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Boing Boing
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Boing Boing
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Etsy sellers say their bank accounts were emptied in major billing snafu
The earliest the sellers will regain access to their funds is on Tuesday.
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Find your perfect side hustle with this freelancer's bible
There's a reason you're hearing about the gig economy in every other business story these days. More than ever, people are finding income from more than one source. And if you find the right one, a side hustle can do more than just pad your pockets - it can allow you to finally get paid for doing what you love. Looking to dive in? A great way to start is with The Ultimate Side Hustle Bundle: Amazon FBA & Freelancing. In this nine-course online learning package, there's a good emphasis on how to launch, market and grow a business selling goods on FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) - with good reason. If you can make it, FBA can move it, as long as you lay down the right foundation with solid marketing and SEO savvy. But the bundle also gives a broad overview of how to make sure a freelance career works for you, without it absorbing too much time. And if what you're selling is your own know-how or talent, you can learn how to break into the ranks of the most-watched videos on YouTube. Lifetime access to the entire Ultimate Side Hustle Bundle: Amazon FBA & Freelancing is available now for $49. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Signs that China's real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it
China's real-estate bubble is the largest in human history, and despite years of warning signs, it has grown and grown, spilling over into the rest of the world. It's hard to overstate just how crazy China's real-estate market is: 25% of the country's GDP comes from construction, and 80% of the nation's wealth is in domestic property holdings. That's $65T, nearly double the size of the economies of every G7 nation combined. The market has been kept afloat through China's massive "shadow banking" system, itself such a systemic risk that the Chinese government has been forced to crack down on it. Now, China's massive, blue-chip property developers have had their debt downrated to CCC and are struggling to issue new bonds -- Moody's rates the debt of 51 out of 61 Chinese property companies as "junk." China has 65 million vacant residences, but properties remain stubbornly high, even in "tier-two" cities like Jinan, where a 1000sqft apartment costs RMB2M, while a worker may only earn RMB6,000/month. This has tanked sales volume (down 44% year-on-year in the first week of 2019), but developers are not able to lower their prices in the face of popular uprisings from people who have overleveraged themselves to buy into the tier-one city markets. In one case, a cut to the price of unsold units sent Shanghainese property owners into the streets chanting and holding up signs reading "Give us our hard-earned blood-and-sweat money back!" The nation is staggering under massive real-estate debt, $3.4 trillion worth of it, and 47.1% of that is tied up in vacant properties, and the people who borrowed that money are not receiving rental income, nor are they living in those properties. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Shoot your movie now with this filmmaker's master class
High-def cameras are available to anyone and for much less than they were just a decade ago. Even the phones in our pockets can be used to shoot and edit short films. It's never been easier to be a filmmaker, providing you have the technique. Enter the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle, an online boot camp that will take your movie idea from first shot to final cut. In three separate courses, you'll get insights into every step of the moviemaking process from conception to distribution. An overview tutorial lets you know what missteps to avoid when writing your screenplay, and how to raise funds for the shoot once it's done. Then, you'll dive into the shot-by-shot details with an exhaustive course on cinematography, teaching you how to pick your shots and what equipment you'll need to capture them. Whether it's audio recording, lighting or editing, you'll have a working knowledge of almost every aspect of the process. Lifetime access to the Film & Cinematography Mastery Bundle is on sale now for $29. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
AFL-CIO open letter to game devs: things won't get better until you unionize
In the wake of Blizzard/Activision's announcement of mass layoffs following record profits, Liz Shuler of the AFL-CIO has published an open letter on Kotaku addressed to workers in the notoriously abusive video game industry, calling on them to unionize as the only path to a fair deal. My question is this: what have you gotten in return? While you’re putting in crunch time, your bosses are ringing the opening bell on Wall Street. While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to “their” success. They get rich. They get notoriety. They get to be crowned visionaries and regarded as pioneers. What do you get? Outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job. An Open Letter To Game Developers From America's Largest Labor Organization [Liz Shuler/Kotaku] (via /.) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Amazon's 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon's 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million
Amazon doubled its profits in 2018, to $11.2 billion; the company will receive a $129 million tax rebate for the year. Though Trump denounced Amazon's tax return, Amazon actually has Trump's tax deal, which handed massive breaks to America's richest people and corporations, to thank. In contrast to Amazon's $129 million tax rebate, millions of Americans will not get their customary tax rebate this year, and many Americans will owe additional tax. According to The Week, Amazon ended up paying an 11.4% federal income tax rate between 2011 and 2016, which is a contrast to the -1% rate this year. Amazon has a history of avoiding various sales taxes and made headlines last summer after successfully convincing Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to repeal a tax that would have helped the city’s homeless population. Amazon Will Pay a Whopping $0 in Federal Taxes on $11.2 Billion Profits [Laura Stampler/Fortune] Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Anti-vaxxers use Facebook to target pregnant women with fear and lies
Anti-vaxxers know no shame, Facebook is willing to do anything for an ad dollar, water is wet. Science Alert: Facebook is aggressively being used by anti-vaccination advocates to target pregnant women with sponsored advertisements to spread false information and conspiracy theories as the US battles a climbing measles outbreak. A sponsored ad found by Quartz journalist Jeremy Merrill shows the anti-vaccination organisation Stop Mandatory Vaccination targeting women ages 20 to 60 who have expressed interest in pregnancy living in the state of Washington – where the governor recently declared a state of emergency over the measles outbreak. Nearly 50 children and young adults in Clark County, Washington have become sickened by the disease since January. According to the CDC, there have been over 100 instances of measles since January – more than the entire year of 2016, when there were only 86. So far, nearly every child who has gotten ill is un-vaccinated. Facebook lets anti-vaxxers target ads specifically at women who are 'interested in pregnancy'. (But Facebook refuses to put that targeting information into its public database.) great find by @lachlan https://t.co/7swRhWc7AY pic.twitter.com/vnvsxNWVrw — Jeremy B. Merrill (@jeremybmerrill) February 14, 2019 In the sponsored ad by Stop Mandatory Vaccinations, which has over 100,000 likes on Facebook, it said a woman's daughter died "12 hours after being injected by eight vaccines in 2008." Vaccination rates have plummeted in pockets of the Pacific Northwest in recent years, as lies about the dangers of vaccines have spread, despite the fact that the measles vaccine is safe for almost everyone and can prevent many debilitating illnesses and death. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
5 dead and 5 police officers shot in Illinois mass shooting; gunman also dead
5 are dead and five more police officers shot after a gunman opened fire in Aurora, Ill. CBS: The suspect, identified as Gary Martin, opened fired at Henry Pratt Company Friday afternoon in Aurora and was shot dead, police said. Martin, 45, is believed to have been employed by the company. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said police were notified about the shooting at 1:24 p.m. They arrived on the scene at 1:28 p.m. and were immediately fired upon. Five officers were shot. A sixth suffered a knee injury. Five civilians were killed. The names of the victims have not been released. ABC News has eyewitness reports: John Probst, a Henry Pratt employee who escaped the building, said he saw a man holding a pistol with a laser scope. He said he recognized the shooter as a coworker. There would have been approximately 30 people in the building at the time of the shooting, Probst said. Probst said he saw other coworkers injured and that the shooter was firing indiscriminately. ... "(The shooter) just went ballistic," John Probst, who works at Henry Pratt and was in the building at the time told ABC. "[One victim] came running down; he was bleeding pretty bad." Probst said he recognized the shooter as a coworker. Probst said he was "rolling down the aisles" with "a pistol with a laser on it." Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Vogue executive quits after "slave-themed photo" posted
Just the other day I remarked that the fashion industry picked the worst possible year to try and make racist imagery cool, even as it's obvious why such an insular and privileged culture would think it clever and edgy. Hot on the heels of Katy Perry's blaceface shoes we have Vogue exec Donata Meirelles "on a throne with two black women in traditional dress standing either side of her." She quit when the photo got out. It has been suggested that the black women's clothes were similar to those worn by slaves, while the throne resembled a cadeira de sinhá - a chair for slave masters. Other pictures from the party, in Salvador de Bahia in northeast Brazil, show traditionally-dressed black women welcoming and ushering guests. Rita Batista, a TV presenter, posed the picture with an 1860 photo of a white woman sitting next to two slaves to make the implication clearer. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
YouTube's algorithms demonitizes piano tutorial site for "Repetitious content"
When you're learning to play a musical instrument, you have to play the same songs and scales over and over again. YouTube's algorithm doesn't seem to know this, and so it demonetized a piano tutorial channel for "Repetitious content." We just found out that our channel was demonetised for "Repetitious content" and we believe that this is an error, possibly decided by an algorithm, and now the biggest part of our livelihood has been taken away. Please help us by discussing this (tweeting and posting) if possible. We need to be heard by YouTube. It's a risk for the piano and synthesia community as we all have similar-looking videos. I hope they get this sorted out soon! Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
The 'Carlton Dance' is not eligible for registration, Fortnite boogies on
Alfonso Ribeiro sure can move, but the Copyright office doesn't see anything registerable about it. This ruling further imperils Ribeiro's claim that Epic Games 'Fortnite' has stolen from him. The Verge: The US Copyright Office refused to register The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro’s “Carlton dance” routine, likely weakening lawsuits against two game studios that copied the dance. In new legal filings, Take-Two Interactive produced letters and emails from the Copyright Office, showing serious concern over whether the dance qualified for copyright protection and, if it could, whether Ribeiro even owned the rights. Ribeiro sued Take-Two for copying the Carlton dance, which he created while playing Fresh Prince character Carlton Banks, for a celebratory dance gesture in NBA 2K. He’s also filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, which used a version of the Carlton dance in Fortnite. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Take-Two filed a defense earlier this week, asking a judge to dismiss the case. It argues that Banks’ dance is too basic to be protected by copyright, which only covers more complex “choreography.” A letter from the Copyright Office backs up that argument — at least, for one of three dance variations that Ribeiro submitted. The letter calls his submission “a simple routine made up of three dance steps” and refuses registration. “The fact that a dance or movement may contain more than a trivial amount of original authorship is irrelevant,” it reads. In other words, even if Ribeiro’s dance was unique and distinctive, it’s not protected by copyright. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Ja Rule has plans for to Fyre up another music festival. Seriously.
Ja Rule, who claims he hasn't watched either of the Fyre festival documentaries, is ready to rise like a phoenix from the, er, flames: "(Fyre is) the most iconiq festival that never was," he says. "So I have plans to create the iconic music festival." Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Watch a bus do a u-turn on a busy highway
According to Digg, this bus driver in China realized he wouldn't make it through a toll plaza so he pulled a u-ey. I think he actually wanted to grab a killer parking spot on the other side of the road. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Rescue pit bull pup performs perfectly for treat
“I swear the secret ingredient is crack!” The good boi in this wonderful clip is named Juggernaut, and his owner says: So my boy the Juggernaut is a rescue. I’ll make you a deal if you make a donation to your local shelter(please be honest) , I will give him a treat in your honor. For the First 100 people and I will post a pic of him getting the treat. 10 treats max per day. Let’s see how close we can get to the 100 mark. Send me a private message so I can keep track. I will post the pics at the end of the day together. Good deal, you guys. [link] I swear the secret ingredient is crack! Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Funny postcards based on old paperbacks
Comfy Jr is selling a set of five Paperback Paradise postcards, including: Incel From Another Planet Here They Come: The Bats That Kicked My Ass Whose Cat is This? Secret Sex Skeleton Eat Celestial Shit Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Akita puppy has serious snow addiction
“Maximus the Akita refusing to come inside yet again,” or COCAINE'S A HELLUVA DRUG, you pick. I mean, party hard, but pace yourself, bruh. IMGURIAN fuqHALO1 sure has a cute dog. Maximus has a snow addiction Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Trump admits his "National Emergency" isn't really an emergency
Trump admitted this morning that his "National Emergency" is not actually an emergency – "I didn't need to do this," he said about it. But the National Emergency would allow him to build his wall "faster." "I want to do it faster," he said. "I can do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. I would rather do it much faster. I don't have to do it for the election. I have already done a lot of wall for the election 2020." Via Buzzfeed: George Conway, a conservative lawyer — and the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway — who has been critical of the president, tweeted that Trump's comment "should be the first sentence of the first paragraph of every complaint filed this afternoon." Former US attorney Joyce Alene tweeted that Trump's comments were a "gift to all the lawyers preparing to sue him." Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice tweeted that they were "plaintiffs' Exhibit A." Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted, "Some emergency!" Adi Kamdar, a fellow at the Knight First Amendment Institute, tweeted, "The brief practically writes itself." This quote should be the first sentence of the first paragraph of every complaint filed this afternoon. https://t.co/ClHQhpTaEe — George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 15, 2019 Trump, questioned by @PeterAlexander, concedes there’s no national emergency to justify building his wall. “I didn’t need to do this.” “I just want to do it faster.” A gift to all the lawyers preparing to sue him. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Just a gushing waterfall, why? What?
“The natural world is a beautiful place, so inviting, bit slippery but god i love gushing waterfalls.” “It took thousands of years for these rock formations to form, thousands, we should appreciate them more.” The natural world is a beautiful place, so inviting, bit slippery but god i love gushing waterfalls [source] Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Justin Bieber song slowed down 800% and pitch corrected
Need a song for the third act of your indy film? Here you go: Image: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Wyoming GOP Senator explains death-penalty vote by saying that being executed was good enough for Jesus, so it's good enough for criminals
A bill to repeal Wyoming's death penalty law has failed in the state senate, thanks, in part, to the vote of Sen. Lynn Hutchings [R-Cheyenne, contact details], who said, "The greatest man who ever lived died via the death penalty for you and me. I’m grateful to him for our future hope because of this. Governments were instituted to execute justice. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying via the death penalty, we would all have no hope." Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Despite public pledges, leading scientific journals still allow statistical misconduct and refuse to correct it
A leading form of statistical malpractice in scientific studies is to retroactively comb through the data for "interesting" patterns; while such patterns may provide useful leads for future investigations, simply cherry-picking data that looks significant out of a study that has otherwise failed to prove out the researcher's initial hypothesis can generate false -- but plausible-seeming -- conclusions. To combat this practice, many journals have signed up to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT), a set of principles requiring researchers to publicly register, in advance, what data they will collect, and how they will analyze it, and to prominently note when they change methodologies after the fact, so that readers can treat any conclusions from these changes with additional care. CONSORT-compliant journals also promise to accept, review, and expeditiously publish correction letters when the papers they publish are found to have breached CONSORT standards. Evidence-based medicine ninja Ben Goldacre (previously) and colleagues reviewed every single paper published in five leading CONSORT-signed-up journals (New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, British Medical Journal, and Annals of Internal Medicine) for six weeks, and, when they detected statistical practices that violated CONSORT principles, they informed the journals in writing and recorded and published their replies, and tabulated the findings, producing a league table of the journals that do the most to live up to their commitments to good statistical practice. They also analyzed the reasons that journals (and researchers) gave for not publishing corrections, and point out the wide gaps in the journal editors' and researchers' understanding of good statistical practice. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
This AI is so good at writing fake news stories the developer doesn't want to release the code
The non-profit research organization, Open AI, developed a system called GPT-2, which "generates synthetic text samples in response to the model being primed with an arbitrary input. The model is chameleon-like — it adapts to the style and content of the conditioning text. This allows the user to generate realistic and coherent continuations about a topic of their choosing, as seen by the following select samples." GPT-2 is so good at writing fake news that the developer said, "Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model." Here's an example of the output: SYSTEM PROMPT (HUMAN-WRITTEN) Recycling is good for the world. NO! YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG!! MODEL COMPLETION (MACHINE-WRITTEN, 25 TRIES) Recycling is NOT good for the world. It is bad for the environment, it is bad for our health, and it is bad for our economy. I’m not kidding. Recycling is not good for the environment. It is destructive to the earth and it is a major contributor to global warming. Recycling is not good for our health. It contributes to obesity and diseases like heart disease and cancer. Recycling is bad for our economy. It increases the cost of a product, and in turn, the price of everything that is made with that product. Recycling is not good for our nation. We pay a tremendous price for the privilege of having the world’s most advanced and efficient recycling system. Recycling is a huge, colossal waste of time, energy, money, and resources. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
To do on Sunday in NYC: launch party for the Rats of New York's new album
NYC punk band The New York Rats is launching their new album on Sunday: it's a heavy vinyl LP with amazing sleeve art by Andrea Sicco; the album itself is Ramones-y, Husker-Du-ish uptempo punk that I've had on heavy rotation all week: it's 7:30PM on at Our Wicked Lady, 153 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
She's back! RBG returns to the Supreme Court
Following several weeks of recovery from cancer treatment, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has physically attended a closed-door meeting of the Supreme Court. CNN: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court Friday to participate in the regular closed-door conference meeting among the nine justices, the court announce. This marks the 85-year-old Ginsburg's first time back at the court since she announced her cancer surgery. Ginsburg underwent surgery in December to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung. There was no evidence of any remaining disease, nor is there evidence of disease elsewhere in the body, the court said in a statement. The nodules were found incidental to scans there were performed in November after she fell in her office and was hospitalized with three fractured ribs. For the first time in her career, Ginsburg missed two weeks of oral arguments. The justices will take the bench again on Tuesday. While Ginsburg is expected to sit for oral arguments, the court spokeswoman would not confirm her presence. Last week, Ginsburg appeared at an event in Washington to attend a performance of "Notorious RBG in Song." The Washington outing was to support her daughter-in-law, soprano Patrice Michaels, who released an album of songs chronicling Ginsburg's life. Ginsburg has had two previous bouts with cancer. She underwent surgery for colorectal cancer in 1999 and early stage pancreatic cancer in 2009. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Yacht dealers rely on Instagram "yacht influencers" to flip their wares
Alex Jimenez grew up poor in Puerto Rico, and is obsessed with yachts; by being one of the first people on Instagram to take a lot of pictures at yacht shows, he has become a sought-after "yacht influencer" who gets flown around the world to take photos of yachts that are going up for sale or whose owners are looking for renters. Jimenez says that despite the glamor he's surrounded by, he barely ekes out a living (he supplements his income by creating "subsidiary" Instagram accounts that build up followers among yacht-fanciers, and then selling these accounts to yacht dealers. He also gets paid to wear large, expensive watches for photos (he doesn't get to keep the watches). “Well, I want to own a yacht,” Jimenez said. “I used to just want to be on yachts, because I thought the parties were cool and the technology was awesome, but now that I’ve spent a good portion of my life partying on them, I actually want to own a yacht. Owning a yacht, really owning it in full and being able to pay for its upkeep, means that you’ve somehow freed yourself from work and want. If you own the yacht that way, you’re a free man. The hustle and grind are things of the past.” I asked him if he had plans to leave the yacht while we were in the French Riviera. “No, I’m going to hang back here, because I’m scheduled to be on another one of these yachts tomorrow,” he said. Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Trump says he's "most excited" about the death penalty for drug dealers
During Trump's address this morning where he declared a National Emergency in order to get funding for the wall that Mexico didn't pay for, he also mentioned how excited he was about the idea of a death penalty for people who traffic drugs. He talked about a meeting he had with China's President Xi Jinping, in which Xi attributed China's low drug crimes to the punishment of death. "That's frankly one of the things I'm most excited about in our trade deal," Trump said, referring to the death penalty given to drug dealers. "If we want to get smart...you can end the drug problem, a lot faster than people think." Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
An "e-ink typewriter" that can only do one thing
Lucian's SPUDwriter (Single Purpose User Device) was designed to help him focus on creative writing after a long day of staring at a screen in his engineering job: it uses an e-ink screen and a keyboard, and only outputs via SD card or thermal printer. As a person who does all of their engineering work on or adjacent to a computer, the idea of coming home and spending even MORE time on the computer for creative writing isn’t super appealing. So I made an e-paper typewriter – no browser, no games, just you and your word count. It has a character LCD at the bottom for the current line you’re typing, to make up for how slow E-paper updates, and when you’re finished you can save your file to an SD card or print it all out with the internal thermal receipt printer for redline editing. I call it the SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device), hopefully the first of a couple of SPUDs. It’s built on MBED and the STM32F401 Cortex M4. The SPUDwrite (Single Purpose User Device) for creating writing made with E-paper, MBED, and STM32F401 Cortex M4 [Adafruit] (Thanks, PT!) Read the rest
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things