The Globe Sequence of Poker is one of the most thrilling events for gamers from around the globe. The 1991 WSOP event came after a remarkable end to the 1990 occasion where an Iranian Welshman grew to become the very initial non-American to consider house the main event. In 1991, players about the world braced themselves for a new era of Poker. This was the initial time that the winner of the primary occasion would consider house a million bucks, and also the initial time in history that there would be more than 200 contestants vying for the prize.
He then was also a member of an international fraternity called kappa sigma. The poker expert has graduated from the College Of Minnesota Law School in the year 1992. Following he passes the law course he practiced as an attorney there for almost 10 years before individuals know him as the king of judi poker online. Following he arrives into the globe of casino sport and established himself as the very best, he still left his past occupation simply because he devotes himself in studying and mastering the game.
Now, you need to take a look at each your wallet and your coronary heart. How much money can you afford to pay to perform. Can you pay for an expensive, aggressive strategy that might see massive chunks of money come out of your bankroll before it all arrives back again?
Or you see a buddy, so you start speaking to him and he tells you about a canine the kennel people say is heading to get for enjoyable in the fourth race, so you place ten bucks on him to get and he gets bumped by a lengthy shot and trails the area. You would have been much better off studying a nice murder mystery, but instead you want to murder your buddy for talking you into losing.
The player who has the best established of cards at the end of the spherical wins all the bets in the table. When an individual feels that his hand cannot get, he simply surrenders, or folds, his cards at any betting round.
A drawing hand is a hand that holds a great drawing odd. So, if you have for instance two hearts and there are two more on the desk. Then you can attract for a flush but be cautious not to attract for a second best hand because it is not really worth it as illustrated above.
This is a fantastic question, because each household has different space problems. If you rearrange every thing and know where you’ll be putting it, then you should most likely check the dimensions. When this challenge arrives into play, the majority usually has to go with a square folding table. Then once more, you know your house better than us, so just keep this in thoughts.
Be various. Use a continuation bet in about twent and twenty five of pots and you should be good. Believe about it. If you missed your flop and checked, maybe flip card will be much better for you.
It’s no surprise that the Roku 4 is a solid set-top box — Roku has been making them for a while now, after all. It’s also not surprising that the new Roku’s search is smart, that the interface is fast and fluid or that there’s a bountiful selection of apps. In fact, there isn’t much that’s truly surprising, or revolutionary, about the Roku 4 ($130). It’s a solid, if somewhat unexciting upgrade, especially after the Roku 3 from earlier this year, which brought voice search into the mix. Just like the new Fire TV, Roku is betting that the addition of 4K ultra-high-definition video (UHD) is exciting enough on its own. And, while it’s certainly noteworthy, it’s also something that will only appeal to just a handful of consumers. Basically, if you’re happy with your Roku 3, or any other equivalent set-top box, you won’t need to rush out and grab this one. Although when you do finally go 4K, it’s a worthy choice.
Doesn’t support HDR, making it obsolete by next year
The Roku 4 is exactly what we’d expect from Roku: a solid media box that plays well with multiple video services. But its only real benefit over the recent Roku 3 is 4K support.
While Roku’s last few devices looked like high-tech hockey pucks, the Roku 4 is flatter and significantly wider. Still, the same basic design elements are there: black plastic, a quirky Roku cloth tag (honestly, I’m surprised more tech companies haven’t copied this) and a big “4” logo up top. I was pretty surprised when I first opened the Roku 4 — it’s not just wide; it’s wider than most other streaming gadgets. Don’t expect it to squeeze into the same tiny nooks as past Rokus. On the back, there’s an optical audio port, microSD slot and Ethernet jack, alongside the HDMI connector. One particularly useful addition is a button on the top of the box that locates the remote — a simple, yet ingenious feature.
Speaking of the remote, it’s exactly the same as the refreshed Roku 3’s controller. It has gamepad-like directional arrows, a voice search button (more on that later) and your typical video controls, as well as buttons on the bottom for Netflix, Amazon, Rdio and Sling. The latter are useful if you’re actually subscribing to those services, but for many people at least two of them will likely just be a waste of space. And yes, Roku is still keeping the headphone jack (and bundled earbuds) that’s won it so many fans.
Under the hood, the Roku 4 is powered by a newer quad-core processor. And, for the first time, it also sports a tiny fan that you can actually hear while it’s running. It’s not excessively loud, or anything, but it’s noticeable when you’re up close. You can thank the extra hardware demands of 4K video for that.
Roku OS 7 sits at the heart of the Roku 4, which brings more advanced search capabilities, as well as a feed (and accompanying notifications) to the home screen. There’s also a new feature that lets you connect to WiFi networks that require additional login information, like hotels and dorm rooms, through your computer, smartphone or tablet. And if you haven’t looked at the Roku OS lately, it also lets you follow films and actors, which sends information directly to your feed. That’s yet another feature that was added earlier this year.
Again, if you’ve seen Roku’s offerings before, OS 7 isn’t going to surprise you. There’s the same purple-and-black palette, a ho-hum list-style interface and lots and lots of menus. It’s functional, but Roku’s design sensibility clearly needs some upgrading, especially when Apple and Amazon are stepping it up for their own devices. And considering that Samsung and LG have also managed to design some luscious TV interfaces, Roku basically has no excuse for being dull.
To coincide with the launch of the Roku 4 and OS 7, the company also refreshed its mobile app with a more modern design. The app does everything it did before — you can search for content, control your Roku and shop the channel store — but it also adds the ability to view your feed and create 4K screensavers from your own photos. Eventually, you’ll also be able to add movies, actors and directors to your feed when away from home. The biggest benefit of the app: It no longer looks like it was made by an intern years ago. I’m hoping some of the design upgrades someday make their way over to Roku’s set-top OS as well.
Setting up the Roku 4 was a breeze, especially since all of my existing apps carried over as soon as I logged into my Roku account. It may just be my imagination, but navigating around its interface feels slightly faster than the first-gen Roku 3 in my bedroom, although it’s certainly not a big enough difference to upgrade.
Voice search is also pretty useful: Hit the search button on the remote; say a title or actor’s name; and Roku delivers results. If a particular film or show is on multiple services, it’ll actually randomize the order of results so it doesn’t appear to be playing favorites. I also appreciated the ability to follow specific actors and titles, as it made finding when they were added to new services significantly easier.
While the search was generally fast and accurate, there were definitely instances where it wouldn’t locate things I knew were streaming on Netflix. And as with most voice search offerings, you can forget about trying to dictate weird or complex movie names. The Roku 4 couldn’t even make sense of Darren Aronofsky’s Pi. Still, voice search beats poking around all of the streaming titles by hand. I just hope that Roku continues to refine it.
Streaming 1080p video on the Roku 4 didn’t feel much more different compared to its predecessor. At this point though, handling that sort of content is pretty much a cakewalk. When it comes to higher-resolution UHD streams, on the other hand, the Roku 4 takes several seconds to load up a video on my 802.11ac network. Skipping ahead also required a few seconds of buffering — remember, 4K files are really big! I noticed slightly better video quality on a few 4K monitors, but to be honest, you won’t really see the benefits of 4K unless you have a very large TV, and/or sit way too close.
Roku also went the extra mile and made ultra-high-definition content pretty easy to find. There’s a selection of apps with 4K content, including Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video, right off of the channel store. And there’s also a spotlight channel for 4K content, which shows the latest films and TV available in the higher-resolution format from multiple providers. The Roku 4 can even handle your own personal library of UHD video, either via the Roku Media Player app or Plex.
Overall, the Roku 4 builds on the company’s streaming prowess in all of the right ways. It offers the most comprehensive selection of 4K streaming content out there, and it’s organized well enough that even mainstream consumers shouldn’t have any trouble finding things to watch in the newer format. The big downside, unfortunately, is that it doesn’t support HDR (high-dynamic range) video yet, since that standard hasn’t been fully finalized. Amazon is already hyping up HDR, because it offers visual changes you can actually see, like better contrast and shadows, compared to the mild sharpness bump of 4K.
When it comes to UHD, the Roku 4’s main competitor is Amazon’s new 4K Fire TV. Amazon has the price advantage, as its player is $100, compared to the Roku 4 at $130. Roku still has a much wider selection of apps, and it’s also far more unbiased when it comes to search results. The Fire TV will always be a not-so-subtle Trojan horse for Amazon’s content library. If you’ve got a UHD TV, there’s also a good chance you’ve already got access to Netflix 4K content and rental services.
If you don’t plan on getting a 4K set anytime soon, then it’s also worth considering the new Apple TV, which also has a pretty decent voice search offering and integrates better with iOS devices. Apple is only beginning to build up an app store, but the options there right now are on the whole better designed than Roku’s apps. The Apple TV is more expensive though, at $149, and it doesn’t support 4K content yet. There’s also the revamped Roku 3 ($100) from earlier this year to consider, which also maxes out at 1080p, but includes voice search and all of the upgrades from Roku OS 7.
The Roku 4 is exactly what we’d expect from the company: a solid media box that plays well with multiple video services. But it’s really only a worthwhile upgrade if you’re going all-in with 4K. If you’re happy with your current 1080p TV set and media box, then sit tight. You could argue that it’s worth snapping up the Roku 4 to future-proof your setup, but by next year, newer standards like HDR will get ironed out and supported across all 4K devices and TV sets.
It wasn’t long ago that we rounded up a collection of gadgets aimed at tennis players — everything from fitness trackers to sensor-laden rackets. But this is still a young market and we’ve seen several new entries since then. Equipment maker Babolat announced the Pop, a stat-tracking sensor housed in a wristband, back in August. Meanwhile, a new name is entering this growing field. A small team called 9 Degrees Freedom successfully crowdfunded the Qlipp — a small sensor going for $99 in pre-release deals before jumping to its regular $129 price. It’s a “universal” device that should work with nearly any racket and the company boldly claims it’s the “ultimate tennis performance sensor.” I received a pre-release version several weeks ago and, thanks to a nagging foot injury, I ended up spending far longer with the device than I anticipated. That added time gave me the chance to watch the accompanying app evolve as the Qlipp neared its December release and while the typical crowdfunding growing pains are evident, I do like where the company’s going with this device.
Unlike other universal tennis sensors that attach at the butt end of the racket handle, the Qlipp (wait for it) clips in between your strings, much like a traditional vibration dampener. I had a bit of difficulty getting the device to properly wrap around my 16-gauge Volkl Cyclone strings, but the Qlipp stayed firmly in place once I got it installed. Those who prefer thicker gauges may want to demo the device first, although I am, again, dealing with a pre-production version as opposed to the retail edition (pictured above in a render). For what it’s worth, Donny Soh of 9 Degrees Freedom says the company is aware of the fit issue and that retail versions should be much improved.
During my extended time with the Qlipp, I’ve seen its companion app evolve from a barebones preview to a more fully realized commercial product. Those early iterations were limited to tracking single sessions and only forehands and backhands — no serves, for example. The current version, however, is much more robust, with a colorful and easy-to-navigate UI, stats history and a video-recording feature similar to the one offered in the $200 Sony Smart Tennis Sensor. Each play session is assigned a score based on attributes like shot speed, sweet spot accuracy and spin, and the history feature lets you track your progress as time passes.
Elsewhere in the app, you’ll find your play data broken down into various components (e.g., backhands vs. forehands, spin type, et cetera). A lot of these granular stats are similar to the info offered by Zepp’s $150 universal sensor and Babolat’s Play Series rackets, but it’s all laid out in a clear, organized manner. Overall, it’s a colorful and responsive app that’s far more stable now than earlier pre-release versions.
As for accuracy, however, I’d still place Zepp’s and Babolat’s sensors ahead of the Qlipp at this point. It mistook backhands for forehands (and vice versa) more often and occasionally judged balls clanged off the frame as being perfectly hit within the racket’s sweet spot. And the current version of the app still has trouble detecting my serves; a quick, serve-only session (using the nifty video-recording feature) resulted in one recorded serve and several shots the Qlipp mistook as forehands or backhands. Soh says the company is “constantly improving the algorithms,” so shot detection should be more accurate by December. Its speed estimates were surprisingly solid at lower velocities. I set up a Pocket Radar Ball Coach on the court and the Qlipp’s reported speeds were consistently within five to 10 miles per hour of the radar-based estimate when shots were flying at around 50MPH. As I started hitting harder, however, the reported measurements started to diverge more severely — with the radar gun reporting shots in the low 70s, while the Qlipp recorded mid-90s forehands.
The Qlipp’s video-recording features have steadily taken shape in the past few weeks. Earlier versions of the app tended to crash whenever I backed out of the video options, but its current iteration is far more solid. Like the Sony sensor’s companion app, the Qlipp tags your recorded video so you can skip to specific shots during the footage. It also supports slow-motion playback if you want to dissect your form.
You can also toggle audio feedback during sessions so your phone can call out the estimated speeds of your shots. Bear in mind, however, the speed inconsistencies mentioned earlier, and the fact that the computerized voice blurts those stats out at an artificially fast pace — like a tennis coach on seven too many Red Bulls. Hopefully the company can dial back the caffeine on the final version.
Still, this is pre-release software and a young company, and Soh says users can expect periodic firmware and app updates as time goes on. Overall, I’ve come away cautiously optimistic about the Qlipp sensor. It was hard to form much of an opinion when I first received the demo unit; that initial app was very clearly a work in progress and I had to deal with connection losses and app crashes on a regular basis. As the company nears its December release date, however, I’d say the Qlipp is certainly worth keeping an eye on. At $129 (or less, depending on deals), it’s a good bit cheaper than many rival universal sensors from far more established brands. With an aggressive price and a promising app, the Qlipp stands a decent chance of making a name for itself in this young, competitive market.
It’s never been hard to pirate movies, but for a long time, one collective has made it easier to watch the latest blockbusters than any other: YIFY. By focusing on speed, better quality rips and small file sizes, the group quickly grew to become the number one source for illegal movies, catering for the needs of millions of content pirates around the world. However, the YIFY name may soon fade into obscurity after it was revealed that its leader had been traced and named in a New Zealand lawsuit following a joint operation between the MPAA and its “international affiliates.” While many believe that its releases won’t be missed, YIFY’s shutdown will leave a big hole in the piracy market and have a knock-on effect on streaming services like Popcorn Time — at least until another group steps up.
The rise of YIFY
Before YIFY, there was aXXo. aXXo was the alias of an individual who specialized in leaking DVD-quality rips of new movies to torrent sites that were nearly always encoded in files under 700MB. There were many imitators, but none could match the speed or breadth of aXXo leaks. When the prolific pirate signed off in 2009, it took YIFY around a year to begin uploading torrents to sites like PublicHD, KickassTorrents, 1337x, The Pirate Bay, and ExtraTorrent. According to records on KickassTorrent, the first YIFY upload was a DVD rip of Toy Story 1 & 2 in 2010.
It took around a year of third-party uploads for YIFY to gain enough momentum to launch its own website, which you may know as YTS. In an interview with TorrentFreak, its creator, who was today revealed to have run the website from a house in Auckland, New Zealand, revealed that the group’s mission was to “bring Hollywood films to the masses at smaller file-size.” The group used the x264 video standard to encode movies at around the tenth of the size of a ripped Blu-ray disc. YIFY justifies its operation by saying it lets “users from all parts of the world, who have bandwidth or hard drive limitations, download and enjoy this content.”
Google Trends data shows the rise in YIFY searches over the past four years.
Some members of the torrenting community are quick to dismiss the quality of YIFY releases. The group’s Full HD (1080p) releases have been criticized for lacking visual detail and sound clarity, with 5.1 audio support notably absent. It’s clear, however, that YIFY’s releases are significantly better than the “CAM rips” that are uploaded by groups who send people into theaters to film movies. YIFY makes some trade-offs to get its file sizes down, and community diehards may not have been impressed, but its quality was more than enough for the masses.
The knock-on effects
If you head to any popular movie torrent site right now, you’ll notice that the majority of high-definition releases are YIFY uploads. The Pirate Bay, for example, lists 72 YIFY movies in its Top 100 HD movie section. In five years, over 4,500 infringing titles have been shared on such sites, and before the group was shut down, new movies would appear every few hours.
With YIFY gone, torrent sites face becoming stagnant as the pace of new releases drops. What also hasn’t been considered is the effect the group’s demise will have on streaming services like Popcorn Time and Kodi movie streaming plugins. While the MPAA and Hollywood studios have successfully shut down various forks of the Bittorrent-based platform, users have flocked to its many copycats. But there may soon be a dearth of new movies to stream.
That’s exactly what the MPAA wants, of course, but in the huge game of whack-a-mole that is internet piracy, downloaders will hope there’s another aXXo or YIFY waiting in the wings. In contrast to Scene or P2P groups, which operate in cliques and aspire to be the first to leak a Hollywood blockbuster, YIFY operated on an access-for-all basis. That’s not to say that other torrent release groups can’t capitalize on the void left by the New Zealand-based movement. There are plenty of private torrent trackers where content is siloed, but it appears that most public teams do not have (right now) the same access to movies that YIFY enjoyed.
According to the New Zealand Herald, YIFY’s unnamed owner was served with a multi-million dollar lawsuit on October 12th, which was subsequently settled out of court. With 3.4 million unique visitors and 43 million views on the YTS website in August alone, YIFY has become the biggest piracy bust in New Zealand’s history. If TorrentFreak‘s sources are to believed, the accused may be “working on an agreement to minimize their harm, possibly in exchange for information.” That could mean we see more MPAA action against movie pirates in the very near future.
Yesterday I got the best birthday present a lifelong Trekkie could hope for: Star Trek is coming back to television — kinda, sorta.
It’s been over a decade since Star Trek ended TV production and, while fans have had two successful films to enjoy (or despise), corporate infighting between CBS and Viacom has kept the franchise from its rightful home on the small screen. However, it looks like the two companies have hugged it out with the news that a new Star Trek series will return to “television” in early 2017. And while this would normally be cause for celebration among Trekkies, the announcement doesn’t come without a few caveats in terms of who’s making it and how it’s being distributed: The show will be produced by the team in charge of the recent films, and it will only be available via CBS’ subscription streaming service, CBS All Access. It’s a bit of a no-win situation (a Kobayashi Maru scenario, if you will) for die-hard fans who wanted to see Star Trek back on television. Star Trek may be back, but it comes at a cost: both figurative and literal.
When Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005, few fans were sorry to see it go. The franchise had declined in quality and edgier fare like the Battlestar Galactica reboot had wormed its way into the hearts of sci-fi geeks. But maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder, for many die-hard Trek fans were thrilled when J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film made its way to theaters in 2009. Granted, Star Trek hasn’t always had the best track record when it comes to film, but after four years of nothing, any Trek was welcome Trek.
As a life-long Star Trek fan, I had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Abrams film. I was a fan of Alias and Lost — both of which he’d executive produced. The cast was appealing and the fact that the screenwriters made the reboot work within established continuity tickled my geeky heart. The film got lots of people excited about Star Trek again — including my non-Trekkie boyfriend. Thanks to local TV reruns and Netflix, he caught up on the original series through Deep Space Nine (Voyager‘s been… slow going, to say the least).
Roberto Orci (left), Damon Lindelof (center) and Alex Kurtzman (right) at the Star Trek: Into Darkness LA premiere
The problem with watching so much classic Trek with him is I realize how much new Trek pales in comparison. Star Trek is generally a slow-paced, intellectual humanist brand, something that has never translated well to the big screen. Old Trek makes me think; it’s even made me cry. And so I’ve turned against new Trek, with its whiz-bang action aesthetic. Its continued presence in the cultural landscape has kept the franchise off TV where it works best. The situation wasn’t helped by all the infighting between CBS and Viacom, with the former continuing to churn out old Trek merchandise and stream the old shows, while the latter wanted to wipe the slate clean in favor of the Abrams version.
CBS has made it clear that this new Star Trek will only be available on its streaming service, CBS All Access.
But now, with yesterday’s announcement, it looks like things have been sorted out on the corporate side in favor of Viacom and Abrams’s production company Bad Robot. The new show is being executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote both new Star Trek films. I hated the Abrams-directed Into Darkness with all of the power of a matter-antimatter explosion, so I’m only sort of getting what I wanted in this new show. It’s like if I asked for a Wii U for Christmas and found something that looked like one under the tree, but actually played PlayStation 4 games. Sure, the PlayStation 4 has a lot of great games and maybe I’ll enjoy them, but I really wanted to play Splatoon.
I said I wanted a new Star Trek show, but what I meant was something that embodied the old spirit while taking advantage of the slower pacing of television.
Thing is, we don’t actually know what this new show is about. We know it will “introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.” But that’s really it — the show doesn’t even have a showrunner yet. It might not even have a concept beyond the franchise name.
How willing are you to add another streaming service to your repertoire?
What it does have, though, is a distribution plan. Because while Kurtzman is still looking for a head writer, CBS has made it clear that this new Star Trek series will only be available on its streaming service, CBS All Access. Sure, you’ll get a brief taste of the show on CBS proper, but that’s just to wet your whistle enough to pay $6 a month to watch the rest of it.
CBS has always had a rather hesitant relationship with current on-demand and streaming services — while you can watch pretty much the entire Star Trek catalog on Netflix and Hulu, popular programs like The Big Bang Theory continue to be MIA everywhere but CBS’ own website. So it really wasn’t much of a surprise when the network unveiled its own proprietary streaming service. Plenty of networks are embracing the idea of their own apps and sites — even CBS’ sibling channel, Showtime, has a service you get by itself for $11 a month, or even as an add-on to PS Vue or Hulu (but bizarrely enough, Showtime Anytime is not included in CBS’ All Access service or vice versa).
How willing are you to add another streaming service to your repertoire? Content is king, and this new Star Trek series is the first exclusive show announced for CBS All Access since the service’s launch in late 2014 — and it won’t debut until 2017. In the meantime, you have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now and a host of other services all hammering at your wallet. We may have been begging for “à la carte” programming, but that future is here and the cost is creeping steadily upward. The four services I just mentioned will run you around $40 a month combined, and that doesn’t include other types of programming, like sports (MLB.tv is $25 monthly, for example).
We’re at a point where getting your content from just one or two services isn’t possible. Sure, we all know that you need Netflix for House of Cards and Amazon if you want to watch Transparent, and we’re fine with that because they’re big services with a lot of mainstream programming. But the more diverse and esoteric you get, the harder it is to find everything you want. I’m a big anime fan, and while I can easily watch Kill la Kill on Netflix and Tiger and Bunny on Hulu, I’m not so lucky when it comes to more recent shows like Wakakozake, which is only available on Crunchyroll. As content gets spread out further and further, out-of-pocket cost increases (on top of what I pay for Netflix and Hulu monthly, Crunchyroll costs me $7, and if I wanted to watch anything on FUNimation’s service, it could cost me $5). With more media companies going the All Access route, we may eventually be looking at a set of bills that rivals the cost of cable, which hit an all-time-high nationwide average cost of $99 back in September.
Will any of us watch this new show?
In the meantime, plenty of people have cut the cord, and it looks like “America’s Most Watched Network” has finally started to take action. CBS skews older and Star Trek is turning 50, but that property still stretches across demographics. I love Star Trek, and my parents (who watch a lot of CBS) are the ones who got me into it in the first place. The thing is, will any of us watch this new show? My parents certainly won’t — their access to streaming services comes through shared passwords because they’re still wedded to the old broadcast/cable model. And my desire to pony up for CBS All Access hasn’t increased one whit since the announcement Monday morning due to my dislike of new Trek and unwillingness to subscribe to more services.
The suits at CBS might be counting on brand loyalty from old-school Star Trek fans to drive All Access subscriptions, but they’re asking them to pay for something that doesn’t look or function very much like the Star Trek they know and love.
Image credit: Getty Images for Paramount Pictures (Star Trek Into Darkness premiere)
Solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems are coming from an unlikely place: teenagers. Around the world, young inventors are developing gadgets and techniques that address issues ranging from ocean pollution to biofuels to food production. These incredible inventions are just a few highlights from teens who bring a fresh perspective and a hunger for real-life problem-solving. Hopefully, we’ll be reading about these young geniuses again years down the road, as they become stars of their own STEM careers.
“One thing we can bet on is that ‘making’ engages kids,” Dale Dougherty, Maker Media founder told Engadget. Anyone that’s ever been to a Maker Faire knows that’s a solid wager. Children routinely crowd around booths and attractions at the event peppering proprietors with questions about how their devices work. They drag their parents to the marketplace to buy Arduinos, soldering guns, and DIY kits. Getting littles ones excited about science and crafts is easy when it’s right in their faces, but then what? That was the question on Dougherty’s mind, “what happens on the Monday following a Faire?”
The initial answer to keeping kids interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education) topics was an online summer camp. A virtual meeting place for kids looking to expand their DIY skills and connect with other like-minded makers. Of course, once summer is over, those same kids are left in the lurch. Some schools have implemented a by-the-book rote memorization curriculum with very little hands-on opportunities. So now Maker Camp is leaving its summer roots and going year round with weekly projects.
“We (educational systems) fail to understand the importance of really engaging kids” said Dougherty. He points to the immediate feedback children get while putting together a project as opposed to reading a book or being lectured in a class. Instead, the hands-on approach creates a framework where they are testing and trying things and naturally progressing. He added, “I also believe ‘making’ makes kids better learners.”
But the kids aren’t left to their own devices. Usually a teacher or other adult leads the weekly sessions and is fed information about projects before they go live every Monday. Weekly ventures become part of longer term themes. The current topic is Fall and incorporates a few halloween-based projects, including a pressure sensitive booby trap with an LED ghost and a giant emoji mask. The programs themselves are designed to use inexpensive supplies found around the house.
The Summer Camp program has over 42,000 kids excited about technology and crafts. Those children are spread out over 1,000 Maker Camp affiliate sites at schools, libraries, 4-H Clubs and Intel Computing Clubs. And it’s growing, Maker Media expects by the end of 2015, there will be 1,500 physical sites for youngsters to gather and work on projects.
Anyone interested in hosting their own camp site can fill out application and will receive an initial kit and potentially supplies for some of the upcoming projects.
Of course individual kids at home can participate on their own. And while working with a team in real life is ideal, working with an online community is second nature. “These kids grew up on the Internet and love sharing with their family. But really, it’s their peers they’re trying to impress most of the time,” Kelli Townley, head of production at Maker Camp told Engadget.
Dougherty agrees that it’s not completely about the projects, “if you think about camp as a metaphor, it’s getting together and being social with other kids. Think about how much learning goes on, you’re learning about people, you’re learning to play with other people and you’re doing things you’re interested in.”
In addition to making friends both locally and online, there’s the confidence boost kids get when they finish a project. When one thing is done, they want to do and learn more. The hands-on experience gives them the problem solving skills they may not be exposed too at school or at home. Dougherty added, “making is an invitation, ‘who wants to do this?’ universally the answer is ‘yes!”
The low-power Curie from Intel helps developers quickly prototype a device with turn-key access to Bluetooth, a six-axis sensor with gyroscope and accelerometer and the 32-bit SOC Quark micro-controller. It’s main focus has been the wearable market and since its introduction at CES 2015, it’s has been used in sports bras, creepy robot spiders and to measure wicked-cool bike tricks. Now it’s being included in a new Arduino board. The Arduino 101 (internationally it’ll be called, Genuino 101) is the first widely available development board for the tiny chip. Priced at a reasonable $30 and using the same open-source platform as the rest of the Arduino line, the 101 is targeted at students and makers looking to add some connectivity to a project.
Last fall, OK Go released their latest album Hungry Ghosts. If you happen to enjoy the samples the band used on it, you can employ those sounds yourself thanks to Korg. The audio company revealed a limited-edition of its Volca Sample emblazoned with OK Go art and loaded with clips the band used to make the aforementioned release. In fact, there’s 100 different sounds total that are all available for use. This version of the Volca Sample features the same multi-touch keyboard, 16-step sequencer and can run on six AA batteries for mobile music making. It’s part of the larger Volca line that includes the Volca Keys, Volca Bass and Volca Beat compact synths. And the original Volca Sample, of course. If all of that sounds too good to pass up, you’ll be able to sang one for yourself this month after parting with $160.
Say what you will about OK Go’s music, but the band has a knack for attention-getting uses of technology in its videos — and its latest project only drives that point home. The new “I Won’t Let You Down” promo has band members performing dance numbers on Honda’s UNI-CUB robot stools, letting them bust moves that aren’t possible with legpower alone. And that’s only part of the technology involved. Director Morihiro Harano uses an octocopter drone to capture dramatic pull-out shots, while a legion of Japanese schoolgirls creates giant pixel art by dancing in Busby Berkeley-style routines. Is it over the top? You bet, but it’s doubtful you’ll forget this mechanical extravagance any time soon.