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Simone Giertz built a selfie photo booth for her dog out of Legos and it’s perfect

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Simone Giertz, the self-described Queen of Shitty Robots, has created a selfie photo booth out of Legos for her dog Scraps and yes it’s as cute as it sounds. It helps that the dog is a VERY GOOD GIRL and extremely photogenic.

Giertz used a Lego Mindstorms kit and Lego bricks (the video is sponsored by Lego) to build the little booth, and rigged a pedal, distance sensor and circuit board to connect to a dispenser that drops a treat and snaps a photo whenever the dog presses the pedal.

“She goes in there, there’s a little pedal that she can push with her paw, it triggers a camera that triggers a treat dispenser,” Giertz explains. “She gets a treat, I get a photo, everyone’s happy.”

She says she got the idea for the dog photo booth when she was trying to teach Scraps to scroll on a phone with her paw and take photos of herself. Because who among us has not tried to get our dogs to take selfies?

Get my good side
Simone Giertz and Scraps

Giertz is known for her quirky, mostly useless robots that rarely do what they’re supposed to but which are completely hilarious. Witness the overzealous lipstick-applying robot, the breakfast machine that gets Cheerios everywhere but into the bowl, the musical instrument made of teeth, and the wake-up machine that features a rubber hand slapping her awake.

In addition to building a very fun robot , Giertz showed off her new workshop in Los Angeles in the video (with Scraps patiently hanging out and watching). Check out the full video here.

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Samsung’s original Galaxy Fold adds some of the Z Fold 2’s smartest features for free

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One of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2’s coolest new features was the ability to use the phone’s front display as a viewfinder for the back cameras, which could be really useful for things lining up higher-quality selfies. If you’ve wanted that handy way to take better selfies but have been holding on to the original Galaxy Fold, you’re in luck: Samsung is bringing that selfie functionality and a number of other features from the Z Fold 2 to the first Fold through a software update that’s available starting today.

Samsung will let you use the front screen as a viewfinder for the Fold’s back cameras.
Image: Samsung

The Fold isn’t just getting a new way to take selfies. The update also brings Capture View Mode, which lets you frame a photo with one half of the Fold’s main screen and review up to five of the latest photos or videos you’ve taken on the other half. And Pro Video mode will now let you capture video in a 21:9 aspect ratio and at 24 fps.

The original Fold also gets a few features from the Z Fold 2 intended to improve productivity. App Pair, for example, lets you set a shortcut to launch up to three apps at once in your preferred split-screen layout. That means that if you like to have Twitter open on one half of your screen and YouTube on the other, you can make a shortcut to launch those apps together and set up the way you like them. You now can arrange split-screen windows horizontally, too,

Samsung’s blog notes that the launch date and the features included with the update “may vary by carrier or market,” however, so the update may not be available for your Fold just yet. Samsung tells The Verge it’s looking into when the update will be available in the US.

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Gillmor Gang: Unsuppressed

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[embedded content]

Not just the future of civilization is up for grabs this November. In this age of mobile social computing, we’re figuring out how to vote, entertain, teach, learn, and commit to meaningful change. Thanks to the pandemic emergency, our plans for transforming our country and planet are subject to immediate recall.

Much of the current political dynamic is expressed through the lense of “how much change can we afford to make?” The swing states in the race for the electoral college are those most profoundly affected by the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The choice: how many jobs will we lose by shifting away from oil and gas to wind and solar. Workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Michigan are fearful of losing their livelihood to a future of retraining and disruption.

Regardless of where we sit along the left/right spectrum, we share the increasing understanding that government doesn’t work. Running for office is a gauntlet of fundraising and promises you can’t keep; legislating is a lobbyist playground where special interests are neither special nor in our interests. The courts are overwhelmed by political power plays timed to inflame and suppress voting turnout. It’s no wonder that the common reaction to this week’s final presidential debate was relief that the campaign is almost over.

The most important fix to the body politic is the mute button. For a brief moment in the debate, we got to experience a few seconds of not talking. Time seemed to stand still, as if we were being handed down a digital tablet of things to not do: don’t interrupt, don’t disrespect, don’t mock, don’t waste our time. Above all, don’t forget the people we’ve lost to the virus. Remember the days when our biggest problems were what show to watch, what music to play, what jokes to tell. It’s amazing what you can hear when the agenda is turned back to ourselves.

In that moment, you can hear things that smooth the soul. In that moment, you can hear the words leaders will have to speak to get our vote next time. I feel much better about the next election no matter how this one turns out. The explosive numbers of early voting tell us a lot about how this will go. The genie is out of the bottle and people are beginning to connect the dots. If the vote is suppressed, it only makes us try harder.

Mobility is about a return to value, to roots, to resilience. Working from home is a big step toward living from everywhere. AR stands for accelerated reality, VR for valued reality. If we want to know what social is good for, switch on the mute button and listen to what you’ve lost. If you can mute the sound, you can unmute it and find your voice.

At first, the mute button was a defensive move. It counteracted the business model of the cable news networks, the repetitive time-filling of partisan perspective mixed with not listening to the grievances of the other side. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is be open to the truth emanating from the least likely location. We are taught to attack our opponent’s weaknesses; a better strategy might be to respect their strengths and adopt them as your own. Don’t worry, though. You probably won’t find too much there to reflect.

Once you experience the mute button envelope, you can hear it even if it’s not there. The rules of the revised debate were that the first two minutes of each candidate’s response used the mute button, then the old rules returned. Even then, the experience of using the mute button informed the rest of the debate. Particularly noticeable was Joe Biden’s response to a series of back and forths when the moderator asked if he had any further response. “… … … No.”

There have been other mute buttons in history. The 18 and a half minute gap spoke loudly when Rose Mary Woods erased a crucial Watergate tape. Before that, we assumed there might be a smoking gun. After that, we knew there might be others, too. Throughout the campaign, we could learn more about what was really going on by listening for the moments when key questions were left unanswered, ducked, or bounced back to the opponent like some Pee Wee Herman playground retort.

Soon we’ll know the answer to the important question: how do we confront the virus? I vote for listening to the science, wearing a mask, socially distancing both off and online, rapid testing, and contact tracing. And the candidates who agree.

__________________

The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday, October 23, 2020.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

For more, subscribe to the Gillmor Gang Newsletter and join the backchannel here on Telegram.

The Gillmor Gang on Facebook … and here’s our sister show G3 on Facebook.

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Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

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Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Netgear

Top Product: TP-Link Archer AX21 Wi-Fi 6 Router | $130 | Amazon

If you’re still bearing with spotty Wi-Fi in your home in 2020, it’s time to accept you’re not going back to the office any time soon and buy a new router. Assuming the connection coming into your house is solid, a more up-to-date, advanced router might be the missing piece of the equation in ensuring steady, wide-ranging wireless internet throughout your entire home.

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Routers come in all shapes and sizes, and lately, they even come in duos, trios, and more: mesh systems have rapidly gained popularity for their ability to blanket your space in Wi-Fi, but not every space needs the added hardware and expense. Likewise, the recent Wi-Fi 6 standard brings perks, but you might do just fine with something cheaper and unassuming. Here’s a look at the best routers you can plug into your modem today.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Router for Most People: TP-Link Archer AX21

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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If you’re buying a new router, it’s a pretty good idea to opt for a Wi-Fi 6 device if you can. The latest wireless standard significantly boosts the top maximum speed, but is perhaps, more importantly, better suited to deal with numerous devices at a time—good news for those of us with phones, laptops, tablets, consoles, smart TVs, smart home gadgets, and more in the mix.

Some Wi-Fi 6 routers will cost you hundreds of dollars, but TP-Link’s Archer AX21 is a great option that hits a sweet spot in terms of functionality and price. This dual-band router supports Wi-Fi speeds up to 1.8Gbps (total) and delivers powerful performance thanks to its four high-gain antennas and beamforming technology to provide better, more targeted connections with your devices.

Best Mesh Router: Google Nest Wi-Fi

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Google

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I use Google’s Nest Wi-Fi in my own two-story house, and it’s such an effortless, easy-to-use mesh system that ensures that every corner of my home—and even the basement and backyard—have speedy wireless internet available. Nest Wi-Fi is powered by a main router unit that plugs into your modem and can cover roughly 2,200 square feet with Wi-Fi, and then you can expand further with smaller nodes that plug into wall outlets around your home.

To borrow a phrase from Google’s chief rival Apple, it just works. The nodes sync up easily and I haven’t encountered odd drops or hitches in my months of using it, plus the smartphone app provides network controls, diagnostics, and other details. On top of that, each node doubles as a Google Assistant smart speaker … in case that’s a thing you want. Nest Wi-Fi does not support Wi-Fi 6 and it’s pricey, but it’s such a vast upgrade over my past single-router setup. It could be the same for you.

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Best Budget Router: Linksys EA6350

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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Not looking to invest a bunch of cash in a new router right now? No worries: the Linksys EA6350 delivers strong speeds in a small footprint and is typically less than $75. If you’re using hardware that’s a few years old, it will almost certainly provide an upgrade, even if it doesn’t have Wi-Fi 6 capabilities and isn’t built for larger spaces.

The Linksys EA6350 is a dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi router that can deliver speeds up to 867Mbps via 5GHz and 300Mbps via 2.4GHz, both of which are much higher than the average internet connection coming into American homes. Intended for spaces up to 1,000 square feet, this one’s a good pick for an apartment or smaller home and can still deliver 4K video streaming and speedy downloads.

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Best Budget Mesh Router: TP-Link Deco S4

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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TP-Link’s Deco S4 delivers the same kind of specs as the above Linksys router, with up to 867Mbps via 5GHz and 300Mbps through 2.4GHz, but does so with a multi-unit mesh design that spreads a signal across a much larger footprint. The two-pack can cover up to 3,800 square feet, while the three-pack is rated for up to 5,500 square feet.

The Deco S4 system can’t hit quite as high of theoretical speed peaks as Nest Wi-Fi and these units won’t blend into your space as easily either, but it’s hard to argue with the price: $110 for the two-pack and $150 for the three-pack. Amazon customers seem to agree on that point, too, giving the TP-Link Deco S4 a 4.6-star rating. TP-Link offers more powerful versions of the Deco system with varying designs, too, in case you’re looking for something more robust.

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Best Gaming Router: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Netgear

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For the truly serious gaming fan who demands the best of the best, the brand new Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 is one perk-packed Wi-Fi 6 option. This beastly router is powered by a triple-core 1.5 GHz processor and Netgear’s DumaOS 3.0, which provides power user features such as optimizing and allocating bandwidth for certain uses (such as live streaming) and geo-fencing to help you pick the best gaming servers to connect to.

Netgear sent me a sample that I’ve been using for the last few weeks in place of my usual Nest Wi-Fi setup, and even with a single access point, it has delivered speedy wireless access throughout my home. More pressingly, of course, gaming performance has been excellent whether notching headshots in Fortnite or nabbing glorious aerial goals in Rocket League. At $350, however, only the super-hardcore with money to burn need bother.

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