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Build your own DIY Google Home using a Raspberry Pi

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 12:33 By: admin

Build your own DIY Google Home using a Raspberry Pi

If you need a project for the Raspberry Pi you have lying around, you could always turn it into a DIY Google Home. With a minimal amount of hardware and setup, you can create a functioning home assistant linked to your Google account and controlled by voice commands. Follow the steps in the linked article below to install the Google Assistant SDK on your Raspberry Pi and set it up to listen for voice commands.

Developers can build on the project by programming their own custom voice skills and smart home functions using Google Assistant’s voice recognition as input. If the device is still connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, you can set it up to be accessible via SSH and run in a headless configuration using the Pi’s network options.

See http://bit.ly/2CvGIOa


30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 11:43 By: admin

30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

Certainly food for thought and reminds me of some of the other "health myths" that persisted from the 1970's. I see some similarities with what happened with cholesterol and healthy fats. Never make any chnages though to prescribed medication without consulting your GP.

Some 2,000 years ago, the Ancient Greek scholar Hippocrates argued that all ailments, including mental illnesses such as melancholia, could be explained by imbalances in the four bodily fluids, or “humors.” Today, most of us like to think we know better: Depression—our term for melancholia—is caused by an imbalance, sure, but a chemical imbalance, in the brain.

This explanation, widely cited as empirical truth, is false. It was once a tentatively-posed hypothesis in the sciences, but no evidence for it has been found, and so it has been discarded by physicians and researchers. Yet the idea of chemical imbalances has remained stubbornly embedded in the public understanding of depression.

Prozac, approved by the US Food and Drug Administration 30 years ago today, on Dec. 29, 1987, marked the first in a wave of widely prescribed antidepressants that built on and capitalized off this theory. No wonder: Taking a drug to tweak the biological chemical imbalances in the brain makes intuitive sense. But depression isn’t caused by a chemical imbalance, we don’t know how Prozac works, and we don’t even know for sure if it’s an effective treatment for the majority of people with depression.

One reason the theory of chemical imbalances won’t die is that it fits in with psychiatry’s attempt, over the past half century, to portray depression as a disease of the brain, instead of an illness of the mind. This narrative, which depicts depression as a biological condition that afflicts the material substance of the body, much like cancer, divorces depression from the self. It also casts aside the social factors that contribute to depression, such as isolation, poverty, or tragic events, as secondary concerns. Non-pharmaceutical treatments, such as therapy and exercise, often play second fiddle to drugs.

Meanwhile, 30 years after Prozac was released, rates of depression are higher than ever. Hyman responds succinctly when I ask him to discuss the causes of depression: “No one has a clue,” he says.

See http://bit.ly/2Cr4I5f


Keepass2Android Beta Updated with AutoFill Framework Support in Android Oreo

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 07:04 By: admin

Keepass2Android Beta Updated with AutoFill Framework Support in Android Oreo

There are many popular password managers on Android, but only a few stand out. LastPass is one of them, but it’s closed-source — you can’t see the code for yourself. For folks bothered by that prospect, one of the best alternatives is Keepass2Android, a port of Keepass for desktop. It lets users store and access their passwords from a cloud storage service, and features fingerprint database unlocking.

Unfortunately, no matter which password manager you use, most offer a sub-standard experience on Android. That’s because it wasn’t until Android Oreo that Google started supporting password autofill — on Nougat and older, managers like LastPass and Keepass2Android have to use Android’s Accessibility Services, which tends to introduce a slight delay.

See http://bit.ly/2Cqsnmq


Learn to program your very own robot with this US$50 kit

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 05:20 By: admin

Learn to program your very own robot with this US$50 kit

SunFounder’s newest robotics learning kit, the SunFounder Nano DIY 4-DOF Robot Kit, lets you do build and program your own robots and will basically make all your childhood dreams come true. No biggie.

The kit, which goes by the name of Sloth, is compatible with both the included SunFounder Nano board or an Arduino board if you’ve already been tinkering around with one of those. Learn robotics programming as you make Sloth use its two legs to walk, kick, or even dance. It’s equipped with an HC-SR04 ultrasonic landing module, so Sloth can even detect and avoid obstacles. And yes, the kit comes with absolutely all the tools you need, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

The best part? You don’t have to know any programming to get started. The kit comes with a visual programming language that makes it fast and easy to program your robot. Pick up the SunFounder Nano DIY 4-DOF Robot Kit for just $49.99 at https://shop.mashable.com/sales/arduino-nano-diy-4-dof-robot-kit-sloth-learning-kit.

You can also watch a short video of how it can operate at https://youtu.be/dLktGrecKsM.

See http://on.mash.to/2CtJd3A


Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar (for self-driving cars) is right around the corner

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 04:12 By: admin

Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar (for self-driving cars) is right around the corner

Today, most self-driving cars rely on a trio of sensor types: cameras, radar, and lidar. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Cameras capture high-resolution color images, but they can't measure distances with any precision, and they're even worse at estimating the velocity of distant objects.

Radar can measure both distance and velocity, and automotive radars have gotten a lot more affordable in recent years. "Radar is good when you're close to the vehicle," says Craig Glennie, a lidar expert at the University of Houston. "But because radar uses radio waves, they're not good at mapping fine details at large distances."

Lidar offers the best of both worlds. Like radar, lidar scanners can measure distances with high accuracy. Some lidar sensors can even measure velocity. Lidar also offers higher resolution than radar. That makes lidar better at detecting smaller objects and at figuring out whether an object on the side of the road is a pedestrian, a motorcycle, or a stray pile of garbage.

And unlike cameras, lidar works about as well in any lighting condition.

The big downside of lidar is that it's expensive. Velodyne's original 64-laser lidar cost a whopping $75,000. More recently, Velodyne has begun offering smaller and cheaper models with 32 and 16 lasers. Velodyne is advertising a $7,999 price for a 16-laser model introduced in 2014. Velodyne recently announced a new 128-laser unit, though it has been tight-lipped about pricing.

Velodyne can't afford to rest on its laurels. The company is about to face a lot of competition from rivals building lidar systems with very different designs.

Read about three possible alternatives at http://bit.ly/2Cufckj


Camera NX - Get Google Pixel 2’s Portrait Mode and ARStickers on the Pixel, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 01:02 By: admin

Camera NX - Get Google Pixel 2’s Portrait Mode and ARStickers on the Pixel, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P

The camera on the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is seen as one of the best smartphone cameras this year. Google put a lot of thought into how to tweak their camera software, and it really shows. Google Camera and its HDR+ algorithm is highly sought after, prompting some developers to go as far as porting it to other devices. Other Pixel 2 camera features such as Motion Photos and Face Retouching have also been ported to some devices, and now, the most popular camera feature, Portrait Mode, is now available on the first generation Google Pixel & Pixel XL, Google Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P.

This development is thanks to XDA Senior Member Charles_l who publishes Google Camera mods on his website Chromloop. His previous mods have brought features such as Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL) with HDR+, 60FPS video recording at high resolutions, and the aforementioned Motion Photos and Face Retouching features. His camera modifications have also brought the new Stranger Things and Star Wars AR Stickers to the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P without requiring any extra files, and now he has worked his magic to bring us Portrait Mode to the Nexus devices.

After announcing his success on our forums, he has made his modification available for everyone to install. His Google Camera mod, called Camera NX, is now at version 7.3 and is available over on his website Chromloop.

See http://bit.ly/2lBcBui


Settling for Scores - Why are schools still judged by the results of standardized tests?

Posted on: Tue, 2018-01-02 - 00:36 By: admin

Settling for Scores - Why are schools still judged by the results of standardized tests?

"They teach young children to look for the right answer instead of looking for the right question. Some test questions may have two right answers or no right answer. The thoughtful child may choose an answer that is plausible but judged “wrong.” As a teaching tool, the tests are deeply flawed because they quash imagination, creativity, and divergent thinking. These are mental habits we should encourage, not punish."

That part really resonated with me personally. I remember writing a computer operators course exam back in about the early 1990's and I got only one question wrong. I was so put out about it I asked the examiner which question I got wrong. It related to what affected the capacity of storage on a storage drive. My answer had something to do with the magnetic medium but the examiner said it was not the answer that matched what was in the book, even though my answer was technically correct. I have never forgotten that "logic" to this day.

There is more to education than a textbook answer, and there is also more to it than just tests. Of course the alternatives also mean that educators have to be really well versed in the subject and cannot just match answers.

See some food for thought at https://newrepublic.com/article/145935/settling-scores


Settling for Scores
Why are schools still judged by the results of standardized tests?

Inspiration for 2018: Success Quotes from History’s Greatest Entrepreneurs

Posted on: Sun, 2017-12-31 - 23:56 By: admin

Inspiration for 2018: Success Quotes from History’s Greatest Entrepreneurs

While there’s an abundance of contemporary entrepreneurs worth quoting, I’ve long had a fascination with legendary entrepreneurs who built many of the early cornerstone industries of the 20th century and earlier. From Henry Ford to Ray Kroc and Coco Chanel to Estee Lauder, they all faced enormous odds in not only creating new business models but in changing the very trajectory of a society. And they did it from ground zero at a time when raising capital was far less efficient than it is today.

What’s most fascinating about these individuals is that their challenges do not differ much from yours and mine. They were all imperfect people with outrageous ideas and they were often surrounded in controversy. They were each very different and yet they all shared common attitudes about doing over thinking, persistence, unbending confidence, motivation, and an ethos of never ever quitting.

Perhaps drawing on their words will give you the inspiration you need to keep moving forward, with the knowledge that while every entrepreneurial journey is unique, all success is based on some basic immutable attitudes that govern your trajectory as surely as physics governs that of a rocket.

See the quotes at http://bit.ly/2Cqp6Uc


Solution for Drupal 8 users wanting to hide the drupal subdirectory and use the main domain name

Posted on: Sun, 2017-12-31 - 13:47 By: admin

Solution for Drupal 8 users wanting to hide the drupal subdirectory and use the main domain name

I spent a full 24 hours on this issue (less 8 hours of sleep). It would, of course, have been easy if I had just used a subdomain like https://drupal.gadgeteer.co.za but many sites across the Internet link to some of my pages and have long been using just the domain name http://gadgteer.co.za with the path to the correct page. The problem is that you can redirect the domain name but it then always wants to append /drupal to the URL which breaks those links. I got it to work fine with http://drupal.gadgeteer.co.za and https://www.gadgeteer.co.za but not at all with my main domain.

I learnt a lot about .htaccess files and cPanel redirects (which are actually set from the .htaccess file in the public_html directory). The short of it though is I finally found a solution that worked with Drupal 8 at https://www.drupal.org/forum/support/post-installation/2015-04-09/solved-drupal-installed-in-subfolder-want-url-without. So hopefully this helps any other poor Drupal 8 souls struggling with this

#drupal8 #redirect


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