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Comic for September 23, 2021

Dilbert - Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:59
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Categories: Funny

New Android accessibility features let users control phones with facial movements

Mashable - 1 hour 8 min ago

The imperative to improve smartphone use for people with limited motor capabilities has resulted in some truly cool — and hopefully helpful — new features.

Thursday, Google announced an expansion of its accessibility settings as well as a new app that will let people navigate their phones with facial gestures.

The feature within the Android Accessibility Suite is called Camera Switches. Previously, Google let users who could not navigate phones with the touchscreens connect a manual switch device that let them scroll and select.

Now, the new "switch" is an Android phone's camera and a person's face. Users can assign facial gestures like look left or right, smile, or raise eyebrows to functions like click, back, scroll, and more. The phone's camera will be able to recognize the gestures and translate them into action.

Camera Switches will be rolling out to Android phones (not just Pixels!) in the coming weeks.

The second feature requires downloading an app, but takes the idea of gesture control further. The app, Project Activate, will let people use their phones to send common messages or perform actions, or even verbalize on their behalf, by customizing gestures. An example Google gives is that the app can be programmed to have a gesture like looking left send a text to a caretaker that says, "Please come here."

Google notes that, based on feedback from users and advocates, giving people the ability to customize both the gestures and the action taken by the phone was crucial for these features to be useful. With gesture control, it's interesting to see how helping people with disabilities navigate the world with their smartphones pushes engineers to create innovative and, frankly, super cool products in their own right.

Categories: IT General, Technology

The best robot vacuum deals as of Sept. 23: Roombas and more on sale

Mashable - 1 hour 12 min ago

Shop the best robot vacuum deals as of Sept. 23:

Only three things are certain in life: Death, taxes, and a few days each month when you need to vacuum but just don't have time. Whether you detest the chore or get a little bummed when you can't have that satisfying dance with your Dyson, a robot vacuum is a universal lifesaver. Shop models on sale below.

Our top picksRoborock E4 Robot Vacuum — $219.99 (save $90)

If you're vacuum shopping on a budget, this basic Roborock packs serious sweeping skills for less than the cheapest Roomba. A suction level of 2000Pa beats the specs of similarly priced vacs and reliably combs carpets. Scheduled sweeps and spot cleanings can be set up through the app.

Save $90 at Amazon Buying Options See Details Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo N8 Pro+ Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty — $579.99 (save $220)

Pro and plus feel like appropriate descriptors for a self-emptying vacuum and mop with an asserted 2,600Pa of suction. (That beats the Roomba s9+, which is almost double the price .) The Ozmo N8 Pro+ includes premium smart upgrades like laser-based mapping that can target specific rooms and sensors that dodge carpets while mopping. After nearly two hours of cleaning, the N8 Pro+ returns to its charging and self-emptying dock, which only requires emptying once a month.

Credit: ecovacs Save $220 at Amazon Buying Options See Details iRobot Roomba S9+ with Automatic Dirt Disposal — $1,099 (save $200.99)

Multi-pet homes need a vacuum that won't flounder on carpets doused in fur. The Roomba s9+ is iRobot's current most intelligent bot, unleashing 2,500Pa of suction onto heavy shedding zones and using its flat edge to snatch hair from corners. But more debris collected doesn't mean more emptying on your part — the automatic dirt disposal bin is good for 60 days at a time.

Credit: irobot Save $200.99 at Amazon Buying Options See Details More great robot vacuum deals:Under $300:Under $500:Under 800Over $1,000 (but really nice)Robot vacuum and mop hybrids and dedicated robot mopsExplore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Finally, there's an airbag for bikes – Future Blink

Mashable - 2 hours 4 min ago

A sport pack company called EVOC created an airbag specifically designed to complement bike backpacks.

Categories: IT General, Technology

5 iPhone apps for enhancing your old blurry photos with AI

Mashable - 2 hours 42 min ago

If your pics aren't quite as sharp or clear as you'd like them to be, you probably wish something existed that could fix that via artificial intelligence (AI). After all, not everybody is a top-tier photo editor with access to top-tier photo editing software.

Thankfully, it's the 2020s, and you have access to plenty of easy photo editing applications not named Adobe Photoshop, if you know where to look. And even better: you don't even have to look, because we did that for you. Here are five apps that can enhance your photos with AI.

1. Remini Remini Credit: Remini / app store

One of the most popular photo enhancers in the App Store is Remini. The app offers instant photo-enhancing to turn blurry or grainy photos into HD, along with other editing features, including "Colorize" and "Oil Painting". Remini currently holds a 4.8/5 star rating with 21,000 ratings.

2. PicPlus PicPlus Credit: PicPlus / app store

Picplus markets itself as "the photo editor for both experienced users and those just getting started." Aside from boosting the quality of your photos, PicPlus also offers aesthetic filters, animated filters, a layout builder to make collages, and more. With around 5,500 ratings, the app currently sits at a 4.7/5 star rating.

3. EnhanceFox EnhanceFox Credit: Enhancefox / app store

EnhanceFox boasts photo-enhancing features along with an "AI-powered colorizer, which can colorize your black and white photos to make them look better." Interestingly enough, you can also use the app to animate photos by adding eye and mouth movements, making it seem as if your pics are actually alive. EnhanceFox as a 4.3/5 star rating with around 1,300 ratings to date.

4. Animatify Animatify Credit: animatify / app store

Animatify uses AI to enhance your photos with the touch of a button. The app can also colorize black-and-white photos, add animation, and add various effects. Animatify holds a 4.7/5 star rating with 1,000 ratings.

5. Tingo Tingo Credit: tingo / app store

Tingo is an AI-powered selfie enhancer that touts its ability to boost your selfie quality with autocorrection, eye bag remover, skin smoothen-er, and even a teeth whitener! So those of us with a coffee/tea addiction (myself included) can brighten our smiles without thousands of dollars of dental work. Though a bit less popular than the others, Tingo still has a 4.7/5 star rating with almost 100 ratings to date.

Categories: IT General, Technology

'Knives Out' is the perfect movie to get into the autumn spirit

Mashable - 2 hours 59 min ago

Sweater Weather is coming, which means one thing: It's time to watch Knives Out.

If you're impatiently craving a brisk chill in the air, you can easily get in the fall mood by cozying up on the couch and watching Rian Johnson's humorous murder mystery.

Though Knives Out is meant to be enjoyed year-round, the movie is set in the fall months, features a gorgeous autumnal color palette, and puts foliage on full display. It also showcases a wardrobe ripe with sweaters, scarves, pea coats, and other warm and snuggly styles. All of these components make it the perfect fall film, and thus, September will henceforth be known as the start of Knives Out season.

I mean, can you even look at these fresh fall outfits without feeling like crawling into a wooden restaurant booth, downing a beer, and eating a nice hot bowl of beans? I, for one, find it impossible!

Ransom Drysdale, god of sweaters. Credit: mashable composite: Claire folger / lionsgate Get us some beer and beans, now! Credit: CLAIRE FOLGER / LIONSGATE

I first saw Knives Out in 2019 on a perfect November night, and as some of you may recall, my major takeaway was that Chris Evans' cable-knit sweater is the eighth wonder of the world. After a kind Twitter user, @mapleservo, reminded me that Knives Out perfectly embodies "sweater weather," I knew it was time for a rewatch. And others agree that Knives Out has some of the biggest autumn vibes in cinematic history.

Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted Tweet may have been deleted

If all these screenshots from Knives Out were somehow not autumnal enough to inspire a movie night, perhaps these tweets that imagine the cast of film as adorable, sweater-wearing baby goats will do the trick.

Tweet may have been deleted

The bottom line is this: If you're looking to speed up the arrival of fall, I can think of no better way than to put on a sweater, drape a blanket over your shoulders, fill a "My House, My Rules, My Coffee!!" mug with tea, and watch Knives Out on Amazon Prime. And we guarantee that after the movie ends you'll be inspired to "really start dressin'".

This article was originally published in September 2020 and updated in September 2021.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Adorable 'Muppets Haunted Mansion' trailer conjures spooky shenanigans

Mashable - 3 hours 4 min ago

The Muppets are descending on Disney in a creepy-yet-cutesy debut trailer for Muppets Haunted Mansion — the first-ever Halloween special from everyone's favorite felted fiends that's actually set inside the iconic Disney Parks attraction.

This killer crossover follows famous daredevil the Great Gonzo as he attempts to survive an entire Halloween night in "the most grim grinning place on Earth." In the sneak peek, which is accompanied by narration that sounds just like what you hear on the ride, we see Miss Piggy reimagined as Madame Leota, Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew as possessed busts, and even Janice as the tightrope walker from one of the portraits in the stretching room.

Will Arnett, Yvette Nicole Brown, Darren Criss, Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Metz, Danny Trejo, and more play alongside the Muppets as Haunted Mansion characters, and John Stamos makes an appearance as himself. Plus, we're getting three new original Muppets songs and a Muppets cover of King Harvest's 1972 hit single "Dancing in the Moonlight."

Looks spooktacular! Muppets Haunted Mansion starts streaming Oct. 8 on Disney+.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Full 'Spencer' trailer reveals more world-shattering Kristen Stewart perfection

Mashable - 3 hours 46 min ago

When Neon dropped a teaser for director Pablo Larraín's Spencer last month, the internet was inconsolable. Just two words — star Kristen Stewart quietly saying "They don't" in the most sublime Diana accent you've ever heard — promised such a phenomenal dramatic biopic for the late Princess of Wales that fans all but declared it a triumph sight unseen.

Now, the project's first full-length trailer is debuting further perfection, revealing even more spine-chillingly uncanny dialogue from Stewart and a number of Diana's iconic looks as recreated for the film. The supremely promising sneak peek is backed by an onslaught of good reviews from critics who saw Spencer's premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

Written by Steven Knight, the partially fictional movie will reimagine Diana's decision to divorce Prince Charles and leave the British Royal Family. Spencer is in theaters Nov. 5.

Categories: IT General, Technology

The Roku Ultra is back at its Prime Day price

Mashable - 4 hours 15 sec ago

Save $30.99: The Roku Ultra for 4K and HDR streaming is on sale for $69 at Amazon as of Sept. 23. That's a 31% discount on the original price.

Between new shows, sports, and your Halloween favorites, fall is a big deal for streaming. If you want a simpler way to stream on any platform in high quality, an upgrade to the Roku Ultra might be in order.

The Roku Ultra for 4K and HDR streaming is available for $69 at Amazon. This nice 31% discount makes this the best price we've seen since Prime Day on the fastest Roku player ever.

Get your streaming ducks in a row with a powerful Roku Ultra. Credit: mashable photo composite/roku

The Roku Ultra includes a voice remote with TV controls, which allows you to create personalized one-touch shortcuts. It also integrates into your smart home whether you use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit. And just in case you're prone to lost remotes in couch cushions, there's a lost remote finder feature. As a final bonus, the included headphones connect to the remote for private listening so you don't wake up your roommates or partner.

If you're ready for the final excuse to cut the cord, the Roku Ultra is the ultimate reason to finally take the plunge at a sale price of just $69.

Credit: Roku Save $30.99 at Amazon Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Twitter rolls out tipping with bitcoin, explores verifying NFT profile pics

Mashable - 4 hours 2 min ago

Twitter is leaning into the blockchain.

The social media giant announced Thursday that, starting immediately, users around the globe will be able to post their bitcoin wallet directly into their profile — while a more limited subset will be able to more directly integrate a bitcoin payment app. The addition of cryptocurrency payments to Twitter, via Tips (formerly dubbed Tip Jar), coincides with the larger rollout of Tips to all iOS users globally, with Android access promised in the near future.

"People will be able to add a bitcoin lightning wallet or their bitcoin address to send and receive bitcoin Tips beginning today," explained Esther Crawford, Twitter's product lead for creator monetization, on a Thursday press call.

According to a Twitter blog post, users in the U.S. (excluding residents of Hawaii and New York) and El Salvador will be able to use the third-party Strike app to send and receiving bitcoin over the lightning network. Users will also be able to add bitcoin addresses to their profile.

In other words, it doesn't appear that Twitter is getting into the business of directly facilitating bitcoin transactions. Rather, Twitter is giving other services that do that work prominent real estate on its platform.

Moving users to the Strike app. Credit: Twitter

It's worth noting that Square's Cash App, which is a payment service founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, allows users to buy and sell bitcoin.

Crawford also spoke to Twitter's interest in non-fungible tokens, and how they're currently used on the platform. Many NFT owners use their NFTs as profile pics, and Twitter is looking into ways to formalize that practice.

"We're excited to soon explore NFT authentication," she explained. "It's a way to support creators making this art with a stamp to demonstrate authenticity. By allowing people to directly connect their crypto wallets, they can track and showcase their NFT ownership on Twitter."

What that means, exactly, is still unclear. Will verified NFT profile pics be designated as such, and, if so, how?

"We're interested in basically just making it visually clear that this is an authenticated avatar and then give you some interesting info and insight about the provenance of that NFT," elaborated Crawford.

SEE ALSO: NFT owners insist they're totally not owned by 'right-click savers'

In other words, Twitter knows NFTs and bitcoin aren't going away any time soon, so decided to embrace what's already organically happening on its platform.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Pressure cook, air fry, and more with this Ninja Foodi on sale

Mashable - 4 hours 26 min ago

Save $46: Grab the Ninja Foodi OS101 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker for just $119.99, down from $165.99, as of Sept. 23. That's a 28% discount.

Imagine if you could only have one cooking appliance in your kitchen. Would you go for a slow cooker for those low-effort, high-reward comfort meals? Maybe a pressure cooker so you could have perfectly tender meat in no time at all. Or, let's be honest, it would be awfully hard to live without an air fryer. Now forget this terrifying scenario where you have to choose, and imagine that you could combine all these appliances (and more) into one.

The Ninja Foodi OS101 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker is on sale for only $119.99 as of Sept. 23. In addition to pressure cooking, slow cooking, and air frying, it can also steam, sauté, bake, broil, make yogurt and serve as a warmer.

The dinner possibilities are endless. Credit: Ninja

We've talked about how the Ninja Foodi is an excellent multifunctional super appliance before, but let's get into the specifics of this model, starting with size. The kitchen real estate the Foodi takes up can be sizable, especially if you don't have a ton to work with in the first place, but the Foodi does eliminate the need for multiple appliances.

Its five-quart capacity is big enough to roast a four-pound chicken or air fry two pounds of french fries in one go (a game-changing feature, imo). So even if you are just cooking for one or two, the versatility of the Foodi can make the size very much worth it.

You will also need to use a different lid for pressure cooking (as pictured above) so you'll need to account for the storage space there. On the cleanup front, both cooking pot and crisping plate are dishwasher safe to make your life as easy as possible.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a kitchen appliance that does the absolute most (in a good way!), then you very well may find it in the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1, on sale for a limited time at Amazon.

Credit: Ninja Save $46 at Amazon Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Unagi Model Eleven e-scooter warns about stop signs, people in the way

Mashable - 4 hours 33 min ago

Unagi's new electric scooter can tell you when you're approaching a stop sign or a giant pothole.

Unveiled Thursday at a conference called Micromobility America near San Francisco, the Model Eleven (a follow-up to the original Model One) is an e-scooter with object detection built in thanks to a camera and sensors. It also gives you audio alerts.

Unagi's new lightweight, foldable device is the latest attempt to stand out from the e-scooter pack, after the company rolled out monthly scooter subscriptions last year. For the Oakland-based company, iterating even further meant adding an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) like the ones you see on cars. In addition to noticing stop signs, if a person pops into the bike lane or a car door opens, this scooter will alert you.

Pack it up. Credit: Unagi

For bumpy terrain or a pothole-filled road ahead you'll also be warned.

"We’re confident saying it’s the first smart scooter," CEO David Hyman said in a phone call a few weeks before the unveiling.

While the scooter isn't autonomous, Hyman said a "longer-term vision" is to use all the information from the camera and sensor to prompt the scooter to take over and brake, or slow down, in dangerous situations. But it's not there yet.

The scooter now comes with a companion app, so you can add turn-by-turn directions that play through the scooter's audio system. That means you can safely put away your phone and not get lost.

Another "smart" feature alerts you when the scooter gets moved. If you suspect your Model Eleven has been swiped, you can turn it off via the remote kill switch in the app. Take that, scooter thieves.

SEE ALSO: E-scooters make their NYC debut in the Bronx

On the circular display you can see info about the scooter including its charge level.

The scooter is connected to an app. Credit: UNAGI

The Model Eleven will launch on crowd-sourcing site Indiegogo before deliveries start next summer. The version with an ADAS for object detection will be $2,500, while the simpler model starts at $2,100. Both come with different color options including electric yellow, a matte black, and a mint green.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Save $80 when you bundle Samsung's new Galaxy Watch 4 with a wireless charger

Mashable - 4 hours 36 min ago

SAVE $79.99: Amazon will take $20 off and throw in a $59.99 Samsung Wireless Charger Duo for free when you buy a new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 through Sept. 23 at midnight. Prices start at $229.99 for the 40mm model without cellular connectivity, which leads to savings of up to 25%.

Get comfy, Apple Watch wearers: The new Series 7 announced at last week's iPhone event still hasn't gone up for preorder, much less gone on sale. (Heck, the company is still floating a vague release date of "later this fall" amid rumors of limited availability and manufacturing delays. It's going to be a while.)

But you know what? That's neither here nor there, because the smartwatch you can (and should) be buying right now is the also-new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Amazon has a Sept. 23 Deal of the Day where you'll get $20 off and a free Samsung Wireless Charger Duo (worth $59.99) when you order one through 11:59 PST, which works out to a total savings of about $80.

Choose from four colors: Black, Pink Gold, Green, or Silver. Credit: Samsung

(For those of you keeping track at home, that extra discount on top of the free charger means Amazon has managed to top its very good Galaxy Watch 4 preorder offer.)

In case you missed the big rollout at August's Galaxy Unpacked event, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a follow-up to Samsung's fitness-focused Galaxy Watch Active line, and it's bringing more than just a new name to the table. A smaller bezel and a sweatproof watchband give it a more minimal look, as Mashable's Alex Perry reported, while a new proprietary "BioActive" sensor adds some powerful health metrics to the mix. (See: the new Body Composition tool that can measure your skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate, body water, and body fat percentage in real time — Samsung says this is the first smartwatch that can perform such readings.)

SEE ALSO: Samsung's got a fancy, Thom Browne edition of Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, but it'll cost you

The Wireless Charger Duo is as close to a must-have accessory as they come for Galaxy Watch 4 users; it actually has a dedicated placement for the wearable. (You can fill its other charging spot with any Qi-enabled smartphone, any Samsung earbud, or even a pair of AirPods — they're all compatible with it.) One full charge gets you up to 40 hours of battery life, but in a pinch, a 30-minute session will let you keep using it for up to 10 hours.

Prices start at $229.99 for the 40mm base model without cellular connectivity, which normally retails for $249.99, and go up to $309.99 (usually $329.99) for the 44mm version with LTE.

Credit: Samsung Save $79.99 on Amazon Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Bored in the parking lot? Android Auto just added games.

Mashable - 5 hours 3 min ago

Like Tesla, Google is letting you play video games on your car's screen.

If you have Android Auto, you've been able to connect your non-iPhone to your car's display to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music while using Google Maps to navigate. Starting Thursday, you'll be able to use the Android Auto screen to play games — while parked.

Games from Google's GameSnacks website will be an entertainment option when you're not driving. It's similar to Tesla's collection of video games (called Tesla Arcade), which includes titles like Beach Buggy Racing 2. But unlike in a Tesla, where you can use the real steering wheel to control some games, you can only play through the car's touchscreen.

Via Giphy

GameSnacks include more than 100 "bite-sized" games such as solitaire, jigsaw puzzles, golf, and the original racing title "Retro Drift." The games are also available on desktop or mobile through the website.

SEE ALSO: Mercedes-Benz has a car that can read your mind

The new games are part of an update to Android Auto that revamped the home screen. Recommended music, news, and podcasts will now appear based on your listening habits once your phone is connected to the car.

You'll need to be running Android 9 or newer for the new features. Android 12 will likely be released on Oct. 4.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Snag the brand new GoPro HERO10 Black on sale

Mashable - 5 hours 7 min ago

Save $150: As of Sept. 23, the GoPro HERO10 Black camera and a one year GoPro subscription can be bundled for $399.98 on GoPro's website. You'll see a discount of over 27%.

If these 2022 baby name predictions are any indication, escapism will continue to be a major theme for many of us in the upcoming year. Don't have a baby to name "Woods"? The new GoPro HERO10 Black is a sick way to remember your adventures.

While it was priced at $499.99 upon release (and is still that price at Best Buy and Amazon), GoPro's website is bundling the camera and a year of the GoPro subscription (typically $49.99) for $399.99 total.

Credit: gopro

A lot has happened in the past year to set this camera apart from its predecessor, the HERO9. The body of the HERO10 houses a brand new GP2 processor, which boosts the sheer time it takes to snap a photo or save a video, improves touchscreen responsiveness, and slims camera-to-phone upload times by 30 percent. The cloud-connected HERO10 is also the first GoPro that plugs directly into your phone and automatically begins uploading footage to the cloud.

But better uploading times aren't even the most noteworthy speedy improvement. The HERO10 clocks a new PR of 5.3K video at 60 frames per second, providing 91 percent more resolution than standard 4K, and can keep it up for 20 minutes. GoPro's Hypersmooth 4.0 video stabilization tech is now available in all shooting modes, too.

Credit: gopro Save $150 at GoPro Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Discord tests out Watch Together, letting you watch YouTube videos with friends

Mashable - 5 hours 26 min ago

Discord may no longer have Rythm, but soon you'll be able to Watch Together.

Just days after a popular third-party Discord plugin was shut down by YouTube, Discord is taking matters into its own hands.

The chat service, which is quite popular in the gaming community, has started testing out a new feature called Watch Together, which allows Discord users to watch YouTube videos in sync with one another within their servers.

As The Verge points out, Discord previously tested something similar last year before seemingly putting the feature on the back burner.

It appears the end of a third-party plugin sparked the renewed interest from Discord in releasing this feature.

Earlier this month, YouTube's parent company Google sent a cease and desist letter to the owner of a beloved third-party Discord plugin called Rythm. The plugin allowed Discord users to stream audio from YouTube or any other link right into the service's voice chat system.

With Rythm, users could listen to music uploaded on YouTube with their friends on Discord and avoid the usual YouTube ads. It's no surprise that Google eventually had a problem with its use, as this violates the company's terms of service. Even Rythm's founder said they expected it to be shut down eventually.

So, with the shutdown of Rythm and another popular Discord music plugin called Groovy, it seems Discord is attempting to fill the void.

Watch Together does differ from those apps. It's more in-line with Discord's screen-share feature, with the YouTube video playing on the screen instead of just pumping audio through a voice chat.

Also, if you're watching a YouTube video, you will see YouTube ads.

Discord will be rolling out the Watch Together beta to more servers over the next few weeks. The current plan is for Watch Together to be completely rolled out to every Discord user by the end of October.

Categories: IT General, Technology

Get moving with a NordicTrack rowing machine on sale

Mashable - 5 hours 40 min ago

SAVE $600: Snag this NordicTrack RW200 rowing machine for only $699.99 as of Sept. 23. That's a savings of 46%.

Feeling a home gym upgrade? The NordicTrack RW200 rowing machine is on sale at Best Buy for $600 off the retail price of $1,299.99 — just $699.99.

This deal is by far the best price on the NordicTrack RW200 currently. The same rower is available at Amazon starting at $937 and going all the way up to $2,399.99, so you'd be saving a minimum of $237.01 by choosing Best Buy for this purchase.

This folding rowing machine is great for compact spaces. Credit: Mashable photo composite/NordicTrack

A rowing machine is a great choice for total-body workouts, and this one is no exception. The RW200 comes complete with 24 different resistance levels that can be adjusted either manually or with the silent magnetic resistance system, so your workout won't be interrupted when you need to increase the difficulty. There's an adjustable center console that gives you stats like time elapsed, split times, calories burned, and more. It's great for smaller spaces, too, since it has front wheels and a folding design.

As a bonus, you'll also get a free 30-day trial to iFit, which offers live and on-demand workout classes. Led by personal trainers, each class has the feel of a studio class — but it's from the comfort of your own home. During your trial, you'll have access to rowing workouts as well as cross training, yoga, strength training, and more, so you can start a well-rounded fitness routine.

Get up and get rowing with the NordicTrack RW200, and scoop up this sweet $600-off deal while it lasts.

Credit: NordicTrack Save $600 at Best Buy Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Save up to $230 during the biggest Vitamix sale of the year

Mashable - 5 hours 54 min ago

Save up to $230: Shop the Vitamix Days sale going on through Sept. 24 at 12 p.m. ET and save on new and refurbished blenders and accessories.

Vitamix is the Rolls-Royce of blenders, with some of its models retailing for around $500. For the average person, that's probably not a casual purchase: A Vitamix blender is something you wait to buy until it goes on sale.

Well, now is that time. Vitamix is running its annual Vitamix Days 48-hour sale from Sept. 22 at noon ET to Sept. 24. at noon ET. You can save 40% or more on blenders, food processors, and even the Foodcycler. If you see something you want, snatch it up quickly — the sale's landing page says due to high demand, there's a backlog on orders and some items have already sold out.

Transition from smoothie season to soup season with a new Vitamix blender. Credit: Vitamix

Here's a look at our favorite deals from the sale:

Ascent Series A3500 — $499.95 (was $649.95)

This fancy blender has a touchscreen interface with five program settings (smoothies, hot soups, dips and spreads, frozen desserts, and self-cleaning). It also has variable speed controls and a pulse button if you want to manually blend something up. The blender even has WiFi built in; plus, the smart motor base can automatically tell which container size you've attached and will adjust program settings to fit. We'd like to see your grandma's hand-me-down blender try that.

Credit: Vitamix Save $150 at Vitamix Buying Options See Details Vitamix immersion blender — $119.95 (was $149.95)

Regular Vitamix blenders are able to mix up hot soups, but that requires pouring hot ingredients into the blender, and honestly, some of us are just not coordinated enough for that. The immersion blender lets you get your soups to a perfect consistency right in the pot. It has five speeds and is suitable for left- and right-handed people — and is easy to operate with just one hand, in case you realize mid-blend that you left an ingredient out.

Credit: Vitamix Save $30 at Vitamix Buying Options See Details Certified reconditioned Venturist V1200 — $299.95 (was $449.95)

This certified reconditioned Vitamix is spruced up to work like new, with features like variable speed control, built-in WiFi, a digital timer, and self-detecting containers. It comes with a 64-ounce blending container for big batches of smoothies, guac, or whatever you feel like making, and a smaller 20-ounce blending cup for single-serve blends. There's even a cookbook thrown in for some recipe inspo.

Credit: Vitamix Save $150 at Vitamix Buying Options See Details Vitamix Foodcycler FC-50 — $299.95 (was $399.95)

As a food recycler, this is different than a composter. The FoodCycler breaks down food scraps into a fertilizer you can sprinkle into soil. It basically dehydrates the food scraps, so what you're left with is a dry mixture that's a fraction of the size of the original food waste. The FoodCycler itself takes up about a cubic foot of space, so you can store it pretty easily.

Credit: Vitamix Save $100 at Vitamix Buying Options See Details Explore related content:
Categories: IT General, Technology

Level up your PC rig with an ultra-wide gaming monitor on sale

Mashable - 6 hours 9 min ago

SAVE $60: As of Sept. 23, you can get an ultra-wide Samsung Odyssey gaming monitor for 10% off the original price. You'll pay $539.99.

PC gaming as a hobby is no small investment. It requires a lot of careful consideration as to what parts you want to buy for your setup, and then you actually have to pay for them.

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Categories: IT General, Technology

How 'Shang-Chi' star Morris became Marvel's adorable face of facelessness

Mashable - 6 hours 40 min ago

Welcome to Thanks, I Love It, our series highlighting something onscreen we're obsessed with this week.

A wombat, a dog, and a mythological god of chaos walk into the production offices of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Thousands of hours of work later, out toddles Morris — the six-legged, four-winged, faceless sidekick currently charming Marvel fans the Cinematic Universe over.

“It's crazy, right?” VFX supervisor Christopher Townsend remarks to Mashable in a Zoom interview. “How do you build something like that? And make it not grotesque, but adorable?”

“How do you build something like that? And make it not grotesque, but adorable?”

Between Baby Groot for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Goose for Captain Marvel, and more, Townsend has taken on his fair share of make-it-cute challenges for the MCU. But approaching Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton’s vision for Morris, he says, was uniquely daunting.

Although the critter is mostly based on “Hundun” — chaos-fueled creatures from Chinese folklore whose mythological nature shifts from tale to tale, but who generally share a consistent physical description of multi-limbed facelessness — it took a combination of influences for Townsend to bring Morris to life. First, came the wombats.

“We were shooting in Australia, so we actually used a wombat as one of our initial gauges for size,” the effects master says. “We bought some big stuffies of wombats, and we had one which was about 18 inches long or something. We sort of held that and said, ‘Yeah, that feels about right. If you imagine a wombat with wings and with an extra pair of legs and no head, it's kind of like Morris.’ So that was a starting point.”

Director Destin Daniel Cretton (left) and Christopher Townsend (right) on the set of 'Shang-Chi' Credit: Jasin Boland 2020 MARVEL

Then, came the dogs. Chief among Morris’ canine inspirations was Townsend’s own Charlie, a four-year-old miniature goldendoodle whose gleeful goofiness guided much of Morris’ physicality.

“We were shooting in Australia, so we actually used a wombat as one of our initial gauges for size."

“We were studying how [Charlie] moves and how puppies move and how they show their excitement — how they move their whole bodies because they just cannot contain themselves,” Townsend explains. Treating Morris’ four wings as stand-ins for dog ears, the Shang-Chi VFX team helped the Ta Lo native, ever-sensitive about his lack of face, communicate using his body instead.

“We actually did versions of Morris with eyes as a test,” Townsend recalls. Big eyes, as anyone who lived through the Golden Age of Baby Yoda can attest, are a practical cuteness silver bullet. “But eventually we said, 'No, no, we want it to stay true to the mythological origins of the character.'"

Authenticity was central to the creation of Shang-Chi and, in turn, Morris, Townsend says. Not only was it important to accurately and thoughtfully represent the aspects of Chinese culture Marvel was bringing to its story, but it was important to present those elements as believably as possible.

To help lend credibility to Morris’ interactions with his human stars, Townsend shared a variety of animation tests with the cast on set so they could visualize him while performing. Then, Shang-Chi’s props department created a series of green, cushion-like conduits to physically represent Morris during filming.

Ben Kingsley and prop Morris mid-performance on the set of 'Shang-Chi' Credit: Jasin Boland 2020 MARVEL

“It had some heft to it purposefully,” Townsend says of the surprisingly bulky props. “Weight is something that I’m very keen on. Making actors try and act like something is heavy is much harder than just giving them something heavy to pick up.”

"And he'd say, ‘No, I need it! I want it! That's Morris!’"

Ben Kingsley, reprising his Iron Man 3 role of Trevor Slattery for Shang-Chi, did much of the literal heavy-lifting with Morris — often at the Academy Award-winning actor’s own insistence. Kingsley, Townsend recalls, regularly referred to the heaping green mass as his “co-star” while filming.

“Sometimes I would say, 'Hey, do you need the stuffie or can we do without it?’ And he'd say, ‘No, I need it! I want it! That's Morris!’ To be working with this incredible actor who is so, so good and have him totally believe that this character was real, that really helps.”

After Shang-Chi wrapped filming and began post-production, Townsend, his team, and collaborating artists from Trixter (an animation studio from Munich that’s worked on Marvel movies since Phase I) collectively began the grueling multi-month process of rendering Morris and his many details. Getting Morris’ feathers just right, for example, was a time-intensive task that required not only the footage that ultimately appears in the film but countless hours of reference videography too.

Green Morris is cute, but Morris-Morris is definitely cuter. Credit: 2020 MARVEL

“In post, we’re having to track the camera to figure out exactly where the cushion is relative to the actor’s hands, and we have to track their hands,” Townsend explains. “So we have ‘witness’ cameras pointing at the actors, as well as the main picture.”

“I can't say because I don't know. But it seems like it would be a missed opportunity, right? If we didn’t?"

By cross-referencing these images, Shang-Chi’s VFX team was able to ensure Morris’ feathers appeared realistic in all situations — be it rough-housing with Fu dogs or playing dead with Trevor — and against all kinds of touch.

“That's something I think I'm most proud of in the film with regards to Morris. Not only making him a cute character, but also giving him some physicality so that the fur and the feathers all react appropriately to the hands as they're very slowly sort of rubbed through or stroked or patted or held.”

That innate cuddliness, paired with our faceless friend’s lovable demeanor, has created a demand for not just Morris merch or Morris toys, but simply more Morris. With Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home just around the corner, plenty of movie-goers are hoping for another glimpse of his not face soon.

When asked whether Morris will return to the MCU, Townsend replies, “I can't say because I don't know. But it seems like it would be a missed opportunity, right? If we didn’t? He is pretty adorable.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now, and streaming on Disney+ Nov. 12.

Related Video: The deep significance of Shang-Chi, Marvel's first Asian superhero
Categories: IT General, Technology
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