Do a Grouch a Favor Day Shortbread

PC hardware and computing

  1. ECS Z170-Lightsaber motherboard review @ PC Perspective
  2. The BitFenix Whisper M 450W & 850W PSU review @ AnandTech
  3. Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 6 review @ bit-tech
  4. Reeven Okeanos RC-1402 CPU air cooler review @ HardOCP
  5. The Crucial MX300 2TB SSD review @ Hardware Canucks
  6. Review: Qnap TS-231P NAS @ Hexus
  7. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review: portable and flexible living on the infinity edge @ HotHardware
  8. Aorus X3 Plus v7-CF1 gaming laptop review @ KitGuru
  9. WD Black PCIe NVMe SSD review @ Legit Reviews
  10. Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct Slim-Tower CPU cooler review @ Tom's Hardware

Games and VR

  1. Report: HTC to launch mobile VR kit this year, might not be what you think @ Upload VR
  2. Steam needs to stop asking its customers to fix its problems @ Rock Paper Shotgun
  3. 80 new Pokemon are coming to Go, but they may cost you @ Ars Technica
  4. Gabe Newell isn't really here @ Polygon (interview)
  5. A year in Stardew Valley: life, labour and love @ Rock Paper Shotgun (did you guys know that Bruno loves Stardew Valley too?)

Science, hacks, makers and gadgets

  1. Review: the Asus Tinker Board @ Hack A Day
  2. Software lets researchers keep their sharks straight @ New Atlas
  3. Stretchy "thubber" could take the heat off flexible electronics @ New Atlas
  4. Finally, someone has a realistic timeline for Mars colonization—the UAE @ Ars Technica
  5. CheetahBeam: more proof that cats are your overlord @ Hack A Day (PSA: mute or lower your volume before playing the video)

Tech news and culture

  1. Voice calls may be coming to the Amazon Echo and Google Home @ The Verge
  2. Blackberry sues Nokia over patents as its phone business shuts down @ Ars Technica
  3. Facebook videos will now automatically play sound by default @ The Verge (just like the MIDI file on my GeoCities page!)

Cheese, mêmes, and RGB LEDs

  1. Chuck E. Cheese is reportedly being readied for a sale or IPO @ Fortune.com
  2. String of cheese recalls continues, as does Listeria probe @ Food Safety News (grate headline)
  3. Topre Realforce RGB review @ Windows Central (Et tu, Topre?)
  4. Undulating wave of Lego colors is completely mezmerizing [sic] @ The Brothers Brick (all of RGB, none of the LED)
Colton Westrate

I post Shortbread, I host BBQs, I tell stories, and I strive to keep folks happy.

Comments closed
    • bronek
    • 3 years ago

    I think it is time to congratulate Techreport team on bringing this column back to live, on what appears to be regular basis.

    • CScottG
    • 3 years ago

    The “brilliance” of the Topre keyboard isn’t from the shiny lights, but rather that you can set the actuation point of each key.

    I was kind of surprised/disappointed by the amount of “click” on the standard key return though..

    • south side sammy
    • 3 years ago

    with so much feces in the ocean, growing bacteria and cutting off air and killing the fish, and whales eating plastic and dying because that’s dumped in the oceans, and the government poisoning the air with chem-trails slowly killing humans and making birds drop out of the sky dead in seconds, and the frackers poisoning our drinking water with unknown chemicals, and Fukushima spewing, unchecked, billions of tons of some of the worse radioactive waste imaginable and destroying the food chain in the pacific and entering the milk supply in New England via the weather and now probably has encircled the entire globe. With the crazies in Washington and NATO trying to start WW3………… how in the hell are we going to live long enough to build anything on Mars? Well, time for work…………….cya.

    • UberGerbil
    • 3 years ago

    Nobody ‘s done me any favors. ::grumble::

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Finally, someone has a realistic timeline for Mars colonization—the UAE @ Ars Technica[/quote<] I wouldn't say 100 years from now is realistic, but at least it's moving in the right direction. Let's face it folks -- Mars sucks. There's currently no good reason to colonize it. It would be much easier to colonize the Sahara desert or Antarctica, or even our own moon (just because of its proximity). I'd rather spend the next few hundred years sending probes to other star systems in search of a planet that is inhabitable out of the box (earth gravity; earth atmosphere; earth temperatures; and an earth-like magnetosphere). Once such a place is identified, colonizing it becomes the goal. If setting up a base on Mars is useful to do for achieving that goal so be it. But otherwise, Mars as a destination unto itself is just not compelling.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Spend a few hundred years sending probes to other star systems…and then waiting a few thousand for them to get there. Which is fine, but what do we do in the mean time? While I agree that there are other spots in the solar system more interesting than Mars because of the certain presence of water (Europa, Enceladus, Ganymede) or just fascinating chemistry (Titan), they’re a lot further away.

      And it’s not clear that there isn’t water still on Mars, a few feet, or dozens or hundreds of feet, below the surface. There may be a whole biosphere down there we haven’t detected; even if it’s devoid of life, it would do a lot to support colonization. So I wouldn’t write the planet off immediately. And if we’re talking the technology to send probes to other solar systems, we probably aren’t far from the tech we’d need to rain ice down on Mars from the rings of Saturn, if it really no longer has any of its own

      But I’d start a moonbase. And maybe a colony started on a metal-rich asteroid moved into high earth orbit.

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        But the big question is — why colonize anything?

        The best answer that I can think of is the survival of our species or, more generally, of intelligent life.

        But just about anything you can imagine that might happen to earth will still leave earth more inhabitable than Mars. Same is true of anyplace else in the solar system.

        To really contribute to the survival of intelligent life, we need to spread beyond this solar system to planets that allow for something better than minimal, token subsistence.

        Until we find such a place, I think the best things for us to do are:

        1. Look for such a place
        2. Get really good at building self-sustaining robot colonies throughout our solar system

        While all that is going on humans should just stay on Earth.

      • MOSFET
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]Let's face it folks -- Mars sucks. There's currently no good reason to colonize it.[/quote<] Finally. Sensibility. But I am coming around to the idea of sending all the folks who think it [i<]is[/i<] a good idea.

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        Nah, those folks are generally pretty sensible. This just appears to be a big blind spot for them.

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    double post

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    triple post

    • davidbowser
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Voice calls may be coming to the Amazon Echo and Google Home @ The Verge[/quote<] I get the concept of integrating with real phone service, but I think the current users would be just as likely to use an integrated VOIP/Voice chat solution. I would be just as happy to have Facetime Audio or Skype calls. The mic and speakers on the Echo are so good that I would gladly use it as my home office speakerphone. The one absolutely positively imperative feature is Caller ID. [b<]MUST HAVE.[/b<]

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      That could be one compelling feature for the Microsoft Cortana-based equivalent/competitor that is supposed to launch this year: Skype integration.

      I’m surprised Amazon hasn’t added simple intercom functionality. A lot of people who have one of these things have more than one, IME (probably because the Echo dot was so cheap during Black Friday last year — but also probably because I live in Amazon Ground Zero), and Amazon has mostly sorted out the software issues in getting them to function as a mesh (only the closest one responds to an activation phrase). So it would seem that adding functionality to route voice from the microphone of one to the speaker of another would be trivial, and could drive incremental hardware sales, but they haven’t done it.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 3 years ago

      I keep the Echo Dot plugged into an old set of 2.1-channel PC speakers. It sounds good. For higher quality, I can plug it into my home theater receiver, but that means switching inputs. If you look at the $130 price difference between the Echo and the Echo Dot, you can buy a pretty decent audio solution.

      P.S.: [url=https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KBFWW0O/<]Smart plugs[/url<] work very well with Alexa.

    • Wirko
    • 3 years ago

    So when did memes become mêmes? It’s all the same anyway but still fůnny.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      UTF’d!! OW! MY ASCII KEYBOARD!

        • morphine
        • 3 years ago

        I hávè nõ idêa whät your probl£m is.

          • Wirko
          • 3 years ago

          Have Western Martians switched to Latin letters? Nice, this will make it a little easier to colonize them.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      When they became mesmerising.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Chuck E. Cheese is reportedly being readied for a sale or IPO[/quote<] I'm willing to entertain reasonable offers from TR too.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 3 years ago

      For what…posting less? 🙂

      Sorry, but I’m still laughing over that one….

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      How much for you to stop posting?

      (hey, you offered…)

        • superjawes
        • 3 years ago

        chuckula’s posting cannot be stopped, only transferred.

          • chuckula
          • 3 years ago

          It’s about time people started understanding the Law of Conservation of Posts.

        • Neutronbeam
        • 3 years ago

        I’ll stop right after you stop…and how are you even getting PAID for this? (HEY JEFF–I can be twice as annoying for half the money you pay Bruno–IF that’s his real name.)

        So…”Bruno”…You’ve got something on Scott, haven’t you? Like pictures of him secretly building his new Intel-Nvidia rig? And you’re hiding out in Portugal why exactly…a few minor INTERPOL problems, is that it? You leaked a proprietary calo verde recipe and now you can never leave Lisbon? I’ve got your number and I’m watching you mister…Where is the form on the site for reporting gerbil abuse–I’m telling Jeff that I’m being repressed.

        Wow–and all that’s AFTER I had my medication. I’m definitely getting better.

          • morphine
          • 3 years ago

          Wow, someone didn’t mix your Xanax and cheese in the right proportions today? 😛

            • Neutronbeam
            • 3 years ago

            That’s BUFFALO mozzarella to you, wise guy.

            • chuckula
            • 3 years ago

            MOO MOO MOTHER!(&*%#(&!%

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Speaking of grouchiness and Steam… out of the blue my Steam client decided to segfault on launch the other day, so I’m basically cutoff from Steam until they get the !%!@#!% thing fixed.

      • Chuckaluphagus
      • 3 years ago

      Is it this issue?
      [url<]https://github.com/ValveSoftware/steam-for-linux/issues/4561[/url<] Basically, Steam falling down when you're opted into a beta branch for a game and the beta no longer exists. Which happens often when a game goes to final release. Got bit by it a few months ago, took me a frustrating few days to figure out.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        I’ll try that but unfortunately I don’t think that’s the problem.
        During my debugging I renamed my entire Steam folder to let the client basically start from scratch, and it still segfaulted. Thanks for the link though.

    • HERETIC
    • 3 years ago

    FURST-not enough cheese
    edit
    oh well couldn’t type fast enough…………………………

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Steam needs to stop asking its customers to fix its problems[/quote<] Yup. Way too much crap on Steam these days.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      That was a well-reasoned editorial. Kick off stuff that flat-out does not work. Don’t worry about stuff that works but sucks; it’ll filter itself out. And finally, come up with a way to make stuff that is good to be seen.

      If Valve really does let people just figure out what they want to do and work on whatever they want, it needs to be stopped. Steam is very difficult to use and outsourcing QA to the “community” is the epitome of lazy.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 3 years ago

      True, but I’d rather just let customers decide what is crap. It’s usually really easy to filter through the garbage or get a refund. I’ve found some really neat “crap” games that are initially pretty basic but ultimately illustrate something cool about game design. Clicker heroes, to me, would be considered a game that just clutters the steam market. However, I think it’s actually pretty fascinating how popular it is. There are a lot of gimmick games that I think are totally deserving of easy access that steam provides.

      As long as we have steam reviews and refunds, I really don’t see a problem. I’d rather be free to make a wrong choice then have someone else decide for me… Within reason. 🙂

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