high quality pre-amp. This is how resto-mods should be done!

Ampex are very much still in existence making digital storage products, but back in the 1950s they were at the forefront of analogue magnetic tape technology. We’ve written in the past about how Bing Crosby had a hand in the development of high quality tape recorders, and also about Ampex’s part in the gestation of the video recorder.

A 1950s Ampex Tape Recorder Microphone Preamplifier Restoration
Source: HackADay

A Single Gesture Behind Trump Fuels an Online Conspiracy Theory

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, has become the target of claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president. A Single Gesture Behind Trump Fuels an Online Conspiracy Theory
Source: NY Times Tech

China proposes an internet architecture called New IP to UN's ITU; critics say its top-down design would give governments granular control over the internet (Financial Times)


Financial Times:

China proposes an internet architecture called New IP to UN’s ITU; critics say its top-down design would give governments granular control over the internet  —  New architecture would enable cutting-edge technologies but western countries fear more control for state-run internet services

China proposes an internet architecture called New IP to UN's ITU; critics say its top-down design would give governments granular control over the internet (Financial Times)
Source: Tech Meme

Zoom updates iOS app to remove code that sent device data to Facebook

In this photo illustration a Zoom Video Communications logo...

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Video conferencing app Zoom updated its iOS app Friday to remove code that sent user data to Facebook, Motherboard reports. The update follows Motherboard’s analysis of the app, which showed it was sending data to Facebook such as a user’s time zone and city, when a user opened the app, and details about the user’s device, even if the user didn’t have a Facebook account. The extent of the data-sharing was not clearly spelled out in Zoom’s privacy policy, according to Motherboard.

According to a blog post by Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan, Zoom implemented its “Login with Facebook” feature using Facebook’s software development kit (SDK) for iOS. On March 25th, the company says it was made aware that the Facebook SDK was collecting device…

Continue reading…

Zoom updates iOS app to remove code that sent device data to Facebook
Source: New feed

Get $250 worth of Google smart speakers for $99 – CNET

Save 60% on a pair of Google Home smart speakers and a Google Nest Mini. Get 0 worth of Google smart speakers for – CNET
Source: CNet

You Can Access Fender's Online Guitar Lessons For Free Right Now

If you’re using your time physical distancing to learn guitar, Fender is offering free guitar, bass, and ukulele lessons to the first 500,000 people to sign up for Fender Play. It’s a free trial, but you don’t have to handle over any payment details to get access, so you won’t run the risk of getting charged if you…

Read more…

You Can Access Fender's Online Guitar Lessons For Free Right Now
Source: Life Hacker

A new COVID-19 test can return results in 5 minutes

Abbott’s ID NOW system. | Abbott

A new COVID-19 test from the medical device company Abbott can return positive results in five minutes — and it can be run in a doctor’s office. The test was approved for emergency use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration last night.

The test uses Abbott’s small, portable ID NOW platform, and doesn’t have to be sent to a central lab for analysis. Instead, it can be done directly in an emergency room or urgent care clinic, which could cut down on the days-long wait time some patients now face for test results. Doctors could take a swab from a patient’s nose or throat and insert it directly into the machine, and have results within 15 minutes (it can take up to 13 minutes if the sample is negative for the virus).

Continue reading…

A new COVID-19 test can return results in 5 minutes
Source: New feed

Research: the number of coronavirus-related domains has grown to 68K+ this year; coronavirus.com, reportedly owned by GoDaddy, currently forwards to WHO's site (Brandy Zadrozny/NBC News)


Brandy Zadrozny / NBC News:

Research: the number of coronavirus-related domains has grown to 68K+ this year; coronavirus.com, reportedly owned by GoDaddy, currently forwards to WHO’s site  —  “People have this idea that you shouldn’t profit on the tragedy,” one domain seller said.  “I think that’s kind of a superstition.”

Research: the number of coronavirus-related domains has grown to 68K+ this year; coronavirus.com, reportedly owned by GoDaddy, currently forwards to WHO's site (Brandy Zadrozny/NBC News)
Source: Tech Meme

COVID-19 Statistics: Reading the Tea Leaves

If you’ve been tracking the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, as we have, you’ve doubtless seen a lot of statistics. The raw numbers look shocking, and in many cases they are, but as always it’s crucially important to ask yourself what the numbers mean.

For instance, our own Tom Nardi put together a counter that displays the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US. It’s a cool project that puts together some web-scraping, a nice OLED screen, and a 3D-printed network display. When this is all over, it can be easily re-trained to show some other statistic of interest, and it’s a great introduction to a number of web APIs. However, it’s looking at the wrong number.

Let me explain. Diseases spread exponentially: the more people who have it, the more people are spreading it. And exponential curves all look the same when you plot out their instantaneous values — the raw number of COVID-19 cases. Instead, what distinguishes one exponential from another is the growth parameter, and this is related to the number of new cases per day, or more correctly, to the day-to-day change in new cases.

If left unchecked, and especially in the early stages of spread, the number of new cases grows every day. But as control efforts, mainly social distancing, take effect, the rate at which the number of new cases can slow, or even go negative. That’s the plan, anyway.

As is very well explained by this video from 3 Blue, 1 Brown, if this were a naturally spreading epidemic, the point at which the new cases just starts to decline marks the halfway point in the course of the disease. Here, we’re hoping that particularly strict quarantining procedures will cut this run even shorter, but if you’re interested in how the disease is spreading, the point when daily new infections turns around is what you’re looking for.

Why not put the daily difference in new cases on your desktop, then? These numbers are noisy, and the difference jumps all around. To be serious, you would probably want to put a moving average on the new cases figure, and look at that difference. Or simply show the new cases instead and look for it to drop for a few days in a row.

Still, this won’t be a perfect measure. For starters, COVID-19 seems to incubate for roughly a week without symptoms. This means that whatever numbers we have, they’re probably a week behind the actual situation. We won’t see the effects of social distancing for at least a week, and maybe more.

Further complicating things is the availability of tests, human factors like weekends when more people get tested but fewer government reporting offices are open, timezones, etc. (What happened on Feb. 13?)

I’m not going to go so far as to say that the COVID-19 stats that we see are useless — actually far from it. But if you’re going to armchair quarterback this pandemic, do it right. Plot out the daily new cases, maybe apply a little smoothing, at least in your head, and realize that whatever you’re seeing now probably represents what happened last week.

When you finally see the turning point, you may celebrate a little, because that means the halfway point was a week ago. We’ve seen it happen in China around Feb 2, and I’m looking forward to it happening here. I hope it happens wherever you are, and soon.

We will get through this. Stay safe, all. And keep yourself uninfected to keep others uninfected.

This article is part of the Hackaday.com newsletter, delivered every seven days for each of the last 212 weeks or so. It also includes our favorite articles from the last seven days that you can see on the web version of the newsletter.

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COVID-19 Statistics: Reading the Tea Leaves
Source: HackADay

How chronic stress changes the brain — and what you can do to reverse the damage


A bit of stress is a normal part of our daily lives, which can even be good for us. Overcoming stressful events can make us more resilient. But when the stress is severe or chronic – for example caused by the breakdown of a marriage or partnership, death in the family or bullying – it needs to be dealt with immediately. That’s because repeated stress can have a huge impact on our brain, putting us at risk of a number of physical and psychological problems. Repeated stress is a major trigger for persistent inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can…

This story continues at The Next Web

How chronic stress changes the brain — and what you can do to reverse the damage
Source: The Next Web

Saturday's Best Deals: Blue Light Glasses, Gaming Headsets, Arc’teryx, and More

A portable car jump starter, $20 wireless headphones, free blue light lenses, a cheap gaming headset, and more are at the top of list of Saturday’s deals.

Read more…

Saturday's Best Deals: Blue Light Glasses, Gaming Headsets, Arc’teryx, and More
Source: Life Hacker

OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

OneWeb satellite proposal

Image: OneWeb

Space exploration firm OneWeb has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, GeekWire reports, leaving uncertainty about the 74 satellites it has in orbit and its plans to provide high-speed internet from space.

In a news release, OneWeb said it plans to use the bankruptcy proceedings to pursue a sale of the company. “While the company was close to obtaining financing, the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19,” according to the news release, which also mentioned that the company was “forced to reduce our workforce.” It did not indicate how many people may have been laid off.

Last Saturday, OneWeb successfully launched 34 satellites on a Soyuz rocket from…

Continue reading…

OneWeb files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
Source: New feed

While the Bay Area shelters in place, construction on mansions and luxury condos continues

Multi-million dollar mansions, high-rise waterfront condos, a stately Victorian — all deemed “essential” under public health orders in San Francisco and Silicon Valley While the Bay Area shelters in place, construction on mansions and luxury condos continues
Source: Washington Post Tech

How to Watch Elton John's Benefit Concert for Medical Workers Sunday Night

Sir Elon John may have paused his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour due to COVID-19, but you can still catch him perform this weekend from your living room.

Read more…

How to Watch Elton John's Benefit Concert for Medical Workers Sunday Night
Source: Life Hacker

An in-depth look at China's Twitter propaganda machine, which uses over 10K fake Twitter accounts to promote the Chinese government's image abroad (ProPublica)


ProPublica:

An in-depth look at China’s Twitter propaganda machine, which uses over 10K fake Twitter accounts to promote the Chinese government’s image abroad  —  Kalen Keegan, a college student at the University of Nebraska Omaha, immediately noticed when her Twitter account unleashed a torrent of posts in Chinese.

An in-depth look at China's Twitter propaganda machine, which uses over 10K fake Twitter accounts to promote the Chinese government's image abroad (ProPublica)
Source: Tech Meme

Coronavirus shutdowns: How bars, cafes and restaurants are fighting to stay afloat – CNET

Virtual bars, wine tastings via zoom, live-streamed cooking lessons and more. Coronavirus shutdowns: How bars, cafes and restaurants are fighting to stay afloat – CNET
Source: CNet

Your laptop can help fight COVID-19 with Folding@home project – CNET

Think of it as a telecommuter supercomputer. Your laptop can help fight COVID-19 with Folding@home project – CNET
Source: CNet

Land Rover Defender, automakers help fight COVID-19 and more: Roadshow's week in review – Roadshow

Here’s a look at our most important stories for the week ending March 28. Land Rover Defender, automakers help fight COVID-19 and more: Roadshow's week in review – Roadshow
Source: CNet

In one hour, you could be ready to be a certified AWS cloud services professional


Right now, you can take a one-hour crash course that will put you in position to pass AWS’ coveted certification exams with the training in the AWS Cloud Essentials Course. It’s just $12.99 (over 90 percent off) right now for TNW Deals.

In one hour, you could be ready to be a certified AWS cloud services professional
Source: The Next Web

Now that everyone's using Zoom, here are some privacy risks you need to watch out for – CNET

Don’t let tattle-tale software features disrupt your remote workflow. Now that everyone's using Zoom, here are some privacy risks you need to watch out for – CNET
Source: CNet

BCD To I2C: Turning A Nixie Counter Into Whatever You Want It To Be

Whenever a project calls for displaying numbers, a 7-segment display is the classic and straightforward choice. However, if you’re more into a rustic, retro, almost mystical, and steampunky look and feel, it’s hard to beat the warm, orange glow of a Nixie tube. Once doomed as obsolete technology of yesteryear, they have since reclaimed their significance in the hobbyist space, and have become such a frequent and deliberate design choice, that it’s easy to forget that older devices actually used them out of necessity for lack of alternatives. Exhibit A: the impulse counter [soldeerridder] found in the attic that he turned into a general-purpose, I2C controlled display.

Instead of just salvaging the Nixie tubes, [soldeerridder] kept and re-used the original device, with the goal to embed an Intel Edison module and connect it via I2C. Naturally, as the counter is a standalone device containing mainly just a handful of SN74141 drivers and SN7490 BCD counters, there was no I2C connectivity available out of the box. At the same time, the Edison would anyway replace the 7490s functionality, so the solution is simple yet genius: remove the BCD counter ICs and design a custom PCB containing a PCF8574 GPIO expander as drop-in replacement for them, hence allowing to send arbitrary values to the driver ICs via I2C, while keeping everything else in its original shape.

Containing six Nixie tubes, the obvious choice is of course to use it as a clock, but [soldeerridder] wanted more than that. Okay, it does display the time, along with the date, but also some sensor values and even the likes on his project blog. If you want to experiment with Nixie tubes yourself, but lack a matching device, Arduino has you obviously covered. Although, you might as well go the other direction then.

BCD To I2C: Turning A Nixie Counter Into Whatever You Want It To Be
Source: HackADay

Interview with Huawei CEO Richard Yu on the impact of COVID-19, the launch of the P40 series, and the continuing issues brought upon by the US ban (Dr. Ian Cutress/AnandTech)


Dr. Ian Cutress / AnandTech:

Interview with Huawei CEO Richard Yu on the impact of COVID-19, the launch of the P40 series, and the continuing issues brought upon by the US ban  —  Today Huawei launched its latest generation of photography focused smartphone: the P40 series.  This series consists of the P40, the P40 Pro …

Interview with Huawei CEO Richard Yu on the impact of COVID-19, the launch of the P40 series, and the continuing issues brought upon by the US ban (Dr. Ian Cutress/AnandTech)
Source: Tech Meme

What designers can learn from Candy Crush’s brilliant UX


One of the best ways to improve as a designer is to study the greats. There’s no doubt that Candy Crush is one of the best selling mobile games of all time, but how does its UX hold up? Consistency Consistency is one of the best ways to get your users comfortable with your product. If they know what to expect from screen to screen it will cut down on confusion. Candy Crush is consistent in its style. Sticking with a bright, playful tone that can be seen across the fonts, sound effects, animations, etc. Unfortunately, this playful style can…

This story continues at The Next Web

What designers can learn from Candy Crush’s brilliant UX
Source: The Next Web

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