Now this… this is an ultra-wide monitor

I’ve been working with an ugly but functional lopsided two-monitor setup for years, and while it has served me well, I can’t say the new generation of ultra-wide monitors hasn’t tempted me. But the truth is they just aren’t wide enough. Or rather, they weren’t. Samsung has just blown my mind with a monitor so wide it will serve as a ramp that you can trick off of in the summer. It’s so wide that when it puts on a pair of BVDs they read BOULEVARD. It’s so wide that the Bayeux Tapestry got jealous. Actually it’s a little less wide than a couple of the monitors Samsung announced at CES — but those had two problems. First, they were 3840×1080. And I just need more vertical pixels than that. Second, they were 49 inches wide. That’s a BIG monitor! Not just big, but with those pixels spread out that
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Now you’re journaling with power! (with this Mario-branded Moleskine gear)

Although this isn’t a stationery news site (how I should like that!), the latest collection from Moleskine is Mario-related, so technically I can write about it. There’s even a phone case and a rolltop backpack! It’s pretty much exactly what you expect: the usual solid Moleskine notebooks with a Nintendo flourish. They’re all Mario -related, but have different styles: a cartridge and Game Boy for the pocket-size notebooks, and stylized NES graphics on the larger ones. Unfortunately there’s no planner (hint hint, Moleskine). “It’s a newstalgic mixture of contemporary technology and timeless paper,” reads the press release. “Nostalgic” already implies both new and old so there’s no need for a portmanteau, and a Game Boy isn’t exactly “contemporary,” but they got the paper thing right. Actually, the notebooks have some pretty dope detailing. The small ones are embossed with cartridge ridges and Game Boy controls. All of them
🔥
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Some MacBook Pro users complain about throttling issues

The new MacBook Pro has a thermal issue. YouTuber Dave Lee found out that the top-performing MacBook Pro can’t operate at full speed for a long time because it gets too hot. According to him, a video export in Adobe Premiere Pro is taking longer on a brand new MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 CPU than on a 2017 MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i7 CPU (previous Intel generation). Sure, if you look at benchmarks, the new MacBook Pro destroys previous models, and even many iMacs. But Apple is throttling the speed of the CPU so that it doesn’t get too hot under heavy load. Apple Insider tested the performance of the new MacBook Pro with a Core i7 and Core i9 model. In both instances, the clock speed of the CPU started to drop drastically after a while. For the i9, the CPU dropped from 4.
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Printrbot has shut down

Printrbot, a popular Kickstarter-backed 3D printer company, has shut down, leaving only a barebones website and little explanation. The founder, Brook Drumm, wrote that “Low sales led to hard decisions.” “We will be forever grateful to all the people we met and served over the years,” he wrote. “Thank you all.” Printrbot’s machines costs about $200 during the Kickstarter and Drumm created multiple add-ons including a belt for printing multiple objects. Drumm also ran Vault Multimedia and appeared on Science Channel’s All-American Makers TV and a pastor. Drumm created his product after having trouble assembling an early Makerbot and finding the hardware and software difficult to use. There is no clear information on future support or parts availability for current customers. I’ve reached out to the company for comment.

Apple reportedly confirms keyboard reliability fix in internal document

An internal Apple document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacGénération and MacRumors confirms that there’s a membrane under the keyboard to “prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism”. This is the first time Apple acknowledges that the third generation butterfly keyboard tries to fix unreliability issues. “The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. The procedure for the space bar replacement has also changed from the previous model,” the internal document says. When Apple introduced the updated MacBook Pro, the company told everyone that the keyboard had been updated for quieter typing. But iFixit found out that the company actually added thin silicon barriers under each keycap. It’s clear that Apple didn’t want to publicly state that there is a reliability issue with its recent 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro models. The company doesn’t want to fuel
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‘Underwater Pokéball’ snatches up soft-bodied deep dwellers

Creatures that live in the depths of the oceans are often extremely fragile, making their collection a difficult affair. A new polyhedral sample-collection mechanism acts like an “underwater Pokéball,” allowing scientists to catch ’em all without destroying their soft, squishy bodies in the process. The ball is technically a dodecahedron that closes softly around the creature in front of it. It’s not exactly revolutionary, except in that it is extremely simple mechanically — at depths of thousands of feet, the importance of this can’t be overstated — and non-destructive. Sampling is often done via a tube with moving caps on both ends into which the creature must be guided and trapped, or a vacuum tube that sucks it in, which as you can imagine is at best unpleasant for the target and at worst, lethal. The rotary actuated dodecahedron, or RAD, has five 3D-printed “petals” with a complex-looking but mechanically
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The best Amazon Prime Day deals you can still grab

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions. Read Wirecutter’s continuously updated list of deals here. Amazon Prime Day this year, despite its slow start, broke records and boosted the fortunes of its competitors. And now that it’s over, we found some deals you can still take advantage of. Asus ROG Swift PG279Q 27 Inch Street Price: $740; Deal Price: $690 A new low price on our gaming monitor pick for Nvidia graphics card users. While it only beats our previous low by a few bucks, this monitor has been stubborn about sticking to $740. The Asus ROG Swift PG279Q 27
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Microsoft to launch new Xbox hardware next month

Microsoft is teasing new Xbox hardware and accessories will launch at Gamescom in Germany next month. Details are limited. The word comes from a Microsoft blog post about the event in which it lists the date and time of the August 21 event, which will feature “lots of news, all-new Xbox hardware and accessories, and features on upcoming titles.” Don’t expect the successor to the Xbox One, though. There are several options here and most signs point to a new Xbox Elite controller. Rumors have been swirling that the updated controller will feature USB-C charging, Windows 10 compatibility and updated mechanisms for the triggers and buttons. The timing is right, too. If announced in the middle of August, Microsoft will have plenty of time to get the expensive controller into retail stores for the holiday season. Microsoft just released the 4K Xbox One X last year. This model is
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This $20 DIY kit makes your NES, SNES or Mega Drive controller wireless

I have to hand it to 8BitDo. At first I thought they were just opportunistically hawking cheap hunks of plastic in an era of unparalleled nostalgia for retro games, but… well, who am I kidding? That’s exactly what they’re doing. But they’re doing it well. And these new DIY kits are the latest sign that they actually understand their most obsessive customers. While you can of course purchase fully formed controllers and adapters from the company that let your retro consoles ride the wireless wave of the future, not everyone is ready to part with their original hardware. I, for example, have had my Super Nintendo for 25 years or so — its yellowing, cracked bulk and controllers, all-over stains and teeth marks compelling all my guests to make an early exit. I consider it part of my place’s unique charm, but more importantly I’m used to the way these
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Peelable circuits make it easy to Internet all the things

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia are now able to create “tiny, thin-film electronic circuits peelable from a surface,” the first step in creating an unobtrusive Internet-of-Things solution. The peelable stickers can sit flush to an object’s surface and be used as sensors or wireless communications systems. The biggest difference between these stickers and traditional solutions is the removal of the silicon wafer that manufacturers use. Because the entire circuit is transferred right on the sticker there is no need for bulky packages and you can pull off and restick the circuits as needed. “We could customize a sensor, stick it onto a drone, and send the drone to dangerous areas to detect gas leaks, for example,” said Chi Hwan Lee, Purdue assistant professor. From the release:
A ductile metal layer, such as nickel, inserted between the electronic film and the silicon wafer, makes the peeling possible
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The Sonos Beam soundbar is now available

It took Sonos more than a month, but its new home theater speaker is now available. You can buy it on Sonos’ official website for $399 (or €449 if you live in Europe). It’s also available on Amazon and other retailers. The Beam is an affordable soundbar for your TV. This isn’t the company’s first soundbar, but it’s a better one. According to our review, its slimmer design makes it more versatile in many cases. Sometimes your TV is hanging on a wall. Or maybe you want to hide the speaker in a TV shelf. Just like recent Sonos speakers, it features Amazon Alexa. The company also promises Google Assistant support in the future. It’s a connected speaker for the home assistant generation. More interestingly, the Beam isn’t just a TV speaker. If you’re not using your TV, you can use it like a normal Sonos. You can pair
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When In Rome is the first Alexa-powered board game

Years ago, in the heyday of home video, I played a boardgames that used VHS tapes and electronic parts to help spur the action along. From Candy Land VCR to Captain Power, game makers were doing the best they could with a new technology. Now, thanks to Alexa, they can try something even cooler – board games that talk back. The first company to try this is Sensible Object. Their new game, When In Rome, is a family board game that pits two teams against each other in a race to travel the world. The game itself consists of a board and a few colored pieces and the real magic comes from Alexa. You start the game by enabling the When In Rome skill and then you start the game. Alexa then prompts you with questions as you tool around the board. The rules are simple because Alexa does
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Living with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro

When reviewing hardware, it’s important to integrate it into your life as much as possible. If you can, swap it in for your existing devices for a few days or a week, to really get an idea of what it’s like to use it day to day. There are certain nuances you can only discover through this approach. Of course, that’s easier said than done in most cases. Switching between phones and computers every week isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds, especially when juggling multiple operating systems. As a MacBook Pro owner, however, this one was a fair bit easier. In fact, there’s very little changed here from an aesthetic standpoint, and beyond the quieter keyboard and Siri integration, there’s not a lot that’s immediately apparent in the 2018 MacBook Pro refresh for me. That’s because I’m not the target demographic for the update. I write words for a
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Roku unveils $200 wireless speakers made for Roku TV

Roku is getting into the speaker business with today’s announcement of Roku TV Wireless Speakers. Mark Ely, the company’s vice president of product management, said Roku is trying to address a growing consumer problem — the fact that as TVs get thinner, you end up buying “this beautiful TV, but it sounds bad.” To address this, you may end up purchasing a soundbar or creating a more elaborate home theater setup, but Ely argued that many consumers find this process confusing and intimidating. So as the name suggests, Roku has created wireless speakers specifically for Roku TVs, the company’s lineup of partner-built smart TVs. Ely described them as speakers that deliver “really premium sound in a really compact package,” and at an affordable price. (They’re about seven inches tall and weigh four pounds each, he said.) Roku says it should be easy to pair these speakers wirelessly
Couple on Couch
End of Entertainment Center
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iFixit finds dust covers in latest MacBook Pro keyboard

Apple released a refreshed MacBook Pro this week and top among the new features is a tweaked keyboard. Apple says its quieter than the last version and in our tests, we agree. But iFixit found something else: thin, silicone barriers that could improve the keyboard’s reliability. This is big news. Users have long reported the butterfly switch keyboard found in MacBook Pros were less reliable than past models. There are countless reports of dust and lint and crumbs causing keys to stick or fail. Personally, I have not had any issues, but many at TechCrunch have. To date Apple has yet to issue a recall for the keyboard.. iFixit found a thin layer of rubberized material covering the new butterfly mechanism. The repair outlet also points to an Apple patent for this exact technology that’s designed to “prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress.” According to Apple, which held a big
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Hands on with the Echo Dots Kids Edition

Earlier this year, Amazon introduced an Echo Dot for kids, with its $80 Echo Dot Kids Edition device, which comes in your choice of a red, blue, or green protective case. The idea is to market a version of Amazon’s existing Dot hardware to families by bundling it with an existing subscription service, and by throwing in a few extra features – like having Alexa encourage kids to say “please” when making their demands, for example. The device makes sense in a couple of scenarios – for helicopter parents who want to fully lock down an Echo device before putting it in a kid’s room, and for those who were in the market for a FreeTime Unlimited subscription anyway. I’ve been testing out an Echo Dot Kids Edition, and ran into some challenges which I thought I’d share. This is not a hardware review – I’m sure you can find
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Researchers train bipedal robots to step lightly over rough terrain

Researchers at the Hybrid Robotics Group at UC Berkeley and CMU are hard at work making sure their robots don’t fall over when tiptoeing through rough terrain. Using machine learning and ATRIAS robots, the teams are able to “teach” robots to traverse stepping stones they’ve never seen before. Their robots, described here, are unique in that they are bipedal and use a mixture of balance and jumping to ensure they don’t tip off the blocks. “What’s different about our methods is that they allow for dynamic walking as opposed to the slower quasi-static motions that robots tend to use,” write the researchers. “By reasoning about the nonlinearities in the dynamics of the system and by taking advantage of recent advances in optimal and nonlinear control technology, we can specify control objectives and desired robot behaviors in a simple and compact form while providing formal stability and safety guarantees. This
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Bird has officially raised a whopping $300M as the scooter wars heat up

And there we have it: Bird, one of the emerging massively hyped Scooter startups, has roped in its next pile of funding by picking up another $300 million in a round led by Sequoia Capital. The company announced the long-anticipated round this morning, with Sequoia’s Roelof Botha joining the company’s board of directors. This is the second round of funding that Bird has raised over the span of a few months, sending it from a reported $1 billion valuation in May to a $2 billion valuation by the end of June. In March, the company had a $300 million valuation, but the Scooter hype train has officially hit a pretty impressive inflection point as investors pile on to get money into what many consider to be the next iteration of resolving transportation at an even more granular level than cars or bikes. New investors in the round include Accel,
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Apple buries the hatchet with Samsung but could tap LG displays

After years of legal procedures, Apple and Samsung have reached an agreement in the infamous patent case. Terms of the settlement were undisclosed. So is everything clear between Samsung and Apple? Not so fast, as Bloomberg reports that Apple wants to use OLED displays from LG to reduce its dependence on Samsung. You might remember that Apple first sued Samsung for copying the design of the iPhone with early Samsung Galaxy phones. The first trial led to an Apple victory. Samsung had to pay $1 billion. But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office later invalidated one of Apple’s patents. It led to multiple retrials and appeals, and the Supreme Court even had to rule at some point. After many years, Samsung ended up owing $539 million to Apple. According to Reuters, Samsung has already paid $399 million. If you look closely at the original case, it feels like
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This clever case pops open to protect your phone when you drop it

That moment when you drop your phone and everything stops. You can hear your heart beat — the buzz of the world around you is silenced — all cognition stops — you see as if in slow motion the pirouette of your $700 piece of electronics toward the cement. How will it land? Will you get lucky this time? Or is this it? But if you had this case on it, you’d then see it spring horns and land with a jaunty bounce. This “active damping” case, a bit like an airbag for your phone, is the brainchild of Philip Frenzel, an engineer at Aalen University in Germany. His idea won the top award from the German Society for Mechatronics, which considered projects from students all over the country, and you can see him explain its genesis in a video here. Frenzel, like me, doesn’t like compromising his phone’s
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