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Gadgets,

ThinkGeek Is Selling a Fresh Stash of NES Classics-But There’s a Catch

If you were one of the many, many sad people who missed out on snagging the NES Classic Edition before
Nintendo inexplicably pulled the plug on it
, there’s still a chance you can get one without spending hundreds on eBay as
ThinkGeek has apparently stumbled onto a massive cache
of the consoles.

Is there a catch? Of course there is. ThinkGeek claims to have thousands of units in stock, courtesy of its
parent company GameStop
. They’re
available for purchase as of 3pm EST today
, but
while ThinkGeek won’t be selling its NES Classic Editions with as steep a markup as most eBay sellers do, you’ll still only be able to buy the sought after console as part of a bundle with other Nintendo merchandise.

ThinkGeek’s NES Classic Edition bundles are still cheaper than getting one off eBay.

The
cheapest bundle
, which includes box art, a
Legend of Zelda
puzzle, and a Piranha plant puppet, pushes the console’s price tag to $140, more than twice what the NES Classic Edition originally cost. Other bundles include collectibles like Zelda shield backpacks and stackable Tetris lamps, but the most expensive option will cost $220 and come with a Mega Man wearable helmet and Proto Man Buster blaster replica. Can you guess which bundle will sell out the fastest?

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Where exactly did these unsold units of an unbelievably coveted gadget come from? ThinkGeek and GameStop won’t say. There’s an element of shameless cash grab going on here, but at least the mini consoles will make their way to the hands of fans sitting at their computers right now.

Nintendo has promised to ramp up production for its forthcoming SNES Classic Edition, which brings with it a never-before-released sequel to
Star Fox
. But Nintendo has a notorious history of releasing hardware with a limited supply to bolster demand (remember the eternal lineups for the Wii?) so you might still have a hard time getting the SNES Classic Edition on launch day in September. But with enough patience hopefully you’ll be able to find one before the holidays make it impossible again.

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[
ThinkGeek
]

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Gadgets,

How to Buy Second-Hand Tech Without Getting Ripped Off

There are some fantastic bargains to be had if you can live without the shiniest, newest gadgets-but diving into the second-hand market comes with its own set of potential pitfalls and problems.

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Saving some cash on tech that’s used or dated isn’t a new idea, but the landscape is changing all the time, as new kit appears and disappears, and demand fluctuates. You’re going to save less on
popular gadgets
than you are on
the gear that nobody was bothered about
in the first place.

The most important part of working out what a good price is (and sticking to it) is in research, research, and more research. There are also some common scams and safety rules to bear in mind if you’re venturing off the beaten track with your tech purchases. Follow these steps, and you should be able to get something that makes you happy for a a price that won’t make your bank account groan.

Being realistic

To begin with, understand what a good price looks like. As we’ve mentioned, some savings are going to be bigger than others: iPhones hold their value very well, as do most flagship phones. Rare items are usually going to cost more than something that can be picked up anywhere-as long as it’s a gadget that’s actually useful and working, of course.

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With that in mind you need to be realistic about the sort of discounts you can get, otherwise you’ll be sat on eBay for months waiting for
the Samsung Galaxy S7
to drop to a level that it’s never going to get to. At the same time, don’t get pressured into buying over-the-odds for something, especially if you know another one will be along soon.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gadgetlayout

It’s not just the product itself that sets the price, though-condition, accessories, packaging, warranty and so on all play a part. If the prices you’re seeing are a little beyond what you have to spend, you might be able to get that figure down a bit by accepting some wear and tear or sourcing your own charger, for example.

“Research is key,” Yanyan Ji, General Manager of second-hand marketplace
Gazelle
, told Gadgetlayout. “Take a look at what the original pricing of the device was, but also take into account how old it is and if the manufacturer has made a new model. Typically, once the new model comes out the price of the previous generation goes down, so you can buy it at a fair price.”

Checking prices

It’s not too difficult to work out what a realistic price actually is-compare a few second-hand sellers and put together an average, making sure you’re comparing apples to apples in terms of device make and model, condition, and accessories. Run any search on
eBay
, and you can tick the
Sold listings
box on the left to see the prices your chosen gadget is currently going for.

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We’ve listed a few potential marketplaces below, but most let you compare prices across different sellers, so you can quickly get a feel for how much you’re going to have to spend. If it’s too much, try looking for a lower-specced model, or the same gadget from the previous year’s cycle. Fortunately for buyers, the market is flooded with used gadgets, so you always have options.

Image: Gadgetlayout

If you can find a seller that specializes in what you’re after then you might be able to get discounts based on the sheer volume of kit these places are shifting. A

Time your buy

Timing is crucial: You should be able to get an iPhone 7 a lot cheaper the week after the next iPhone goes on sale this fall compared with the week before. Look at when your gadget-of-choice was launched, what else in the category has appeared since, and when it’s likely to get replaced by something else.

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Apart from that, there are seasonal fluctuations too, especially around the turn of the year. “When supply outstrips demand there are bargains to be had,” says Matt Barker CEO of second-hand camera marketplace
MPB
. “January just after the new year is the best time to buy… the supply of second-hand gadgets surges after Christmas as unwanted presents get sold.”

Image: Apple

And just because you’re buying second-hand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look out for the same sort of special offers and bundle deals that apply to new goods. In fact you might get even better deals than you do with new gadgets if a seller is looking to get rid of some old tech quickly.

“Promotions can still be offered with second-hand devices so keep an eye out for key sale seasons like back-to-school or the holidays as you may get an even better deal on a device,” adds Yanyan Ji. The same fluctuations in the market that affect brand-new tech affect used gadgets as well, so again it’s a case of doing your research.

Avoiding scams

Beyond paying a suitable price, you also want to avoid
getting ripped off completely
, and there are ways to minimize the risk. Buying from a reputable second-hand gadget seller rather than the guy down the street is a very good start-you may have to pay more for the extra peace of mind, so it’s up to you how to balance price with safety. Obviously the more expensive the tech, the more cautious you want to be.

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Experts recommend looking for trusted payment gateways, including
Braintree
and
PayPal
, and buying from stores that use services like
CheckMEND
to flag up stolen goods. Buying with a credit card rather than a debit card can give you some extra protection in terms of
getting refunds for faulty goods
-check with your credit card issuer to see if anything like this is available for you.

Image: Visa

If you are happy buying from someone just like you on eBay or Craigslist, check the relevant safety advice and make sure all angles are covered in terms of avoiding a scam. For eBay,
checking a seller’s feedback
and studying the item description closely goes a long way to keeping you safe, while Craigslist says that
dealing in person
, locally, face-to-face, is enough to avoid 99 percent of scams.

When possible you also need to check your gadgets are in good working order before you buy. Lifehacker has
a useful selection of tips
for testing out a phone. Realistically though, you’re going to need a few days and a few tests to spot any problems, which is why you should always double-check the returns and refunds policy.

Places to go

  • Amazon

     
    can be a bit hit and miss as far as used electronics go, but you at least get a familiar-looking interface, plenty of choice, and some buyer protection when it comes to refunds. Sellers have feedback by their names, as on eBay, and you can also find a lot of kit labelled as “certified refurbished.” so it’s slightly used but still in decent shape.

  • Craigslist

    is the wild west option where low, low prices and less reputable sellers lurk. As we’ve mentioned, check out
    the Craigslist safety guidelines beforehand
    , and meet in person when you can to settle deals. As the site itself points out, the vast majority of deals go through fine, but for high-value items you’re probably best off looking elsewhere.

  • eBay

     
    is
     
    probably the place that first springs to mind for used tech, and there’s a lot of it. Filter your results to show official refurbished kit, which often comes with a limited warranty and from a respected seller; otherwise pay close attention to seller feedback.

  • Facebook Marketplace

    , the social network’s form of eBay,  lets you pick up all kinds of gear, usually from sellers in your local area (though you can search from any location). Payments aren’t handled through Facebook however, so proceed with caution, even if both parties are tied to a real identity on the network.

Image: Screenshot
  • Gazelle

     
    is one of several second-hand marketplaces out there that work just like regular stores, with up-front pricing and plenty of buyer protection (like CheckMEND). If you’re keen to stay as safe as possible and don’t mind paying a little extra for the privilege, something like Gazelle is ideal-it sells (and buys) phones, tablets, and laptops direct.

  • MPB

     
    just launched in the US after starting in the UK, MPB concentrates on used cameras and lenses, offering all the perks of going through a more official channel for your used goods-next-day delivery, six month warranties on all items, secure ordering and so on. If you’ve got something to sell in the camera department, it’s worth a look too.

  • OfferUp

     facilitates local trades in a Pinterest-style interface, with easy app access and verified IDs. It’s not quite as busy as places like eBay and Amazon, but it’s a decent option if you can find what you’re after.

  • Swappa

     
    is another good choice if you’re looking for a phone or tablet. The service lets you buy and sell direct to other users but does come with a few handy safeguards, like staff-approved listings, and refunds if you do get ripped off.

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Gadgets,

Facebook rolls out its Express Wi-Fi service commercially


Facebook is rolling out its
Express Wi-Fi service
commercially in India. After testing the service in India for two years, Facebook has

now made it available for
everyone
to use.

The social-networking giant has worked with internet service providers and over 500 local entrepreneur retailers to bring nearly 700 hotspots across four states in India

Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.


With the launch of the service, India joins Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria and Indonesia to have Express Wi-Fi.

Express Wifi Is Facebook’s Second Attempt To Bring Internet Access To Rural India

Facebook is rolling out its Express Wi-Fi service commercially in India. After testing the service in India for two years, Facebook has now made it available for everyone to use.

Facebook has partnered with Bharti Airtel to introduce 2,000 more hotspots across the country. This will allow the service to reach millions of Indians who need super fast and stable connectivity. The new hotspots will be deployed in the coming few months.

The Wi-Fi service complements the mobile data offerings from telecom providers by providing low-cost, high-speed, high-bandwidth connectivity to go online
,
browse the web
,
access apps, download and stream content, etc.

The service also empowers local entrepreneurs to start businesses to offer Wi-Fi access to their towns and regions.

“Our goal is to grow the number of Express Wi-Fi hotspots in India rapidly. India has a population of about 1.3 billion people, but according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
(
TRAI’s)

Performance Indicator Report

, only 390 million people are connected to the internet,” Munish Seth, Head of Connectivity Solutions, Facebook Asia Pacific said in a statement.

To access the Express Wi-Fi hotspot, all you have to do is sign up with a retailer and purchase a daily, weekly or a monthly data pack at rate set by the partners of the service. Once signed up, you can create an account and login to browse the web.

Apart from Airtel, Facebook has also partnered with ISPs like AirJaldi in Uttarakhand, Tikona in Gujarat, LMES in Rajasthan and Shaildhar in Meghalaya.

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Gadgets, Google,

Google Glass is back, now it helps do work faster and better

So you thought Google Glass was dead? Rising from the flames of failure, Alphabet Inc. announced Glass Enterprise Edition, aimed not at consumers looking to dangle apps in front of their eyes, but for enterprise workers who will actually benefit from having an intelligent pair of specs while working.

In a blog post on

Medium

, Alphabet’s X lab, where futuristic technology is researched and implemented, stated a use case scenario of GE Aviation which assembles and repairs airplane engines. While earlier the mechanics had to conduct the complex and specialised task meticulously by consulting paper instruction in between steps, using the new Glass, they can now see

instructions with videos, animations and images right in their line of sight so they don’t have to stop work to check their binders or computer to know what to do next.” Google stated that not only did the workers reduced the chances of making an error, but also increased efficiency by 8-12 per cent.

Glass Enterprise Edition remains a small, lightweight wearable with a transparent display that puts information into user’s line of sight. In a factory, mechanics can actually replace their safety goggles with the smart, intuitive Glass.

By pivoting to enterprise users, Glass is now suddenly extremely relevant. Workers from fields like manufacturing, logistics, field services and healthcare who usually have their hands full, now have a device that can provide them information straight to their eyes. Google said it has worked with over 30 experts over the past two years to build customised software and business solutions for Glass for people in such fields.

The design of the glass has also been improved. It is now more lightweight and comfortable to wear over long hours. The battery life is also more in the new edition.

The first signs of the device’s potential was noticed in the Glass Explorer Edition, which was sent out to developers to find use cases for the device. With the announcement of the Glass Enterprise Edition, the Glass product team is back at the X lab, where they will be working together with the Google Cloud team and other partners to improve work efficiency in a variety of enterprise sectors.

Google stated the examples of DHL, where employees in the supply chain process used Glass for scanning items from racks before moving them into totes or bins or carts to be shipped. Employees received real time information about where to place the items with the help of visual aids. DHL stated that their supply chain efficiency increased by 15 per cent after implementing Glass.

Google also worked with machinery manufacturing factories and healthcare providers to help them work smarter, faster and safer.

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Gadgets,

The Coolest Hardware Shown Off at E3 2017

E3 is here and that means it’s crazy gaming gear time! From Microsoft’s latest Xbox to a tiny Atari 2600, here’s the coolest stuff we saw this week.

Microsoft Xbox One X

The name reveals someone’s love of the letter X, but the console itself is pretty cool. Six months after Sony launched its 4K UHD console, Microsoft is back with its own. It’s only a minor upgrade on last year’s Xbox One S, but the ability to upscale older games to 4K, or give 1080p TV owners lusher looking effects, might actually make this thing worth it (WE’LL SEE!). At $500, it’s twice the price of the Xbox One S, Microsoft’s current low end Xbox One, but PC gamers regularly pay a lot more to upgrade to 4K, so perhaps it’s not that crazy a price.

Atari Flashback 8 Gold

The 30 games Nintendo packed into the NES Classic Edition don’t seem as impressive when the new Atari Flashback 8 Gold console from AtGames comes with 120 classic Atari 2600 titles, including iconic games like
Pitfall!
,
Space Invaders
,
River Raid
,
Centipede
,
Kaboom!
, and
Millipede
. Available come September, the Atari Flashback 8 Gold is essentially a crash course in the history of video games, and includes a pair of wireless joysticks, 720P HDMI output, and the ability to save, pause, or rewind any game you’re playing.

Thrustmaster T-GT PS4 Racing Wheel and Pedals

As
spotted by Kotaku
, one of the most expensive gaming accessories revealed at E3 this year has to be Thrustmaster’s new T-GT racing wheel and pedals, designed to add even more realism to
Grand Turismo Sport
when it hits the PS4 this fall. Price at $800, the set includes three pedals, the racing-inspired wheel with improved force feedback and wheel position detection, as well as a power supply that looks like a turbo charger torn out of an engine. Vroom, vroom!

Sega Genesis Flashback

While today’s kids feud over the superiority of the Xbox versus the PlayStation, a generation ago it was Nintendo versus Sega. And those who swore allegiance to team Sonic, who’ve been envious of Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition, can finally get their retro Sega fix with AtGames new Sega Genesis Flashback console. Not only does it come with 85 built-in titles including the
Sonic the Hedgehog
series, the
Mortal Kombat
series, and the
Phantasy Star
series, the console also has a working slot for Genesis and Mega Drive carts. Available come September, it also has 720P video output via an HDMI cable, and includes a pair of wireless Genesis controllers.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – The Champion’s Ballad
Amiibos

Nintendo knows it has a massive hit on its hands with
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
, which could very well be the game of the year. So not only does the company have two downloadable expansion packs enroute,
The Master Trials
and
The Champions Ballad
, it will also be releasing four new Amiibo figures featuring those champions which includes Mipha the Zora, Daruk the Goron, Revali the Rito, and Urbosa the Gerudo.

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There’s no word on what additional content these Amiibos will unlock in the game, but expect them to be available sometime closer to the holidays later this year when
The Champions Ballad
is officially released.

Wireless HTC Vive Headset Prototype by Intel

Image: Alex Cranz/Gadgetlayout

VR wasn’t center stage at E3 this year, but that didn’t stop it from being part of one of the coolest demos of the show, a completely wire-free HTC Vive headset. The hacked together prototype headset by Intel (with a big assist for
DisplayLink
and HTC) uses 802.11ad wi-fi to deliver a wireless VR experience with almost zero lag. Virtual reality has a long way to go before it’s in everyone’s hands, but this gives us all a glimpse of a welcome wire-free future.

Razer Thresher Ultimate Headset

Image: Alex Cranz/Gadgetlayout

Razer has always made a decent, affordable, headset, but the Thresher is its first foray into the premium space and it sounds so good you might be able to stomach the $250 price tag. It comes in two versions, a blue one intended for PS4 owners, and a green one meant for Xbox One users. Both wireless headsets work with a PC with the mere flip of a switch. While the headset is wireless, you still need to plug the base station into your game console, normally that would mean another ugly box crammed in the home entertainment center, but Razer wisely has the box double as a holder for your headset when not in use.

Eye Tracker HTC Vive Prototype by Tobii

VR seems cool until you realize you’re walking around with two giant screens strapped to your face. Then you start to notice just how little you can actually interact with your virtual world. Tobii is attempting to fix that problem by implementing it’s eye tracking technology in a prototype headset based on an HTC Vive. Small white dots around the lenses of in the headset track the wearer’s eye movement, providing an experience far more like the real world, where you can make eye contact with other characters or even just glance around your environment and now feel like you’re standing a foot away from a 75-inch TV.

Hyperkin RetroN 77

Well before Nintendo stuffed a bunch of classic games into its NES Classic Edition,
Hyperkin’s RetroN line
has been making it easy for players to enjoy their old game cartridges on modern TVs. That now extends to the Atari 2600 with the RetroN 77 which can upscale antique Atari carts to glorious 1080P. It also comes with a reproduction of the original Atari joystick controller, the option to actually save your progress on games, and a glorious faux wood paneling finish.

Hyperkin The Duke Original Xbox Controller

Do you like your gaming hardware to be as big as Texas? Good news! Accessory-maker Hyperkin has worked with Microsoft to put the original Xbox’s gigantic controllers back in your hands.
The Duke
is an updated version of that oft-mocked controller that now boasts an LCD display smack dab in the center so you can game like it’s 2001 all over again.

Nyko Nintendo Switch Portable Docking Kit

As long as you don’t intend to connect it to a TV at a friend’s house, or in a hotel room, the Nintendo Switch is one of the best portable gaming systems to date. But its giant, cumbersome dock is the only way to connect an HDMI cable for the Switch’s TV-out functionality. Nyko is the first to market with an alternative: a compact
$45 Portable Docking Kit
that adds charging and HDMI connectivity, but sacrifices the additional USB ports found on Nintendo’s bundled dock. A minor trade-off for improved portability.

Nyko Nintendo Switch Power Pack

With a 4,130 mAh battery packed inside, the Nintendo Switch can run for three or four hours, depending on the game you’re playing. That’s enough to pass the time on a cross-country flight, but not if you’re heading to Europe. Nyko’s new $40 Power Pack accessory, available next month, clips on to the back of the Switch and more than doubles its battery life with an additional 5,000 mAh of power that can also be charged over USB-C. But added power also means added weight.

8Bitdo SNES30 Pro

It looks like a classic Super Nintendo controller, making it ideal for replaying
Super Mario World
once Nintendo’s
classic games service
becomes available for the Switch. But
8Bitdo’s new SNES30 Pro
adds dual analog joysticks, extra shoulder buttons, rumble support, motion controls, USB-C charging, and Bluetooth, allowing you to also play
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
with it, or games on your PC, Mac, or Android mobile device.

8Bitdo NES30 Arcade Stick

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers
is the first Nintendo Switch game that shows off the new console’s ability to play classic 2D titles. But those tiny Joy-Con controllers don’t do
Street Fighter II
justice. For the real arcade experience, 8Bitdo will also be releasing the NES30 Arcade Stick with Bluetooth, turbo functionality, and joystick vs. directional pad modes so you can customize your fighting style. Just be prepared to say goodbye to the Switch’s portability.

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Gadgets,

Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss the World’s Fastest Drone Flying Faster Than a Sports Car

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Watching first-person footage of racing drones makes it seem like the tiny craft fly somewhere close to the speed of light. In reality, due to the limits of their human pilots, they top at around 80 miles per hour. That’s incredibly fast, but the Drone Racing League managed to double that with a new world record speed of 163.5 miles per hour.

To ensure its races are decided by the skills of the pilots, and not the amount of funding and pricey hardware each team can secure, the competitors in the Drone Racing League all fly the same quadcopter, designed by the league’s own team of engineers.

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Pushing the technology that goes into the DRL’s Racer3 to its limits, those same engineers recently designed and built a high-performance racing craft called the DRL RacerX. Weighing just 800 grams (1.7 pounds), the RacerX is powered by a pair of 1,300 mAh batteries and four electric motors that can each hit speeds of up to 46,000 RPMs.



That’s an incredible amount of performance to squeeze out of a tiny electric motor. According to an email the team sent us, one of the prototypes burst into flames after hitting its highest point of acceleration.

The drone’s top speed is actually 179.6 miles per hour, but in order to be officially recognized by the Guinness World Records for the fastest ground speed achieved by a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter, the DRL Racer X had to fly back and forth across a 328-foot long course, with the top speeds of both runs averaged together. The official result of that completed run was 163.5 miles per hour.

That not only bests the previous official world record of 125 miles per hour, but also unofficial, one-way top speed records
posted to YouTube, including this one of a drone supposedly hitting 145 miles per hour
. That means the RacerX is even faster than Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros, and it can easily destroy your four-door family sedan in a drag race.

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So will the DRL RacerX be making appearances in official races? Only if the Drone Racing League decides to replace all the pilots with Jedis who have previously proven they have the reflexes needed for intergalactic pod-racing.

[
Drone Racing League
]

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Gadgets,

Apple Declines to Comment on Donald Trump’s Claim Tim Cook ‘Promised Me 3 Big Plants-Big, Big, Big’

Photo: AP

President Donald Trump told the

Wall Street Journal

on Tuesday that Apple CEO Tim Cook had called him up and “promised me three big plants-big, big, big.”

“I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success,” Trump added. “He called me, and he said they are going forward.”

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Apple, which does do a
limited amount
of manufacturing in the US, declined to comment to the
WSJ.
But it has
committed
to investing some $2 billion in funds which will invest in US manufacturing, and its iPhone manufacturer Foxconn is reportedly looking to invest $7 billion in a US-based facility after being promised a
sweetheart tax deal
.

Did Tim Cook really call Trump to promise him three Apple factories? Might as well take the president at his word, given he’s never, ever
misrepresented a manufacturing deal
, right?

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[

Wall Street Journal

]

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Gadgets,

Genius Vacuum-Hating Dog Figured Out How to Turn Off Its Owner’s Roomba

GIF

GIF:
YouTube

Dogs are some of the most loving and affectionate pets you can own, but they do have one sworn enemy: vacuum cleaners. They’ll incessantly bark, or run and hide while you’re cleaning your floors. But one dog adapted to its owner’s Roomba wandering all over the house like it owns the place-it’s
apparently learned how to turn the damn thing off
.

We’ve seen before how
pets and Roombas
aren’t exactly the ideal roommates, and this is yet another example of how you might just want to stick with sweeping your floors if you own a dog. An autonomous robot vacuum isn’t much good if it only gets about five feet from its charging dock before your pup runs up and turns it off.

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Being the internet and all, there’s a chance we’re being duped here, and the dog’s owner is using a remote to turn off the Roomba when the pup puts its snout down. But
YouTube has quite a few videos
of
dogs turning Roombas on
the same way. Also, this dog is good and pure, so we’ll continue to believe.

[
YouTube
via
BoingBoing
]



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Gadgets,

Cursed Throwable Camera Is Finally Dead After Six Years of Toil

In a time when your average smartphone can capture immersive 360-degree photos using a clever app, how can consumers justify spending $600 on a spherical camera that does the same thing? It turns out they can’t, which is why the creators of the Panono have filed for bankruptcy, and are in the process of selling off the company’s assets.

We first brought news of the Panono, then called the
Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera, back in October of 2011
when researchers at the Technische Universitat in Berlin, led by
Jonas Pfeil
, first showed off their creation. The ball featured 32 two-megapixel cellphone camera modules arranged in a spherical layout that would simultaneously snap and stitch together a 360-degree panoramic photo when sensors in the thrown ball detected it had reached its apogee.

It was a clever use of existing technologies to automate the creation of panoramic photos, and after showing their ball camera at Siggraph Asia 2011 a few months later, there was enough buzz around the product for its creators to further develop it into a consumer-ready product.

Two years later, in November of 2013, Gadgetlayout got a
chance to try a redesigned version of the ball cam
, now called the Panono, which was being made available to consumers through an
Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign
looking to raise $900,000 to facilitate production. The redesigned Panono made it easy to snap monstrous 72-megapixel, 360-degree panoramic shots that were automatically offloaded to a smartphone app for viewing, but $600 for a pre-order seemed steep for a camera with very specific functionality.

Despite the steep price tag, the Panono’s Indiegogo campaign successfully raised $1,250,028, and in 2016, five years after the camera originally hit our radar, the first units started shipping to backers and reviewers. But by 2016, 360-degree panoramic photos were far easier to capture using smartphone apps, or simpler and cheaper dedicated devices like
Ricoh’s Theta cameras
. While still easy to use,
getting good results from the Panono ball camera
required the right conditions and practiced techniques, and having to send images to the company’s servers to be properly stitched proved to be a data hog if you weren’t connected to a wi-fi network.

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The consumer-ready version of the Panono simply wasn’t as polished as it needed to be to justify its $600 price-or its existence in 2016-and despite a successful crowdfunding campaign, only around 400 of the cameras were shipped to backers. In May the company officially filed for bankruptcy, and in a recent letter to Indiegogo backers, reported by DPReview, the company’s co-founder, Jonas Pfeil, confirmed that the sale of the company’s assets was in the process of being finalized.

Details about who exactly is buying Panono’s assets, including hardware and IP rights, weren’t revealed, but Pfeil explained that the money from the sale was only being used to pay off the company’s existing debts, and that the buyer would have no obligations to external parties. In other words, if you backed the Panono hardware on Indiegogo and haven’t yet received your camera, you probably never will. But if you did get one, the company’s image stitching servers will still be left operational.

Unfortunately, the
Panono website
has no mention of the company’s bankruptcy, and appears to still be selling the ball cameras for a staggering $2,400+. If only 400 Panonos were shipped to the 2,608 backers who pre-ordered via Indiegogo what’s the deal with the “in stock” cameras the company is still offering on its website.

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The Panono was an undeniably fun idea, and we’re sorry to see it go after all of these years. That said, this is as good a reminder as any that a great idea does not a consumer product make. The risks involved with backing a crowdfunded product don’t magically disappear when funding goals are reached. Unexpected delays and costs are a common occurrence with product development, even for established companies who’ve been through the process countless times. The talented creators of the Panono had a fully-functional product before launching their Indiegogo campaign, but were still unable to overcome production hurdles to deliver it to consumers. Crowdfunding a product puts nearly all of the risk on the consumer, and given
success stories from Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been few
and far between, the risk just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.

We reached out to Jonas Pfeil via the email we have on file, and we’ll update if we hear back.

[
DPReview
]

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Gadgets,

This is the Boundary backpack and here’s why it is the ultimate bag for a techie

Backpacks are notorious for serving a single purpose. A backpack designed for your daily commute cannot double up for your vacation. A backpack for that weekend hike will look unused and unnecessary in office. In steps Boundary, a modular backpack that can tick all of the boxes.

The Boundary backpack is a godsend for techies who loves carrying his gear around everywhere he goes. It is a 25 litre backpack which can be expanded to 30 litres and also has an additional 10 litre removable Verge Case camera bag.

There are seven magnetic quick-latch buckles which can easily be operated with one hand. There is a sternum strap to distribute the weight as well as a docking latch to keep the contents centered in the pack. There are two latches that secures the top loader as well as a keyclip which can attached to the inside top and bottom pockets.

The backpack is also

stormproof” keeping a 15-inch laptop well protected from the forces of nature. The backpack uses water and oil resistant Duramax Kordra fabric on the outside and water and odour resistant Nywool on the inside. A reflective trim keeps the backpack visible at night and there is also a waterbottle pocket which can double up as space for a mini tripod.

The backpack itself is built for modularity. It is designed to overcome the boundaries which keeps the backpacks restricted to either work or travel.


According to
The Verge
, the backpack can be easily taken for commutes or can filled with a weekend’s worth of gear or can be turned into a camera bag without much of a hassle.

There is space for a DSLR camera, multiple lenses and accessories. It can be placed on the ground without the bag tipping over. There is space for a 15-inch laptop and the required accessories and dongles.


The backpack is
available on Kickstarter
for $199

(
Rs 12,845 roughly).